Photo: Nikki Conley Photography & Design

Yes, you will be the center of attention on your wedding day. However, that doesn’t mean that you can treat your bridesmaids like servants or ladies-in-waiting. Remember, your bridesmaids have lives, jobs, families, and budgets, and should be respected. To that end, be mindful of how you treat each ‘maid and avoid the following phrases.

These are the top things your bridesmaids definitely do not want to hear.

“This is the dress I’ve selected for you. And that’s final.”

Even if you do have a specific dress in mind, you want your bridesmaids to feel comfortable and confident in whatever they wear – and find something that fits their budgets. Allow your bridesmaids to try on dresses and keep an open mind. The ensembles you had initially selected for your ‘maids may not be the ones that look best on them – and that’s in the end, what’s most important.

“Pick whatever dress you want. Seriously, I don’t care.”

It may sound like you’re being easy, breezy, and relaxed about the whole bridesmaid dress thing by allowing your ‘maids to pick their own ensemble, but actually, you may be making things even more confusing for them. Provide some parameters (a color, length, and fabric) to help guide them to the right ensemble.

“You must wear these accessories…and pay for them yourself.”

Your bridesmaids are responsible for purchasing their dress, but you are responsible for buying them any add-ons, like shoes, hair accessories, or jewelry you’d like them to wear on the big day.

bridesmaids getting ready

Photo: Svetlana Photography

“I want my bridal shower to look like…"

Sit back, relax, and let your bridesmaids plan your pre-wedding events. If these are indeed your nearest and dearest pals, they will have your best interests at heart, so there’s no need to micromanage.

“All of my pre-wedding events are mandatory.”

Again, your bridesmaids have other responsibilities aside from your wedding. Cut them some slack and instead of being negative if they can’t attend, be grateful if they can.

“We’re going to (x faraway location) for my bachelorette party.”

Consider the fact that not everyone will be able to afford a fiesta in Cabo or a fête in Paris for your bachelorette bash. Your bachelorette party should be planned by your bridesmaids, and be something everyone can afford and enjoy. If you are set on a trip, make sure there’s also a celebration closer to home that everyone can attend.

“No, you may not bring your significant other to the wedding."

Your bridesmaids have done so much to help you out before the wedding, so it’s a good idea to allow them to bring a plus-one to your wedding. While you don’t have to offer the same to your other guests who don’t have long-term significant others, your wedding party members should get this extra courtesy.

bridesmaids in winter wedding

Photo: Erin Lane Photography

“You’ll get your hair and makeup professionally done for the wedding. And can you pay for it yourself?”

If you are set on your bridesmaids getting professional hair and makeup for your wedding, you’ll need to shell out the cash. Otherwise, your bridesmaids will be on their own for their hair and makeup – either doing it themselves or getting it professionally done on their own.

“You need to help me with all of these wedding-related projects.”

Yes, your bridesmaids’ responsibilities include assisting you with wedding-related tasks. However, you shouldn’t take advantage of this. Politely ask if your bridesmaids would be interested and available to assist you with a task or two, and be understanding if they are unable to do so.

“I need you to (change your appearance) before the wedding…or else."

You love your bridesmaids for who they are, not how they look. No bridesmaid should be asked (let alone forced) to change their hair color or style, lose or gain weight, get a spray tan or even plastic surgery to participate in your wedding day. It’s just wrong.

“You’re fired.”

If you have a bridesmaid who isn’t contributing or feels distant, talk to her about it openly rather than kicking her out of the party. There may be issues going on that you’re unaware of, so cut her some slack. Unless your bridesmaid asks to be let go from your wedding party, it’s best to try to work things out rather than fire her.