As a professional bridesmaid, this downtown girl-about-town has been in many, many weddings (with a few on the calendar for 2013). As an unmarried lady, I may not have my own ring yet, but I can share advice for brides-to-be on how to choose, ask and treat your ladies-in-waiting on your special day.
Decide carefully. Choose friends who truly have your best interests at heart. Ladies who love you and are willing to pitch in when it comes to planning and prepping for your big day should be the only women you ask. Fair weather friends or jealous, competitive frenemies, need not apply. If you’re leaving someone out (because a bridal party of 15 girls is just plain ridiculous), you may want to ask them to do a reading during the ceremony, use their musical theatre degree to sing a song at the reception or to meet and greet guests as they arrive with programs and bubbles.
Propose. Do not ask your best friend of 10 years via her Facebook wall to be your maid of honor. Treat your friends to a brunch date to ask them face-to-face. If they live out of state, sending personalized hand-written cards asking for them to serve in your bridal party is a sweet touch for long distance friends. Or if you’re a crafty gal with time on her hands, create a wedding day survival kit that includes all of the day-of essentials (hairspray, Advil, bobby pins, etc.) with a handwritten note or have t-shirts made with the logo “bridesmaid” to give to your girls when you ask for their love and help.
Dress (them) for success. The selections of bridesmaids’ dresses are endless – from colors to lengths to fabrics. Keep in mind that while it is important for you to love the gowns, you must be sensitive to your friends’ feelings too, as they have to wear the dress from early morning hours until they crash after the reception. You want your friends to be comfortable and confident as they walk down the isle, take photos and dance the night away. Women’s body types range from rail thin to curvaceously sexy, so search for a dress that is flattering on all of the girls’ figures. Or find a line that can custom the cuts and shapes to each bridesmaid’s preference (i.e. a halter for one and strapless for another), while keeping the color and fabric the same. Also, see Single Girl's Survival Guide: Bridesmaid Dress Blues.
Go with the bachelorette flow. Whether your friends have planned a wild night in Atlantic City or a relaxing wine tasting at a vineyard be appreciative of the time and money put into coordinating and hosting your bachelorette party. Don’t pull a diva fit if you secretly wanted a sleezy stripper or if you hoped someone would splurge to get you an hour massage and facial at the hotel spa. Enjoy your last celebration as a single woman with your best girls without any expectations.
Gift them thoughtfully. They’ve thrown you an expensive bachelorette party in the Hamptons, patiently listened whily you obsessed over the difference between cream and ivory and “oohed and aahed” as you tried on hours worth of gowns. Thank your bridesmaids with personalized gifts (like beautiful jewelry with their birthstones), useful gifts (like silk robes for getting ready on the wedding day) or keepsake gifts (like monogramed pocket mirrors).
Remember that being a bridesmaid requires time, money and a willingness to take late-night phone calls from your Bridezilla-side when you’re having a panic attack over what color your tablecloths should be. So, let your ladies know there are no hard feelings if they can’t commit and appreciate those friends who are happy to step up to the plate!
What are your do's and don'ts when choosing, asking and treating your bridesmaids? xo