Questions and answers for bridesmaids and groomsmen

I want to talk about bridesmaids and groomsmen, but first let’s address the terminology itself. Bridesmaid… you are the ‘maid’ or assistant to the bride, assisting her in all things helping her dress or fetching things. Ok. That’s not horrible – its fun to help out your best girlfriend or sister. Groomsmen. Kind of the same thing, probably minus helping a man get dressed, except maybe helping him tie a tie.

Gorgeous bridesmaids!

I prefer the gender neutral term ‘attendants,’ because in our modern world you can have anyone you wish standing with you at the ceremony. That’s why I often refer to the ‘best woman’ – just like ‘best man.’ Yes, I’m being politically correct, because I’m keeping all options on the table. I don’t want to assume anything when it comes to both gender and who’s your best buddy. And you shouldn’t either.

Once couples realize they can have the person that matters the most to them stand right by their side, it is freeing. A bride may want her brother next to her, or a groom may want a sister. See what I mean?

Now back to those duties of the attendants, or whatever you want to call them, beyond standing there looking awesome?

Awesome groomsmen.

There are a few questions that come up regularly from these chosen ones:

Who are the other bridesmaids/groomsmen?
Do I have input into the clothing selections?
Am I expected to pay for the special clothes or offer to pay?

The answer to all of these questions is just ask! And be specific, because it varies from wedding to wedding, so don’t assume what happened in another wedding will be the case again. But typically you pay for your own dress or suit.

The best man and best woman are the team captains. They’ll do the speech making and keep you in the loop about activities.

Not all attendants will be living close by, so consider creating a chat group, or start a text thread or other form of group communication – so everyone shares the same information.

Some advice for the couple in guiding your attendants: use the Goldilocks method – not too much or too little, give just the right amount of guidance. Here’s an example: Suppose you are letting women chose their own dresses – telling them to pick just any dress is not helpful. That’s too little. Give them a few parameters such as color pallet, length and how dressy it should be. But too much control isn’t good either. Don’t pick one style that won’t work for everyone, that’s too much. Just right would be showing them a few different styles and examples.

Speaking of dresses, the average cost is $150 and a man’s suit can be more. Tux rentals are about the same, so it’s a much better investment to buy something. I often advocate for the suit purchase not the tux rental, unless it’s a formal wedding.

If you can’t afford the costs involved, and it does get expensive, with clothes, hotels, gifts, and transportation, be honest with the couple. I know it’s difficult, but it is better for them to understand why you are declining the honor of being in their bridal party, than think you don’t care about them.


The attendants!

And now, on to your duties. Except to help with any shower and/or bachelor or bachelorette party. You should try to attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Groomsmen often act as greeters at the ceremony, but again, bend any rules you wish. Pitch in. Help out.

But the greatest gift you can give to the bride or groom is to be there for them, in a calm, thoughtful manner. Give them your genuine attention. Listen. Be supportive. Couples about to marry often get nervous and sometimes even doubtful. That’s normal. Let them know you believe in them.

And finally, don’t get plastered and make an ass of yourself at the reception. And if you see your bride or groom drinking too much – get them some water! Quickly please. That’s a great job for any attendant.

Thank you Lisa Rhinehart Photography  for these gorgeous photos.


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