how to ask your bridesmaids

When we got back from the holiday where we got engaged I met up with the girls I wanted as my ‘maids separately and asked them if they’d do me the honour of being my big day back up. It was all very simple and polite but I wish I had waited and done something a little more special.

It was only once I was in the planning internet whirl that I found loads of great gift ideas and ways to ask your friends to be your bridesmaids. They center around ‘I have the man but I can’t do it without my girls’ and ‘I can’t do it without you’. I wish I had taken the time and made a gift box which asked the question and given them a memento and a selection of things that have significance in our friendship. There are some beautiful eternity bracelets on etsy which are a lovely way of showing your friendship won’t change even when you become a missus or a bottle of something you enjoy together with a personalised note for your BFF. I think it’s lovely to make an occasion out of everything to do with the planning process even right from the start and I’m gutted to have missed out. Are any of you planning on going that extra mile for your girls?

Before I was engaged I thought I knew who I would have as my bridesmaids, women from different times in my life but all still with me and all quite different to one another, that wasn’t the important factor of my decision it was because they were my best friends, I loved them and I wanted them by my side. When I got engaged I asked them to be my ‘maids. The first I have known since  I was 6, we spent our years growing up together and while our lives have taken different directions I feel like I can talk to her about anything and everything and there will always be laughter when we are together. The second I met at college and was a slow burner of a friendship as we were on the outskirts of each others circles but after some adventure holidays together and a mutual love of American high school dramas we became firm friends. The third was my room-mate through university and 2 years afterwards, in those 5 years we helped each other along a road of learning, DVD collections and abject poverty, we don’t see each other like we used to but I think we’ll always have a special bond. At the time of wedding planning maid no.3 was working in Africa and suffering family bereavement so as we didn’t know if she’d even be able to attend she was demoted to “cross everything I hope you can just be there. I had my two bridesmaids sorted. They are both very different to each other but that really helped, you need a calmer pragmatic person around, and you need a helper, someone to take your mind off things and encourage and make things easy and someone to take the reins of certain tasks, there’s no way I can thank them enough. When we knew maid no.3 would be back in the UK she was given a reading so I could have her be part of the day.

I also had two other close friends take a reading. One of these friends got married a few years ago and reader no.2, maid no.2 and myself were her bridesmaids. I don’t go in for “I was yours so you’ll be mine” theory to bridesmaids and best men, everyone holds their own friendships up to a different light and nowadays people have such wide groups of friends you need different people for different things. I guess back in the day when you had smaller groups of friends and relatives this kind of decision had much less pressure to it. Has anyone out there felt pressured to have someone be part of their day they had rather not? If you have siblings, has anyone decided not to have them as part of the wedding party and what was the fall out? What I did do, is do it all wrong. I asked my maids to be my maids and they said yes and I was sorted. I didn’t say anything to the girls who might have thought they would be included that they weren’t. I didn’t want the confrontation, awkwardness and weirdness of it all, I don’t know if they did expect to be included or not, there was never anything said or remarked upon, it came out in conversation who would be the maids and that was that. But that was all wrong. When they were asking questions in the early days of engagement I should have said “oh and I’ve decided on my bridesmaids but once were further along with planning I like you two to be part of the day hopefully with a reading but we’ll decided nearer the time”. But I, for once, stayed quiet and it was spineless and I will always regret it. I took the opinion that you don’t tell someone that they’re not doing something, and I while I still think that is true, it’s just an excuse to stop me from feeling bad for being a wimp. What do you guys think? Was I a bad person? No friendship has suffered (I hope not anyway) so no harm, no foul? Have you been in a similar circumstance and do you regret not telling someone they wouldn’t be your maid or do you wish you hadn’t had that conversation?

bridesmaid dresses

I wanted my favourite girls to have something comfortable, something they would wear again and something they would look fabulous in, but isn’t that any brides list of requirements when they pick the bridesmaid dresses?

I have always liked the idea of either a SATC look, 3 rich bold colours or black. When one of my bridesmaids took a job in Africa and we didn’t know whether she’d be able to get back for the wedding let alone be accessible for bridesmaid duties the idea of different colours was out of the question. I love to see a spectrum of hues but with only 2 girls it wouldn’t work, you need a troupe.

Our colour theme was purple but I never wanted it to take over everything and have chairs, bridesmaids, groommen’s accessories and all the flowers looking like Cadbury’s wrappers, so black made sense for the girls. I spent a while looking around seeing if anything in particular caught my eye but we went shopping for their dresses with a fairly open mind, as we were an autumn wedding a long to the floor number was a vague front-runner though. We had an appointment at one bridal shop which stocked Mori Lee bridesmaid dresses and pretty much every style of dress you can imagine. There was to be no satin, nothing heavy that they wouldn’t wear again and then I got them back for making me try on a million dresses when I looked for my dress, and got them to try on loads. One little black number caught my eye and it was between that lace number and a long purple strapless gown. We then went to Debenhams and had some lunch and they tried some off the rail dresses on, some were nice but not as good quality as the Mori Lee ones. Again if I’d have had more than 2 bridesmaids I think I would have been more inclined to let them get what they wanted, so different style but in the same colour or different range of colours in whatever style they wanted. It came back to the two in the original shop and the black one won out. I got a bit nervous about not doing the traditional thing but then my mum reminded me of two things, I’d always mentioned black as a dress colour before I was even engaged and I wanted something they would definitely wear again, this ticked both boxes. It was great to have a girly day out so I would recommend making an event out of it. My girls were so helpful giving me a spec of “we’ll wear whatever you want us to wear” and “they’re all comfortable we’d be happy to wear either”. A dream, I hope you can all be as lucky. Despite ordering the dresses just over 6 months before the wedding day we didn’t have them until the weekend before. I had contemplated ordering them from the internet and saving some cash as I knew the design and designer but had decided that through a shop would give me more security, was I wrong. The shop didn’t chase the dresses and relied on the fact they’d never had any problems with their suppliers before. While the shop were helpful in every other aspect, on two occasions when we thought the dresses would be in it took my phone call to prompt them to chase and in my opinion that’s bad customer service. I was never worried there would be something wrong with the dresses or that they’d need much, if any, alteration (and one of the girls in fact needed none) it was that will less than 10 days before your wedding you expect things like this to be sorted and you want to be as organised as you can be. There were loads of little things to do and chasing after 2 dresses should not have been on the list. All was well in the end and not only we they happy with them they looked stunning in them too.