BRIDECHILLA GRADUATE ERICA KNOWS THAT CHOOSING YOUR BRIDAL PARTY IS TRICKY BUSINESS!
Erica Greenwold Reisen is a recently married person who also plans weddings, makes crafts, and writes about wedding things at her website, www.folieadeuxevents.com. You can find her on Instagram @folie.a.deux.nc, Facebook, and Patreon.
I’ve been a bridesmaid twice, once for my sister and once for a friend who is practically a sister. I’ve also been the friend who spent weekends crafting, made dresses, went gown shopping, etc... without the matching dress or my name in a program. I love weddings so much that I am always offering to help whenever a friend is getting hitched! My stint as a bridesmaid and informal wedding assistant is how I got interested in Wedding Planning as a profession.Bridesmaids/Groomsmen can be so helpful while you are planning a wedding. They are (hopefully) your best mates and will be honest and have your back when shit inevitably gets hard, because it totally will.
Choosing a bridal party becomes more complicated as you get older and your friends are spread around the country.
Who do you pick? Your childhood BFFs? Your college roommates? Siblings and cousins? Local pals you play trivia with every Tuesday? All of them? This is how you end up with bridal parties with 10 girls and 10 guys lined up on either side of the couple!
I had my super amazing, Type-A sister as my Maid of Honor and that was it. Plus this saved my lady-friends some serious coin as most of them were traveling from out of state. My husband chose one of his two best friends to be Best Man at our wedding, and the other acted as a witness at our legal ceremony a few months earlier (more on that in another post!).This is clearly not the route many people want to go.
Since moving to North Carolina, every wedding I have attended has had 6+ Bridesmaids/Groomsmen with the exception of one that had no bridal party at all. For most people, they have spent their whole life dreaming of their wedding and their bridal party is an integral part of that dream.So let’s get back to the question of how to choose your bridal party. These are the people who need to always have your back, tell you the truth even when it’s hard, walk you back from the edge when your relatives are driving you mad. They need to be 100% on board in support of your relationship with your partner. And I think most importantly they need to BE THERE.
Being there may not mean physically always there, because like I said before, as we get older, people spread out around the country and world. No, when I say they need to be there, I mean they need to be actively involved in and excited for your wedding. Distance may preclude dress-shopping trips together, but Skype is free and shared Pinterest boards are awesome.
The story is that bridesmaids were originally meant to be decoys to distract and confuse demons who might want to curse the bride on her wedding day. Today, we dress our ladies (and gents) in matching outfits and line them up behind us to bear witness to our nuptials, all the while suffering in uncomfortable shoes, in front of 100+ people.
Being a bridesmaid has taken on an odd cultural significance as well.“Always the bridesmaid, never the bride,”as the saying goes, shames women simply for having a bunch of close friends who happened to get hitched before she did! So beyond the hot pink matching dresses and demon distraction, what is the Bridal Party actually for?
There are traditional responsibilities assigned to the Maid of Honor and Best Man, such as acting as the official witnesses to the marriage and planning the bachelor and bachelorette shindigs. Additionally, the Maid of Honor and Best Man can be your go-to people when you need to start delegating organizational tasks or managing meddling family members. What about the rest of the bridal party? Their job is to help you however they can and be there to support you and your partner every step of the way. These days, they should also be handy with a glue gun and experts at making DIY glitter-dipped wine bottle centerpieces.
As Bridechillas & Groomchillas we know that we should do our best to avoid inviting obligation guests, but what about obligation bridesmaids/groomsmen?
Maybe you told someone way back that you would totally be each other’s bridesmaids but now you barely talk? Or maybe you were a friend’s bridesmaid when they got married but now your relationship has changed? Family can be tough too. Maybe your Aunt expects you to put Cousin Kelly in your bridal party even though you only ever talk at family reunions and she is 6 years your junior.
At the end of the day, it is your wedding and you and your partner should be the ones who decide who you want to represent you as a couple and who will support you completely for your wedding and beyond into your marriage.
No matter what you decide re: the matching garments, your best friends will be there for you regardless. Our wedding was actually one of the best days of my life because of all of the friends who I finally got to see again at the same time and same place. Our wedding was a celebration of love and friendship, and not just between my husband and I, but our friends and family who helped us along the way. I don’t think I have hugged so many people so hard in my entire life. Our friends did not need matching outfits to know how important they are to us.