Friday, July 30, 2010

Choose Wisely

While on my wonderful vacation last week, I had lunch with a friend of mine whose conversation quickly turned our relaxing lunch date into a blog-worthy work session.

It seems a friend of hers is getting married and although she is not a bridesmaid, her friend expects her to do all of the work of a maid of honor, plus more. The ridiculous requests of this bride-to-be got me thinking about expectations placed on bridesmaids and why we pick the maids we pick. Do we expect too much, do we make it easy for our friends to say “yes” and if we do not expect them to participate at all, why did we ask them? Furthermore, if you have a friend that you love spending time with so much and cherish her opinion more than any other, why was she not picked to stand beside you on your special day?

All of these questions are worth asking yourself before you pick your bridesmaids starting with why we pick the girls we pick. You should be asking yourself: Am I just asking this friend to be in my wedding because she had me in hers? Do I feel an obligation? Is my mother making me ask my cousin so my aunt does not get upset? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then you need to think long and hard before asking a “friend” or family member to commit to such an important job.

You should be asking yourself: Has this person been there for the important events in my past? Will this person be there for the important events in my future? Does this person support me and my future husband? Will she be a reliable friend when the road gets rough and will she have a blast with the preparations of my wedding? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you’ve found your bridal party!

The next question you should be asking yourself is, “What do I expect from my bridesmaids?” The truth is we want to believe that our friends and family are just as excited about our wedding as we are, and sometimes that is the case. Other times, while the excitement and joy may be there, they can not always show it in the ways we’d like. For instance, expecting your bridal party to put their life on hold, leave work, or run over for a cry-fest every time you have a wedding mini-crisis, is just not realistic (that’s what your wedding planner is for!). Also, expecting your bridal party to pay for your lavish tastes is also a major no-no.

Another friend of mine, while on this wonderful vacation, spoke to me about her bride-to-be friend who expects her, as a bridesmaid, to pay over $300 for a Vera Wang dress and take care of the expenses that come from traveling to Puerto Rico, since that is where the wedding will be held. Along with those expenses comes the cost of showers, gifts, hair and make up on the day of the wedding, shoes and a bachelorette party, just to name a few.

I can definitely understand a destination wedding and I can certainly understand a Vera Wang dress, but most of my brides who have asked for such a huge financial commitment have covered some of the cost in order to give their girls a break and make it comfortable for everyone no matter their position in life at the time. If you choose your girls for the right reasons, it should be more important to make it feasible for your girls to participate than to cause them to drop out due to your outlandish requests.

The bottom line when it comes to bridesmaids is – pick the girls you love the most who will make the most out of your wedding excitement and who will try the hardest to be a part of it. It is true that it’s all about the bride, but I find that the bride who does not enter into the wedding preparation with that mind set, enjoys her engagement and wedding a whole lot more. She also enters into marriage with a lot more friends! After all, the wedding only lasts a day, but if you choose the right bridesmaids, those relationships will last well beyond the style of that Vera Wang dress. Be aware of what you are asking and who you expect to rise to your challenging requests.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wearing White

Last night I had the pleasure of being involved in the wedding of a life-long friend and everything was perfect! The weather held out for us, the day ran smoothly as each of the 13 bridesmaids got our hair and make up done and the first glimpse of the flowers delivered to the house proved that this would be a wedding that none of the guests would soon forget. What I can not forget, however, is our limo pulling up the church for the ceremony and seeing not one, not two, but three guests walking into the church wearing…… WHITE!!!

I did not think this would be a topic that I would have to cover, but perhaps everyone needs a refresher course. While some professionals will tell you that the “no wearing white to a wedding” rule is dismissed, I am here to tell you that it is still in full effect and everyone should take it seriously!

Wearing an outfit with white in it is fine, but wearing an all white dress, or pants suit for that matter, is a major “no, no”. I believe in the past, before bridal gowns of this elaborate caliber came into the picture, other guests wearing white just made it confusing for the wedding attendees who might now wonder which of the white wearers were in fact the blushing bride.

In most cases today, there’s no question about who the bride is, but there’s a courtesy that each guest should give to the bride. That courtesy is not wearing white. If you had a birthday party and one of your friends showed up wearing the same dress as you, the birthday girl, how tragic would that be? When it comes to a wedding, consider any dress that is white to be the equivalent of you showing up wearing the same exact gown as the bride.

Rules are certainly meant to be broken, changed, bent and in some aspects ignored, but this is a very simple tradition that is here to stay. White is for the bride at a wedding, a wedding shower, a wedding luncheon or a wedding rehearsal. If you are attending something that has the word wedding involved in it and you are not the bride, find another color and wear white when it’s your turn. That simple color of white is what defines the bride as the most important person in the room so do not compete with her. You’ll never win!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Great Expectations

A friend of mine emailed me yesterday asking me how much she should spend on a gift for a bridal shower that she’s invited to, yet she is not invited to the wedding. Of course my answer is $0. Everyone knows that you only invite guests to the shower that you plan to invite to the wedding.
I decided to give this bride the benefit of the doubt by assuming that she is having a destination wedding and that is why this guest was not invited to the wedding (as this is the only acceptable reason for this). Just then, another email came in. It was my friend now asking me how much she should spend on the engagement shower gift and the couple’s shower gift.
Where should I begin?
Whether it’s a destination wedding or a traditional 400 guest blow out in your home town, the rule of thumb has always been that each guest gets invited to one shower throughout the engagement process. With the number of different parties and celebrations given around weddings these days, that’s a tough rule to follow. I am not 100% sure where I fall on the issue when it involves a couple having a traditional wedding, but when it comes to a couple having a destination wedding, my feelings are pretty concrete.
I can certainly understand wanting to have an intimate destination wedding just for you and your groom to share this most special time together. Combining the honeymoon with the actual act of getting married is a great idea, but when doing so, you miss out on some of perks that come from having guests and your guests miss out on the perk of seeing you get married.
The massive blow out that you would have had, better known as your reception, is the biggest thing that destination wedding couples say they want. Some couples solve that issue by coming home from their wedding/honeymoon and having a grand party inviting their friends and family to celebrate along with them. That is a perfect solution, for you, but it still does not change the fact that you did not invite those guests to be a part of the wedding it self.
With that being said, I do not think you should expect to get all of the bells and whistles that come from family and friends who were asked to be involved in the actual wedding. Most couples that decide to have a more intimate wedding do not expect any of this and all they want is to be married and create an experience that only the two of them will know. On the other hand, some brides want the best of both worlds.
An engagement party to celebrate the engagement is completely acceptable and a bridal shower is fine as well, but having both an engagement party and a bridal shower, or going any further with other festivities such as couples’ showers, etc. may be pushing the envelope.
In my opinion, if you decide to have a destination wedding of any kind (whether just you and your groom or a few close friends and family members) an engagement party is your best bet to celebrate the actual engagement with the ones you love. When you return from the honeymoon, have a great big party to celebrate the marriage to the one you love, but leave it at that!