Inquiring after my friendships, my Grandmother used to ask me, “Do you have a good gang?” I never understood this as a teen. Did she think I lived in a Little Rascals movie? As an adult I understand. She grew up in 1930s Brooklyn (not the movie version) where she needed her “gang” to help her get through what can’t have been the easiest life. So how about you, do you have a good gang? I’m guessing yes. Friends, family, we have to be grateful for the people in our lives who support us. Tell them you love them this weekend.
It’s your day, Bride, no question about it. But take time to think about your friends and their circumstances. Chances are you know all too well how expensive it can get being a bridesmaid, or even just being a friend-of-the-bride, what with showers, bachelorettes, wedding gifts…it adds up. Here are some “dos and don’ts” for keeping your friends feelings and finances in mind.
Keep Up With The Jolies. Yes, we all read the magazines of celebrity excesses and glamorous getaways, but celebrate in a way all your gals can afford. Does your entire gaggle of girls need to go to Puerto Rico for a long bachelorette weekend? Does your shower need to be at the Ritz? Keep your expectations within everyone’s budget.
Have a Surprise Party. No one likes expensive surprises. When your maids find out on wedding day that they owe $150 plus tip for hair and make-up (that is “optional,” but everyone else is doing it), you can’t expect they’ll be feeling celebratory.
Be choosy (in a good way). Pay attention when choosing your wedding party. Did your cousin just get laid off? Does your best friend have college loans up the wazoo? If you think someone might feel less than honored – ask her in a neutral way that allows a graceful “out.”
Adopt an attitude of gratitude! Thank everyone. This seems like a no-brainer, but tell everyone how much you appreciate the love and support. The more your friends hear this during the lead up to your wedding, the better the experience will be for everyone!
There you have it. Keep your friendships together, and everyone’s wallet (relatively) intact.
You have the ring and you’ve told your family. The next step many brides take is to select their attendants. These women (and sometimes men) will be an integral part of the next year of your life, and it is important to choose wisely.
Brides who choose their maids without forethought often end up with attendants who are not up to the task, or who are initially excited, but lose interest in participating as the big day approaches. Even worse, brides can lose friends in the stressful situations that can arise as the wedding is planned. All the drama is easily avoided if you select your wedding party carefully. Here are five tips to help you avoid inviting conflict down the aisle:
1. Take your time. Immediately after he proposes may seem like the perfect moment to ask your friends to stand up for you, but it is wiser to share the news of the engagement without raising the subject of the wedding party. Your emotions will be running high, so wait for things to settle down before making any decisions. Keep in mind, while you can always ask someone to be in your wedding, it is not an invitation you can take back.
2. Think about your friends’ life situations. Is one of your candidates already committed to two other weddings this year? She may be relieved just being one of your guests. A friend working three jobs to pay off her credit cards? Maybe now isn’t the time to ask her to buy a pricey dress and a plane ticket. The same consideration should apply to people with demanding schedules, and/or small children. These friends can still be included in the planning, and can be lifesavers with tasks like monitoring the guest book, or handing out programs.
3. Contemplate your maids as a group. Will everyone get along? It’s wise to think about how they will work together. If two of your close friends aren’t speaking, don’t let them turn your wedding into an episode of ‘The Hills.’ Ask one to be a bridesmaid, and invite the other to do a reading, or participate in another way. The same goes for feuding relatives, and ex co-workers on shaky ground.
4. Remember, although being a bridesmaid is an honor, it is also a job with responsibilities. If you will need a lot of help, make sure to select one or two bridesmaids you can really count on to hold everything together. Although you love her, the friend who skipped off to Bali the night before her IRS audit may not be a wise choice.
5. Lastly, don’t let anyone pressure you to include someone you wouldn’t have picked on your own. Attendant spots are not guaranteed to women whose weddings you were in, nor to your fiancé’s cousin twice removed (no matter what his Mother says). Your bridesmaids are your pillars of strength during the wedding planning process, and you want to be enthusiastic about each of the wonderful friends who accompany you down the aisle. Resentment and guilt have no place at the altar on your wedding day.
As you pick your attendants, follow your heart, but don’t lose your head. Keeping these points in mind, you will be on your way to creating an enthusiastic, supportive, and helpful bridal party.