We recently read about this new service, Bridesmaid For Hire, who, as described, will fulfill many of the traditional duties of a bridesmaid: help with planning, keeping peace with your family and friends, and a shoulder to cry on. We thought this was an interesting concept, especially given the blowback brides have gotten from demanding too much from their real bridesmaids, and had a lot to say about it:
Jaya: So this is just a wedding coordinator? Can we talk about this? And also that a lot could be solved if you talked with your bridesmaids about expectations beforehand?
Victoria: Yeah, I mean I guess it is slightly different than a planner or coordinator, it’s almost more the old fashioned social secretary, except mixed with a therapist. I guess it’s a fine idea if people want to shell out for it. And super great if it means no one is expecting a bridesmaid to deal with every little issue.
Jaya: I’m weirded out that one of the packages involves her actually walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid.
Victoria: THAT is REALLY weird. Like you are showing your wedding pictures to your grandkids and “oh that lady is someone I hired to come.” You can definitely do all that stuff and not be IN the ceremony!!!
Jaya: And also I think it just frustrates me that we’ve gotten to the point where this is what’s expected as a bridesmaid.
Victoria: Yeah, omg the crazy expectations.
Jaya: It’s more the bigger picture that now you expect your best friend to be an expert party planner. So instead of lowering your expectations, you hire a better friend?
Victoria: Yeah, seriously. I mean the thing is, no one should be expecting their bridesmaids to do ANY of this. Bridesmaid expectations: show up, wear prescribed dress. Anything else is extra (not that there aren’t very heavy cultural expectations at play!)
Jaya: Yeah, and I mean, that’s why you talk about it! Don’t just throw all this stuff on somebody, because they might be busy with other things, or maybe they’re just not good at planning showers.
Victoria: The bachelorette party and stuff is generally expected, but honestly if your bridesmaids are too broke, spread out, or busy, then tough–you don’t get that. Or you take what they CAN give you.
Jaya: I just feel like most of it could be solved with like “this is what I’m hoping happens, is that something you think you could do?” and then everyone is just honest with each other.
Victoria: Yeah, for sure, and like also omg, it doesn’t HAVE to be the MOH who does it all. Like if MOH lives far away, and Bridesmaid A is interested and wants to plan, then duh she should. The whole thing is so bizarre.
Jaya: Yeah! When I was a bridesmaid, the maid of honor would start an email chain and then everyone figured it out together based on our budgets and schedules.
Victoria: I do like this Bridesmaid for Hire the more I think about it- if you need THAT level of service and hand holding, it’s definitely better to hire someone than force it on your friends. But don’t dress them up and march them down the aisle, that’s creepy and weird.
Jaya: I’m trying to figure out how I feel. To me, it’s more like, a wedding coordinator and a therapist would probably be more beneficial in the long run. You get the coordinator for planning, and you get your friends for emotional support. And with “forcing” it on your friends, obviously it depends by relationship, but I’d hope that my friends could take maybe a few late night freak out phone calls. I don’t wanna push the boundaries of what friends are for, but sometimes that’s what friends are for! OR YOUR SPOUSE MAYBE??? Like if you’re bonding yourself for the rest of your life to a person, maybe they can be an emotional/planning support??
Victoria: Yeah for sure, but if you need someone like…every day. I mean, I guess that maybe means you have bigger problems, lol.
Jaya: Anyway, yeah it does sound useful if your friends and spouse are gonna be no help and you’re prone to getting overwhelmed.
Victoria: Yeah, and if you were going to hire a wedding coordinator anyway, maybe you want that extra level of service.
Jaya: But if you take away the wedding coordinator duties, you’re sort of left with just needing the emotional support. and ideally you have friends that can provide that. I know bridesmaids are just supposed to show up in a dress, but I also think they’re supposed to be a bit happy for you and supportive when you need them, like friends are.
Victoria: Yeah, absolutely. But I guess looking at her packages she does do a lot of coordination type stuff, like between a full on wedding planner who deals with vendors and a “day of” coordinator who isn’t really there to help you make to-do lists and stuff.
Jaya: I feel like a lot of planners offer packages like that too. At least when I was researching there were lots of in between options.
Victoria: Do they? I have no idea.
Jaya: So I guess this girl is just good at branding/marketing. And sometimes wearing a dress and standing next to you.
Victoria: Not to mention the creepy thing of your MOH hiring this person secretly to plan your showers/bachelorettes.
Jaya: Yeah!!!!! That is weird. Like, if you’re a bridesmaid and you’re thinking of hiring help, please talk to the bride first.
Victoria: Seriously, omg that is so strange. Unless I guess you are super rich and would outsource all that kind of thing anyway.
Jaya: It’s just frustrating that it’s gone far enough to justify this, instead of people maybe trying to work together with their friends to make an enjoyable time.
Victoria: Haha yeah, but I do get, I guess, that weddings are more “stressful” now than maybe they used to be. And so maybe you do need to hire some form of planning help, in whichever iteration is more pleasing to you.
Jaya: Yeah. Though it still is about expectation. If you planned a 300 person wedding 100 years ago, you’d probably need a social secretary or assistants and such, but now, the expectation is that everyone will have a big wedding and know how to plan it by themselves.
Victoria: Yeah, plus your mom would be planning it and had probably planned dozens of parties for 300 people.
Jaya: Hahaha yeah. And yeah there’s the WIC (Wedding Industrial Complex) and all that, whatever. [ed. Jaya is not very into the term Wedding Industrial Complex] [other ed. IT’S A STRAWMAN] I guess what bothers me is people tend to use that as an excuse for having no control over their weddings, like there are no other options. Hellooo you’re an adult, stand up to your parents’ expectations. And we have the internet, I can find you a white dress for under $100 like yesterday.
Victoria: Haha yeah, exactly, but I mean, it does seem like a lot of people go in with great expectations about keeping control on things and then it just spirals and they throw their hands up. So I can see getting in over your head.
Jaya: It is easy to be convinced things are necessary when they’re not, by family or by vendors. That’s definitely an issue. Why can’t everyone else just have a will of steel??
Victoria: Plus you have to have a pretty strong sense of self and what you want to do that. And that is just not easy for…probably most people. Especially if they hadn’t really thought much about their wedding besides, “it will be lovely and pretty and the happiest day of my life.” And not everyone spends as much time reading about weddings as us. For some reason.
Jaya: WHY NOT?! They have no excuse then. I say that as a joke but also kinda mean it???? Like, even if you haven’t read a lot about it, it’s not ridiculous to go in thinking it’ll take planning and decisions. So if you don’t research how to do that and then get overwhelmed, idk.
Victoria: Haha yeah for sure. I mean there are tons of resources.
Jaya: I certainly got overwhelmed, and it’s hard dealing with everyone’s opinions. But if it’s too hard for you then go to City Hall. If you agree to do a wedding, you sorta have to agree to planning, and making decisions, and saying no, and all this stuff. Or that you’ll pay someone to do it for you.
Victoria: Lol yeah for sure. Anyway, it’s certainly not rude to hire a bridesmaid, but maybe it would be best to talk to your actual bridesmaids about their expectations first. And, hey, if anyone wants to hire etiquette consultants to make sure you are doing everything above board, we are probably available!