Bridesmaids… time to choose. The problem was, ever since we’d got engaged I’d been trying to choose between half a dozen relatives and friends who I love very much. But who should I choose?
In the end, I decided to be brave and choose all of them. I asked them one by one… just like ‘The Magnificent Seven’!
First there was Paul’s sister, Barbara. She and I have been good friends since Paul and I met, and she’s always been the big sister I never had. I couldn’t imagine the wedding without her at my side. We asked her one evening when we all had a cosy night in, and she said ‘Of course!’ Yes, I thought, that’s one!
Next was my cousin Nicky. She’s a few years older than me, but we spent much of our childhood together, and I really wanted her to be there on the big day. She lives in London at the moment, and there was little chance of meeting up with her to ask, so I decided to write her a letter. After a week or so, I got a card from her saying, ‘Wow! Yes!’ That’s two!
Then there was my ‘little’ cousin, Charlotte. She isn’t little any more ‐ she’s a teenager ‐ but I always think of her as my ‘little’ cousin because she’s so much younger than I am. I met her at my grandparents house, and while we were drinking tea, I suddenly said ‘Would you like to be my bridesmaid?’ Her eyes went wide, she burst out laughing, and said ‘Yeah! That would be cool!’ That’s three!… I was beginning to feel like I was Yul Brynner or Steve McQueen.
Then came our friends. I asked Beth, who has always been like a cousin to me. Her dad, Derek, was my dad’s best man in 1976, and then my dad returned the favour in 1984. Beth is about the same age as Charlotte, and it seemed right to have two younger girls. When I asked, she just beamed at me and said’ Okay then!’ That’s four!
I also asked Heather, the daughter of one of my mum’s best friends. She’s been a really good mate as we’ve both grown up, and we always just ‘clicked’. She’s also very arty, and I know we can have some fun choosing the colours and designs of all the dresses. Her answer was ‘I’d love to ‐ but NO FRILLY THINGS, okay?’ As if! That’s five!
Last, but definitely not least, we decided Anj (one of our best friends from uni.) should definitely be a bridesmaid. It was Anj who first introduced us properly all those years ago, so maybe we have her to thank for the wedding! We took her out to the pub, drank some red wine, had some good conversation, and slipped our question in. ‘So will you do it?’ She just gave me one of her ‘Anj smiles’ and said ‘Sure.’ That’s six! And with me ‐ That’s seven. Hurrah!
Now, you must be thinking ‘Six bridesmaids? The girl’s a nutter!’ You may be right ‐ especially as we’re on such a tight budget. But when I look at the classy lasses doing the job, I couldn’t face the day without having any one of them there. They all mean so much to me (and to Paul) so it just had to be six. We decided not to have an official chief bridesmaid, because all the girls are equally important to me. This may seem unusual but then, with six bridesmaids, I don’t think I’ll need a chief!
When you come to choose your bridesmaids, make sure they’re very close to you ‐ either close relatives, or your very best, best, best friends. It’s tempting to pick your work colleagues or drinking buddies, but your bridesmaids are the ones who see you through the day. They’re going to have to mop up your tears when you get all emotional, touch up your make‐up, and even take you to the loo (depending on the size of your dress…). I know my girls will be just fantastic, and I’m looking forward to sharing the wedding day with them.