Ask AOW: Amateur bride to…brilliant bridesmaid?

Come back at 1pm folks, for the first of our Two-Post Thursdays!

It’s been a while since we’ve had an ‘Ask AOW‘. Mainly because we have the problem-busting power-duo, otherwise known as Anna and Ant, on hand to solve all of life’s important dilemmas. This one though is a bit different, and absolutely needs input from all of you. 

Frankie (whose birthday it is today by the way) had her perfect wedding, but now needs advice on how to help her bridesmaid have her perfect wedding. Go forth wise AOWers and impart your wedding knowledge.

*oh, and if the penultimate picture doesn’t make you go all mushy, I don’t know what will. When we emailed Frankie to tell her we adored it, she sent back the following… ‘The ladies of the church? I know. They’re too, too lovely. Can you believe they catered for over a hundred people, everything ran smoothly, they bossed all our friends around into seats and just loved being around ‘youngsters’!  Think they talked about it for at least 2 years!’ We die. 

I’ve never been a bridesmaid before and then one of my closest friends asked me to be her bridesmaid a couple of months ago. I’ve just had to rewrite that first sentence so it’s not in shouty capitals and followed by ten exclamation marks, but I am sooooo verrrrrry excited. The bride was one of my wingmen (or, er ‘bridesmaids’) on my wedding day and was very excellent and supportive, and I’m looking forward to returning the favour.

So now when it comes to planning her wedding, bridey looks to me in a ‘you’ve done this before’ way. She asks for my advice and likes to hear my thoughts on the decisions she has to make.  It’s difficult.

Don’t get me wrong, mine and hubby’s wedding day was really, really, really, really, unspeakably brilliant for us, and I loved it and wouldn’t change a thing.  But I’m quite possibly the worst person for brides-to-be to ask for wedding advice.  Hubby and I didn’t once enter ‘wedding world’, we didn’t read wedding magazines, look at wedding blogs, get ‘inspiration’ from anywhere, or go in for a lot of the usual traditions.  We were neither ‘lavish traditional’ or ‘do it yourself’ gurus.  A large part of the decision making was done on the following criteria: Inexpensive? Easy? Not stressful?  OK we’ll do it.  We knew we didn’t want every tradition that’s associated with weddings, so I suppose that made it easier.  For example, we didn’t have champagne.  Or sparkling wine.  SHOCK HORROR!

But now, as I sit here trying to help my friend, I have little clue about what other people really do.  Of course I know a bit about traditions, I know what they do on Don’t Tell The Bride, but I really now want to know what you AOWers did, or are planning to do.  Basically, what do other real people do?!

Venue

With our wedding reception, there wasn’t really a ‘venue hunt’ as it was in the middle of rural Wales where choices are limited to say the least.  As we were having a large number of guests, it came down to capacity and that narrowed the choice down to two places.  We went for the one that everyone could stay the night at.  That was it.  Was it a magical, beautiful, romantic building?  Not really.  Did it sum up our relationship?  Nope.  Was it fit for purpose, had space for all the guests and could accommodate everything we wanted like a steel band and a DJ?  Absolutely.

What sways people when choosing venues?  What are the deciding factors?

Wedding dresses

Choosing a wedding dress is a big and special thing for my friend. I just wanted something cheap and pretty.  I panicked the first time I tried on a heavy, expensive wedding dress in a scary bridal boutique. Many people will think the following words are those of an insane person, but: I wasn’t overly bothered about it being the best dress I wear in my life ever ever ever.  Of course I wanted to look nice but that’s as far as it went.

Wedding dress shopping entailed random, adhoc, pretty much unplanned occasional trips, either with my mum, or with individual friends, or – yes, really – on my own.  This was exactly the way I wanted it.  I was worried anything other than that would make it become an event and I’d feel the pressure and freak out. No-one needs freaking out when wedding planning.  There was no ‘getting everyone together to try on dresses’ like in the movies.  Do people really do that?  And if so why?  And did you know what kind of dress you wanted in advance?  And if you learned the lingo, HOW?!  Did I miss that class at school?  Fishtail, sweetheart, chiffon…my bridey friend is speaking this fluently and I’m more like ‘ooh you know that one where the neckline dips’ and ‘ahhh that dreamy sort of floaty fabric’.  Oh very dear.

After two ‘nearly’ purchases in Monsoon and BHS, I stumbled across (and I really mean that) a cute, bargainous dress from a wedding dress shop in the Welsh town we were getting married in.

As for bridesmaids, I felt strongly that I wasn’t a matchy-matchy-everythings-got-to-be-perfect type bride so I told the bridesmaids to wear to the wedding WHATEVER they would have worn to my wedding as a guest.  So there were no trips to shops and working out which colour complimented who.  In the interests of honesty, as a young couple trying to plan our wedding, neither of us could really understand why the colour or style of what my two best friends were wearing would in any way enhance or ruin our wedding.

All photos taken by the very, very talented Ben Langdon

We asked the best men to wear what they wanted too.  The way people knew they were part of the bridal party was the fact that the bridesmaids had bouquets, and the best men had buttonholes, and, er, they were the ones hanging around with us all day.  I know this isn’t completely unheard of, as a friend of a friend did this before me, but is there anyone else out there who did this?  If you had bridesmaids, did any of you choose a colour and get them to buy themselves dresses in that colour?  And whose job is it to pay?

 

Traditions

From big things like being ‘given away’, to little things like toasts, I had a bit of an issue with the traditions.  Hubby did about some of them, less so with others.  Some of my ideas, such as turning up at the church together, he thought was a bit ‘second marriage’ sounding.  So we tried to pick and choose the ones we wanted, with some compromising on both sides, and not pay any attention whatsoever to the ones we didn’t.

 

Seriously, it’s a minefield of wedding traditions out there, did/will you fight the traditions or go with them?  We sat eating brunch in a café in Cambridge and wrote down literally all the traditions, then crossed them off one by one (75% of them went!)

How does everyone else decide?

Theme

We had no theme (or as a friend says ‘The theme was wedding’).  I’m not at all against themes, it’s just it seemed irrelevant to us and our wedding.  Do people tend to do themes?  I’ve seen some hilarious ‘no we don’t have a theme’ comments here and on Twitter, but if you did go for a theme, did it help?  How do you go about choosing one?

 

Co-ordinating all the extras

From the wedding cake to the flowers, from the helium balloons, to a wishing tree, from a wedding arch to a sandwich tea after the church service, and a big collage of photos on display, a lot of friends and family offered to muck in and sort things out for us, with us having only minimal – or in some cases NO – input.  We were, and are, so grateful.

 

I think, looking back, we were happy to hand over control for parts of it to other people, and didn’t feel we needed everything to be planned down to utmost precision.  I know others like to choose all the extras, all the details, and co-ordinate it, and take great pleasure in it, and I completely understand that.

Essentially this was the main thing for us: Arrange a personal, meaningful church service, get 110 people to Wales, book music, sort out food and drink, wear something quite nice.  Everything else was superfluous to us, so that guided our decision making.

 

I hope my ramblings make some kind of sense and that you don’t think I’m nuts for the kinds of decisions we made.  I’m so looking forward to hearing from some of you about your weddings and/or plans, and hopefully this will equip me to be an if-not-brilliant-then-at-least-well-informed bridesmaid…(or is it maid of honour cos I’m married?)

*All images by Ben Langdon*

Categories: Ask Anna, Ant and AOW, Wedding Planning
50 interesting thoughts on this

50 Comments

  1. Sandra C
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I agree with so much of what you have said. We got married 18 months ago and dispensed with so much of the wedding associated shizz, including guests. We decided that we wanted the day to ourselves, so eloped and sent reception invitations after our ceremony. No, bridesmaids dresses don’t matter;nor do fancy venues, centrepieces, flowers or any of those things. What matters is you and your H becoming man and wife, in whatever manner you see fit. And for this, you are to be applauded!!
    And I ADORE the church ladies. We have a village comittee (unofficial) whereby anything from cakes, to free flowers (which we had for our reception) can be had. Big up the church ladies!!

    Lovely piece, great start to my day-thank you!! x

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

      Thank you! Wow your choices sound amazing. Hope you had a fabulous wedding. And yes big up the church ladies! :-) x

  2. Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    My ‘theme’ is copy-aislings-wedding-but-with-live-bands-and-camping.
    The rest of it I’ve not got around to yet.

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Amy! I didn’t realise it was possible to smile so widely, so early in the morning. Bloody love you.

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      That sounds excellent.

  3. Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I agree with loads of this too. We hardly had any money so that swayed a lot of it. We chose our venue based on the fact they let us serve sausages and mash and then bring all our own wine and desserts.

    My dress shopping sounds quite similar to you, I blogged about it yesterday actually- ended up getting mine in a charity shop.

    I really wanted my bridesmaids to pick whatever they wanted maybe the same colour or something but dress shopping was a nightmare! 3 girls all completely different sizes gapes, they tried on about hundred dresses each and we just couldn’t find anything that they either all liked or that didn’t clash when they stood next to each other. In the end we found an ugly brown colour dress that was a shape they all liked and had it made in a different fabric by a local dressmaker. I never expected to have matching bridesmaids but it just turned out that way- also, they were my sisters and sister in law to be so my mum paid for those.

    I have two friends being bridesmaids this year and neither are paying for their dress, we got the boys to pay for their own suit hire though- it wasn’t very expensive and everyone said they didn’t mind. (hope that was true!)

  4. Posted March 15, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Wow that was so long I have to do two parts! Sorry…. Also I’ve noticed from friends/family that once you have one BIG thing it has a domino effect, if you book a huge venue you feel like you have to have an extravagant dress, flowers etc.

    The best thing you can do as bridesmaid is just be her friend, even when she has crazy meltdown moments or her mother in law is insisting her dog gets a seat at the reception, whatever you plan it all comes together in the end so just encourage her not to remortgage her house for the whole thing.

    Good luck x x

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      So interesting hearing about yours, Anna. Read your ‘wedding wednesday’ on your blog yesterday, was brill.

  5. Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Frankie, based on this (totally excellent) piece of writing, I think you should have zero worries about helping your very lucky friend to plan her day. In fact, you should probably hire yourself out as a ‘just do what feels right’ wedding planner. I know I’d trust you entirely.

    Sorry, not the most helpful in terms of answering all your important questions…but then I don’t know the answers and I’d love to have been there at your beautiful wedding, so it seems to me that you do know what you’re doing…

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

      Ha! Aw that’s sweet Aisling! I’m starting to think we had an easy ride in terms of family requirements/expectations and I feel lucky about this. Seriously though, how DID you plan yours? did you and Phil agree on everything? Your ‘any other photo’ was the first thing I ever saw on AOW!

  6. Posted March 15, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    I echo Aisling – your wedding sounds like heaven! I think you already know what the best advice is – go with your heart and don’t let the wedding Shouldmonsters get in the way. And congrats on being asked to be a b/m, I’m in exactly the same boat at the moment ….It’s harder than I expected to be a sounding board, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

    Venue: Once you’ve crossed out everywhere not in budget/too big or too small for guest list/geographically placed/allows you to have what you want (eg. bring in your own booze, licence for live music etc), you’ll find the list is suddenly very small and easy to choose from.

    Traditions: Keep the ones you like, and maybe some that will make your parents happy (wasn’t all that into being walked down the aisle but as I’m my Dad’s only girl I knew he’d be sad if I didn’t)

    Be realistic about what you can do and actually write it down and look at the logistics. Don’t just think “ah yeah, I can make 283939 cupcakes the day before my wedding, no bother”. Then delegate, delegate, delegate.

    The rest is all Pinterest.

    Px

    PS. Advice for bridesmaids…be on speed-dial and always carry Rescue Remedy and tissues. It’s been emotional so far and we’re (also) only two months into the engagement….

    • Esme
      Posted March 15, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I think this is basically the perfect wedding planning advice Penny!

      • Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        thanks! wish I’d checked my grammar before I hit publish, I blame lack of coffee….
        Px

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

      ‘Shouldmonsters’ = amazing

  7. Fee
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    You’re an amazing bridesmaid!

    Venue wise, I waited for somewhere that gave me the ‘i’ve found the right new house’ feeling and was within budget! I also didn’t want anywhere with a looooooong list of t&cs (e.g. Having to use a particular DJ).

    Good luck!

    • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

      Aw thanks. Our venue had no ts and cs from what I can remember- bit lucky?!

  8. Esme
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Firstly, happy birthday Frankie!

    Onto the advice bits.

    Venue
    For us it was down to two things: price and location (close to accommodation, close to at least one person in the family). We felt so lucky that we were offered a family friend’s garden, but it wasn’t without its problems. It helped to remember that we had chosen it for those two main reasons (free and close to the in-laws) when something wasn’t working well. I would suggest to your friend that they decide on their criteria and go from there – i.e., does it have to be breath-takingly beautiful so that they don’t have to decorate? Or just big enough and have a disabled loo?

    Dress
    It sounds like you had a really good experience choosing your dress, but a lot of women find it pretty stressful. Ask her what she wants to do: I’m MoH for the friend who was my MoH and she has a vintage dress that she’s getting altered, but she was adamant that she wanted to spend a day trying on really expensive dresses with a whole entourage – so we did. I, on the other hand, wanted to go with just my Mum. My sisters came along for 2 shops but I was much calmer just me and Mum. Remind her that she can do all of these things: her + Mum, her + BMs, her alone, whole group, whatever she wants. And she doesn’t *have* to step inside a boutique if she doesn’t want to.

    BMs
    Typically the bride will have bridesmaids and a Maid of Honour or Chief Bridesmaid. Technically, if the MoH is married, she’s the Matron on Honour. Yuk.
    I always knew I wanted to buy dresses for my BMs and we were lucky that they all liked them (I gave them vague instructions and we went from there). I think your friend can go one of three ways:
    1. Find a dress she wants them all to wear because it’s perfect and she loves it. In this case, I think the couple should pay (although the BMs might be happy to).
    2. Go the way you went, Frankie – let them wear what, possibly with a bit of direction (like short, pastel shades, not strapless) and then they can beg, borrow or steal to their hearts content.
    3. Spend time finding dresses that sort of match but are individual to the BMs and everyone likes them. Traditionally (!) the couple pays, but in this situation a compromise could be found – like bride buys the dress, but BM pays for accessories.

    Theme
    I have no advice here. Sorry.

    Co-ordination
    Delegate! It doesn’t matter! It will look lovely whatever! No-one will know if the tablecloths were supposed to match the invitations! At least the tablecloths got put on the tables!

    Hope that helps xx

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      We should write an AOW wedding book with our combined experience… Like the APW but UK. Would sell like hot (wedding) cakes!

      Px

    • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:06 am | Permalink

      Such sensible practical tips, thanks Esme! (and thanks for the birthday wish too!)

  9. Alex D
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    What a lovely piece! Love the photos of the ladies and the sandwiches…mmm…sandwiches.. x

  10. Bella
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I think you are being a brilliant bridesmaid :)

    All the advice above is great and wholeheartedly agree with Penny! The only thing I can think to add is know when to stay schtum. There are some things where brutal honesty is necessary, ie “hon, if your mum/younger cousin/old friend from school/neighbour wants to get ready in your hotel room and they will stress you out, say no. Politely.” But on matters of taste? On invitations, or place cards or ideas for photo booths? Often brides ask their maids for opinions because they want to involve them and they want a bit of reassurance that their nautical theme is consistent throughout/the colour of the invitation is nice/it doesn’t really matter if the font is a little different to the save the date….

    I am, of course, not advocating lying, but I think it’s a bridesmaid’s job to know when the matter is purely one of the bride’s taste and to back her up. Even if she chooses a puce and lime colour scheme. (It will look elegant, yet refreshing….)

    • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      Yes Bella you’re so right! I’m def trying to help when asked to, but knowing when to keep schtum is vital. At the end of the day we all do things a bit differently and there’s no right or wrong, just whether the bride and groom are happy.x

  11. Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Frankie!! x

    I echo everyone above, I think you’re ALREADY the perfect bridesmaid, because you’re going to encourage your bride to do what is important to HER and her man, and that’s what you need in a BM. Just continue being your lovely, supportive, brilliant self! I’ve been incredibly lucky because my best friend is getting married 5 months after me, we are each other’s BMs and it’s been amazing to have her by my side the entire time. Every time I think I’m losing my grip, I email C and she tells me she feels exactly the same, that it’s okay to be a completely loon sometimes, and it’s okay have no idea why your tables would need names?! Just be the friend you already are to her!

    In terms of venue… we spent ages choosing ours because Surrey and SW London are EXPENSIVE places and we basically couldn’t afford anywhere nice. We settled on a school playing field with a marquee, and then they told us they couldn’t actually CONFIRM that we’d have the field until about 3 months before the wedding, and that gave me heart palpitations. So we made some compromises and went for a hotel with a standing marquee. It isn’t rustic, or perfect, but it’s got enough of what I wanted to be fine, and it isn’t financially crippling my parents. My advice would be decide what matters most, and be prepared to compromise on the rest. Also, if you want a marquee, make sure there will be access to toilets big enough for a wedding dress.

    The dress… my advice from my experience would be try on loads of different shapes and styles because I personally had no idea what would suit me, as I rarely if ever wear dresses generally in life! For you as her BM, just go with what makes her feel special when she’s looking for dresses, stay enthusiastic but don’t yes her to death, honesty is good. I took my Mum and sister dress shopping because they are the two most brutally honest people I know, and I was terrified I’d look huge or ridiculous, so I needed to trust that they’d tell me truthfully how I looked.

    Theme? Ehm… we don’t have one. Unless All The Things We Like To Eat Plus Some Stuff I Saw On Pinterest And Thought Was Pretty And/Or Cool is a theme? We couldn’t settle on a theme that represents us as a couple because, as G said, it would be booksmoleculesrugbysciencebeer… which is an odd wedding theme. No-one but me and my other BM thought that molecular bunting* was a genius idea. I’m still working on getting G to let me make a DNA helix out of sweeties.

    In terms of traditions, we’re just ignoring what we don’t like and keeping what we do. And in terms of the extras, my Mum is a complete saint and general heroine. That is all.

    K x

    *Molecular bunting is protein molecules made out of pipe cleaners and ping pong balls attached to string. I’m probably going to

  12. Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    I cut off the end of my comment. It was that I’m probably going to make molecular bunting anyway, and string it round the flat while G is away. Ha.

    Also, I was useless with dress terminology. I’m also discovering I am useless with florist terminology. In this, pictures are your friends.

    L x

    • Helena
      Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Molecular bunting sounds like the coolest thing ever!

      • Zan
        Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        It totally does. The words ‘molecular bunting’ and ‘make a DNA helix out of sweeties’ made me just laugh out loud in the office…followed an ‘in-my-head-craft-moment’ of how best to make those….

        Katie – if you need volunteers, I’m in! :D

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

      Screaming about the science wedding…. Katie you rule!!

      Px

    • Emily
      Posted March 15, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Molecular bunting and a double helix…! Love it!

      • Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Ha, LOVING how much you guys love this. I’m probably going to show all your comments to G later as an argument for why I should be allowed molecular bunting.

        Zan, this is sweetie DNA… http://pinterest.com/pin/164170348886568249/

        K x

        PS: My wedding car is (hopefully) going to be a taxi with the periodic table on it. Major nerd win.

        • Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

          OMG AMAZING!

        • Zan
          Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          Sweetie DNA double helix might be the coolest thing I’ve ever seen….

          Incidently – I have the best periodic table-related picture EVER…will tweet it to you later Katie :)

        • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:12 am | Permalink

          1) thank you for the happy birthday here and on twitter :-)
          2) thanks for the brill comment
          3) “major nerd win” has had me and Ben in hysterics. Love.

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      Please do this.

  13. Peridot
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Well I’m taking my mum and a bridesmaid to each of my wedding dress buying appointments – but this is mainly because I’m frankly TERRIFIED and need the back up.

    We wanted something quirky for our venue – and having seen a beautiful castle which had the ‘no red wine after dinner’, not too many rules. We kind of failed as they didn’t mention many of the detailed no fires, many, many rules around candles and no confetti rules. But we got no corkage which I think was the deal sealer – at least for my fiance!

    I agree about themes. I mean, each to their own but when I’ve seen a circus theme for instance, I think, really? That’s what you want to start your marriage with?

    And I find all the details a bit much. My personal hate is chair covers – I mean, you think people won’t realise they’re chairs under there? And any way, they look like little chair ku klux clan members to me. A burgeoning theme there? Perhaps not….!

    We will have my choir coming to sing at our civil ceremony. They’re pretty much in their 60s to 80s (I am the youngest by at least 20 years and get a lot of hand and head patting as it is – I haven’t felt so young since I was 9) so will fulfil the clucky older people criteria admirably. They’re very excited as they usually only get to sing at funerals…!

    • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

      Choir sounds amazing! similar to the ladies of the church who are used to serving funeral tea… funny comments btw! V amusing x

  14. Posted March 15, 2012 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    You are all amazing! Thank you for all the comments so far and for birthday wishes :-) I’m off out in the sunshine but last thing I want to say is YES to an anyotherwoman book!!!

  15. Alex D
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Waah! Peridot your comment about chair covers. Diet Coke. Everywhere.

  16. Katy
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Frankie! And I love the post, you are being an ace bridesmaid.

    We found the most stressful or difficult things were finding the venue, and finding the bridesmaid dresses, because so much hangs off a) getting the venue and date sorted and b) if you want things to be similar colours, having the bridesmaid dresses to then sort colours for other stuff. Things like traditions, themes, and dress shopping weren’t too high up the stress list for us (well, me. Suit shopping for Mr W was incredibly drawn out and much harder than buying my dress, but I guess that groom’s suit shopping is not one of the key bridesmaid duties so you’re probably ok on that front).

    Venue wise, we wanted somewhere with enough room for a civil ceremony that all our guests could sit down for (harder than it sounds – most sat 60 including bride, groom and the two registrars – and we had 80 for the daytime), not hugely expensive and ideally somewhere we could have to ourselves. After phoning many and looking round quite a few, we ended up with a venue less than a mile from our house (it made me happy that I could have walked there if the transport didn’t work out) and while it wasn’t absolutely perfect – e.g. we had to be out by midnight – it had the important things.

    Something else to bear in mind is the amount the venue will do to help you set up/clear up. E.g. a village hall/back garden wedding will involve a lot more prep and clearing up than a hotel function room. We had quite a few DIY-y bits and pieces at ours and I hadn’t really factored in how much time it would take to transport the stuff there, explain to the venue where everything needed to go (they had a wake the afternoon before the wedding so we couldn’t set up the day before as planned), and clearing up the day after can be a bit of a downer. So if your friend is not a DIY-er, they might find that either they need to enlist lots of help from friends and family, which is lovely in itself, or choose a venue where the staff will do the setting up and taking down etc.

    Bridesmaid dresses – I paid for these after many trying on and emailing sessions between me and my two bridesmaids. They were half price in the Monsoon sale so price wasn’t really an issue; I hadn’t initially wanted to have matching bridesmaids but it was becoming increasingly difficult to find two dresses that worked together, and we didn’t like any in the wedding dress shops – high street was better for us. Once we had picked a colour for the bridesmaids (which was entirely dictated by the dresses we found – I didn’t have a ‘my vision is LILAC’ moment) then we could start on the stationery, ties for the blokes, etc etc.

    NB this is definitely not a ‘this is how you should do it’ type post – just that once we had made decisions on a couple of key (for us) things, the rest of the decision making was much easier.

    Epic post, sorry – and I REALLY want some molecular bunting – Katielase do you do deliveries??

    Katy xx

    • Katy
      Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Oh my word that was the longest post ever – sorry!

      • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:43 am | Permalink

        awww thank you Katy, really enjoyed reading your thoughts xx

    • Posted March 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      I now really want to set up a molecular party shop. I think I’ve just found my niche in life.

      K x

  17. Zan
    Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Frankie! Now, I can’t impart wedding-related advice as such (as am not married) but I have done 2 (I hope stellar) turns as chief bridesmaid in my time and everything you’re doing sounds pretty spot on to me :)

    The advice everyone else has given has covered it pretty much – be there – for panicky phone-calls and stressful moments, to give advice (but as Bella said, knowing when to agree!) and just be the best friend you can. Your friend will rely/lean on you a fair bit, but I found 99% of it is being reassurance for them for one thing or another.

    And organising a kick-ass hen do goes down well too ;)

  18. Posted March 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    As has been said plenty already, it sounds like you’ll do a bang-up job at being a Bridesmaid in encouraging your friend to do exactly what feels right. For me, my wedding (now 100 days away, not that I’m counting…ahem…) is going this way:

    Venue: Went for a gallery in my local park in London. It’s ended up being fairly expensive to hire along with a marquee but it is stunning and we can bring our own booze (without corkage – yeeha) and have Bodean’s (Southern BBQ) cater which makes me do a VERY big grin. I would say the venue choice has had a heavy influence on the whole of our day, so couples should probably go for something that works for them and their budget as much as possible as other things can be bodged/amended to fit growing/shrinking budgets, at a later time.

    Wedding Dress and B’Maids Dresses: My B’maids can choose their own dresses and I’m paying for them. I would like them all to be pastel coloured and lacey but other than that they’re cool to decide what they like and what looks good on them. My dress is a long lacey number which is NOTHING like what I thought I’d be after. It does make my heart beat a bit fast whenever I put it on. Eeeee.

    Traditions: Keeping some, getting rid of others. I would recommend approaching every tradition with a “why should I do this” starting point and only do it if it would be fun/special for you or your family.

    Themes: I don’t have a theme but because we both love Dolly Parton and my fiance and I went on a Deep South roadtrip the day’s become influenced by that – we now have a Southern BBQ, a bluegrass band and Elvis song names as our table names. It was a total accident and very loose though. The idea of having to have a theme is pretty crummy though.

    Extras: I have learnt that I am something of a control-freak. It’s been hugely revealing but I am not the laid-back Big-Lebowski-esque dude I thought I was. I have hated delegating any jobs and loved spending months crafting my own bits and bobs for the wedding. Does anyone else find they have a crazy dose of control-freakery? Please say yes.

    Anyway, for my first post this has been epic. I would say – like Jez from Peep Show might – with planning your wedding – if it feels good do it.

    • Posted March 16, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      Hi Hannah, great first comment! And love the Peep Show reference! Frankie x

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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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