We just came across a great post from the knot about bridesmaid etiquette for brides. We picked out a couple of pieces of advice we felt were the most useful, but feel free to read the article for the rest of the handy tips!
Q. Am I required to give my bridesmaids gifts? How much do I spend?
A. Think of it this way — your maids are majorly putting themselves out for you. To remain in their good graces, show your gratitude by gifting them properly. Many brides give out gifts at the rehearsal dinner. Sometimes it’s something the girls can wear on the day of the wedding, like a barrette or a bracelet. Other brides say thanks with a magazine subscription, wedding keepsakes, or special gifts handpicked with each attendant’s interests/tastes in mind. As for a price range, it depends entirely on your budget. We think spending $25-$75 is a safe bet.
Q. One of my bridesmaids has dropped out of our wedding party. Is it okay to have two groomsmen walk with one maid?
A. Having two groomsmen escort a bridesmaid, one on each arm, is completely acceptable.
Q. Is it appropriate to inform my bridesmaids of their traditional roles so that they are not confused? Personally, I would find it helpful, but others might find it presumptuous. How can I offer this information to my wedding party without sounding ungrateful to any assistance they may offer?
A. A fun and unthreatening way to let everybody know what her bridesmaids duties are (and/or what you expect of each of them) is to send out a newsletter detailing all to-dos and other essential information. That way, everyone is privy to everyone else’s duties, and no one will feel as though she’s been directly targeted. You’re probably right that most people will find it helpful to have their responsibilities explained, because they might be fully in the dark. Be sure to include a huge “thank you” to everyone for being a part of the wedding early on in your newsletter — your team will be much more receptive to a grateful-sounding summons.
Q. Who should I seat next to whom at the head table? Is it boy/girl, or all the bridesmaids on one side and the groomsmen on the other? Do I include the flower girl and ring bearer?
A. Technically, the head table is boy/girl — starting with the best man next to the bride and the maid of honor next to the groom. But you don’t have to do it that way — you could put the women on the bride’s side and men on the groom’s, or let everyone sit wherever they want. Young children in the wedding usually sit with their parents at another table.
Q. Do my attendants have to pay for their own bridesmaids dresses?
A. Bridesmaids are generally expected to pay for their own wedding-day ensemble (shoes and jewelry included). Talk to your bridesmaids individually about any financial concerns, and tactfully work out a solution that suits both of you — maybe you will pay for half or all of the cost, or you can set up a payment plan. Above all, try to choose a dress that’s reasonably priced, or consider letting your maids choose their own gown. Give some color/style requirements (i.e., black and ankle length), and ask them to show you the dress for final approval (just in case it’s a little too risque for grandma’s taste).