How do you go about choosing your bridesmaids?
Planning a wedding can be a daunting task so you really need your closest female family members and friends to step up. But how do you decide which of your sisters, cousins, nieces, or girlfriends to ask? Then, once you have managed to select your cohort of bridesmaids, how can you get the most from them – emotionally and physically – in the build-up to your wedding and on the day itself without asking too much and risking becoming a bridezilla?
In this blog we look at the different roles that your bridesmaids could ideally fulfil (which should hopefully give you some ideas around who exactly to ask if you are yet to make that all-important decision), and how to make the moment of asking them a special and an important milestone in your relationship.
Your maid of honour, who traditionally needed to be married, is most likely your closest friend or family member. Many brides now choose a chief bridesmaid over a traditional maid of honour; she might not necessarily be the wisest of your friends but will certainly be one you can trust. She will be the one that is with you right before the ceremony (until the person giving you away takes over) and so she will need to help you look your best and calm your nerves – quite a tall order for anyone!
You might already know exactly who you are going to ask to complete your bridesmaid troupe, but if you are feeling overwhelmed by the decision (or are lucky enough to have a lot of potential candidates) then it might be helpful to consider the character types you might like to have around when you’re busy planning…
The Organiser – if you have a good friend who loves arranging social occasions, then you need this girl on board for maid of honour or chief bridesmaid duty. She will be your closest ally in planning and coordinating your hen do (and if you decide to have the main one abroad, could also help you arrange a second event closer to home). You will probably also look to her for support with other practical wedding tasks such as organising dates for shopping trips for the all-important bridesmaids’ outfits, and ordering hen do and wedding day accessories online (think matching hen do t-shirts and wedding day dressing gowns and slippers or flip flops!)
The Fun One – we all have one friend who loves to have fun and always gets the party started! This person must be called upon to help the chief bridesmaid plan your hen do and any other pre-wedding get togethers. It is so important that your wedding and the build-up is FUN so this friend is a vital part of your bridesmaid collective!
Whilst it is a fun time, there can be times when arrangements don’t quite go to plan so consider asking the friend who is always there for you and is a good listener. Getting married is a significant moment of your life and, whilst it is good to have a lot of fun, there might be occasions when you need a more serious friend in whom to confide or seek comfort and support.
Taking a similar role as the comforter, the mediating and peace-keeping bridesmaid is a critical member of the bridesmaid cohort; this lady will be the one to brief about any tricky situations/relationships that might rear their heads during the build up and on the wedding day itself. Do spend some time telling all your bridesmaids (and any other really good friends) of any serious concerns you have so that they are fully prepped should they need to step in and deal with a troublemaker or other tricky/delicate situation.
The Honest/Wise One
And, finally, the honest friend. This is the girl to accompany you to dress fittings and be on hand to run past any other slightly unconventional ideas. There is a danger you might be disappointed initially with their reactions, but you will no doubt thank them in the end for being upfront with you and you’ll know that this person really has your back.
How do you ask?
If you are asking family members and friends who don’t know each other very well, then it might be worth talking (or writing) to them individually, after which it will be very important to get the group together as early as you can so that they get to know each other. Perhaps set up a WhatsApp group to make it easier to share ideas and so that everyone knows what’s being discussed and planned at the same time. If your chief bridesmaid and bridesmaids do all know each other, you could arrange a special brunch or evening out and ask your special ladies then.
A quick word about ‘bridesmaid politics’ here – it is always tricky if you are leaving someone out or find a couple of people haven’t quite ‘made the cut’ in terms of being asked. Don’t put your head in the sand with this as it can all get blown out of proportion – if you do think someone is likely to be offended for being ‘overlooked’ then it might be worth being upfront about this in order to remove any completely avoidable unpleasantness.
How to make it all go smoothly
It is really important to lean on your chief bridesmaid and bridesmaids – so be honest and upfront with them from the get-go and be sure to outline the help you would like in the build up and during the wedding day itself. You also need to be clear from the outset what financial contribution (if any) you will be making to their outfits, as well as their hair and beauty treatments. Whilst it is common for the outfit itself to be purchased by the bride and groom, especially if it is very ‘wedding’ in look and feel and unlikely to be worn again, it isn’t unreasonable to ask them to buy their own shoes. Again, you should probably pay for their hair and make up on the day but paying for manicures and pedicures and tans and so on should be very much at your own discretion.
The wedding day may ultimately be for the bride and groom, but those around you in the planning stages and on the day itself can make all the difference not only to the smooth-running of the proceedings, but also your enjoyment of this very special day – so choose well!
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