Congratulations! You’re engaged to the love of your life and are now starting to plan your wedding. Your wedding day is quickly approaching and you’re thrilled at the prospect of inviting some of your best friends to be your bridesmaids.
But before you begin building your wedding party, there are a few things to consider. While your wedding is important, your bridesmaids are also important, and it’s important to consider them as well. If you don’t, you’ll end up sending crazy emails like this:
I would like everyone to send me any dates they are going away or planning to go away after February so if your [sic] going away in January I don’t care. I want any dates from February to the day of our wedding in August, that way we know not to plan something when your [sic] away. But after this week the dates are set in stone.
Don’t be that bride.
Fashion: Azazie Photography: Elizabeth Friske Photography
In order to help you prepare for your wedding, consider these 15 awesome things to do for your bridesmaids.
#1 – Help Your Bridesmaids Get To Know Each Other
There’s a good chance your bridesmaids don’t know each other. There’s also a good chance that there will be some drama between your bridesmaids (there always is!). One way to lessen the drama is to help your bridesmaids get to know each other before the wedding weekend. To help them build relationships before your big day.
The options here are endless. Hold a bridesmaids weekend, start a bridesmaids Facebook group, have your bridesmaids come to the wedding several days early so you can all enjoy time together. Once everyone is together, go out to eat, get pedicures and manicures, go to a spa, sample wine and cheese, or go shopping. Your goal is to create a sense of camaraderie and friendship.
#2 – Let Your Bridesmaids Choose One Element Of Their Outfit
If your bridal party are all wearing matching bridesmaid dresses, give them the option of choosing another element of their outfit. Let them choose their shoes or flowers or some other unique part of their look. You want them to feel like they can add a dash of their own style to their outfit. Yes, ultimately you have the final say in the fashion department, but giving them a choice let’s them add their own personality.
There’s a couple other options for adding their own personality. You can choose a color pallette (mismatched bridesmaid dresses are hot right now) and let them choose the color that suits them best. Or better yet, once you’ve decided on the color, give your bridesmaids the option of choosing their style. As Stephanie Herbst says:
Give your bridal party color swatches of the color you’d like them to wear, and then let them choose their own bridesmaid dresses. That way they’ll have a dress they’re actually excited about wearing, and you’ll have them looking just the way you pictured! And if you don’t like their choices? Chances are they kept the receipt for you, just in case.
#3 – Ask Each Of Them In A Special Way
Each of your bridesmaids is connected to you in a unique way, through family or friendship or a multitude of other circumstances. Ask each of them to be in your wedding in a way that communicates your unique friendship and the special affection you have for them.
Has one of your bridesmaids been your running partner for years? Take them on a special run and ask them at a beautiful vista. Take one of them out to lunch, order an expensive bottle of wine for the two of you, then ask. Being a bridesmaid can be expensive and cost a significant amount of money. Your goal is to show each of them how much your appreciate them.
#4 – Arrange For Bridesmaid Portraits On The Wedding Day
A simple way to give back to your bridesmaids is to arrange for each of them to have a portrait taken on the wedding day. Ask your wedding photographer how much time is required for the additional portraits, then create the necessary time in the schedule.
Not only will your bridesmaids feel loved, they’ll also have a gorgeous photo. If they have a significant other or children, be sure they’re also included in the portrait session.
#5 – Give Each Bridesmaid A Unique Gift
Rather than giving all your bridesmaids the same gift, give each one something unique to your friendship and their personality. The options here are endless: a framed photograph of the two of you, a silver plated engraved compact for touch ups on the wedding day, a locket with a picture of the two of you, etc.
By giving each bridesmaid a unique gift, you’re saying to them, “I value you personally and am grateful for the sacrifices you made to be in my wedding.”
#6 – Write A Personalized Letter To Each Of Them
Writing a personalized letter to each bridesmaid allows you to express, in detail, what you appreciate about them. It allows you to reminisce about good times, thank them for ways they’ve supported you, and specifically encourage them. It’s truly a gift from your heart to theirs.
In many ways, this kind of personalized letter can be more valuable than a gift. Buying a gift for bridesmaids can be seen as both traditional and obligatory. Writing a letter touches the emotions.
#7 – Offer To Pay For Babysitting
If any of your bridesmaids are married, have children, or have jobs, trying to find time to prepare for the wedding can be extraordinarily difficult. They barely have time to prepare dinner and get their kids to soccer practice, let alone spend hours dress shopping.
One way to relieve the stress is to offer to pay for babysitting so your bridesmaid can get some time to herself. Or offer to pay for her and her significant other to go out on a date. It’s a way of showing that you’re aware of the challenges involved in being a bridesmaid.
#8 – Provide A Comfy Shoe For The Reception
If your bridesmaids will be wearing heels during the wedding, give their feet some relief during the reception. Give them a pair of flip-flops or some other type of footwear that is easy on the feet. Remember, there’s a good chance they’ll have blisters on their feet. Don’t force them to stay in heels throughout the entire day. Both they and their feet will thank you.
#9 – Loosen Them Up Before The Wedding
Being a bridesmaid can be stressful. They have to look good, they have to walk down the aisle correctly, and they must avoid tripping. If it’s an outdoor wedding, they’re going to be concerned about sweat and bugs and their heels sinking into the ground. Everyone will be looking at them for a significant portion of the wedding.
Provide drinks, snacks, and a peaceful atmosphere for your bridesmaids before they walk down the aisle. They’ll be taking their cues from you. If you’re not too stressed out, laugh with them. Set them at ease. Create a lighthearted, enjoyable atmosphere.
#10 – Choose Hairstyles That Aren’t Overly Complicated
Choosing a crazy complicated hair style and then expecting your bridesmaids to replicate it themselves is unreasonable and will send them into a panic. When it comes to hair, either choose a relatively simple hairstyle or bring in an expert to do their hair for them.
Again, to quote Stephanie Herbst:
…if you want your bridesmaids to have crazy or complicated hairstyles for the wedding, offer to find someone to do their hair for them. There’s probably no way that they’ll figure out those ‘dos by themselves, or at least in the way you pictured it. Take some stress off of them (and you) by having a designated stylist.
#11 – Warn Them About Potentially Creepy Groomsmen
There’s at least one at every wedding: the semi-creepy groomsmen who tries to hook up with the at least one of the bridesmaids. Do your girls a favor and warn them about this guy. This will prepare them for his advances and keep them from feeling like they are somehow at fault.
Nobody likes creepy groomsmen. Help your bridesmaids keep their distance.
#12 – Be Upfront About Time and Money
When asking a friend to be in your wedding, be upfront about how much it will cost and the time involved. If your wedding is a destination wedding, fill them in on all the details, from bridesmaid dresses to travel expenses. The last thing you want is for your bridesmaids to discover the time and costs after the fact and then be resentful.
When you do explain the details, don’t be offended if they can’t do it. There are a variety of circumstances, both financial and personal which can prevent a person from participating in a wedding.
As Kit Steinkellner says:
Your wedding is obviously expensive for you, but it can start getting up there for your maids too, between dresses and showers and bachelorette stuff and presents and travel and lodgings. That all adds up. You have to be upfront about costs and you have to be cool if someone you ask declines because they can’t foot the bill.
#13 – Make Bridesmaid Survival Kits
There are a thousand ways things can get crazy for your bridesmaids on the wedding day. Help them prepare for anything by creating survival kits for them. These kits can include pain relievers, chapstick, alka seltzer, chewing gum, listerine, and anything else you think may be useful.
You may not be able to prepare them for everything, but you certainly can help them cover most of their bases.
#14 – Be Consistently Thankful
Throughout the planning process and the wedding itself, consistently thank your bridesmaids. Yes, things will get stressful at times. Yes, you will be tempted to focus exclusively on yourself due to the nature of the process.
But a habit of gratitude will go a long way in making your bridesmaids feel appreciated. And when you do get a bit stressed out, they’ll know that it’s not personal. You’ve told them again and again how thankful you are – now you’re just feeling a bit anxious.
#15 – Don’t Make Your Bridesmaids’ Lives Revolve Around Your Wedding
Yes, your wedding is important. Yes, it’s a very big day for you, and hopefully your bridesmaids will realize that. But you also must realize that your bridesmaids have lives outside of your wedding. They have jobs and families and other friends. They have expenses and responsibilities to attend to.
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie Photography: Melissa Marshall
When interacting with your bridesmaids, be considerate of their lives. Don’t make them orient their schedules around your wedding. Don’t freak out if they can’t make every single event. Just because they can’t participate in everything doesn’t mean they don’t love you.
Your wedding day is going to be wonderful. It will be a day full of joy, gladness, and cheer. By implementing these 15 unique ideas, you can also make sure that your wedding day is awesome for your bridesmaids and the entire wedding party.