The Bridesmaid Game

One of the most fun parts of planning your wedding is the time spent with your bridesmaids: showers, bachelorette party, and of course sharing all the fun details. So how do you pick who will stand by your side on the most special day of your life?

There are about a million web pages to give you guidance on your decision-making – here are the top 5 that came up when I Googled it:

1. Dessy

2. Bridal Guide

3. The Knot

4. Wedding Channel

5. Wise Geek

I gave my bridesmaids this book when I asked them to be a part of my wedding.
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First you (and your groom) need to decide how many members will be in your wedding party. Once the number has been agreed upon, you can begin deciding who to include. For most, there’s an obligatory thought to include family members – be it a sister, cousin, niece or even an in-law. There are probably a few girls that you’ve shared late nights with, lots of laughs, and even a few tears, and these are the people you will plan to include in your wedding party. And there are a few who will automatically assume they are going to be a part of your wedding.

Before sending out cute invitation asking your BFFs and family members to share in months of planning, parties and one very important weekend, consider a few things:

1. How much time will your choices be able to spend with you over a several month span?

This part is more for the bridesmaids than the bride: being a bridesmaid requires time (and money). Not only do you have to try on a dress (or five), you will be invited to numerous parties/showers, there will be a weekend or maybe even a week that you are asked to celebrate the last days of singledom with the bride, and of course, there is a weekend where almost every moment is dedicated to someone else. While most brides don’t expect their bridesmaids to be at every event, there is a certain level of participation that is desired. 

2. How organized are they and do they pay attention to detail?

Having an organized bridesmaid is essential. This should be the maid or matron of honor, since the responsibility of planning a bridal shower and bachelorette party, and helping you stay stress-free on the day of the wedding. You need someone who can command the attention of the other bridesmaids, pull together common dates for events, gather money for things like deposits on your bachelorette trip, and someone who can make sure everyone else stays in the loop on what’s going on. It’s a good thing to confirm all of your bridesmaid’s email addresses, phone numbers and mailing addresses in the beginning and get those to the MOH. Also important to make sure your bridesmaids actually check their email. You don’t want someone showing up on the day of wondering “were we supposed to wear pearls?” 

3. Do they want to be a part of it?

It actually matters how much your choices want to be a part of your day. If you chose someone because you felt like you had to (and they felt like they had to be in your wedding because you asked), it might not work out the best for you. It’s possible that you’ll end up having someone who is lacksadasical about participating in your wedding. You might have asked someone who doesn’t have enough money to go to Vegas for a 4-day weekend, or to the Keys for a week. If you look, and you care to, you will see who really wants to be a part of your wedding. You will see the ones who ask you how things are going, go shopping for dresses with you, and tag you in pins on Pinterest of wedding ideas in your style. While you obviously want to pick who YOU want to be in your wedding, it’s worth considering if your first picks have the same desire. 

I have a few friends who have recently gotten engaged, and I have listened to these questions on several occasions. The only advice I could give came from the three questions I posed above. Question three was especially applicable to my decision making process. You want to pick fun bridesmaids, genuine people, good friends. You want to pick those that will be honest with you when you put on a dress that’s too poofy, that will encourage you to keep working out if you’re complaining you haven’t seen results just yet, and that will offer to come write on 10 chalkboards and put guest bags together with you. And once you decide on WHO you’re asking, you can browse through Pinterest and Etsy looking for ways to ask!

 

 

The Day Before THE BIG DAY

On Friday before our wedding, I was a mess. I was running late for EVERYTHING and the fact that it was raining did not help. Rain in Charlotte equals stand-still traffic almost always. So I missed my eyelash appointment by 11 minutes. Ran into my dear friend Gean in Sephora and burst into tears. Did some shopping in an attempt to make myself feel better (sale at Lilly Pulitzer? yes, please!). Was then late to my nail appointment with two of my sweet bridesmaids – and forgot to take the polish color that I had chosen for us to wear. r0After manis and pedis, I rushed home to get ready for our rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Rushing was the theme of my day.

We had exactly one hour given to us at The Dairy Barn to rehearse. While I was able to see some of the decorations (tables and flowers), the upstairs was not set up so we had to rehearse in a bare room. Oh, did I forget to mention that our wedding got moved inside? You see, the skies opened up on Friday and rained straight through Saturday. Our tables/chairs vendor gave me until 1 pm on Friday to make the final call. I called my husband-to-be at 12:55, sobbing, and asking what he thought. His response?

“I’ll marry you here or there. I’ll marry you anywhere! I’ll marry you on a bus or a train, I’ll even marry you in the pouring rain!”

After deciding not to put a tent over our guests and proceed with the outdoor wedding, I informed all of the vendors that it would be inside. My poor photographer got to listen to me cry twice when she called and we discussed pictures we would take inside. But anyway, I got all of this out of my system before the rehearsal and we had one hour to zoom through how the wedding would go. Pretty simple. The only thing I would do different is actually run through the vows (I recommend this!). On the day of, your mind is swimming with so many happy thoughts and you’re focusing on smiling, saying the right thing, not locking your legs that it’s helpful to know what’s coming and to have heard it before.
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After the rehearsal and some running around in The Dairy Barn to set up pictures/signs/chalkboards, we finally escaped to our rehearsal dinner at The Fish Market in Baxter. Not that there was ever a doubt in my mind about it, but it was DELICIOUS.

Afterwards, we went our separate ways (kinda, I forgot my running shoes at the house and had to go grab those!) to get some rest before the real big day. I had a slumber party with my MOH at the hotel we had chosen for our guests and LW stayed at the house with the doggies.
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A tiring, tearful, mess of a day turned into a wonderful evening. I kept telling myself to just let it out, and get it ALL out before Saturday. A friend told me of a bride she knew of who let it consume her on her wedding day that it was raining and changing her plans and she regretted it afterwards and I didn’t want that to be me. So on the day of, I was all smiles… despite the rain.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I wore 2 different shoes to the rehearsal. One pewter Jack Rogers Sandal and one Silver Jack Rogers Sandal. Whoops!

Happy Friday + Happy Birthday!

It’s FREEZING (literally) outside today and my birthday is tomorrow. I always wished I had been a summer baby so I could have fun birthday parties instead of Super Bowl themed ones or being snowed in for the celebration. Oh well. We’ll make the best of it! My sweet, sweet fiance has a day o’ fun planned for us and ending with a delicious dinner – but it’s all a surprise to me, so I’ll let you know ALL about it afterwards!

This week was a good one. We met with the caterer, I met with a magazine editor (eeek!), our best woMan ordered her dress, and I got to have lunch with a dear friend who is also one of my bridesmaids. So although it’s cold outside, I’m still a happy camper this week!

I’m sure everyone is wondering who my bridesmaids are and I’m happy to introduce them!

BMs

Sarah was my FAVORITE college roommate. We met the summer before junior year and were inseparable from that night on. I think people were probably surprised if we showed up somewhere without the other one attached to our hip. She is the definition of PIC and BFF and I could not be happier that she is my MOH. I am one lucky girl to have her by my side for so many years, and on the best day of my life!

MOH - Sarah
MOH – Sarah

Amy moved to my high school sophomore year, and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment that we became friends – because I can’t remember ever not being friends with her. Although she was only at our school for a couple years, we’ve remained the best of friends – I even lived with her in Wilmington for a summer. I’m so incredibly excited to have her in my bridal party – and to also be celebrating her upcoming nuptials with the love of her life!

Bridesmaid - Amy
Bridesmaid – Amy

Brittney and I became friends one night over AIM. We had attended middle school together but didn’t become friends until high school… but when we became friends, it was forever. We shared all of those classic high school moments – some that can still make us laugh until we cry. I’m blessed to have friends like her that are still in my life after so many years, and so many miles between us! Excited to celebrate my big day with my Bre!

Brittney - Bridesmaid
Brittney – Bridesmaid

Michelle waltzed into my life on my first day of college in Jacksonville, Florida. Her sweet southern accent and charm let me know right away that I was going to LOVE being this girl’s friend. We ended up in the same sorority (same family too!) and came to find out that we both knew & loved Claytor Lake in Virginia. Now she and her sweet husband live in Charlotte and we are elated when our schedules align and we can get together with them for a fun evening. We adored everything about their chic wedding this past summer – so I’m glad to have her helpful hints when it comes to my own!

Michelle - Bridesmaid
Michelle – Bridesmaid

Katie, last but not least, my “little” cousin. I have always cherished any amount of time that we get to spend together, so I’m over-the-moon excited about all the quality time we’ll be spending together. Katie was supposed to coordinate our wedding, but having her as a bridesmaid means so much. And I know I can still count on her for anything that I will need. I’m so happy that she’ll be standing on my side on the happiest day ever!

Katie - Bridesmaid
Katie – Bridesmaid

I feel like such a lucky and blessed girl to have wonderful friends and family in my life to share this time with. With every turn of the planning process, we are reminded how much love is in our lives and it makes our little hearts so happy. We can’t wait to celebrate with each & every one of y’all!

Bride Wars

Many of you may remember me mentioning that a very good friend, a best friend, got engaged two weeks after I did. We were both going to be experiencing this exciting time in our lives, at the same time. Let me go back… we’ve been best friends since we were 15. We spent summers together, we celebrated birthdays and graduations together, we visited each other in college, we shared everything for the past 11.5 years. And here we are, growing up and getting married and we won’t be sharing that.

A few weeks ago, I changed up my wedding party. This was not a rash decision, but a well thought out one (and that’s becoming more clear as the days go on). It was weighing heavy on my heart for a while before the decision was made – but with two weddings being planned, it felt like only one of them was being focused on. I should have prefaced this post with “THIS IS HOW IT FELT TO ME,” because of course, every story has 2 sides. I understand that living within 5 miles of each other makes it much easier to get together and talk weddings but part of me, the little girl in me, the bride-to-be in me, wanted to stand up and scream, “I’M GETTING MARRIED, TOO!” But I didn’t do that… I didn’t do that when our other 2  “best” friends were asked to be Maid and Matron of Honor in the other wedding, or when she browsed for wedding dresses on the day that MY bridesmaids were looking at dresses to wear in my wedding, or when she announced she was using the same colors as me, or even when a slightly edited version of an email I sent to my bridesmaids was sent from her to her bridesmaids just 2 hours after mine. Nope, I kept quiet. I did mention it once, and was told, “It’s the time in our lives where everyone is getting married, we just have to deal with that.”

I don’t want to deal with that. I want to (and deserve to) to be the center of attention, the star in the spotlight, and at the least, the focus of MY bridal party. But I wasn’t (with the exception of two fabulous friends!)… and I was starting to feel like not even a friend after taking the highroad and offering to host a bridal party for the other bride and being told “We’ll be hitting up all the bridesmaids to help.” And just like that, I was lumped into a group of people that were not life-long friends, but just bridesmaids. I did not list out everything that had hurt my feelings over the past months and I was not mean in my request. I was honest and open, and hoping that my best friends would understand. I actually hoped (that maybe just ONE of them) would have apologized and asked how they could fix the situation, but no… they all immediately opted out.

I am not bitter and I still 100% believe I made the right decision in asking them to step down. They have all made it clear that they do not wish to be a part of my wedding planning, my wedding day, or even my life. Some of their family members have made similar decisions, which hurts, and sucks all at the same time. I do not regret my decision. I have taken the highroad. My attempts to contact them have gone unanswered. I’ve been unfriended on Facebook by some. Yet, I still have plenty of people in my life who are caring, understanding and WANT to be involved in my planning, my happiness and my big day. And yes, it’s MY day – so this is the one time in my life where I can be selfish and soak up all of that attention. I just had to surround myself with people that could enjoy it with me – and I can’t express how thankful I am for each and every one of them.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

Big Brother

Saturday, at our engagement party, I had one surprise for my brother. In his speech to us, he said “She’s the best sister I’ve ever had.” I’m also the only one, but back at ya, Bro. Seriously though, our relationship has continued to get stronger over the years and I know he is there for me 100%. I don’t have that relationship with my father, and don’t feel comfortable asking, or want him to walk me down the aisle. So I asked my big brother if he would do the honors of giving me away…
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AND HE SAID YES! He also loved the memory foam slippers I gave him when I asked him, but I did have to clarify that he’s not walking me down the aisle in those! (But maybe a bowtie?!)

I imagine him walking me towards my future husband will give us another picture like this one, to cherish forever…
wedding

She said YES!

Yesterday, my groom (along with looking at suits!) asked his best man to be a part of our big day. Now… this isn’t just any ol’ friend he’s had in life, someone he went to high school or college with… it’s his little sister, Logan. (I say little but she’s older than me). We both wanted her on OUR sides for the wedding, but I couldn’t think of a better (or cuter) way to incorporate her into our wedding.

I love that they are so close and have such a strong relationship. Family is really important to both of us – and we both have large families, and are very close with them. I can’t tell you how happy I am that she’s going to be his right hand (wo)man … but also a very important part of our day and and of course, our lives. I’m just hoping I can steal her away for a few major events like Bachelorette Bash 2013, cake tasting and some DIY crafting time.

Yay, Logan! I’m so happy YOU said YES.