Often, brides don’t think critically about choosing their bridal party. Time and time again I hear horror stories of difficult, self-centered, arrogant bridesmaids. Not to say that brides don’t have less-than-brilliant moments, but bridesmaids should really make wedding planning more enjoyable for brides, not less. For a truly lethal dose of attendant atrocities, check out Megan Angelo’s article, Bad Bridesmaid Etiquette.
When a CEO selects who will help her move the business forward, she considers two things: 1) who she knows and 2) the skills of the candidates. As the bridal CEO, brides should also think beyond the limits of “I’ve known her a long time” and consider how the candidate’s capabilities improve the bridal planning process.
Here are 7 requirements that should be in a bridesmaid’s job description:
- Has staying power. Bridesmaids should have proven that they were there for you, are there for you, and will continue to be there for you. If you’ve only known someone shallowly for a year, why exactly are you asking them to be your bridesmaid? The longer you’ve known someone, the more familiar you are with their skills and the more confident you’ll be in their ability to support you now and in the future.
- Has a unique skill that you don’t have. Leaders of organizations often hire people that have skills that the leader lacks – it makes for a stronger management unit. As a bride to be, there is a lot you will have to do in the future that runs the entire gamut of skills. Look to have a bridesmaid who is better in a skill than you lack. For example, if you’re lackluster in negotiating skills, ask the roommate from college who is now an attorney to help you strengthen your ability to persuade others.
- Is a self-starter. Nothing is worse than lighting a fire under the rear of a bridesmaid who needs to be micro-managed. For both your sake and the sake of the rest of the bridal party, ask someone to be your bridesmaid who takes initiative and runs with it. While you don’t want someone who steps on toes, you do want someone who can motivate herself and seize the day.
- Is accountable. If you ask her to care for something for you, not only does she own it, but she delivers and reports back to you on her progress. A bad bridesmaid is one who you ask for a favor, but then it slips her mind or you constantly remind her that you need her help with one particular thing. So stick with the girls that’ll own the task, get it done, and report back to you when its complete.
- Impeccable organizational ability. Being a part of a wedding is a lot of work. There’s parties, parties, and more parties, not to mention dress fittings, informal rendezvous, and many other tasks. A bridesmaid who is not organized is only going to hinder, not enhance, the bridal CEO’s experience. If she lacks basic organizational skills or you’re aware that her method of so-called organized chaos is simply chaos, you may want to re-think her involvement as one of your leading ladies.
- Plays well with others. The last thing you need is a call from bridesmaids or your MOH complaining about one particular bridesmaid. You want to bring together group of people who have demonstrated collaborative and consensus building strengths to positively influence a change. If someone doesn’t have strong interpersonal and relationship management skills, she will be a burden to the bride and the other bridesmaids.
- Able to express themselves in writing and in conversation. Just about every job requires written and verbal communications skills, and justifiably so. We use writing and talking to establish and improve relationships with other professionally and interpersonally. Long-distant brides and bridal parties especially rely on written communications (email, Facebook messages, text messages, etc) to have productive discussions. Make sure your bridesmaids know how to read, write, and talk in a non-combative, approachable way. If they don’t, you should seriously reconsider why they would be in the bridal party.
Setting the above 7 skills as your initial filter in selecting your bridal attendants will improve your bridal planning experience. You need someone who is the “right fit” for the bridesmaid role, so think through who will be by your side on your big day long and hard – it will pay off constantly throughout your entire planning process.
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