Jul 19, 2011

Bridesmaid Guilt

The other day, I made a list of the bridesmaids’ potential expenses.

There’s a LOT of them: dress, shoes, accessories, nails, hair, makeup, hotel, bachelorette, shower, and related gifts. Things could quickly could reach the thousand dollar mark.  I am racked with guilt at them spending so much, even though it is the reason that I asked, not told, them to be bridesmaids. We all know what being a bridesmaid entails, and I know they are comfortable or they wouldn't have said yes, yet I still feel bad about it.

To make it easier on them, I wanted to cover hair, makeup, nails, and hotel, but that would be $2,000+ for me, and I can’t definitively commit to all that right now,  especially considering no one else does it. But I feel bad anyway.

For sure, I want to cover makeup OR hair for each bridesmaid, their choice. Which might seem nice, except I’m secretly feeling guilty for an inner bridezilla thought:  certain girls kind of need their makeup done. But you can’t exactly tell your friends, who are beautiful, that their tinted moisturizer won’t photograph well next to professional makeup, right? (Eek I feel mean just typing that!)

I feel guilty that my wedding is going to eat up a lot of their schedules- an entire weekend and probably that Friday off from work, weekends for showers and dress shopping and bachelorettes, especially when they have super busy work and school schedules.

I feel bad that some of them are really unhappily single/waiting and that it's hard on them to be reminded of weddings. They're doing the best they can, I know, though lightening up on the haterade wouldn’t kill them either.

I'm also kind of uncomfortable with the idea that a bridal party feels like choosing favorites. Like, out of 4 equally close cousins, I only chose BM Katie. So doesn't make it seem as if I like her better? I don't, I just thought she'd be the most into it.  Or the maid of honor: it feels a little like openly identifying my favorite person, when all my friends mean a lot to me or they wouldn't be bridesmaids! Even though my MOH is especially significant to me, I hate that it's like saying she's above the rest, when I'm not looking to make any declarations.  It was uncomfortable too because I really struggled with, and still feel uneasy about, not adding BM Kelly as a co-MOH. She is an amazing friend, but at the time I feared offending everyone else by having 2 MOHs (“Oh look, two made the cut but the rest of you still didn’t. Sorry!”). 

And it works both ways- my MOH and BM Kelly are both engaged, and I will not be maid of honor to either of them, which makes me feel (surprise!) bad. Rationally I know it’s stupid, possibly crazy, but I can’t help but feel kind of hurt, as if the two people who are my most important ladies, don’t have reciprocal attitudes about me.
But I know when it’s my turn, I am thrilled to be a bridesmaid for my friends. The spending doesn't bother me,  and I’m genuinely pumped to be part of the planning, shopping, and events. So I wonder why I waste my time feeling guilty and assuming my girls don’t feel the same way?

Can anyone identify with my weird mix of bridesmaid guilt and happiness at sharing my wedding with friends?


  1. I definitely understand this - I've been racking my brain with a lot of the same thoughts recently, as well. I even ended up choosing 2 MOH's because of it! In the end.. you and they will figure out who will pay for what, and it'll be great. You picked them for a reason.. I'm sure they're all wonderful friends!

  2. Oooh I think this is very common. I found it very very very very difficult with my bridal team. Not to pick my girls, because as soon as I was engaged, I knew who I wanted, but because I have so many other strong women in my life (the future hubbies two sisters and sister-in-law, my cousin who was like a bestie growing up and 2 other very very close friends just to name a few!) who I just couldn't add in. I ended up with my sister, my SIL (who is my sister as far as I"m concerned) and my three best friends who have been most supportive as FH and I as a couple...and are also kinda a package deal!

    I too feel the guilt - I keep finding cheap dresses because I feel horrible asking for them to pay too much, yet they kept telling me to cut it out and just pick what I want and not worry about prices. It's hard!!!

  3. Absolutely!

    I had been a bridesmaid 4 times before I was engaged, plus assisted in an unofficial status for another 2 and I usually came out spending at least $1000 when everything was over.

    Although I loved being part of my friends wedding I felt terrible asking people to spend money on things that I knew they would never have bought on their own, so when I asked my girls to be BM/MOHs I told them that I was covering the cost of their outfits. Granted my MIL is a seamstress and made the dresses for free, I would have still bought them dresses if I didn't have that option but then I didn't need them to be bridal salon type dresses.

    The only thing I asked them to pay for was the makeup/hair...I was a little worried because I didn't want one to NOT do it and look funny in the pictures but in the end they all chose to and looked great.

    I had a similar delimna with my bridal shower, not wanting to invite people that weren't invited to the wedding but when a coworker got engaged I wanted to get her a shower gift even though I knew she wasn't going to invite me!

  4. Oh yes I went through this same thing too. And you are right, you never thought twice about it when you were a BM in a wedding so I'm sure your friends are the same way and are excited to be in your wedding and not constantly thinking about the cost. We just have to keep in mind that its finally our time/day and for once stop worrying about everyone else. I felt so selfish about it and it took me along time to come around to it but I do feel better about it now that I have.

  5. Thanks for sharing your stories- it is good to know that we all go through a little of this and I enjoyed reading everyone's comments!

  6. i went though a lot of these emotions too... i paid for the hair and makeup for my girls (it was given to them with a pashmina as their gift) i wanted them all to feel pretty and dressed up for the big day but knew most of them would never take on that expense (on top of everything else... the dress, travel, hotel, my shower etc) i had a hard time picking my girls too... i felt like it was a popularity contest among my friends and looking back now i wish i had kept our bridal party very small and intimate

  7. This is why I am saving my money a year in advance and will be buying their makeup and hair. I'm doing $35 blowouts with curled styling. They can pay the extra $20 if the want updos. I am paying for the cheaper "eyes, lips, cheeks" option for makeup. They can pay extra for the professional foundation. It's not fair for them to pay so much and travel and pay for rooms, food, etc. And everybody has loans, they are young with fledgling careers, not a lot of money to put out there after paying for a plane ticket and my wedding gift! We're putting $150 toward each of their dresses too. but we have a long time to save for that. I think it is important to honor the people who are important in your life in this way. I was a bridesmaid once and felt completely used by the experience. I spent 2,000 bucks and had to walk in heels to the reception site because I didn't know anyone to give me a ride and she provided no transport. If you can't afford it, have one bridesmaid.