So, you’ve met “the one”, fallen in love, gotten engaged, and now you’re beginning the exciting (but crazy!) journey of planning your wedding. Congratulations!
Your wedding day is one of the happiest and most important days of your life, but it can also be an enormous source of stress – not only for you and your spouse-to-be, but also for those in your wedding party. Top ranking amongst the sources of wedding angst are the conflicts and tensions that can arise between brides and bridesmaids – but this doesn’t have to be the case for you and your girls.
To make sure that your friendships with your bridesmaids last beyond your big day, follow these eight helpful tips:
1. Realize They Have Other Stuff Going On
First and foremost, realize that your bridesmaids have a life outside of your wedding. Really obvious, right? In theory, yes, but sometimes it can be hard to remember that there’s another world out there when your plate is piled sky-high with wedding-related tasks. As such, when divvying up tasks, be sure to spread things around evenly to your bridesmaids to avoid extra stress and burn-out.
Be mindful and respectful of your bridesmaids’ schedules when allocating responsibilities and selecting who to bring out to appointments, shopping excursions, dress fittings, et al. And repeat after me: Always, always ASK if they can come along – never tell! Don’t forget, your bridesmaids are your friends, not your employees. Hopefully they’ll make an effort to attend activities when they can.
What if your bridesmaids are sometimes so busy that you can’t seem to reel in any help? Remember, they don’t have to do everything. You have your fiance, your parents, and other family members to lend a hand. Take some pressure off your bridesmaids by coming up with a list of people you can rely on for extra help when things get crazy. Don’t be afraid to ask. In my own experience, people are excited to pitch in and feel honoured to have even been asked.
2. Let Them Have Input on What to Wear
Let’s face it – we all come in different shapes and sizes, and we all have different ideas of what looks great on our body types. If your bridesmaids span a variety of body shapes and sizes, consider doing a mix ‘n match look. Simply choose the dress colour and fabric, and let them choose their style of dress. Your wedding party will still look very put-together, and your bridesmaids will feel comfortable all day long (and look great in photos, too!).
If you’re looking for a super simple and stylistic option for your ‘maids, come on into Second Dance and check out our Mimetek bridesmaid gowns. These ingeniously designed wrap dresses are flattering on any body type. They can be adjusted and wrapped in many ways, creating a variety of different styles that will suit each member of your bridal party. They’re available in long or short with beautiful lace overlays. Because these dresses are so versatile, they don’t require alterations and can be worn again in a different way each time! If you’d like to explore this option, contact us to book an appointment with your bridal party.
3. Give Them the VIP Treatment
Your bridesmaids are pouring time, effort, and money into your wedding, and chances are, they’ve been looking forward to it (almost!) as much as you have. Make them feel like your VIPs by making a solid effort to recognize them. Here are just a few small ways you can make them feel like rockstars:
The Bridesmaid Proposal.
If you’ve been browsing Pinterest for wedding ideas, you’ve likely come across some cute ways to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids. These can range from the simple (e.g.: a hand-delivered note), to the more elaborate (e.g.: a pretty box that includes a card, a bottle of bubbly, customized wedding knick-knacks, etc.). However you decide to ask your bridesmaids, doing it with a bit of flair will certainly make them feel more appreciated.
Include them on your wedding website.
If you have a wedding website, why not include a section for the bridal party? It’s fun for your guests to read, and it gives credit where credit is due. Be sure to mention how you met each of your girls, and include a fun photo of you together (but don’t forget to ask for their permission).
Include their names in the ceremony program.
Plain and simple. Besides giving recognition, it’s a nice touch, and lets your guests know who’s who.
Let them decide how they want to make their grand entrance into the reception. Not everyone does a big bridal party entrance at their reception, but if you’re doing one, consider allowing your bridal party to decide on how they want to enter. Perhaps also let them pick out the music they’d like playing when they enter the room. This is their moment to shine and soak up the applause, so let them do it in their own unique style. They’ve earned it!
Call them out in your thank you speech.
While you should also thank your bridesmaids privately, doing it publicly will definitely make them feel special.
Give them a “plus one” no matter what.
This goes whether or not they’re in a relationship, as the same consideration should be given to them as your paired-up bridesmaids.
Help them loosen up on the morning of the big day.
Your nerves will be running high, and theirs will be too. Try to take things as slowly as you can, and see if you can arrange for at-home hair and makeup appointments for everyone in one central place to avoid running around. If everyone has stayed overnight, keep the pyjama party going as long as possible. Also – mimosas, anyone?
4. Plan Around Everyone’s Financial Situations
Between dresses, hair and makeup, accessories, wedding and shower gifts, travel expenditures and more, being a bridesmaid can rapidly become very expensive. A 2010 study found that the average cost of being a bridesmaid is almost $1,700 US. Wow!
I’ve been a part of a few weddings where one or more bridesmaids had to drop out due to escalating and unexpected costs. Not only was it sad that these friends were put in a situation where they had to choose between their finances and standing next to their best friend on her big day, but it also created wedding planning havoc for all involved.
The best way to avoid bridesmaid drop-out is to gauge everyone’s budget from the very beginning, then break down each item and event’s projected costs and plan accordingly so that it’s affordable for everyone. When doing this, make sure to note items that you can compromise on if needed.
For instance, if shoes aren’t all that important to you, consider allowing your bridesmaids to pick out their own shoes or wear ones they already own. Did you have your sights set on a fancy beach bachelorette in the tropics? Hit up a local beach with your gals for the weekend and stay at a well-rated Air B’n’B property instead.
Remember, these are your friends. The last thing you’d want to do is make them feel embarrassed about their finances and. They shouldn’t need to drop out of your wedding to continue to afford life’s necessities. Be sensitive, and try to remain open to alternate money-saving ideas.
5. Help Them Get to Know One Another
Your bridesmaids all know you, but they may not all know each other. If this is the case with your wedding party, helping them get to know one another early on will get everyone feeling friendly and make the wedding-related activities more fun for all. If your bridesmaids live far apart (or have extremely busy schedules), consider creating a private Facebook group for everyone to chat and plan together, or use Skype or Google Hangouts to make sure everyone gets some facetime. This will help eliminate any awkwardness by helping everyone to put a name to a face, and make planning much easier in the long run.
6. Let Them Know What You Expect
When planning my wedding, I prided myself on being a chill bride. The problem was, I was maybe a little too chill. Before I knew it, I was getting messages from some slightly stressed out bridesmaids wondering about who should be planning this-or-that event, who was in charge of placing the dress orders, was I going to send them a list of addresses, etc. I could have saved them some stress if I had let them know from the very start who was responsible for what, and when.
You’re not being overbearing by letting everyone know what’s expected ahead of time. Consider making a spreadsheet containing the major things you’d like taken care of, and assign names and dates. As noted before, try to spread tasks out evenly, and to the best of each of your girls’ abilities. When you send it, ask them if it looks okay, and be open if they’d like to make changes.
…oh, and don’t forget to give your bridesmaids a list of important contacts! Having a list of people they may need to consult with or turn to for help will definitely come in handy (e.g.: your parents, fiance’s family, etc.).
7. Make Time for Them
Be a good friend. With your big day front and centre in your mind, it’s very easy to make every conversation you have with your bridesmaids about the wedding. Make a conscious effort to talk to them about things other than your wedding. Stay on top of what’s happening in their lives, whether it be a job interview, a creative project, or a blind date. No matter how big or small the life event, they’ll appreciate the opportunity to fill you in on all the details, the way they always have.
Even though you will be very busy, showing your support through the good and the bad times will ensure your bridesmaids stay your friends long past your wedding day.
8. Say “Thank You”
It’s traditional to give your bridesmaids a gift the day of the wedding as a way of saying “thank you for all you’ve done”. There are lots of ways to approach this tradition. Whichever way you decide, just don’t forget to include a little card in which you can express your gratitude.
If you’re seeking identical gifts for your ‘maids as to not show favouritism, you may have a hard time finding something that fits all their individual tastes. A better idea? Pick something that comes in a variety of colours and/or styles to cater to their uniqueness. For example, gemstone necklaces, but with each girl’s birthstone, or bracelets in each of your bridesmaids’ favourite colours. If you’re thinking of going the jewellery route, consider buying different statement pieces that will allow each of your friends to make their outfit their own, and that they’ll be guaranteed to wear post-wedding, as well.
You can also think outside of the box. Imagine: a day pass to the slopes for your ski-bunny bridesmaid, or a gift certificate to the trendy new restaurant in town for your foodie friend. Think about giving experiences that your bridesmaids can enjoy, rather than tangible gifts they may use or wear once or twice and never again. It’s a great way to show you love them while honouring their individuality.
Do you have a bridesmaid tip?
We’d love to hear from you! Leave us a comment.