The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be. It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel. Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there. From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds. We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.
To help the A-Z become an even better resource, please leave your tips, advice and comments below.
B is for (being a good) Bridesmaid by Zan
I’ve been a bridesmaid twice. Chief bridesmaid to be exact – I think it’s my mad organisational skills that make me a prime candidate! I’ve been lucky, both times they’ve been good experiences and it’s been an honour to be a bridesmaid for the two brides in question. I know this isn’t the case for everyone and I’ve had enough conversations with friends who haven’t been quite so lucky to know that there are some brides-to-be out there who could do with the odd pointer or two. That certain things are not really acceptable and yes, it is possible to make unreasonable demands of your bridesmaids. There are so many guides and lists out in t’internet world on how to be a great bridesmaid…but what about how to treat your bridesmaids? These are my top four tips:
Pick those you want not who you feel obliged to
I know this is harder said that done. That you may have sisters/cousins who you have to have despite not having such a great relationship with them for the sake of family relations. What if you have a parade of exceptionally cute nieces who are all vying for the opportunity to wear a pretty dress for a day? Maybe you once promised your best school friend that you’d be each other’s bridesmaids when you were 7 and now you really don’t like her much. But you know what? Your bridesmaids will be your biggest support and strength through the stresses of wedding planning (along with your fiancé hopefully!). It’s most definitely worth having people you can rely on. Your best girl may not be particularly girly, may know nothing about flowers or stationary, may balk slightly at having to wear a dress full stop. But if she’s the one who you’d call at 3 in the morning if you had an emergency…then she’s the right one to have. And even if you’re pressured into having random relatives/little ones, then make sure you have at least one bridesmaid who is stellar gold. Someone who can whip others into shape if they’re being difficult and will be excited both for you and with you. She will get you through, because she loves you and wants you to have not just a fantastic wedding, but a fantastic time on the way.
Having the bridemaids you want will in a sense make it easy to be kind to them. But I think this is an important one to keep in mind. Even if you have a real hankering for peach as a colour scheme and a very specific style of bridesmaid dress in mind, think of your bridesmaids. Not just ‘will they like it?’, but ‘will they feel comfortable in it?’ and ‘will they be able to do all the normal wedding day running around type-things in it’? It can be very easy to get carried away with the vision of what your wedding day will be like. But a wedding day is only day and I’m sure you still want your bridesmaids to speak to you afterwards! To a certain extent they will go along with what you say on the basis that it’s ‘your day’. Don’t take advantage of that as if they’re massively uncomfortable it will show. Maybe not to you on the day but think of photos. It’s really really hard to smile and look happy when you know the colour of your dress makes you look ill and you’re too busy keeping your arms clamped by your side to stop your boobs falling out of the dress to think of anything else.
Know where the line is
It’s easy to think your bridesmaids will do anything they can to help you right? They’ll be there at all times of the day and night for every minor crisis and question and will be always constantly excited for you and it’ll be brilliant? See there is that and then there’s life. And life does not play ball, least of all when you want it too. Bridesmaids are people too. They will have their own busy lives, concerns, problems, stresses and joys. This does not get put on hold because you’re getting married. There is a difference between not be involved because they can’t be bothered and not being involved because they’re dealing with something in their own lives. One of the best things you can do for yourself is learn to recognise the difference between the two and offer them some support. Remember, your wedding is very rarely the most important thing in her life. This applies to other things too – if one of your bridesmaids is a particularly busy mum of two then account for that. It’s not fair to make unreasonable demands on her time – no, not even for your ‘very important wedding discussion that you must have right now’. Money is often a contentious issue, not just who pays for what, but the cost of hen do’s for example. If you want to go all out and splurge on your hen do then that is your prerogative. But be mindful, would you be just as happy if your bridesmaids couldn’t afford to do the same?
Say thank you
It’s such a simple one, but can often be forgotten. And I don’t just mean at the end of it all on the wedding day, but along the way. Often your bridesmaids will give a lot of their time to help you with things, the volume of phone calls may well increase exponentially between you both and they may have spent hours crafting a very complicated spreadsheet for your fabulous hen do to keep track of everything (….yeap, that was me!). Say thank you. That’s all you need to do, let them know how much they’ve helped you out, how much you appreciate them and that you would totally do the same for them when the time comes (if it hasn’t already).