By Jessica Zaleski for TheKnot.com
They've always been there for you, and as you're planning your wedding, you'll likely need their help more than ever -- here's how to stay in tune with your best friends and keep them happy.
1. They want you to tell them your expectations.
What do you expect from your bridesmaids? Do you want them to just show up to support you on your wedding day, or do you want them to be there with you throughout all the decision making and to-dos, like addressing wedding invitations and filling up welcome bags for out-of-town guests? Either way, let your bridesmaids know what you expect of them, so you don't end up frustrated with a friend who doesn't understand (or didn't know) what you wanted them to do in the first place.
2. They want you to tell your other friends about them.
The only thing worse than a coworker who thinks she's invited to your wedding is a friend who assumes she's going to be a bridesmaid. Let it be known whom you've chosen so neither you nor your bridesmaids feel awkward about it around non-bridal-party members. Don't be afraid of hurting someone's feelings -- as cliche as it sounds, any true friend will understand whatever decision you make.
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3. They want you to have your dream wedding.
Try not to make hasty assumptions. Don't write off some friends simply because you think they don't have enough money to afford that Vera Wang bridesmaid dress you have your eye on. While it's important to recognize your friends' financial situations, they want you to be happy on your wedding day (just like you would of them), so don't be shy about opening up the conversation and letting them know what you're envisioning (and then you can come to a money compromise that works for both of you!).
4. They want you to respect their responsibilities.
As you're allocating responsibilities, be mindful of their personal lives -- your friend who's trying to make partner at her law firm or who's dealing with a new baby may not have time to assist you with every little task. At the same time, you don't want to cause tension within the wedding party if some girls feel the others aren't pulling their weight. Try to keep a good balance, and remind yourself that there are others who can help out: You've got your parents, other family members and your fiance. Plenty of people are willing to pitch in, so take advantage of it as you need to.
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5. They want you to dress them well.
If you know one of them would be uncomfortable in the dress you envision, come up with a compromise. Not sure one dress will work for all your girls? Make some guidelines (say, a color and length you like) and then let them choose the exact style. Trust us -- even with different necklines or sashes, they'll still look fantastic. Remember: You want each and every one of your bridesmaids to feel beautiful (and comfortable!), so your efforts in the dress department are well worth it.
6. They want you to put yourself in their shoes.
Yes, you want your bridal party to be your go-to pals when you need something (even if it's just to vent). But that doesn't mean you should be cracking the whip nonstop. Whenever you're asking one of your friends if she'd be willing to help you with something -- whether it's attending your gown fitting or tying 100 miniature bows around 100 favor boxes -- stop and think: Would I do this for her? It's a good reality check to keep your requests reasonable.
7. They want you to keep them in the black.
They have to shell out for quite a bit over the course of the wedding: dresses, hair, the shower, wedding gifts, the bachelorette party and travel expenses, to name a few. These add up and can put a pinch on even the most financially flush of bridesmaids. Take this into consideration and offer to help when you can. For example, let them know they shouldn't feel pressured to give you an extravagant shower present, or if you're having more than one shower, tell them you don't expect multiple gifts.
8. They want you to make their to-do list manageable.
Try to come up with a game plan beforehand of who needs to do what on the wedding day. Then make a second mental list of who else can and has offered to help -- aunts, cousins, ushers and so on. When little things do come up (which they will), you'll be able to rely on that latter team to help you take care of details as needed rather than overextending your bridesmaids.
9. They want you to stay their friend.
Obvious, right? Sometimes when you're caught up in wedding related drama, it can be hard to remember there's a world outside your wedding. When you meet up with one of your bridesmaids, make a point to talk about things not related to the wedding. Whether it's the project she's working on at work or the blind date she went on last weekend, she'll appreciate the opportunity to tell you all about it, the same way she always has. Similarly, when you're really upset -- whether about the wedding or anything else -- you'll know she'll be there for you, right now and long after you've said, "I do."
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