Because you still want to be friends after the wedding.
Even though the wedding is technically your big day, you still want your besties to have a blast along the way! Whether you're working with two bridesmaids or 20, it's über important to take good care of them and show your appreciation for their efforts. Follow these 12 steps to ensure a blissfully-happy bridal party.
1. Break the ice.
Since your bridal party will consist of important people from all the different phases of your life, it's very likely not everyone will know each other. After asking your friends and fam to join your bridal party, get them all together for a casual meet-and-greet so they'll feel more at ease within the group prior to the start of the wedding festivities. Or if they live in different parts of the world, you can do this virtually via a Skype happy hour!
2. Communicate early and often.
Well informed bridesmaids are happy bridesmaids! Give them the dates of your engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and wedding day well in advance. Let them know how the bridesmaid dress shopping and/or ordering experience will go. Give them plenty of notice for your bachelorette party plans. And always be up front about time and money commitments. Setting expectations early will give your bridesmaids sufficient time to plan.
3. Keep budgets in mind.
Being a bridesmaid can cost a pretty penny, from the dress to the bachelorette party to the wedding gift. And the fastest way to send your bridesmaids down a stress spiral is by not considering their financial situation. Think of ways to cut their costs, and only plan events that everyone can afford to attend. For example: give them their wedding-day jewelry as a bridal party gift, let them rent bridesmaid dresses instead of buying, or stay at your grandparents' timeshare for your bachelorette bash.
4. Respect their time.
Your bridesmaids have their own lives going on—full-time jobs, kids, or classes—and they're not going to put them on pause because you're planning a wedding. Even though wedding planning may be consuming your life, you shouldn't expect it to consume theirs. This also goes for email and text communications where brevity is a virtue! Don't send them a 20-page manuscript or an obnoxious never-ending group text. Keep your comms short, sweet, and to the point.
5. Choose flattering dresses—or let them pick their own.
In addition to keeping the price of your bridesmaid dresses affordable, remember that one size or one style doesn't fit all—and think twice before choosing that form-fitting strapless gown! One way around this is to offer them fashion freedom. Take advantage of the mix-and-match dress trend by giving your ladies the color palette/event style you've chosen, along with the option to pick their own ensemble. Your bridal party will appreciate your flexibility—and they'll feel better about spending money on an outfit they'll likely wear again!
6. Let them choose their own hair and/or makeup.
Each of your bridal party members is beautiful and unique in their own way—so why would you want them all wearing the same shade of red lipstick or the same stiff updo? They'll feel the most fabulous if you let them choose their own makeup and hairstyle, whether they do it themselves or get professionally done-up. Just remember: If you insist that your bridesmaids get their hair or makeup done by a professional, you're required to pick up the tab!
7. Let them choose their own shoes.
This is another place where one size doesn't fit all! If you want your bridesmaids to be comfortable all wedding long, let them pick their own footwear. You can always give them a specific color to stick to for uniformity and coordination purposes, but don't require they all wear a 4-inch stiletto. If you do choose their ceremony footwear, gift them with a cute pair of flip-flops for dancing at the reception!
8. Spread the love.
Yes, we know there's always that one friend who's a whiz at arts & crafts or who plans the most epic parties, but don't overload any one member of your bridal party. Spread out the responsibilities so no one feels overburdened—and no one feels unimportant!
9. Give them all a plus-one.
Whether you're having a grand celebration or a micro-wedding, it's only fair that you give each of your bridal party members a "plus one"—even if they're not seriously dating anyone!
10. Feed and water them.
On the wedding day, make sure you have plenty of bottled water and energy bars or fruit on hand so your entourage doesn't show up to the ceremony hangry. And free-flowing mimosas while you get ready is always a festive idea!
11. Be a Bridechilla.
The best gift you can give to your bridesmaids is being a calm, cool, and collected bride! Treat them as adults, be reasonable, and be respectful. Make a pact with your bridesmaids to keep the drama to a minimum—and have fun!
12. Say thanks. A lot.
Throughout the process, give each of them plenty of heartfelt THANK YOUs for all the effort they've been putting into your wedding. And give them a sweet thank-you gift as a token of your gratitude. And consider making a short toast to them at your rehearsal dinner! They're your ride-or-die besties who've been there for you through thick and thin. Show them how much you love and appreciate them every chance you get!
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