and other advice for your bridal party
Your bridesmaids will be a source of support and sanity throughout the wedding planning process and are especially important in those critical hours before the wedding starts. These are your ride-or-die ladies and they will be SO excited to share the day with you. If you have close friends from different parts of you life, your bridal party may be getting to know each other while getting gussied up. Or, the salon may be the setting for a college reunion. Either way, you can expect a lot of laughter and one or two embarrassing stories.
As the bride, you should keep in mind that even the most amazing friends need some guidance when it comes to bridal party duties. Emotions will be high (tensions may be as well) and the mood may be frenzied, so it’s a good idea to share timelines and roles before the morning of your wedding. This will make sure everyone is prepared, relaxed, and happy. It will prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings (ain’t nobody got time for that). And, communicating clear expectations about schedules and duties will ensure that your photographer has ample time to capture the oh-so-important dress pictures as well as group and individual pictures with your girls. Mimosas optional. But, let’s be honest, they photograph well. #squadgoals
Here are some tips for you, the bride, to ensure a picture-perfect (and stress-free) wedding morning. Keep reading for some words of wisdom to pass on to your supporting cast!
Schedule more time than necessary for hair, makeup, and dressing. This may mean your salon appointments start at 9am. It is much better to be ready 30 minutes early with time for extra group pictures than to be scrambling into your dress while guests are seated.
All bridesmaids should arrive at the same time, at least 10 minutes before the earliest appointment. Same goes for mothers or anyone else having hair or makeup done with your bridal party. Share your day-of timeline with your hair and makeup artists as you make appointments.
If bridesmaids are doing their own hair or makeup, arrange for everyone to meet at the same time (preferably when and where your hair and makeup are done).
Schedule more time than necessary for transportation, especially if you have to change locations to dress. Traffic happens. Limos are late. Someone will forget a bra and will have to describe to a clueless boyfriend exactly what plunge-front padded strapless means. It happens. And if you don’t have extra time built in, you may not get the pictures you want. And no one looks pretty when panicked (or pouting, for that matter).
Give everyone a job, even a small task, for which they are singularly responsible. This creates a sense of importance and accountability. Your best friend who’s always forty-five minutes late will be more likely to show up on time if she knows that everyone is counting on her to bring lattes and bagels to the salon. Bridesmaids are also great for reception duties… Who better to make sure your Uncle John doesn’t touch the mic during toasts than your most persuasive bridesmaid?
Speaking of duties… Decide ahead of time which 2-3 girls (usually along with Mother of the Bride) will actually help you get into your dress. The other bridesmaids will be present (read on), but only 2-3 will physically button/zip/fluff your dress. Maids/matrons of honor are perfect choices, along with your most nimble-fingered friend.
And now, some words of wisdom to pass on to your best girls. Better yet, send them this post!
Once the bride is close to the end of her hair and makeup, all the bridesmaids will gather for a quick group picture. Matching monogrammed robes? This is the perfect time to show them off.
After that, bridesmaids hustle into their dresses while the bride does finishing touches. Bridesmaids need to be dressed BEFORE the bride gets into her gown, and legs lotioned-lipstick applied-shoes on-READY. BUT, remember the bride is the focus, so we're not stopping things because you don't yet have in earrings. The “getting ready” pictures are always so full of emotion and love and excitement that the those tiny details don’t matter that much.
The girls specifically assigned to button/zip/fluff (along with Mother of the Bride or other important family member) will help the bride her to dress while the other ladies gather round. These pictures are always some of my favorites; I love the facial expressions!
REMEMBER: Depending on your timeline, bridesmaids do not have to be perfectly aisle-ready as the bride steps into her dress, just dressed. It is much more important to stick to the timeline than to apply one more coat of lipstick before the pictures. Bridesmaids might have time to put on finishing touches while the bride is having photos made with her family before the ceremony!