Following on from her previous post, where bride-to-be Becky discusses the pressure of proposing in a same-sex couple, she now explores the politics of picking your bridal party – and how to make it extra special!
The moment you’re engaged you, rush to the nearest shop (or in the current climate, you log on to Amazon Prime!), select your wedding planner and then you stop. You realise you have skipped a very important step.
Who comes along with you to wedding dress shops?! Say it with me…YOUR BRIDE TRIBE! Who goes with you to wedding fairs and helps snaffle extra freebies?! YOUR BRIDE TRIBE! Or who plans your hen party?! Yep, you guessed it YOUR BRIDE TRIBE! But who do you pick?
A friend once told me her only tip about wedding planning was, “Make sure that whoever you pick as your bridesmaid will follow you like your shadow. This means you won’t worry about a thing.”
I took this piece of advice when I was a bridesmaid myself. Hold on to the couple’s dogs? The leads were already in my hand. Herding the family for photos? Done. Or my personal favourite, helping to change a bride out of a pair of stunning high heels (that were described as torturous!) into a pair of trainers, all done discreetly under a full skirt. That’s now pride of place on my CV, underneath my day job as a professional dog snuggler.
We had decisions to make about our bridal party and we have so many amazing friends and family, we knew it’d be a tough task. Would it be large or small? Traditional or untraditional? Best men or no best men? Once we discussed it, we realised we wouldn’t have equal numbers in each bride’s entourage – and aesthetically, it would be more pleasing to the eye if it was balanced.
However, we ultimately decided on eight in total – five for me, three for Ciara. Every single person plays an important role in our lives and these roles are very much needed on our big day. From the top organiser to the person that gets the party started.
We each get a Maid of Honour. For me, this role was already taken by my older sister Rachel. We are 15 months and 15 days apart, and growing up we were like typical sisters, and fought like cat and dog. Despite Rachel’s attempts at trying to get away from me, I followed her to the same high school where we were like a tag team.
I even followed her to the same university to be as close as humanly possible. Fun fact, we started nursery school on the same day and when we graduated university, we actually graduated on the same day which also happened to be her birthday! We are thick as thieves and I can’t wait for her to join me as I pick out my wedding dress.
Ciara had a slightly trickier time picking her Maid of Honour. She is the eldest of eleven children and how do you pick from four sisters?! Rather than choose, she picked her closest friend that she has known for over 23 years, Anna. If you want to find out about our bride tribe, by the way, you can see them on our Instagram account!
Then we had to decide how to ask them to be in our bridal party. Proposal boxes have become so popular and can be very costly, but it was something we felt was important to do. We wanted each person to feel the love that we feel for them and to know that we appreciate them and cannot wait to have them on our big day.
We decided to create a little box of goodies that contained just the right amount of sentimental awesomeness, with a dash of alcohol and a little pot of sweets. Each person got:
- A notebook with their initial on the front and pen to have somewhere to put their thoughts and ideas in
- A champagne flute and a little bottle of prosecco to have a toast on us.
- A compact mirror with ‘Bridesmaid’ or ‘Maid of Honour’ on it
- A little candle
- A card asking the big question and a selection of attractive photos to remind them why we are friends (or why no one else is friends with us!)
We topped each box with a pastel rainbow ribbon. We actually really struggled with making a best man’s proposal box as everything we found was aimed towards a man asking another man.
I wanted to give our best man Chris things that were elegant and beautiful but still had a masculine feel. So instead of a rose gold notebook it was a black and gold notebook with a C on the front. He loves stationery so I found a black pen that said ‘Best Man’ on it.
We found Etsy to be a great source for personalised items and when I found a seller that was able to make me a little wooden badge with ‘Best Man’ on it and a Mickey Mouse ear hat over it I was DELIGHTED. This was one of my favourite items as it’s something I hope he will wear on our big day (hint, hint).
We realised we didn’t have to stick to traditions when it came to choosing our bridal party. You don’t have to pick someone just because you were in their bridal party (that being said, I was bridesmaid for two of my bridesmaids and neither one of them expected to be mine, but I just couldn’t imagine my day without any of them standing by my side!).
Your wedding is about YOU, YOUR PARTNER and your love story. No one else and certainly no one else’s opinions. Now for the fun part, follow us on @BridesByTheSea_NI to see what stunning frilly pink meringue dresses we decide to dress our wedding tribe in (yes, even you Chris)!