Today I'm excited to be sharing a bridesmaid guide with you all! Whether you've been a bridesmaid before or you've just been asked this general guide is a great tool for any bridesmaid! I've included an exclusive feature and Q&A with Bridget Baird on how to be THE Ultimate Bridesmaid!
THE ULTIMATE BRIDESMAID GUIDE
HISTORY OF THE BRIDESMAID:
Not like we needed an excuse to go on a bachelorette party with your maids or dress up in beautiful dresses for the wedding day - BUT Where did the idea to have bridesmaids come from anyway?!
It's actually quite comical! History is not exactly CLEAR on this information but there are several theories.
One theory is that bridesmaids were “stand-ins” for the bride, in case evil spirits tried to do her harm. The bridesmaids would look and dress much like the bride to fool the spirits. (lol what?! Well heck yes I want bridesmaids!!))
Another theory says that bridesmaids or a group of people, were needed to witness the wedding. In ancient Rome, one needed at least ten witnesses to get married.
Bridesmaids also may have evolved from a medieval custom of having as many people as possible at a wedding, just in case a former boyfriend showed up to kidnap the bride. (Scary thought is that this might actually happen to some brides out there.....(uhm, what?!) )
THE MODERN DAY BRIDESMAID:
Well while all of those silly theories are fun - the modern day bridesmaid has truly evolved! Having bridesmaids is about having your closest girlfriends there for you on one of the biggest days of your life! Bridesmaids have such an important role in the wedding day now more than ever. On top of that, bridesmaid style and fashion and social aspects have also changed drastically. Designer dresses, over-the-top bachelorette parties, crazy bridesmaids gifts, the list goes on! It can be hard to feel like you need to keep up with the trends and times. So I'm sharing some tips for bridesmaids and brides on how to be the ultimate modern bridesmaids while still keeping your feet on the ground!
POPPING THE QUESTION:
Asking you best girlfriends to be your bridesmaids has become a full-out proposal these days! Bride's are getting so creative these days and some even out of control. Whatever you choose, don't feel the pressure to have "the best" bridesmaid proposal or the most "unique" just go with what your maids would love and what they would love coming from you. :)
Be yourself and be genuine because this is such an important question and you want your bridesmaids to know how important it is to you for them to be by your side!
For example, I tried my hardest to ask each of my bridesmaids in person (with the exception of my little sister who wouldn't be home from college for a while and we needed to order dresses and such soon lol! - but she already knew anyway :) )
Some of my favorite proposals:
-My sweet friend Hannah asked me to be her bridesmaid with the cutest mini bottle of champagne, an adorable paper straw, and the cutest balloon to pop myself which exploded with confetti and out popped a piece of paper asking me to be her bridesmaid!
-My dear friend Suzannah asked me to be her bridesmaid with a custom box filled with some awesome goodies that tied in with her wedding colors!
-I asked my bridesmaids with a homemade printed card, a cute little take-out box filled with sweets and a scented candle.
-My matron of honor, Logan asked me to be her maid of honor with a sweet picture of us and the cutest bottle of champagne with a custom label - all shipped in an adorable box!
At the end of the day it really doesn't matter what you do or give or how you ask, but WHO you are asking and WHY you are asking them!
HOW MANY BRIDESMAIDS SHOULD YOU HAVE?
This is completely up to you! You can have none, you can have one or you can have twenty lol! Don't let anyone's opinion make you feel differently. I didn't set a cap or a certain number for our bridal party, we just both asked who we felt had made a special impact on our relationship, those who had supported us throughout our relationship and that number would fall where it did! So I ended up with 11 bridesmaids and Collin had 9 groomsmen and we loved it because all of our closet friends and families were there for us on our big day.
MAIN CONCERNS AS A BRIDESMAID?
Brides keep these things in mind when you start planning and remember to be respectful of your bridesmaid's time and budget! :)
Exclusive Q&A with Bridesmaid Extraordinaire: Bridget Baird
Bridget is a bridesmaid and Maid of Honor QUEEN! She is such an amazing friend it's no wonder that so many wonderful ladies want her at their side on their wedding day! I had such a great group of gals on my wedding day and Bridget was definitely one of them! When I decided to do a bridesmaid guide I just knew that she would be the perfect person to ask for a Q&A! See her Q&A below and the tips and advice she has to share from her experience!
What would you say are the most important duties leading up to the wedding?
General support of the bride mentally and emotionally. Besides that - the PARTIES!! Showers and bachelorette parties are times that the bride will never forget. She'll have her closest family and friends together to help her celebrate and it's so important for the bridesmaid's to ensure the bride stays calm. Something else is to make sure the bride is the spotlight. It's her day - everyone is there to celebrate her - make the best of it! Don't forget to take pics of party decor, group candid shots, and candid shots of the bride - she will LOVE to look back later and see all the things she may have missed while she was entertaining her guests.
PS - I personally think the "parties" have gotten out of control. I like to make one shower and one bachelorette party EXTRA special! Everyone else who can't make it can help celebrate on the wedding day! The showers are a huge expense for the wedding party - especially travel costs, outfits, gifts.
What tips/advice do you have for women out there who want to be an awesome bridesmaid but also don't want to break the bank?
For sure just support. The life of a bride is crazy, overwhelming, and I have a feeling brides think the world is resting on their shoulders in regards to the wedding. There is so much pressure today about parties, the ceremony, the dress, the reception... It's VITAL to a bride's survival to have a bestie to vent to, to help make decisions, and to just keep the mood light and know that the "wedding" is not as important as the marriage. Have to keep the focus on what's to come and not get caught up in the little details! A friend is a good friend no matter how much money they spend. But being a realist- you will spend money to be a bridesmaid, it's part of it! It's truly an honor to mean so much to someone that they want to be a first hand witness to such an important life decision...
Also just accept that you will be spending your travel money and your vacation days on the bride to be! Something I've realized is - what else would you spend your money on that is more important than your girl!? And be so thankful that you have such great friends to celebrate! Not everyone has so many opportunities for celebration.
Probably most important - don't drink too much. Especially don't drink too much the night before the wedding! Bridesmaids need to look and feel their best on the big day.. ;)
What are the most important things to bring on the wedding day?
WATER - wedding days are long and so busy you can forget to drink enough water!
Something sweet and sentimental for the bride. As a bridesmaid, I always like to coordinate a surprise gift from the wedding party. The wedding party is a group of the bride's most special friends and she needs to be reminded of her roots on the big day! Again, to not get caught up in the "hooplah" of the day's activities, but to be reminded of the support system helping her walk down that aisle!
A smile!! Sounds so embarrassingly cheesy but it's true - you are there to lighten the mood and keep the bride content.
Energy! Busy day, lots of activities, lots of family to entertain - be excited and others will follow suit!
Do I have to go to EVERYTHING?
I don't think it's required to attend everything, BUT how and why would you want to miss something!? The little parties are the best part!
What is the funniest wedding/bridesmaid story you have?
I've worked in the wedding industry from a vendor's perspective, I've been a guest at weddings, I've been a bridesmaid at weddings, and I've been Maid of Honor at weddings. SO many fun times, funny memories, and hilarious moments along the way.
Setting: Very conservative family bridal shower.. all older women, aunts, great aunts, grandmothers, grandmother's friends, and then bridesmaids, sitting in a circle around the bride. After about an hour of beautiful gift opening - from silver bowls, to gorgeous linens, to serving dishes, to family heirlooms. The bride gets passed her final gift from mother of the bride. Wrapped in pretty white paper with a pretty white bow. The paper comes off to reveal a pretty box. The box opens to reveal a SEE THROUGH lacy white tank top and little shorties. Bride's jaw drops and face turns beet red, bridesmaids have tears of laughter streaming down their face, mother of the bride falling to the floor laughing. Mother of the bride says "an outfit for you to wear while cooking with all of your beautiful new dishes".. Everyone laughed hysterically and it was by far the best gift of the day, along with the most practical ;).
*Disclaimer - All of my other funny stories involve the one time a bridesmaid made out with the DJ but acted like she didn't, or the time a bridesmaid sang "Friends in Low Places" on stage with the wedding band, or the time a bridesmaid took a huge chug from a water bottle that was actually filled with vodka and almost keeled over.
What words of advice would you give to a newly chosen bridesmaid out there?
Appreciate the honor that you are given! It really is such a fun time to just be happy for your friend. Go with the flow, be a strong voice of reason, don't be bothered by the stressed bride, help her stay calm, and be FUN!
What advice would you give to brides when it comes to their bridesmaids?
Choose people who are TRULY happy for you and your relationship. There is no time for negativity or lack of support during your wedding season. Pick your closest girlies who you just can't live without! And for the friends you love and appreciate, but may not be your "ride or die" - include them in other roles during the wedding! There is always a need for a couple people to help coordinate the crowds on the day of and to help everyone stay calm and fun-spirited! I think it's great to choose bridesmaids as people who are close to both the bride and the groom. The wedding day is just as important to the groom.
TIPS FOR THE BRIDE
-Communicate clearly and effectively with your bridesmaids - keep them in the know as best you can, they are here to help you!
-Be decisive when it comes to making decision including your bridesmaids, they are also having to plan for your big day!
-Don't be TOO demanding, remember that your bridesmaids probably have the exact same stresses as you do for your wedding, time, money, how their dress will look, how to do their hair, etc.
-Extend appreciation often - there is probably a lot of work your bridesmaids are doing behind the scenes for you - planning and hosting showers, coordinating the bachelorette party - make sure to let them know how thankful you are for them during this time!
Don't forget that you may have to be a bridesmaid in one of your bridesmaid's weddings in the near future!
Take into account all the travel expenses that your friends are having. Maybe spend less time and money on gifts for the bridesmaids and just help accommodate them when traveling - pay for the hotel or for a meal. Bridesmaids are honored to be a part of the bride's day - they don't necessarily need gifts, the celebration is for the bride!
All in all, being a bridesmaid is a blast and I've enjoyed being a bridesmaids for all of my friends and enjoyed them also being at my side!
I hope you enjoyed this bridesmaid guide! If you have any additional questions I didn't answer or cover comment them below!
++Stephanie Grace Benton