Choosing Your Bridal Party (and those dresses…)

card from Second City Stationary on Etsy
card from Second City Stationary on Etsy

You probably have a running list of bridesmaids and groomsmen and honor attendants in your head. As some friendships grown stronger over time, others fade, and part of choosing you bridal party is being realistic about who will be able to stand next to you on such an important day. You will need to decide if you include family, old friends, new friends, and members of your soon-to-be family.

For us, we had been talking about our bridal party casually as we talked about the possibility of getting married. I always had a good idea of who I would ask, and couldn’t WAIT to get them on board once we were engaged! As we were in the process of researching venues, we began reaching out to our friends. At the time, all but one of our bridal party members lived outside of Southern California, so we wanted to give them time to realistically plan on the trip and the involvement needed. To ask my bridal party, I had custom cards made from Second City Stationary. Doug chose to call all of his friends.

I’d like to think I’m not a very demanding bride (feel free to chime in here, my lovely friends) and all I really wanted was for some of my closest friends to come in a day or two early and celebrate with me/help me get ready/be there as I probably shake with excitement/keep Diet Coke within arms’ reach. I am lucky to have great friends and a few helped plan my shower (which we hosted in my hometown, so my mom and grandma could be involved/plan it too) and others who couldn’t be there but send me encouragement and excitement as we continue in the planning process. Bonus – no “official” bachelorette party – we’re going to have a low-key gathering the night before the wedding. For me, it’s not about sashes, limos, Vegas, the color pink, and partying – it’s about spending quality time with my friends who have made the trip to LA to celebrate with me. I don’t get to see these awesome people enough. I’ll happily renew my vows with┬áDoug every year if it means I get to see them!

It’s really important to set expectations with your bridal party from the get-go. If you want lots of involvement from your party, you need to tell them. My friends are awesome, but all of them have had some major life things happening during the time we’ve been engaged (new projects, new jobs, cross-country moves, etc) and I’m sure they didn’t need a part-time job as “bridal party.” I will, however, send them excited texts whenever I accomplish something related to planning.

For the first half of our engagement, my honor attendant lived in LA, so he was great about coming to tastings and meetings and expos and talking through plans. He’s across the country now but still sends me so much encouragement and excitement (and has agreed to be the contact person for all the vendors). He also helped create an awesome count-down calendar at my shower (from January 1st – May 2nd and our guests wrote things on each day as a “tear-away” or “flip book” so we can read notes as we approach the big day!). These are the things that make planning exciting and manageable. If you all are reading this (and you should be!) – I can’t wait to (bridal) party with you in a few months! Thank you for being there for me. Love you all…xo

When it comes to dresses/attire – WHERE does it say that you must pick something that is over-the-top, ridiculous, and/or unflattering? I love coordination, but the matchy-matchy thing bugs me. I chose to give my bridal party the option of choosing a knee-length black dress and leopard shoes of their choice. I think it will look really cool to have “coordination” without being overly matchy AND it can be something they own/will wear again. Additionally, I believe all people should have some leopard print in their wardrobe. My honor attendant will be in a black suit to designate him as part of my side, but he will have chucks with leopard shoelaces.

For the men on Doug’s side, we decided to go with suit rentals (the same one for each) because they are all traveling and it will be the best way to coordinate. However, to make it “special” and a little less matchy-matchy, Doug is designing individual ties for each of them (the theme is still a secret from the internet, sorry!) and we are getting them chucks with leopard shoelaces as well. Fun fact – Friar Tux has suit rentals, but Men’s Warehouse doesn’t. Based on the names alone, that seems weird, but it is what it is.

At the end of the day, who are some of the first people you wanted to call when you got engaged? Who can you picture standing with you as you smile ear-to-ear? Who is willing to put up with you when you’re tired or stressed and will still love you the day after? How can you show them how much you appreciate them?


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