Treat your wedding party with grace and gratitude

A wedding is a joyous celebration of love and commitment, and the people you choose to stand by your side on this special day are an integral part of the experience. Your wedding party, consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen, and perhaps a maid of honour or best man, play a significant role in making your wedding day memorable. It's essential to remember that being asked to be in a wedding party is an honour and, equally important, treating your wedding party with kindness, respect, and appreciation is not just a courtesy — it's a responsibility.

I've written articles with tips on how to be a good bridesmaid, groomsman and even parents to the bride and groom, but let's be honest: Some couples need a little guidance on how to treat those who play an actual role in the wedding planning process, especially the bridal party and the couple's respective families.

Weddings grant the couple the freedom to make it as much about themselves as they desire, and of course we all acknowledge that it's the couple's special day as everyone strives to focus on the couple.

Weddings come with a significant price tag for everyone involved — literally and figuratively. Regardless, it's important that couples treat their wedding party with grace and gratitude.

There are some general, all-encompassing tips for the couple:

Choose thoughtfully

The first step in treating your wedding party well begins with the selection process. Take the time to choose individuals who are not only important to you but who you believe will embrace the responsibilities that come with being part of your wedding party. Make your choices wisely, considering their availability, enthusiasm, and willingness to support you throughout the planning process.

Communication and transparency is key

Open and honest communication is essential when it comes to ensuring that your wedding party is informed and comfortable with their roles. Share your expectations, timelines, and any financial commitments early on. Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the level of involvement expected so there are no surprises down the road.

Respect their time and finances

Remember that your wedding party members have their own lives, responsibilities, and financial commitments. Be considerate of their time by scheduling events and activities with their availability in mind. When it comes to expenses, try to be mindful of their budgets. Keep them informed of costs ahead of time so they can make informed decisions. While it's customary for the wedding party to cover certain costs like attire, transportation, and accommodations, it's thoughtful to provide options within reasonable price ranges and to also consider contributing towards these expenses when possible.

"No" is a perfectly acceptable word

Your bridal party should know that you are comfortable with them saying "No" to any activity if it doesn't align with their budget or preferences. I've witnessed friendships suffer when someone couldn't attend a wedding-related event due to legitimate reasons such as work commitments, childcare responsibilities, or financial constraints. We must normalise both hearing and expressing "No" when it comes to weddings. This approach benefits everyone, ensuring that all participants are present with genuine enthusiasm. Ultimately, it's crucial to remember that no one is obligated to allocate their time or money for another person's special day.

Delegate responsibly and be considerate of what you ask

Your wedding party is there to support you but it's crucial not to overwhelm them with tasks that should be handled by professional vendors or wedding planners. Delegate responsibilities thoughtfully, and don't burden them with unnecessary stress. Their primary role is to celebrate your special day with you, not to manage logistical challenges. My rule of thumb is your wedding guests (including the bridal party) should not be automatically expected to perform tasks for free that would typically warrant payment. If you require someone involved in your wedding to take on responsibilities like arranging flowers, moving furniture, capturing photographs, preparing food, and so on, they have every right to decline. Those tasks often demand time and effort, and requesting them without compensation can leave a negative impression. If someone willingly volunteers, accept their help only if you can express the appropriate gratitude and flexibility given the absence of payment.

Be considerate of their comfort

On the wedding day itself consider your wedding party's comfort. Ensure they have access to essentials like water, snacks, and a comfortable place to relax when needed; you may also provide a designated area for them to store their personal belongings. Small gestures like these can make a significant difference in their experience.

Be kind

Lastly, weddings do not exempt people from experiencing human emotions. Whether you're a bride, groom, maid of honour, best man, mother of the bride, or any other indvidual, it's essential to avoid assuming that weddings grant immunity to unreasonable requests without causing tension. Respecting everyone's boundaries and limitations is an important way to maintain healthy relationships.

Your wedding party plays a vital role in making your wedding day a joyful and memorable occasion. Treating them with grace and gratitude is not only a sign of appreciation but also a reflection of your character. Remember, the bonds you nurture during this time can last a lifetime, and treating your wedding party well is an investment in those relationships.

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