Adventures of a Wedding Belle ~ My Professional Calling

It’s the 8th November, people. NOVEMBER. This means many, many things. It means that *whispers* Christmas is really, really close. It means that AnyOtherBaby (stay tuned for an update THIS WEEK!) will be here really, really soon. It means that our plans for AOW will hopefully come to fruition-you guessed it-really, really soon.

BUT. More than all of these things, today being the 8th November means that in 10 short months, our beloved bridelet Bella will become Mrs. Betrothed. It’s Bella’s third piece for us and with every post I’m loving her strength and focus more and more. She’s an inspiration to anyone who’s struggled through any kind of Hard Stuff as they plan their wedding and journeying along with her in the run up to 8th September 2012 is proving to be a huge privilege.

Bella has something to say to you, darling AOW readers, so over to the delightful lady herself…

It wouldn’t feel right to launch into this, my third diatribe, sorry diary entry, without a wee note to say thank you for all the love, wise words and reminders of what is important that met my last blog piece on these beauteous pages. I know some people won’t have agreed with my airing my thoughts and feelings so publicly, but I appreciated the opportunity to do so and feel it has done a lot of good.

I am currently in that funny lull that comes when the BIG things – venue, legal arrangements, save the dates, photolady, cracking band and fab caterer – are set, but it is not yet time for me to resurrect my engraving tools (yes I really have them) or buy 50 metres of burlap to make bunting. Or, as Betrothed reminded me, to assign people hotel rooms…

This lull has led to many mullings, musings and ponderings* – some fun, some not so – the fragility of relationships, the changing nature of friendships and a harsh mirror of reality – BUT also some really great ones too, like how do I take my love of all things marriage/wedding and make some kind of difference to this ever evolving, massively creative community, in a way that is about passion and not the bottom line? (Although, obvs, I need to be able to buy said burlap and afford the hotel.)

I have shared the best of my ideas with Aisling – the response to which was fab – but neither of us has worked out how to make it a viable business, so that one will be left to marinate. (Incubate? Mullinate?)

They say do what you know… so what have I been doing over the last few weeks? Well there was that make up trial I did, the hours spent curling hair (and burning my hand on said hair), designing save the dates in Starbucks and pouring over every single 0 of a budget. There was the Sten organization, the veil choosing and the hand/tissue holding. Hang on… there is something here… By JiminyJuice I have it!

I am going to be…..


Perfect. Bella Bridesmaid. Bellmaid. B-Bmaid. I will tend to your every need, check every train time, secretly note down every veil detail to find cheaper online, hold your boobs to get them in the right place and take 10 pages of notes on how to apply highlighter and the ‘right’ amount of eyeliner. I will not upstage you, nor will I look like a tramp in your photos. I will bring extra shoes in case your feet hurt and I will make sure that you never see the pile of discarded favours that you spent hours and hours handcrafting.

I accidentally started touting for business, long before I ever knew that I could make this enterprise a reality, at a recent wedding in Ireland. I auditioned to be a bridesmaid not once, not twice, but three times. And no, none of the couples were engaged.

Before you start thinking I am a terrible person, let me explain. At no point did I bring up them getting hitched (I think it’s a really awful thing to do) but once they started chatting about it, fair game thinkst I. The copious amount of West Coast Cooler mixed with vodka (Westie is also alcoholic…it’s basically vodka and fizzy wine) made my thinking really, really clear.

For L, who said she may want a Buddhist ceremony, I did a Buddhism inspired dance – see below. Note: It is not the Carlton dance from Fresh Prince of Belair, I was busting some serious Buddha-ified moves.

For A I said I would get a tattoo and showed her how I would walk down the aisle with a tuna sandwich as my pretend bouquet (she’s a bit rock and roll, I think, she’d appreciate the tuna) and she actually just got engaged: I am waiting for the call.

For K I said I could be like Liza Minnelli in Sex and the City 2 and double -checked they liked Glee. (Yes, this couple is gay and yes, I did massively stereotype. They were fine with it because they like Glee.)

I think it’s only fair I share my pearls of wisdom with ya’ll, with some tips for aspiring professional bridesmaids. Please note – these are NOT sneaky hints for my own bridesmaids, who are all absolutely fabulous. These are things I have learnt from my own experiences and from chatting to loads of other bridesmaids.

1.     Wear what you bride wants you to. It is quite stressful choosing dresses, no matter what your bride says. If she says ‘I really want you to be happy and comfortable’ she means it, but she also means ‘if I say the colour scheme is puce then I would really appreciate it if you get on board with puce.’
2.    But be honest. Choose what you can be relaxed about (seriously the colour of your dress, where your partner sits) but stay honest on the BIG things: your bride’s dress, the unrealistic budgetary expectations, the need to spend £200 on make up (it was necessary S!!)
3.      BUT know when to shut.the.hell.up. Remember this one if the bride is your very very very best friend, or your sister. Just because it was a-ok to literally pull her hair out over the last party ring, or tell her how much you hated her favourite outfit, or criticised her ex to within an inch of his life DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU GET TO GIVE YOUR UNCENSORED OPINION ON EVERYTHING SHE DOES. IT IS NOT HELPFUL, IT’S UPSETTING.
4.      You are never too busy.  Fact.
5.      Don’t ever forget to tell your bride how honoured you are to have been asked. It’s a running joke that Bride S couldn’t get a word in edgewise when she asked me to be hers, as I gabbed on for forever, but I know she would prefer that to a lukewarm response.
6.      Hens Hens Hens. It’s not enough to organize a fab one, you must also a. do something incredibly thoughtful/sentimental (everyone loves a good cry) b. be the first one up and the last one to bed – no excuses bar perhaps pregnancy and c. talk sense into people whose hen list is three pages long because they didn’t want to offend anyone. THEY WILL RUIN YOUR NIGHT BECAUSE YOU DON’T LIKE THEM.

So, there you have it. Take that as a mission statement of sorts, if you will.
Fab idea right?! Right?!

What do you mean this is one part of a wedding that can’t be commoditised? Are you sh**ting me?

Fine, back to the drawing board…. Wedding fairy godmother a la that fancy British woman who sorts out stressed out couples in the US? NOW we’re talking!

*My take is mulling = casually considering, musings = intelligent considerations, ponder = a really fun way of saying thinking something through. I MAY BE WRONG.

Disclosure: I am a bridesmaid twice before I get hitched: S in February and B in June. Very excited and yes, they have both approved this piece, I don’t want to get the sack!

I really can’t thank Bella enough for her total honesty, hilarious sense of humour, invaluable advice and sixth sense for when an inane e-mail is called for. She ‘gets’ us here at AOW and for that we are eternally grateful. Let the countdown from ’10′ commence…!


Aisling x

Categories: Family, Friends and Relationships, Real Bride, Wedding Planning
7 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted November 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I am the luckiest Bride alive to have you as my bridesmaid and the luckiest sister to have you as my sister. I am honored to be your bridesmaid! One thing though, where was my audition dance? I shall be thinking of appropriate themes for you to audition to.


  2. Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    The fraggle dance would win me over every time hells bells x

  3. Mahj
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Ba ha ha ha, I've having a stupidly busy day at work and have taken a wee break and been greeted by this amazeballs post.
    Bella, the idea of you doing the Carlton dance (which I YouTube all the time to cheer me up) had me in absolute fits of glee, as did the thought of you audtioning to be a BM. And god damn I have to have one of these west coast cooler thingies!


  4. Posted November 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Bahahaha! Oh how lucky that I am working from home this afternoon because this made me cackle out loud in an entirely not-socially-acceptable-in-public-on-your-own kind of a way! Bella I HEART you! :-D

    I kind of want a tuna sandwich now. Hm.

    K x

  5. Posted November 8, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Posted November 8, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Thank you ladies! Mahj I will do what I can to bring some back after Christmas!! x

  7. Posted November 10, 2011 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Oh my. Can I have bridesmaids for the Pen Do, and can you be my chief? I insist on the Carlton dance.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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