Your bridesmaids are the amazing women in your life who are near and dear to you, there for you, and generally very supportive of you. They’ll most likely go above and beyond for you when it comes to making sure your bachelorette party and your wedding are extra-special, and it goes without saying that you’ll want these lovely ladies to feel appreciated. You want to ensure your bridesmaids enjoy the whole experience, just as they want to ensure your wedding events are memorable and special. Here is some etiquette to remember, as well as 10 tips to keep your bridesmaids happy.

1. Pop the “will you be my bridesmaid?” question the adorable way. There are endless ways you can ask your closest girlfriends to be your bridesmaids. There are creative DIY gifts you can make that ask the question, photo montages and more. Check out this list of awesome ‘will you be my bridesmaid’ gift ideas. My favourite is the personalized bottle of champagne. Just swap the label on the bottle for a DIY label that says “will you be my bridesmaid?” and ‘pop’ the question in the cutest way ever.

2. Plan fun lunches and get-togethers so that your bridesmaids can get to know each other. It’s common for the bride to choose a few bridesmaids that are close childhood friends and who aren’t well-acquainted with the other bridesmaids. As the bride, you should take the lead on planning brunches, lunches and fun get-togethers for just you and your bridesmaids, to help everyone get to know each other. It’s always a more enjoyable experience when everyone gets along, and they’ll appreciate you facilitating this more than you know. Even if your bridesmaids know each other, these get-togethers will help everyone get even closer to each other.

3. Communicate your expectations. Please, please, please. Clearly communicate your expectations to your bridesmaids and give them direction. Send out a group e-mail allocating responsibilities, or even asking who would like to handle what. Include a sign-up sheet in google docs, and let your bridesmaids sign up for duties. Be clear when it comes to what you’re hoping they’ll do for you, and be clear about what you’re not expecting them to do. For example, if you don’t expect them to get you a shower gift, let them know. If you do expect them to pay for their own manicures the day before the wedding, let them know.

4. Don’t be a control-freak when it comes to your bachelorette party – let them handle it. Your bridesmaids have your back, and they want your bachelorette party to be awesome. They’ll enjoy planning it and they’ll do what it takes to make sure it’s awesome – but it’s much more difficult if you’re controlling. Try not to have a bunch of rules when it comes to the where, the what, the attire, etc. That’s just no fun. Let your bridesmaids handle it.

5. Buy your bridesmaids matching accessories to thank them for planning your bachelorette party. Most likely, you’ll want your bridesmaids to wear matching shoes, matching earrings and matching nailpolish on your wedding day. You should purchase these items for them, and gift these items as a ‘thank-you’ gift after your bachelorette party. Please think about choosing comfortable shoes, though!

6. Include them in the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid’s dresses. Tell your bridesmaids all about the colors and styles you have in mind for the bridesmaid’s dresses. Include them in the decision-making process. Your bridesmaids will appreciate having some say, especially since it’s customary for them to pay for their own dress. Some brides even simply choose a color and let their bridesmaids buy whatever dress they want in that color. When it comes to wedding photos of you with your bridesmaids, the look of mismatched dresses can actually be kind of cute, unique and cool.

7. If you want them to have matching hair and makeup, pay for their hair and makeup. Your bridesmaids should be allowed to do their own hair and makeup if they want to save on costs. However, if your preference is that they have matching hair and makeup, professionally done, then offer to pay for each of those services on the day of the wedding.

8. Be mindful that they have a life outside of your wedding planning. There’s nothing worse than an overly high-maintenance, controlling bride who forgets that her bridesmaids have a life and responsibilities of their own. Be mindful of how much you ask of them and how often. Also, be mindful of how much income they make and what sort of financial toll you’re taking on them. Keep track of what they’ve had to spend so far. Always say “please” and “thank you” and watch your tone. Lastly, talk to them about them and what’s going on in their lives. When you’re with them, make sure you’re not only talking about your wedding.

9. Make them feel recognized, appreciated and special. At the rehearsal dinner, give a short speech recognizing the hard work and support of your bridesmaids. Go out of your way to plan a day of pampering for them if it’s in your budget, or acknowledge them one-by-one by checking in with them separately via e-mail, letting them know how much you appreciate everything. Yes, you’ll be giving them a thank-you card and a gift after the wedding, but it’s still nice to check-in half way through, making your gratitude clear. Any time they have a great idea, acknowledge it and make them feel heard.

10. Put some serious thought into the perfect ‘thank you’ gifts for your bridesmaids. Maybe you’ll splurge and get each of them a bracelet from Tiffany & Co, or maybe you’ll personalize their gifts and get each of them a necklace with their initial. Whatever your ‘thank you’ gift is for your bridesmaids, this is something you want to put thought into, and not something to cheap out on. A unique gift doubles as a sentimental item that they’ll look at and be reminded of your friendship.

This post is brought to you by Bridesmaids Only

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