Practical tips for the bride-to-be on delicate bridal party topics Of course it’s your big day, but remember that your friends are coming together because they love and support you.
The epic moments you spend with your closest girlfriends are sure to make it to your list of Top 10 Wedding Memories. You’ll laugh and recount stories about what happened at your bachelorette party, not to mention the last-minute wardrobe/hair/make-up malfunctions on the morning of the wedding!
Since your bridesmaids feature prominently at your wedding, you want them to make you look good. Their dresses, hair, shoes and jewelry must all come together to create a stunning package. Sounds easy? In reality, it never is.
Many brides-to-be have approached us about these details, so we spoke to a number of newlyweds and bridesmaids to come up with some tips for you.
Share your Dreams
The key here is to clarify your expectations of your bridesmaids, and allow them to do the same. You will, of course, want them to create a certain look and image together—so share that vision with your girls. It is important that they fall in love with your ideas too! If your dream is to have a Cinderella-themed wedding with your bridesmaids in fairy-like puffy pink dresses, ensure that your girls are on board with that.
Above all, keep the ‘princess’ attitude in check; of course it’s your big day, but remember that your friends are coming together because they love and support you.
Vary Style with Shape
Each of your bridesmaids has a unique body shape and size. It is not always easy to choose a single dress that will flatter every body type. Some girls may want to add sleeves, while some may want a longer hemline than the one you’ve chosen. There may even be a certain level of modesty that your girls are accustomed to and want to uphold. Our advice – be flexible! You want your girls not only looking beautiful, but feeling comfortable in their finery. When you are open to suggestions and feedback, you’ll find that many unnecessary negative sentiments and conflicts can easily be avoided.
Specific vs General
The brides covered in our Wedding Stories this issue varied in their approach to choosing bridesmaids’ dresses. One bride selected a specific dress from a supplier for her bridesmaids, while another picked a colour and asked her girls to wear any dress they loved, in that shade. Each approach has its pros and cons, so talk to your girls and see what’s most convenient and cost effective for them.
Traditionally, the bride took care of all these expenses. But don’t be alarmed. These days, there’s no set rule. First of all, be clear about your budget and realistically decide which items in your bridesmaids’ ensembles you can afford. Remember, it’s not only the dress; shoes, jewelry, hair and makeup are also costs to consider.
Recent brides advise that if you choose a dress that your bridesmaids can wear again and again, it’s not unfair that they pay for their own dress. However, do strongly consider sponsoring if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime statement piece that you have your heart set on.
Speak to each of your girls and see what they’re able and prepared to take care of. Some may be travelling from overseas to be part of your wedding, while others may be living on student budgets that do not allow for these expenses. Draw on your sense of practicality and ability to be understanding when making these important decisions.
Some brides prefer to keep it low-key and let their bridesmaids do their own hair and make-up, but it’s important to give some direction and styling tips to ensure that there will be no surprises. Other brides hire professional hairstylists and make-up artists to beautify their bridesmaids so that the hair and make-up looks will be the same for each bridesmaid. Styling elements such as jewellery and shoes should be coordinated in advance to achieve uniformity. Why not plan a relaxing ladies-only spa day just before the wedding? This will ensure that everyone is well-rested, glowing and photo-ready on your big day!
It’s no surprise that ladies are very particular about what they wear! From the bride to the wedding guests, everyone wants to look their splendid best. With a number of girls in your bridal party, expect a plethora of tastes, preferences and opinions. It’s impossible to please yourself and everyone else without hurting some feelings and bruising some egos.
A spirit of gratitude gives you the superpower to face all situations with poise and a clear focus on what’s truly important. It’s less about which shade of pink to go with, and more about the love, joy and harmony of being together.
Of course it’s your big day, but remember that your friends are coming together because they love and support you.
Bride running late? Photoshoot in overdrive before the reception? Here’s a cocktail blueprint for keeping your guests happy.
The cocktail hour is that time, right before the reception, that guests spend mingling, sipping and munching, and an important opportunity to set the tone and style of your wedding.
The cocktail hour was originally created to give guests something to do while the wedding party and new bride and groom took pictures or were otherwise occupied before the reception.
Keep an open floor plan. Walking out of a lovely ceremony to find yourself crowded by guests en route to the party room can be a quick mood killer. The trick is to make the cocktail venue as open and spacious as possible to facilitate fun and mingling.
Eliminate food bottlenecks. Supplement your main bar or snack station with one or two smaller bars at opposite corners of the room to prevent crowding.
It’s better to rely mainly on servers to get food to guests, and serve only “finger foods” so that plates are not required. Be sure to assign at least one server to every fifty guests.
Some tables and seats are needed. Be sure to have a few cocktail tables, some high, some low, so that guests can have a place to rest their drinks and sit down. A good strategy would be to place low tables with chairs along the wall, and high-tops without chairs toward the middle of the room.
Cater to all guests. Have seating for older guests and for those who may need seating (for example, those with medical conditions).
Be sure to have kid-appropriate munchies if children are invited; and include non-alcoholic drinks and perhaps a vegetable or non-meat item to satisfy various dietary requirements.
Time it. The cocktail hour should only last one hour. Guests standing on their feet, balancing food and drinks, can get tired and bored if the cocktail hour lingers.
Minimize the décor. During cocktails, guests are busy socializing, not focusing on decor. So don’t spend a fortune on large arrangements.
Keep it simple. A cocktail hour needn’t involve fancy cocktail tables, a bar, or even alcoholic drinks. To include a cocktail hour without breaking the bank consider serving drinks that you can make in bulk.
Leave out the alcohol. Consider leaving out the alcohol and just serving cheese and crackers, veggies or fruit, with smoothies, or an assortment of teas, and/or lemonade or another array of drinks that go with your theme.
That way, you not only save cost, but also get all the formal wedding items such as toasts, speeches and special dances out of the way before bringing out the booze.
MAKING IT SPECIAL?
Consider a photo booth. This is a fun, breezy way to get guests involved and entertained, prior to the reception. It’s also a good way to ensure that you get additional photos of your guests.
Musical inspiration. Single musicians such as guitarists, violinists, pianists and harpists are perfect. Adding more musicians to the combination is also a nice touch and these can include violin, guitar or a small string ensemble. Better yet, have the musicians stroll amongst your guests. (Note that you don’t have to bust the bank for good talent. Musicians can include a talented kid you know. Music teachers would be happy to facilitate exposure for students.)
Caricature artists. Hire local talent to draw/paint caricatures of your guests. The art becomes a fun filled favor that your guests can take home. Take inspiration from Bohemian Paris, and have artists available even whilst guests enjoy dinner and dessert.
Change of scenery. Depending on your location, cocktail hours can allow for guests to spend some time outdoors and enjoy the wonderful weather. Think outdoor patio or verandah, a picturesque garden, or the beach.