By Laura Kolka.
Bridesmaids are both a blessing and a curse for the modern Bride.
They are integral to the planning process, to bounce ideas off, help you make decisions, and are there to keep you sane. However, the politics of bridesmaids and the inevitable conflicts can sometimes drive you INsane! Below are some things to bear in mind when choosing and interacting with your Bridesmaids, from choosing them, to roles on the big day.
WVSA Supplier: Chris Smith Photography
Choosing your bridesmaids
So this is EXTREMELY personal to each bride. In my experience the number of bridesmaids can range from 1 to 13. Realistically anything up to 6 is about average, anything above can sometimes be a bit of a handful!
I, and most photographers, would recommend having an even number of bridesmaids. This is so your photos look great when you have them taken on the big day as they are nice and symmetrical!
Bridesmaid parties usually consist of close friends, and family. Whether this be cousins, sisters, sister-in-law etc. Mothers aren’t usually included in bridesmaids as they have their role as Mother of the Bride/ Groom!
Ultimately choosing who you have as a bridesmaid is completely unique to each bride. Just PLEASE don’t feel pressured into choosing someone just because they chose you to be a bridesmaid on their big day, or are a family member etc, it is your big day and you need to be surrounded by people who will support you, keep you sane, and stick to YOUR vision.
Asking your bridesmaids
It is very important to actually ask your bridesmaids if they are happy to be a bridesmaid, and not just for them to assume they are one! I have had a lot of uncomfortable brides who have had family members assume they are going to be a bridesmaid and not know how to break the news to them, that they are not going to be one.
There are a lot of different and unique ways to ‘propose’ to bridesmaids now. These can vary from a letter, to a goody-bag, to a piece of jewellery. It is not necessary AT ALL to financially invest in asking your bridesmaids, however it can be nice gesture, and they usually share the ‘proposal’ on social media so everyone knows if they are a bridesmaid or not (which avoids awkward situations later on).
There are great ideas for bridesmaid proposals on Pinterest. You have a lot of choice to buy on Not On The High Street and Etsy as well.
You can make a big night of this or just ask them individually casually.
Whichever way you do choose to ask them, ensure they know they have the option to say no! Being a bridesmaid is a big responsibility and takes a lot of time and finances. Let them know that you would love for them to be involved in your big day but if they can’t commit the time or money it is absolutely fine for them to decline. You don’t want a bridesmaid to feel pressured into saying yes, and then they have an issue with everything you want to do later down the line. This both upsets the bridesmaid and yourself.
Image reference: https://www.notonthehighstreet.com/
Bridesmaids generally plan the Hen Do. Unless you are a control freak like me and you need to be involved, even just a little bit.
Again, ensure your bridesmaids know your vision for this and a budget has been discussed. As a bride you need to give them a rough time of year, a guest list, and (ideally) leave them to it!
In terms of payments, traditionally bridesmaids pay for the hen. However, this isn’t always realistic so make sure this has been discussed beforehand.
Oh boy! This is what a lot of brides fear very early on in wedding planning.
The colour of the bridesmaid dresses is generally inspired by the colour scheme on the day. Or can sometimes inspire the theme of the wedding, if you have bridesmaids that only want to wear a certain colour.
You want to be looking to buy these around 9 months before the wedding date as it gives you time to find the right ones, have them arrive, and get them altered if needs be. However, if you are wanting a certain colour that is quite seasonal you might have to buy the dresses at the time of year those dresses are in shops (if you are looking to buy your dresses on the high street/online). For example, if you want a light pastel colour that might only be available to purchase in the spring/summer time. Try not to buy these too far in advance as bridesmaid’s dress sizes may change. If you do need to buy them in advance I would recommend buying a size up for the bridesmaids as it is always easier to take dresses in then let them out!
There are a lot of options in terms of where to buy bridesmaid’s dresses now.
A great way to save money is to buy them from a high street store/ online, such as ASOS. You don’t need to buy bridesmaid dresses from bridal stores anymore. However, these will ensure you can get the dresses altered/ in your colour etc, they will just be a bit more expensive.
There are also websites where you can order dresses in the same colour but in different styles, in order to flatter different body sizes/ shapes of bridesmaids. The most well known of these are Mixbridal, His and Hers and JJs House. The downside with these sites is they only have a select variety of colours to choose from, and they are online so you can’t try the dresses on beforehand. Plus they aren’t the cheapest option.
Ultimately the perfect bridesmaid dress is the balance between, your budget, colours, and styles, which make everyone happy.
WVSA Supplier: Elen Studio Photography
I have referred to the budget a few times already, and this is obviously a very important aspect to wedding planning. If your budget allows you to pay for everything for your bridesmaid’s that is great, however this isn’t reality for a lot of modern brides.
Ultimately you need to speak to your bridesmaids with regards to what you would expect them to pay for and what you are paying for. If they are paying for any part of the day you need to keep them in the loop with how much everything is panning out to cost, so they can budget effectively.
An idea of what you need to keep in mind for budgets is:
Dressing Robes (anything else for the morning)
Food and Drink getting ready and the day before
Any travel costs for bridesmaid dress fittings/ dress shopping etc
There may be less or more to budget for depending on each individual wedding.
WVSA Supplier: PH Weddings
On the Day
Getting ready with your bridesmaids on the morning of your wedding is something all us brides are really looking forward to. Getting pampered all together, having a couple of drinks and getting excited for the rest of the day together!
Some brides give their bridesmaids certain roles on the day, others just want them there for company/ support.
If you do choose to give bridesmaids a role, of course, ensure they know this beforehand and are happy to do so. These can vary from looking after your bag/ phone on the day, to looking after a guest/ dog, to helping you go to the toilet!
Otherwise, just have an amazing day with your close friends and family. And have fun!