Yay, you’re a bridesmaid! You’re considered one of the most trusted, loved and important humans in your friend’s life. She knows you’ll take her secrets to the grave (…not that there are any) and you’ll also wipe each others butts – literally and figuratively.
I’ve had the pleasure (yes, pleasure) of being a bridesmaid/stagette-party-person a couple times now and wanted to share some nuggets I’ve learned along the way. Take it easy, make it easy and keep the good times rollin’!
1) What’s the deal? You should straight up ask – and keep asking.
Most brides aren’t event planners by trade. Before their own wedding, most haven’t planned a 50+ attendee party in their lifetime. However, the bulk of responsibilities for pulling this major life event together usually ends up landing on their shoulders. It’s going to cost big bucks and will be judged by all of their closest friends, family – and future selves. They don’t know what they don’t know yet, just that there’s a lot. It’s daunting!
Sometimes all a bride wants is a sounding board for decision making and help with random tasks. Don’t tack on to the stress with miscellaneous drama, but try to help alleviate the burden that is event planning.
Get whatever vision/details she has off-the-top and keep offering to help. What are her expectations of her bridesmaids? Just show up or should you organize some side events? What can you help with realistically considering your own time/talents? Does she want a bridal shower? Who’s hosting? Are there cultural traditions you have to plan on organizing and be a part of? Does she want a stagette? Where? Cost limits?
Some brides may feel bad and won’t want to ask for help, so actively reassure them that you’re there for support. On the flip side, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with tasks, be straight up so she can delegate in time to others.
2) DIY support: Because Pinterest makes us think we can do things ourselves – better.
Ah, the modern bride. Social media makes it possible to look at 1,000 wedding ideas all at once and think they’re all attainable!
What are your bride’s Pinterest aspirations? Because you know all hands will be on deck making it happen at the eleventh hour!
To avoid pintrosities, encourage getting a jump on whatever crafting is needed. If they have to be carried out event day, make sure there’s enough time carved out to carry out DIY dreams.
On an aside, crafting together is actually quite fun and a chance to connect and have some bridesmaid bonding…and communal drinking, which is obviously very important.
3) The Stagette/Bachelorette: A crash course in event planning
I’ve been to my fair share and they’ve all been blasts! From the Calgary Stampede, to the mountains, white water rafting, wineries, to Vegas…twice. It all comes down to good pre-planning so you can all relax and have fun (and drink) as the event is underway.
The logistical inquisition:
- Who’s going, where are you going and how is everyone getting there? Figure out logistics there and back so no one gets accidentally stranded and resentment ensues. (This is a very realistic hangover/drunk possibility, you’ve been pre-warned!) Clown car it? Where y’all parking?
- When are you going? How many are going? (Use Doodle or other spreadsheet sharing tool to minimize the back and forth).
- Where’s everyone sleeping? Eating? Are you communal living? Cost split? Excel that sh#!.
- Is there a fun/unique theme everyone should prepare for? Pink, leopard print, leather, western wear, umm…woodland animals or a popular pick: phallic everything? You’ll probably have to make your way to the neighbourhood adult store at one point or another for standard stagette themed party supplies. Don’t be shy, there’s usually a dedicated section you can just beeline to. Call ahead if you’re nervous.
- If your brides a bit more tame, what will you have to make her feel special? (Not necessarily bridal signage or an in-your-face veil if that’s not her style.) White outfit? Flower crown? Giant flower to poke people with?
- What are all the activities you’ll be doing? Any fun games? Do you need to pre-book tickets? Are you making party/hangover bags for everyone? Everyone loves a goodie bag!
4) Bridesmaid dress shopping: T-minus 3 months (minimum)
May seem like a simple decision, but can spiral out of control! Make sure you carve out enough time to look and then order. Are you all getting the same dress? Same colour, diff design? Same colour palette, but different shades? Long, short, sleeves? Online or in-store?
FYI: Most bridal places won’t have all sizes that you can just purchase off the rack. You have to custom order your dresses and they’ll take upwards of 3 months to come in. And then, you’ll probably want an additional 1 month cushion to alter it.
Other important notes:
- Don’t fall for the tie 100 ways dress, it looks awkward – in all ways!
- Long sweetheart is universally pleasing.
- Measure yourself at your current size and order the closest match to your size dimensions (then make time to re-alter again – because life).
5) Speech foundations – Insert funny/sentimental stories throughout to build out the length of time you have to speak.
If you’re worried about public speaking, remember, everyone’s rooting for your success so relax! Just keep it simple and stick to the basics if you’re scared of rambling (or sucking). This is just a guideline to get by, but definitely let your personality and creativity shine through any way you can.
- Intro yourself and your relationship with the bride (insert a story about your friendship).
- Talk about the experience of meeting and getting to know their significant other (get funny or sentimental, or both, your pick).
- Prep your toast by reiterating why the newly weds are meant to be and are a perfect match. Maybe another story or clever anecdote to describe their unique bond.
- Raise your glass and toast to a lifetime of love, happiness and laughter. The end!
6) The race to the finish line: That sickness that’s got everyone’s panties in a bunch – it’s called event stress.
If you sense tension, you’re all just experiencing the quintessential pressure of event stress – it will pass. It happens to all event planners under the wire prepping for the final big moment. Alas, there’s a deadline haunting you that everything must be done by and you have to look good doing it to boot. Don’t let the stress get to you or your friendships.
In desperation, everyone could get Machiavellian to get things done the best they can be. There may be conflicting beliefs as to what the best is and what the best way to do things is. Don’t die on any hills and don’t hold anything against each other for event-related craziness. Focus on the point, celebrating love with family and friends.
In the end, just be there for the ride to keep things fun, as a shoulder to cry on, helping hand if needed, for aggressive venting, copious amounts of drinking, and – most importantly – collecting more hilarious life experiences together. The wedding is for a day, your friendship is for a lifetime (…like the marriage is supposed to be, wink*)!
Share your bridesmaid tips in the comments below!