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By Emily Howald Sefton
By Real Brides-to-Be
By: Emily Howald Sefton | Posted: 11/26/2012
One year ago (wow, time has flown by!), I asked all my best of friends to be a part of my wedding. I was rather coy in this blog about how I asked them, because I wanted each girl to be surprised, but now, one year later, I thought I'd share with you my methodology.
I think I started planning my "ask" before I was even engaged. I knew straight away who was going to be in my wedding. The Hubby has two sisters, so they were a definite, and my brother's wife, aka my sister-in-law, was also a no-brianer. (I'm of the mindset that family should be included in your wedding party; after all, they're going to be in your life forever whether you like or not. I understand each situation is different, but I'm fortunate to be close with all my SILs, so it was an easy decision for me.)
The hubby and I decided on a wedding party with eight (yes, I know, huge, right?) attendants, so I filled my five slots, including my matron of honor, with friends from all stages of my life. So once they were decided in my head (like I said, months before we were probably engaged), I spent months brainstorming on how I would ask them. Once my guy popped the question, I was ready to put my idea in motion.
I'm the girl that always takes a ton of pictures, and I (obviously) enjoy writing, so I thought it would be fun to find a way to tell the story of our friendship through pictures and stories that show my friends how much they mean to me. And what better way to do that than a photo book, filled with inside jokes, memories, and reasons why I love them. I'm familiar with Shutterfly photobooks because each year I make a book for my now husband that summarizes our year (I'm definitely behind on this year . . . a lot has happened!) Since we met on January 1, this seemed like a fun idea after our first year of dating, and now that we're married, I think our kids will one day love to be able to see our story. Granted a lot of it is filled with inside jokes, it's still fun to watch the relationship evolve. (Side note, I know. But it's a great idea for anyone who is still looking for a Christmas present for their Fiance!)
Nonethless, I started to gather pictures and I began to create a book for each of my maids. It was so fun to relive so many memories and anticipate their reaction. After about 18 pages of pictures and memories, I used the last three pages for my "ask." The spread before the last page included a picture of me with the soon-to-be maid and a poem about how nothing would give me more joy and pride than to have her there by my side. (Catchy, right? . . . okay, it's cheesy, I know. I'm pretty sure I preemptively made fun of myself in every one of the books, but it worked.) The book culminated on the last page with a generic photo of a bride and her maids (heads not included) and I asked them if they would participate, suggesting that they add a picture of the wedding in place of the generic photo, and then I wrote why (in a non-rhyming fashion) it would mean a lot for me to have that specific person in my wedding.
I was able to give the books to six of the eight girls in person, so it was really fun to be able to see each of my friend's reactions. I printed a nice hard cover version for them, and then a smaller keepsake version for myself. Though it took me a lot of time, I felt like asking my wedding party was one of the most fun, early steps of the planning process, and I wanted to do it right. My advice to you is take the time and do something that your friends will appreciate and you enjoy doing. For some people, a phone call is just that. But for me, I loved poring over the pictures and retelling each of our stories.
Time consuming? Yes. But worth it? Absolutely.
Kara is a communications manager at U.S. Bank. See her engagement story.
Taylor is a magazine editor at MSP Communications. See her engagement story.
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