Post # 1
I just finished my first time being a bridesmaid this weekend and thought I’d share what I learned. I’ve been to very few weddings, so there is a lot I am clueless about.
1) 1.5 hours is not enough time for photos. There was an hour scheduled before the ceremony for separate girls/boys pictures and half an hour after for group photos. We barely got any of the bride’s side photos done before the ceremony because we were running late of course, so that half hour after turned into over 2 hours.
2) Photos between the ceremony and reception suck. The Bridal Party and immediate family were starving and our dates sat around awkwardly at the reception which had music but no bar.
3) Have snacks available. One of the grandmas thankfully came through or we all would have died waiting for dinner.
4) If you’re going to be late for the reception, make sure to make a really obvious reserved table. They planned to have a head table for the couple and bridal party, but by the time we got there it was taken (no seating chart). The bride and groom ended up sitting with the groom’s parents and random friends of theirs, and I was thankful to get to sit with my Fiance instead of separated off with the Bridal Party.
5) It will take an hour to get the bride dressed.
6) If you have really uneven number of guests, forget the bride’s side/groom’s side thing. The groom’s side was kind of sad.
6) The dress is pretty much the best Bridesmaid or Best Man gift ever. Sadly I can’t afford to do this.
7) I can’t wait for my turn.
What have you learned from other weddings you’ve been in or attended?
Post # 3
I only have 1.5 hours booked for pictures! Uh-oh!
Post # 4
I’ve been a Bridesmaid or Best Man three times and I think the best advice is to ask the bride throughout the planning process if she needs help. If she says no, offer to complete specific tasks for hr. She will appreciate it immensely.
Post # 5
My photographer told us to budget at least 2 hours for the pictures. One thing about weddings is that EVERYTHING takes longer than you think it will.
Post # 6
Erindesmar, that is great advice.
I thought of one more thing I learned, that I’ll be ok without a DOC. It’s not something that’s in my budget but a lot of people on the boards seem to regret not having one. This wedding was about 150 people, 3 times the size of mine. They didn’t have a DOC and everything went off without a hitch. I know the bride’s parents and cousin were working really hard in the morning to get the reception venue set up, but the florest came and did everything for the ceremony and Bridal Party plus other family members easily took care of other details.
Post # 7
I love this thread. I learned a million things from being a Bridesmaid or Best Man last year.
1) Although my friend loved having 275 guests, I learned there is no way you’ll be able to say HI to everyone if you have too many. I’m limiting my list to 150 or so.
2) There are a lot "extras" to purchase that seem wonderful but end up being unncessary. You do not need a fancy car to drive around the block if you’re just going to get into the limo (or trolley in this case) and go with everyone else.
3) The trolley I mentioned above……yeah. Limit the bridal party. Unfortunately for my friend her fiance couldn’t cut anyone so the party got so big we needed a trolley to get around. I’m keeping mine to 3 BMs, 2 greeter/readers.
4) Have more than enough favors. My friend gave out pieces of cake as favors in cute boxes. I stayed all night to help finish everything off and I ended up not getting any since obviously someone took too many home with them. SAD:(
I had an absolute blast and I also learned 100 things to do right.
1) Obviously open bar. People will remember how entertaining your wedding was and very little else. My friend had flip flops ready for all the girls and I swear to you I saw my friends last weekend and we are still all wearing them. $2.50 at Old Navy goes a long way but you can find $1 flip flops at Michael’s as well. Buying in bulk you could probably get a better deal too.
2) Have your rehearsal dinner somewhere that everyone can meet up with you when it’s done. My friend had hers at a beer garden in their beautiful banquet room. After the dinner was done, we all moved out to the garden and everyone else who came in for the wedding was able to join us.
3) There are two theories on Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses. My friend believed we’ll never wear them again so she made them inexpensive but not my favorite style. I won’t wear it ever. My theory that I’m sure many of you share is that I’d rather my BMs pay a little more for a dress that they’ll wear again. I’m doing black dresses with maybe an attached flower that they can remove and wear the dress again.
4) Splurge on one big thing for fun. My friend splurged on a lot but she had probably a 32 ft ice sculpture of our college’s bell tower. I thought it was the coolest thing ever. I think I’m going to splurge on a photo booth.
Post # 8
Regarding how long you need for pre-ceremony pictures, I think it all depends on your approach and how many pictures you expect. For us, starting 2 hours before the ceremony (so 1.5 hours of picture time) was enough. Granted, we were 100%-ready-to-go-bouquet-in-hand when the pro-photog arrived! Also, our photog was pretty efficient about how she managed everybody. Once my fiance and I had our first look and she took pictures of just the two of us, she had everyone in the wedding party gather in the same area (bridesmaids, groomsmen, siblings, parents, etc.) so that no time was wasted looking for so-and-so or gathering people together. At first I was nervous people would feel like they were being treated like cattle, but it ended up being a lot of fun. (The guys were a lot more spirited when they had the bridesmaids whooping at them during their pictures!)
I agree with Erindesmer about offering to do specific tasks for the bride. If a Bridesmaid or Best Man isn’t specific, the bride may be unsure about how involved the Bridesmaid or Best Man really wants to be! 🙂
Post # 9
I’ll be a bridesmaid for the 5th time this year and the one thing I learned throughout all my experiences is to JUST HAVE A GOOD TIME. Don’t worry about the details (you did enough of that during the planning process), don’t worry about everything turning out perfect (you had enough nightmares about it the night before,) and remember that when the bride/bridal party has a good time …everyone else does.
Post # 10
I agree with Erindesmar that it’s really helpful as a Bridesmaid or Best Man to offer to help the bride with whatever tasks she may need. This can be leading up to the wedding, or even on the wedding day.
I also think, for me, as a Bridesmaid or Best Man, I’ve always tried to stay as positive as possible about everything. Did I want to spend all that money on the unflattering dress? No! But did my friend need to hear it? Nope, it was her special day, so I sucked it up and kept my opinions to myself. I really wanted the day to be as wonderful as possible for my friend, so I stayed as upbeat and positive as possible. I did my best not to complain or to add to the bride’s stress level.
@Crash–what you said about having snacks/food available is SO important. My sister was a Bridesmaid or Best Man once and they had NOTHING to eat from 6:00 AM until dinner at 5!! They were all starving and crabby as a result! Thankfully, this was a lesson learned for my wedding. One of my wonderful Bridesmaid or Best Man made me a sandwich so I had something to eat during the day!
Post # 11
I think someting that brides need to remember is to thank their BMs. I was a Bridesmaid or Best Man in the wedding for a good friend, and no matter how much I love her I can’t get over how unthankful she was. I asked what she needed help with, I did it. She was freaking out becasue she had to move across the country the week before the wedding, I helped her do that. She needed someone to store her wedding dress? I did it in my 800 sq.ft. place… I made her invitations… I did a lot. The best I recieved was the same thank you note everyone got 6 months after the wedding… I wish I wasn’t so bummed out by that, but I am. So, even if your BMs are simply attending, that still takes effort. Make sure they know you sincerely appreciate whatever they have done for you.
Post # 12
Tell your parents they need to be ready 30 minutes earlier than they should be. I told my parents to be ready at X time. And we were STILL 30 minutes late…to my own wedding. I was not happy. And I lost 30 minutes of photo time that I can never get back. My bridesmaids and I only got inside shots because that first 30 minutes was for outside so we didn’t accidentally see the groomsmen. I was disappointed we didn’t get cute pictures outside. They were late to my rehearsal, too. I should’ve known!
My girls were SO grateful that I had sandwich trays, fruit trays, and sparkling wine for them all before the wedding at my house. Happy bridesmaids!
Post # 13
SweetLemon, I agree with the thanking. I was in a wedding for the 7th time this weekend, and the bride let us all know how much she truly appreciated all of our help. It was a small gesture, but I had never been thanked before and it went a long way with me. I just felt that she really loved each and every one of us and what we did for her.
Another thing I learned as a bridesmaid is not to let your photographer ruin your day. If you want to go to your cocktail hour, let him/her know, and don’t let them go over your alloted time. Once the formals are finished, your photographer should be invisible, but be able to capture every moment you have. Nothing is more of a buzz killer than your photog telling you to "just hold that pose for 5 more minutes until I get the lighting, angle and shot right…"
Keep the bride calm! I loved my bridesmaids for doing this for me! Though my mom stressed me out the whole day, they provided for comic relief, and just did everything they could to make sure I tried to enjoy my day.
Try not to make the day about you. Though it stinks that your hair or makeup didn’t turn out exactly how you wanted it to, it’s not something the bride needs to stress out about. The same goes for small things that you notice that went wrong with the wedding. Most of the time, the only people who knew about the issue are you, and the people you tell…so SHHHH…if the bride doesn’t know and it’s not going to change anything, don’t tell her until after she’s back from her honeymoon!!!
That’s my bridesmaid advice
Post # 14
As a bridesmaid, the best things I’ve learned are:
1) Ask the bride what food you can bring to have while the girls are getting ready, hanging out before the ceremony, etc. Hungry girls = cranky girls.
2) Don’t assume things. Don’t assume there will be free drinks for the wedding party. Don’t assume there will be somewhere for you to store your stuff during the ceremony. Either clarify the details with the bride, or plan for how you will deal with things yourself. The bride appreciates you being there, but she has a million things on her mind, and she doesn’t need to babysit her bridesmaids or worry about them more than she already is.
3) Sit where you’re told to sit. Yes, your significant other might be bored at the random table he’s assigned to, but the most disappointing part of my wedding was to see one of the groomsmen just up and leave the head table to go sit with his girlfriend the whole dinner. My husband was really hurt, and it was unncessary. Dinner was one hour – suck it up and do what you’re asked to do.
4) Enjoy yourself, and remember that you’re wearing a sketchy dress or dealing with annoying circumstances because you love the bride and want to be there for her.
Post # 15
- Wedding: May 2010 - Victorian Gardens of Two Sisters
I’ve only been a bridesmaid in one wedding. That was years ago– way before I started to consider what I’d like from my wedding, but I did take one thing from the experience: Make sure your bridal party knows how much you appreciate them.
I was a bridesmaid in my best-friend-from-high-school’s wedding. Our friendship had dwindled a little bit after we both moved to separate schools for college, but I was more than excited to stand up with her on her big day. The only time I heard from her at all was to tell me how much my shoes and dress were going to be, when I needed to be fitted, and that I would have to pay an additional $200 for hair, nails and makeup. I was not invited to a bridal shower, and they had an after party to which my fellow bridesmaid/high school friend were not invited.
I’m not going to lie, my bridesmaid dresses aren’t going to be cheap. But my girls have expressed to me that they can afford them, and they are just thrilled to be a part of our day. I can’t even begin to express my thanks to them, and I will make sure they know how grateful I am throughout the planning process.
After all, the wedding is just one day. (I hope) My friendship with my ladies will last for always.
Post # 16
Things I have learned/am learning:
1. When you talk to them, make it a point to talk about stuff other than your wedding. Even though the wedding is what is going on in your life, make sure you know what is going on in theirs.
2. Let them know that you appreciate them and all the commitments they have made for your wedding.
3. Cut them some slack if they are planning their own wedding, or a Bridesmaid or Best Man in another wedding…especially if it’s in the same month!