If you didn’t know this, I have quite a bit of experience with weddings. I’ve been a bridesmaid five times (seven, if you count upcoming weddings!), and I’ve even gotten married myself. However, since I’ve acquired a ton of knowledge about tying the knot that I don’t ever plan on using again, I thought I would pass it along.
So–here we go!
- Every bride reacts differently. Don’t be worried if your best friend was all smiles and your morning ends up looking a lot like your bachelorette party night. It doesn’t say anything about the guy you’re marrying–just about your comfortability with large crowds.
- On that note, be prepared to have lots of feels. I smiled most of the day, but when I met up with my dad to walk down the aisle, I lost it a bit. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be nervous and it’s okay to feel a little overwhelmed. Obviously, it’s also totally okay to be lost in the joy of the moment!
- Obviously, have your wedding in a barn if that’s what you want to do. But going with more experienced vendors can save you a ton of stress. It might even save you money. Sure, the initial cost of an untraditional venue is sometimes cheaper, but everything else will be more expensive. Chairs, tables, catering fees and more can all add up. Price it out before you make a decision.
- The No. 1 rule here is “be cool.” I have a lovely cousin who had her wedding out of state during my finals week. She was awesome about the fact I couldn’t attend, which I really appreciate. Sometimes it’s not a matter of how much people want to be there, but if they can swing it at all. I’m sure that every destination wedding has a few people who genuinely want to be there for the couple, but just can’t swing it.
Breaking the Rules
- Look, you’re a super cool person with super cool ideas. It’s awesome that you’re exploring them. Break any rule you want as long as it doesn’t make the people attending your wedding uncomfortable. For an extreme example, going to a remote mountaintop to exchange vows seems great in theory, but dragging Grandma up a steep climb away from any bathrooms just isn’t a great idea.
- There are some rules you should definitely break. One of them is the ceremony. Choose your own. It’s cool if you choose the traditional words, but recognize that you have a choice. There are tons of lovely example ceremonies you can use available online. Start from there and build one that represents you.
- Make it personal. The weddings that stand out most in my mind are the ones that had the most personality. Whether the theme fit the couple perfectly, the music was just right or the vows were handwritten, these are the weddings that everyone remembers. You don’t have to go crazy untraditional, you just need to be a little open.
- Be prepared to have them either be way more enthusiastic than you thought or way less. That’s because typically people’s reactions to wedding stuff (even your wedding stuff) has a lot to do with how much they like weddings. If they wouldn’t get excited over their own tussy mussy (it’s a thing!), then don’t be offended when they don’t cry over the beauty of your own!
- Feed them! The worst thing ever as a bridesmaid is to be called in to do makeup at 8, photos from 9-10, then the ceremony and then more photos and then more duties, and then you get fed. Hours, and hours and hours later. It’s not fun.
- Appreciate that while it’s an honor to be a bridesmaid, it’s also a really big cost burden.
- This one’s hard. It’s his wedding too, but he never seems to have opinions about the things you want him to have opinions on. A lot of times, a guy will make one very difficult request that he feels entitled to, since he hasn’t made any other decisions (despite you asking him to). Don’t let him get away with it if it’s too unreasonable! Zach, for example, only wanted Roscoe’s Tacos to deliver. Lovely thought, but it would’ve changed where we could have had the reception and it would’ve automatically made the wedding less formal, meaning I would have to have gotten a less formal dress. Thus–no go. Accomodate them where possible, but challenge them on things that will dictate the entire wedding.
- On the other hand, sometimes they make smaller requests that only feel crazy at the time. Zach wanted eight groomsmen. I only wanted four bridesmaids, and could only even think of about seven people total who I could possibly include on my side. Compromise? Uneven bridal party. It took a bit to get used to the idea, but it turned out fine!
- I have really, really lovely in-laws, you guys. Seriously. Just be jealous right now. However, from other people’s weddings, I think the best advice would be to include them! Their child is getting married, too, and it’s just as big a deal to them! Keep them up-to-date on wedding planning and let them know you appreciate them and their family.
- Having a wedding is kind of like having a baby, in that everyone wants to tell you what you should do. Carnations are tacky, the money dance is the root of all evil, you have to have a pastor officiate–everyone has an opinion. Learn to do the polite nod and plan escape strategies. Unless, of course, you really care what the cashier’s second-cousin’s niece did for her wedding.
- Avoid comparing your engagement ring to anyone else’s. That is legit tacky. I’ve heard everything from fake embarrassment over how large people’s rings are to someone actually saying that my ring was sparklier, but hers was bigger and in a more classic shape. Seriously. Let’s all agree to be adults! I know you’re excited, but chill. It’s just a really pretty rock.
- Google Drive! Savior! It’s great for collecting guest lists and addresses, song lists and budget breakdowns. You have complete control over who sees what and who’s able to edit what. You and your significant other can compile documents and then share them with your vendors. It’s glorious.
- Get a wedding binder, but don’t spend a lot of money on it. Seriously. You’ll feel super cool when you walk into a cake tasting with a binder full of photos.
That’s all for now, folks! If I think of anything else, I’ll update!