Wedding Etiquette Forum

Double standards for wedding party etiquette...

classyduckclassyduck member
100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
edited March 2014 in Wedding Etiquette Forum
So, I've been lurking for a few months, and these boards have been SO helpful. I've learned a lot, but still have more to learn... But. Something really nags me: There seems to be a double standard when it comes to hosting-etiquette for the wedding party.

Examples:
1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it.
2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long
3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity.

I'm sure you can think of more examples. This bothers me, because many knotties here are usually VERY perceptive of etiquette being applied equally and fairly, but I rarely hear any criticism of these practices for wedding parties. Some people may say that this is acceptable because those in the wedding party had the opportunity to decline. Yet, being in a wedding party is a position of honor. It should come without strings attached. Most people on the boards agree we shouldn't impose on our wedding party members not to get pregnant, get a tatoo, whatever, because it's their body their life. The bride and groom are honoring the wedding party by asking them to stand with them, not asking the wedding party to slave away for them.

So why the double standard with their comfort as guests? Are we not hosting them as well? This is a huge reason I have elected not to have a wedding party at all--I don't want to impose on the people closest to me. My FH is having a few people stand with him, but I would like us to pay for their attire, since we are suggesting that they wear tuxes/formalwear. To me this is the ONLY polite way to go about imposing a dress code on the wedding party. And even with that, I've told them they don't have to wear what we suggest, I'm just offering it, and I want them to be comfortable.

The funny thing is, I never once questioned these practices until I came to these boards and got schooled on etiquette! It just seems like an inconsistency to the otherwise fabulous advice given here.

I'm open to the possibility of a justifiable reason for the seeming double-standard, but I haven't heard it yet... was curious what your thoughts were.

Edited for clarity.
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Re: Double standards for wedding party etiquette...

  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    Honestly, the vast majority of what you're listing are things we're not asking our wedding party to do. Here's the extent of wedding party differences (vs. regular guests):

    - may be invited to wedding planning things (e.g. maid of honor and one best man were invited to come cake tasting with us), but are free to decline
    - if they offer to plan and throw bachelor/ette parties, we will not decline the party
    - rehearsal before the ceremony (if they're available)
    - invited to the rehearsal dinner (if they're available)
    - walk down the aisle with another wedding party member
    - come early for formal photos (60 minutes before ceremony)
    - stand at the front during the ceremony
    - some have been asked to do a reading if they would like to
    - some have been asked to give speeches during the reception if they'd like to

    That's it. We're doing a first look so we can get as many formals done before the ceremony as possible, so that everyone can enjoy cocktail hour. No one is required to wear anything in particular; they can wear whatever suit/dress/outfit they want.

    And the reason why is because I figure that people in the wedding party are our honored guests, so they need to be treated at least as well as the other guests. I think a lot of traditions with the wedding party are kind of pointless (who cares what color dress someone is wearing? Why do other guests need to know who the bridesmaids are outside of the ceremony?), and I do think that there needs to be a shift towards treating your wedding party like people and not wedding lackeys.
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  • blabla89blabla89 Atlanta member
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    edited March 2014

    So, I've been lurking for a few months, and these boards have been SO helpful. I've learned a lot, but still have more to learn... But. Something really nags me: There seems to be a double standard when it comes to hosting-etiquette for the wedding party.

    Examples:
    1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it.
    2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long
    3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
    4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity.

    I'm sure you can think of more examples. This bothers me, because many knotties here are usually VERY perceptive of etiquette being applied equally and fairly, but I rarely hear any criticism of these practices for wedding parties. Some people may say that this is acceptable because those in the wedding party had the opportunity to decline. Yet, being in a wedding party is a position of honor. It should come without strings attached. Most people on the boards agree we shouldn't impose on our wedding party members not to get pregnant, get a tatoo, whatever, because it's their body their life. The bride and groom are honoring the wedding party by asking them to stand with them, not asking the wedding party to slave away for them.

    So why the double standard with their comfort as guests? Are we not hosting them as well? This is a huge reason I have elected not to have a wedding party at all--I don't want to impose on the people closest to me. My FH is having a few people stand with him, but I would like us to pay for their attire, since we are suggesting that they wear tuxes/formalwear. To me this is the ONLY polite way to go about imposing a dress code on the wedding party. And even with that, I've told them they don't have to wear what we suggest, I'm just offering it, and I want them to be comfortable.

    The funny thing is, I never once questioned these practices until I came to these boards and got schooled on etiquette! It just seems like an inconsistency to the otherwise fabulous advice given here.

    There is possibly a socially justifiable reason for the seeming double-standard, but I haven't heard it yet... was curious what your thoughts were.

    Edited for clarity.
    To the bolded: Um, really? Where have you been? I'll assume that you're addressing this post to the bridezillas and special snowflakes whose rude ideas get shot down here on the reg.

    And to answer your question, there is an underlying assumption that the people you ask to be in your BP will be generally aware of what it entails. While we always say on this board that brides should choose a dress that is within their BMs' budgets, it's generally understood by all that being a BM usually requires purchasing a dress. Likewise, it's generally understood that the wedding party will be there for the entirety of the wedding day.

    ETA missing words
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    doeydoHisGirlFriday13Amyzen83ashleyep
  • It's not a double standard-the wedding party are not guests, but participants in the ceremony. Since they are participating in the ceremony-i.e. by walking down the aisle/standing at the altar with you and your FI, you get say in what they wear. Guests are not participants-they are witnessing-so unless your church/venue has a dress code, or your doing black tie, you don't get to tell them what to wear.
      It's great of you to want to pay for their attire, but not required.
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  • @lalalaurita -- you are right, I DO hear this criticized sometimes, sorry if I minimized it too much. But what I mean is that it isn't really criticized as a practice in general. I mean, if someone suggests a dress code for guests, watch out, the whole board will jump down their throats. But if someone mentions the dressed they chose for the bridal party, everyone just gives it a pass. It is expected, and accepted, but to me, still seems fundamentally to be a breach of etiquette.

    The "They are part of the ceremony" thing is the most common defense I expect to hear -- and I will concede that there is some truth to it. But... I maintain that it is still at odds with the logic that they are honored guests. And really... do they need to be matchy matchy to participate in a ceremony? What is the important part, their presence as honored guests, or how coordinated they look in pictures?

    I just want to say right now that I do NOT mean to be confrontational with this topic, so my apologies if it seems that way. I know I'm really going against the grain here. It's just been puzzling to me, and I wanted to hear other viewpoints. No disrespect intended.
    AroundTheBlock
  • I don't know how long you've lurked here, but most the regs here advice towards common sense and away from treating guests/wedding party with disrespect

    Sure there are a few things the WP gets to do that is slightly different from guests. But for the most part, considering their budget and comfort ability should always be at the forefront of the bride and groom. 

    To be honest, I still don't know how you gathered your data to write this post to support your arguments, but they are off and nowhere reflects the general spirit of these boards towards guests and the wedding party. 
    image

    ETA: cause I don't know how to use punctuation today.

    I don't disagree at all. I see that I've made a critical error in making generalizations by referring to the boards as a whole, so I apologize for that.

    To clarify, I'm questioning the general acceptance of things like a dress code for the wedding party. One (invalid) argument people will make for excusing breeches of etiquette is "but it's always done that way!" I guess I sort of feel like that is the same thing for the wedding party. yes, the wedding party is almost always expected to pay for the attire that the bride/groom choose, but... why is that ok? If you use the same rules of etiquette that are expected to be applied to other guests, this is NOT ok. Hence my confusion.

    I suppose in a sense my question was sort of theoretical. In practice, of course people here on these boards will advocate for courtesy towards the wedding party. 
  • @classyduck I'm not criticizing in any way, but I am curious- how would your ideal wedding party opperate, according to what you believe to be fundamental ettiqute stated above?

     

    antoto
  • phira said:
    Honestly, the vast majority of what you're listing are things we're not asking our wedding party to do. Here's the extent of wedding party differences (vs. regular guests):

    - may be invited to wedding planning things (e.g. maid of honor and one best man were invited to come cake tasting with us), but are free to decline
    - if they offer to plan and throw bachelor/ette parties, we will not decline the party
    - rehearsal before the ceremony (if they're available)
    - invited to the rehearsal dinner (if they're available)
    - walk down the aisle with another wedding party member
    - come early for formal photos (60 minutes before ceremony)
    - stand at the front during the ceremony
    - some have been asked to do a reading if they would like to
    - some have been asked to give speeches during the reception if they'd like to

    That's it. We're doing a first look so we can get as many formals done before the ceremony as possible, so that everyone can enjoy cocktail hour. No one is required to wear anything in particular; they can wear whatever suit/dress/outfit they want.

    And the reason why is because I figure that people in the wedding party are our honored guests, so they need to be treated at least as well as the other guests. I think a lot of traditions with the wedding party are kind of pointless (who cares what color dress someone is wearing? Why do other guests need to know who the bridesmaids are outside of the ceremony?), and I do think that there needs to be a shift towards treating your wedding party like people and not wedding lackeys.
    Props on all the polite consideration you are giving your wedding party! I just didn't want to be bothered to think that hard :) So I said, no wedding party for me, I'm just going to invite all my closest friends as guests and party with them at the reception.
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I suggested no wedding party to my partner, because I did not want to deal with picking and choosing people to be my special people, and I didn't want people trying to do normal wedding party stuff (like offering to throw a shower or asking what color dress they have to wear). But one of his non-negotiables was having his brothers as his best men. I know I could have had no one stand up with me, but I felt like that would look like a subtle dig at him for having groomsmen ("Well, YOU can be mainstream, but I'M too good for that").
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  • classyduckclassyduck member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    @classyduck I'm not criticizing in any way, but I am curious- how would your ideal wedding party opperate, according to what you believe to be fundamental ettiqute stated above?
    Haha, you know, I spent some time thinking about that and it made my brain hurt, hence my response to @phira above.

    I want to point out that I've been VERY impressed at how consistently and vehemently these boards will challenge common practices that are not courteous -- gaps, etc. I guess I just wonder why certain common practices for the wedding party that are not technically courteous (really dress code is the one I'm focusing on) aren't challenged as often.

    I guess, if I were going to have a wedding party, MINIMALLY I would do what I've asked my FI we do with his wedding party -- pay for their attire, if we asked them to wear something specific. To be honest, this question is hard for me to answer because I'm not really clear on the function of a wedding party in a ceremony in the first place. They kind of just feel like props... yes, they are being honored by being asked to stand with the bride and groom, but they don't usually really DO anything or serve a real function in the ceremony, ceremonies without a wedding party proceed pretty much the same as ceremonies WITH a wedding party. At least, this is from my experience as a bridesmaid. I felt like an accessory. I got pretty, stood there prettily, and got my photo taken. Maybe I just haven't had the right BM experience. Don't get me wrong, I'm always honored and flattered to be asked, but I do feel like my presence doesn't particularly do much to advance the day.
  • I also question where you get the data from which you made these broad, sweeping generalisations. I think on-balance, they're wrong, and I can absolutely tell you that if any bride came on here and said she was going to do some of what was done to you (such as the outdoor photos in 35* weather), she would be roundly criticised.

    DH's GM and my brother (an usher/reader/musician) wore matching ties that DH and I bought for them. They wore black suits (with or without pinstripes; I didn't care), and white shirts.

    My BM wore cocktail dresses in a colour and style they chose (and a colour that would not have been my first choice, but they all loved it).

    Our wedding was at 3 p.m. My BMs all met me at the salon at 9 a.m. for hair (my treat, although they were welcome to decline it if they would have preferred to sleep in or do their own hair or whatever). 

    They participated in the ceremony, then we took pictures at the church (inside) for about 30 minutes, then they were free to head to the reception venue, where there was a special room set aside for WP members and FOB/MOB. In that room were appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, and there was an assigned waitress to get them whatever drinks they wanted.

    When DH and I got to the reception venue, we did another five minutes of photos outside, then went in and the reception started.

    Both the BM and the MOH expressly said they wanted to give toasts, which they did and which were lovely, but in no way were they demanded. As far as I was concerned, once the photos were done, our WP's duties were over (my SIL, who was one of my BMs, did have to participate in the family photos we did, but that's because she's family).

    I had two showers, neither of them thrown by my BMs. I did have a bachelorette party, but it was lunch (HIBACHI!!!!) and touring local vineyards, and my MOH asked specifically if she could organise a party and what did I want. Of my three BMs, only my MOH came to the b-party.

    Two of DH's three GM (BM and a GM) took him golfing and then on a pub crawl the night before our wedding for his bachelor party. They also volunteered/offered/begged him to let them do that. (And a normal Saturday for them in the summer/early fall involves golfing and drinking).

    I certainly think some brides go OTT in demanding things of the WP -- we've certainly seen that on the boards -- but I don't think you can fairly generalise that we endorse etiquette for guests and not for the WP. That is patently false.

    As far as attire goes -- you're right, brides and grooms do get a say in that, but they're also honouring the people by asking them to stand up, and they are (expected to) ask what people's budgets and comfort levels are. Also, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to incur some expenses (within your budget) to be in a friend's wedding -- renting a tux or buying a new dress. 

    Oh! And other than my brother, SIL, and nephew (an RB) and DH's GM and BM, the rest of our WP declined to attend our rehearsal. (Actually, DH's brother said, 'Dude, I've got better shit to spend money on.' DH's grandmother wanted to come, but I refused to have to entertain her for the whole afternoon after the rehearsal, and DH didn't want to, either, so she wasn't invited to attend the rehearsal.)
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  • I also question where you get the data from which you made these broad, sweeping generalisations. I think on-balance, they're wrong, and I can absolutely tell you that if any bride came on here and said she was going to do some of what was done to you (such as the outdoor photos in 35* weather), she would be roundly criticised.

    DH's GM and my brother (an usher/reader/musician) wore matching ties that DH and I bought for them. They wore black suits (with or without pinstripes; I didn't care), and white shirts.

    My BM wore cocktail dresses in a colour and style they chose (and a colour that would not have been my first choice, but they all loved it).

    Our wedding was at 3 p.m. My BMs all met me at the salon at 9 a.m. for hair (my treat, although they were welcome to decline it if they would have preferred to sleep in or do their own hair or whatever). 

    They participated in the ceremony, then we took pictures at the church (inside) for about 30 minutes, then they were free to head to the reception venue, where there was a special room set aside for WP members and FOB/MOB. In that room were appetizers and hors d'oeuvres, and there was an assigned waitress to get them whatever drinks they wanted.

    When DH and I got to the reception venue, we did another five minutes of photos outside, then went in and the reception started.

    Both the BM and the MOH expressly said they wanted to give toasts, which they did and which were lovely, but in no way were they demanded. As far as I was concerned, once the photos were done, our WP's duties were over (my SIL, who was one of my BMs, did have to participate in the family photos we did, but that's because she's family).

    I had two showers, neither of them thrown by my BMs. I did have a bachelorette party, but it was lunch (HIBACHI!!!!) and touring local vineyards, and my MOH asked specifically if she could organise a party and what did I want. Of my three BMs, only my MOH came to the b-party.

    Two of DH's three GM (BM and a GM) took him golfing and then on a pub crawl the night before our wedding for his bachelor party. They also volunteered/offered/begged him to let them do that. (And a normal Saturday for them in the summer/early fall involves golfing and drinking).

    I certainly think some brides go OTT in demanding things of the WP -- we've certainly seen that on the boards -- but I don't think you can fairly generalise that we endorse etiquette for guests and not for the WP. That is patently false.
    Clearly! I misspoke when I generalized, my apologies. I commented that my example of the cold weather was extreme -- I meant that to convey that I would never suggest this wouldn't be ripped apart on these boards, I know darn well it would be!

    As far as attire goes -- you're right, brides and grooms do get a say in that, but they're also honouring the people by asking them to stand up, and they are (expected to) ask what people's budgets and comfort levels are. Also, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to incur some expenses (within your budget) to be in a friend's wedding -- renting a tux or buying a new dress. 

    Oh! And other than my brother, SIL, and nephew (an RB) and DH's GM and BM, the rest of our WP declined to attend our rehearsal. (Actually, DH's brother said, 'Dude, I've got better shit to spend money on.' DH's grandmother wanted to come, but I refused to have to entertain her for the whole afternoon after the rehearsal, and DH didn't want to, either, so she wasn't invited to attend the rehearsal.)
    Can you explain what makes you feel that way? If I was generalizing anything, it was this; and I do feel that for the most part this IS more often accepted on these boards. I asked, because I'm hoping someone will educate me on why this is -- and some people have made some interesting points already.

    I wish instead of listing the examples I did, I had just focused on the bit that puzzles me the most -- which is the attire.
  • APDSS22APDSS22 O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A is OK member
    Fifth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    I think if you're asking your bridal party members (as we did) what they would be comfortable in, what their budgets are and make clear that the only expectation is that they get said attire and show up to the wedding to participate as an honored guest, it's not too much. The attire helps to distinguish them as honored guests. If they are uncomfortable with the bride and groom having a say in their attire, they are free to decline the honor.
    HisGirlFriday13MairePoppy
  • edited March 2014
    Not trying to be a jerk.. but do you read these boards?  

    If any brides come on here saying that they picked a dress out of their BMs budget/ made the BMs buy anything other than the dress to be "prop-ish"/ etc.; they are told to not be dicks.

    You might find it interesting that (someone please correct me if I'm wrong) the tradition of having all of the BMs match comes from Roman times where they would dress the same way as the bride to ward off evil spirts (the evil spirits couldn't figure out who the bride was if they all matched).

    Also, the stuff that you listed people DO say is rude (minus having BMs wear a certain dress.. which a lot of girls have now said pick any style in x color and y fabric).

    Examples:
    1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears.Some would disagree with this- if a bride says that she is making them get specific jewelry/ a specific shoe/ etc., they are told that is rude. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it. For us, FI is going to ask what color suit each guy has, and then pick one that they all have a similar color of.  Some people would rather just rent a tux, because they don't have a nice suit.
    2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long Anything our BP is expected to be around for, there will be hosted properly.  Plus, they don't HAVE to get ready with us.  
    3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos a lot of people on here would argue against treating your WP like this. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on Is your friend a sadist?. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
    4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity I will speak for myself, we're not asking any of our WP to do any of this.  

    ETA: This came out harsher than I was planning.. I blame PMS.
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  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    @lalalaurita -- you are right, I DO hear this criticized sometimes, sorry if I minimized it too much. But what I mean is that it isn't really criticized as a practice in general. I mean, if someone suggests a dress code for guests, watch out, the whole board will jump down their throats. But if someone mentions the dressed they chose for the bridal party, everyone just gives it a pass. It is expected, and accepted, but to me, still seems fundamentally to be a breach of etiquette.

    The "They are part of the ceremony" thing is the most common defense I expect to hear -- and I will concede that there is some truth to it. But... I maintain that it is still at odds with the logic that they are honored guests. And really... do they need to be matchy matchy to participate in a ceremony? What is the important part, their presence as honored guests, or how coordinated they look in pictures?

    I just want to say right now that I do NOT mean to be confrontational with this topic, so my apologies if it seems that way. I know I'm really going against the grain here. It's just been puzzling to me, and I wanted to hear other viewpoints. No disrespect intended.
    I think if you read a few more posts, you will see that this is not true.  I always try to advocate the non cloning of the bridal party.  Whenever I get the chance, I will suggest that the bride make a color and length suggestion, and leave the style choice of the dress up to the individual BM.  MANY posters here encourage brides to make shoes, jewelry, and hair a non issue as well.  
  • phiraphira Bahstin member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Second Anniversary 5 Answers
    I mean, I generally say that the only bridal party expectations that bridesmaids (and groomswomen) should really have are to buy and wear the dress they're asked, and to show up sober for the wedding. But honestly, I don't know why they should even have to wear a dress that the couple tells them to. I just figure that's something that's not going to go away any time soon, like brides wearing white/off-white dresses.
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    Sars06
  • Not trying to be a jerk.. but do you read these boards?  
    I love these boards, yes! :)

    If any brides come on here saying that they picked a dress out of their BMs budget/ made the BMs buy anything other than the dress to be "prop-ish"/ etc.; they are told to not be dicks.
    I understand that, and don't disagree with you at all. I'm questioning the expectation that special attire be purchased at all.

    Examples:
    1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears.Some would disagree with this- if a bride says that she is making them get specific jewelry/ a specific shoe/ etc., they are told that is rude. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it. For us, FI is going to ask what color suit each guy has, and then pick one that they all have a similar color of.  Some people would rather just rent a tux, because they don't have a nice suit.
    2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long Anything our BP is expected to be around for, there will be hosted properly.  Plus, they don't HAVE to get ready with us.  
    3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos a lot of people on here would argue against treating your WP like this. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on Is your friend a sadist?. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
    4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity I will speak for myself, we're not asking any of our WP to do any of this.  

    ETA: This came out harsher than I was planning.. I blame PMS.
    No worries. As I said a few above, I really should have pared this down and just focused on the attire question I think. Also, I muddied the waters with some examples that -- as you say -- would clearly have been objected to by the board. Carelessness on my part, sorry.
  • classyduckclassyduck member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    I think if you're asking your bridal party members (as we did) what they would be comfortable in, what their budgets are and make clear that the only expectation is that they get said attire and show up to the wedding to participate as an honored guest, it's not too much. The attire helps to distinguish them as honored guests. If they are uncomfortable with the bride and groom having a say in their attire, they are free to decline the honor.
    phira said:
    I mean, I generally say that the only bridal party expectations that bridesmaids (and groomswomen) should really have are to buy and wear the dress they're asked, and to show up sober for the wedding. But honestly, I don't know why they should even have to wear a dress that the couple tells them to. I just figure that's something that's not going to go away any time soon, like brides wearing white/off-white dresses.
    But we would never ask this of our other guests. I donno. I guess to me, this feels like saying "you are a really important person in my life, and I would like to know if you would do me the honor of standing with me at my wedding. But, you have to purchase attire none of the regular guests have to purchase. If you don't want to, that's ok, you may decline the honor of standing with me and just be a guest at my wedding." It just feel like strings are attached to the "honor."

    Although, I guess you could carry this one step further...  to echo other points that have been made -- people do stress that we should ask the WP for their budget, which is great. If you are really honestly asking them, that means that one of their answers could potentially be "$0". So, if you are being polite, you will accept this and work with them, and not withdraw your request for their honor -- not that I'm suggesting anyone here would, just stating the point.

    But the thing that bugs me, is that I still feel like it is an imposition to ask this of them at all, when no other guests are asked this.

    I think I may just have to chalk this up to my views being waaaaaaaaaaaaaay the hell out there on this one. :/ There have been several times when I'm reading etiquette on this board and I'm like "Wha? that makes no sense..." but inevitably, as I read on, the good sense of the posters here win me over. Just haven't quite convinced me on this one yet. ~.^ Don't worry, I'll keep reading!

    image

  • thisismynickname2thisismynickname2 City By The Lake member
    5000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    Bridesmaids are not bride slaves, and the considerate couple will look out for their bridal party's comfort just as much as for guests'.

    The concept of matching attire is thankfully going the way of the dodo bird. It's already been explained where the tradition comes from but many of us are having our 'maids choose their own dresses.

    The considerate couple will also try to be efficient with photos so everyone gets to enjoy the day as much as possible.

    "Jobs" ideally should be asked for by a helpful person, not dictated/assigned by the couple. If no one offers to hand out programs you can leave them in a basket by the entrance, for example.
    ________________________________


    classyducklc07
  • I agree with you that you do seem to be generalizing a lot of brides on here. At least, that's how it comes across in your OP.
    The same brides that do treat that bridal parties poorly are probably the same ones who encourage poor treatment of their guests.
    The brides on here that advocate fair treatment of guests would not advocate poor treatment of the bridal party.


    As members of the bridal party, we go into it knowing that we're part of the bridal party during the ceremony and not guests during the ceremony. I mean, you can call them honored guests or what ever, because it doesn't matter which they're called. Our roles during the ceremony are different. This can sometimes mean the attire is different.


    There is no bridal party etiquette that you (as a member of the bridal party) has to wear what ever the bride says and that's the end of the discussion. The whole matchy matchy crap is just a tradition that can either be done or not.

    If it's a important to you to have someone in your bridal party but she (or he!) refuses to wear anything you pick out, then you get to decide whether or not it's a battle you want to fight.
    I don't think any (sane) bride on here would encourage you to "kick 'em out" because she refuses to wear a pink taffeta nightmare or what ever.



    The brides I was friends with never dictated what I had to wear. They offered, suggested, and we spent plenty of times going through tons of dresses, but in the end, it was always a very fair compromise. Now, if the bride had offered to pay for my dress, then that would have been another story. But that doesn't mean they would get to dictate what the guests wore, too, unless they were also paying for the guests' outfits.



    To quickly address the gap issue...
    A gap is the space between the ceremony and the reception. If there is no gap for the guests, why would there be a gap for the bridal party?


    Anyway, the fact that your bride treated you poorly in freezing weather is not something that should be supported by any bride on this site and it usually isn't.






    image

  • Examples:
    1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it.
    Not us. We gave only very general guidelines.
    2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long
    Well, to an extent, but we provided food during the getting ready portion and did most pictures ahead of time to get everyone to the reception faster.
    3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
    Okay, pictures are just part of the territory with weddings. Family has to be in them too. No one person other than the two of us had more than about 30 minutes total of pictures. And we did not do anything outside, unlike my SIL who made us wear fucking spaghetti strap sundresses when it was 50 degrees out. And the entire wedding was outdoors.
    4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity.
    We didn't ask anyone to do anything. Several of the bridesmaids took it upon themselves to join in helping set up for the reception, but it was never requested of them.

    image
    lc07
  • Honestly I think I have seen about 50/50 when it comes to posts defending the wedding party and talking about how they should be treated, and not asked to do much compasred to ones about the treatment of guests. In fact I feel like there have been more posted about the treatment of the wedding party vers. guests, but I could be off. I really haven't found that subject to be lacking on these boards at all. Some times I even feel people get a little carried away with trying to make sure no one asks their wedding party to do anything more than show up. I think it might come in waves as people get on board and don't need to be reminded so much, but when new people come on complaining that their bride slave won't fall in line they are quickly put in their place and given an explanation of wedding party etiquette.
    image
    CMGragain
  • But, IT'S MY DAAAAY!!!!!  I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!  NOBODY CARES ABOUT ETIQUETTE ANYMORE!

    Come on!  Does that sound like us?
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • ViczaesarViczaesar Central Coast, CA member
    Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    So, I've been lurking for a few months, and these boards have been SO helpful. I've learned a lot, but still have more to learn... But. Something really nags me: There seems to be a double standard when it comes to hosting-etiquette for the wedding party.

    Examples:
    1) Putting a dress code on invitations is rude, yet we find it perfectly acceptable to dictate what our wedding party wears. They are often the only ones -- aside from the groom-- in tuxedos, for example. Most of the time, they are expected to pay for it.
    2) Gaps are rude for our guests, but the wedding party is often expected to stand around waiting for various preparatory things all day long
    3) Not considering our guest's comfort with respect to environment (making them walk through mud, etc. to a ceremony site) or having enough seating and making them stand is a no-no, but wedding parties often have to stand around and pose for photos. I remember one time as BM I was made to stand outside while pictures were taken for 45 minutes in 35 degree weather with nothing but SPAGHETTI STRAPS on. We all were like that -- logistically, we were not given the opportunity to retrieve our coats first. This is an extreme example, but I do feel like wedding parties are "put out" a lot.
    4) We don't approve of imposing "help" on our guests, but wedding party members are asked to usher, hand out programs, whatever, with impunity.

    I'm sure you can think of more examples. This bothers me, because many knotties here are usually VERY perceptive of etiquette being applied equally and fairly, but I rarely hear any criticism of these practices for wedding parties. Some people may say that this is acceptable because those in the wedding party had the opportunity to decline. Yet, being in a wedding party is a position of honor. It should come without strings attached. Most people on the boards agree we shouldn't impose on our wedding party members not to get pregnant, get a tatoo, whatever, because it's their body their life. The bride and groom are honoring the wedding party by asking them to stand with them, not asking the wedding party to slave away for them.

    So why the double standard with their comfort as guests? Are we not hosting them as well? This is a huge reason I have elected not to have a wedding party at all--I don't want to impose on the people closest to me. My FH is having a few people stand with him, but I would like us to pay for their attire, since we are suggesting that they wear tuxes/formalwear. To me this is the ONLY polite way to go about imposing a dress code on the wedding party. And even with that, I've told them they don't have to wear what we suggest, I'm just offering it, and I want them to be comfortable.

    The funny thing is, I never once questioned these practices until I came to these boards and got schooled on etiquette! It just seems like an inconsistency to the otherwise fabulous advice given here.

    I'm open to the possibility of a justifiable reason for the seeming double-standard, but I haven't heard it yet... was curious what your thoughts were.

    Edited for clarity.
    I would challenge you to find a single regular on this site who hasn't argued that.  We argue against it all the time.  We tell brides that their wedding party's only job is to show up in the expected attire.  We do not tell them that they can inconvenience their wedding party members by having them sit around without being hosted (e.g. sandwiches brought in for lunch while the bridal party is getting dressed).  We do not tell them that they can make their bridesmaids stand around freezing their asses of.  We tell them that their attire must be chosen after asking for the bridesmaids' budgets privately and selected with their comfort in mind.  We tell them that they cannot dictate anything other than the dress, under those guidelines, unless they pay for it, and that even then they really shouldn't try to control their bridesmaids' attire to such a degree.  Personally I don't think that brides should dictate their bridesmaids' attire at all, but that's a minority opinion.

    Ushering is considered an honor, not a job.  Handing out programs is a job and thus should not be requested of anybody.  That's the difference there.

    What you're mainly talking about is specific instances of wedding party members being treated incorrectly by their friends.  That happens, yes.  We argue against treating your wedding party members like that here.  It's not at all something that is seen as okay around here.



  • classyduckclassyduck member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    Viczaesar said:
    I would challenge you to find a single regular on this site who hasn't argued that.  We argue against it all the time.  We tell brides that their wedding party's only job is to show up in the expected attire.  We do not tell them that they can inconvenience their wedding party members by having them sit around without being hosted (e.g. sandwiches brought in for lunch while the bridal party is getting dressed).  We do not tell them that they can make their bridesmaids stand around freezing their asses of.  We tell them that their attire must be chosen after asking for the bridesmaids' budgets privately and selected with their comfort in mind.  We tell them that they cannot dictate anything other than the dress, under those guidelines, unless they pay for it, and that even then they really shouldn't try to control their bridesmaids' attire to such a degree.  Personally I don't think that brides should dictate their bridesmaids' attire at all, but that's a minority opinion.
    Exactly! I've read that (bolded text) again, and again, and again on these boards. And that is what is really stumping me, and gives me pause, every time. WHY are they expected to wear certain attire? We advise people constantly not to give out dress codes to guests-- why are we ignoring that courtesy for our WP? No other guest is expected to wear any sort of preordained attire. So why our HONORED guests?

    I'm not trying to be a cunt here, really. I just don't get it. I keep hearing advocacy for one thing (no overt dress code for guests) that is seemingly contradicted when referencing the WP.

    I'm happy we are advocating asking them for a budget -- that's better than not -- but we don't ask that of our other guests. Why does this query seemingly excuse the rudeness we are showing the WP?

    I'm not saying we condone it, promote it, are fine with it, WHATEVER. But we don't CHALLENGE WP dress code impositions in the same way that we challenge general guest dress code impositions. Yes, it is challenged sometimes, I'm not denying that at all. But in my very "unofficial observations", it is not challenged as consistently as general guest invitation dress code. I think the responses to this thread alone are evidence of that. I've tried to highlight some of the notable instances in my comments.

    I wish I could cite them here, but I have read plenty of posts where brides insist on their WP wearing, say, particular jewelry. And our saavy forum members usually blast them for it, rightly so, saying, you should buy them the jewelry, then, if that is what you expect them to wear. Well... why the hell does that only apply to jewelry? Why is the dress exempt?

    If I'm missing something, and if there is a rational justification for the imposition of asking our WP to dress a certain way, please enlighten me! I have learned LEAPS and BOUNDS about etiquette here, really, but this has never failed to confuse the f out of me.
  • classyduckclassyduck member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    CMGragain said:
    But, IT'S MY DAAAAY!!!!!  I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT!  NOBODY CARES ABOUT ETIQUETTE ANYMORE!

    Come on!  Does that sound like us?
    Not even a little.
  • classyduckclassyduck member
    100 Comments 100 Love Its Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    edited March 2014
    mobkaz said:
    @lalalaurita -- you are right, I DO hear this criticized sometimes, sorry if I minimized it too much. But what I mean is that it isn't really criticized as a practice in general. I mean, if someone suggests a dress code for guests, watch out, the whole board will jump down their throats. But if someone mentions the dressed they chose for the bridal party, everyone just gives it a pass. It is expected, and accepted, but to me, still seems fundamentally to be a breach of etiquette.

    The "They are part of the ceremony" thing is the most common defense I expect to hear -- and I will concede that there is some truth to it. But... I maintain that it is still at odds with the logic that they are honored guests. And really... do they need to be matchy matchy to participate in a ceremony? What is the important part, their presence as honored guests, or how coordinated they look in pictures?

    I just want to say right now that I do NOT mean to be confrontational with this topic, so my apologies if it seems that way. I know I'm really going against the grain here. It's just been puzzling to me, and I wanted to hear other viewpoints. No disrespect intended.
    I think if you read a few more posts, you will see that this is not true.  I always try to advocate the non cloning of the bridal party.  Whenever I get the chance, I will suggest that the bride make a color and length suggestion, and leave the style choice of the dress up to the individual BM.  MANY posters here encourage brides to make shoes, jewelry, and hair a non issue as well.  
    My confusion comes from the fact that this sort of suggestion is not appropriate for guests in general, so why is it appropriate for the WP?
  • Viczaesar said:
    Ushering is considered an honor, not a job.  Handing out programs is a job and thus should not be requested of anybody.  That's the difference there.
    AWESOME, I've been stressing about ushers lately. I'm clueless about etiquette for recruiting them, and really didn't want to impose on anyone for what I assumed could be a somewhat stressful task. Happy to know that I will be honoring anyone I approach this on, not imposing on them!
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