Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

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To be a female in your 20’s inevitably means you will be invited to a wedding or 8 each year, and maybe even asked to be in a few. It’s an amazing feeling when someone close to you gets engaged. You may cry, you may suddenly believe in true love, soul mates, and all of those fuzzy feelings. You may imagine pictures in wedding magazines and movie scenes, gorgeous gowns and perfect hair. So, if asked to be a part of your friends special day of course you would agree!! The bride-to-be is your person, your best friend, your sister, your cousin, and you are beyond excited to share this special time with her. Plus, who doesn’t love putting on a pretty dress, drinking mimosas, and dancing the night away. Right? Being a bridesmaid unfortunately is a lot more than just laughs, getting dressed up, mimosas, and breathless wedding dress shopping. It’s effing hard work, and more expensive than it has ever been in years before.

This year I agreed to be in 3 weddings out of the 8 I was going to attend. All 3 of the girls have been my very best friends for as long as I can remember. I had been my sisters maid of honor when I was 20, but unfortunately, I was young and broke and my mom took on most of the role for me. Needless to say, I was very naive to the task being presented to me. These girls have always been selfless, kind, giving, funny, adventurous, hard-working, respectful, and any other positive adjective you could think of, so I was beyond honored to be asked. The 4 of us and our significant others are together often, so for the 3 of them, planning these weddings together was a unique experience. They had someone close to them going through the exact same thing. I’m so thankful they could have each other to lean on through all of the stress and unexpected events. So after all of the stress, sacrifices, and in the end all of the happiness of the past couple of months, this is the simple compilation of everything I’ve learned from being a bridesmaid back to back to back.


When agreeing to be a bridesmaid you have to take into account all of the bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and unexpected events (on top of all of those events for the other weddings you may be attending this year). You’ll be expected to be there for each event, plan accordingly. If you are unsure if you can do this, politely decline, the bride-to-be might be upset at first, but she will understand.

For each engagement you should try to buy the bride-to-be a gift, just something small, especially if she is a close friend. This is a super exciting time for them, something every girl dreams of, so something little just shows how excited you are for them.Etsy has great options, and The Knot has a great planner.)

For each bridal shower you’re expected to pick items from the bride and groom’s registry, unless you have another spectacular idea. (My friend Allie received a basket packed full of board games and card games with a sign on the front “couples that play together stay together.” That definitely counts as a spectacular idea.) The bride and groom put time and energy into their registry, and are looking forward to receiving those items. (Also if you are in the wedding party, reach out to the bride’s mother or aunts, whoever is planning the shower, to see what else you can do to help; whether it’s being in charge of games, guest book, or just gift unwrapping.)

Bachelorette parties aren’t a night of drinking on the town anymore. Almost every bachelorette party I attended, or have seen friends attend, is a weekend getaway. Which can definitely add up; the house, travel, food, booze, gift, and don’t forget you need an amazing outfit for that as well. Try and save as soon as you get asked to be in the wedding, anticipating that it’s going to be a destination party.

(Here are some unique and less expensive ideas. If you’re set on taking a trip here’s a list of places to look at.)

The rehearsal is usually 1-2 nights before the wedding, be there. It’s helpful to figure out the flow of the ceremony, meet the groomsmen, and most importantly to support the bride, groom and their families.

(Most venues have an area for the rehearsal dinner, if not help the bride get creative with it.)

The bride will want you to sleep over with her in the suite the night before the wedding, Try you’re very best to do that, it will mean the world to her. She needs her best friends to help calm her mind, and be there with her before the biggest day of her life. Make sure you get enough sleep, and aren’t drinking the night away, because the day of the wedding is L-O-N-G.

The day of the wedding expect the hairstylists to be there between 6-8am to get started (I’m serious). There will be a schedule of who goes first. In between hair and pictures, spend time asking the mother of the bride and groom if they need help with anything, eat something, make sure the bride is entertained (no matter what she says she will have some anxiety over how the day will go, and the fact that she’ll be the center of attention all night) The day of is literally an all day event. Lastly, practice your fake laugh face, during pictures you have to laugh on command for hours, and the faces can get pretty interesting. Oh! one more thing, bring extra hair spray to the suite in case you have the unfortunate 8am hair and make-up appointment.

There is some debate about whether to get the bride and groom a wedding gift if you are in the wedding. My parents always taught me that the better you know a couple, the bigger their gift should be, so I stick with that.

As a bridesmaid you are there for all of the above; but also, and possibly most importantly, to listen to the bride, be there for her every step of the way, keep all complaints to yourself, make sure the mother of bride and groom do not need any help, love your bridesmaid dress, and agree to all expenses that come up, yeah I know… #goodbyemoney #goodbyeweekends I promise you, in the end, your best friend will be happy and it’ll all be worth it.

(On a side note. Pay special attention to your own relationships during wedding season, especially if you have multiple weddings you are apart of or attending. It’s a very busy time; filled with high stress, lots of bitching, and no money or time for yourself and significant other. The last thing you want is all of your time and energy being put into your friends special day at the expense of your relationship.)

Examples of costs for different weddings
Maid of Honor breakdown (local wedding, destination bachelorette party)
Engagement gift: $60
Bridesmaid dress: $298
Alterations: $75
Bridal Shower Dress: Used one I already had
Shoes: $100
Bridal shower gift: $100
Bachelorette Party: $1500
Wedding gift: $180
Time off work: 3 weekends
Total: $2,175
Bridesmaid (destination wedding, destination bachelorette party)
Engagement gift: $15
Bridesmaid dress: $285
Wedding shoes: Used previous
Alterations: $45
Bridal Shower Dress: $75
Bridal Shower Gift: $100
Bachelorette Party: $200
Place to stay for wedding: $222
Hair: $45
Wedding Gift: $120
Time off work: 3 weekends
Total: $1,108
All of these dresses can be purchased at Nordstom.com

Destination wedding not apart of
Shower gift- $50
Dress for wedding: $140
Shoes for wedding: $50
Gift for wedding: $120
Hotel in upstate NY: $285 a night
Local wedding not apart of
Shower Gift: $50
Dress for wedding: $100
Shoes for wedding: used previous
Bachelorette Party: $100-300
Gift for wedding: $100
None of these prices include travel expenses, ubers, cash bars, cards, nails, hair, and makeup done on own etc.

Here are some more resources for the other naive bridesmaids out there…

The Knot explains the rest of the duties of a bridesmaid (besides getting your shit together in time).

The Knot explains the duties of a Maid of Honor. (please, try your best not to sob during the speech, no one can understand a thing when that happens)
Here’s some tips for brides to help bridesmaids save some money.
SLXLM

Also if you are in need of a great photographer for any event in the Detroit area (She also travels) check out Sarah Sutherland, not only is she the sweetest person I’ve ever met shes absolutely fantastic.
After everything you will be so happy you said yes to being a bridesmaid or maid of honor. You will get to help your best friend make her dream day a reality. The memories will be unforgettable, and the the money spent will not affect you in the years to come. It’s 100% worth every penny, sweat, tear, and stress. Remember it’s not about you, its about them, and helping them in any way so that they have the perfect fairy tale wedding.
Best,
Cat xo
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