I’ve been in my fair share of weddings—from a bridesmaid to a personal attendant to a greeter, a reader, an introducer, and even a candle lighter—a what? Yes, that’s right, I said candle lighter. Let me tell you, Katherine Heigl ain’t got nothing on me. No, I haven’t been in 27 different weddings—though wouldn’t it be fun to don a Gone With the Wind-style dress similar to the one she wore in 27 Dresses? Sorry, I digress.
I know I’m a rom/com loving lady, but admittedly 27 Dresses hit closer to home than most. I’m a bridesmaid, and honestly, I like to think I’m pretty darn good at it. I thrive off of the excitement that comes when I help a bride pick out her dress, I enthusiastically plan bachelorette parties (complete with a requisite quiz to embarrass the bride with answers from the groom), I come equipped with bobby pins, safety pins, boutonnière pins, and any other kind of pin, tack, or tie imaginable. I also enjoy writing toasts (admittedly, my profession as a writer helps out a bit with that one).
Therefore, as I prepare to attend four weddings in a five-week span, I thought, as the consummate bridesmaid, I would offer some tips to our brides-to-be. I know you all may have walked in my shoes before—and, admittedly, I’ve never walked in yours—but these are just a few tricks of the trade that I’ve picked up from the other side of the aisle. Enjoy.
- Don’t over-communicate or under-communicate with your bridesmaids. Trust me, I understand the urge to send out a detailed update each day, but too much information is too difficult to follow. Send a brief schedule of events well in advance so your wedding party can plan travel and lodging accommodations—if they aren’t provided—and then a week to two before the big day, send a detailed Word document with the schedule of events (stating exactly where everyone needs to be at what time). You don’t want to force your guys and gals to have to sift through too many e-mails, and you certainly don’t want them to come in clueless.
- I get that the dress is a tricky choice for any bride, but please, under no circumstances, say, “And the best part is, you can wear it again!” Chances are we won’t.
- If bridesmaids are coming in from out of town, suggest that they send their dress to you (well in advance) so you can have them steamed and ready to go. This also forces bridesmaids to have all alterations completed well in advance. (I was recently at a wedding where the BM didn’t try on her altered dress until the Friday before, only to realize it was two sizes too small).
- Ask one of your more organized bridesmaids to bring a little wedding survival kit. Safety pins, a needle and thread, deodorant . . . that kind of thing. That way, if anyone has last-minute dress drama, you’ll be covered.
- When choosing the bridesmaid dress, think about what will look good on your girls. You might be a tall glamazon who loves trumpet silhouettes, but if your entire wedding party is under 5’3,” odds are that flair won’t work. Also, try to seek out colors that complement your friends’ skin tones. For example, if you have pale friends, light tones that wash them out are a bad choice.
- Remember, your wedding is and should be the center of your universe for as long as you want, but it’s not the center of theirs. Be considerate of time restraints, as well as financial obligations. They’re there to celebrate you, but they do still have responsibilities and a life outside your wedding.
Any other tips?