Tag Archives: Bridal Party

Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo

When I picked my bridesmaids, it took relatively little debate.  I had a core group of ladies who surrounded me with love, and while it was more difficult to lower it down to four (and then raise it to five when I told Mr. Library I wouldn’t leave out a friend just for symmetry’s sake), I knew I made good choices.  My ladies were awesome, beautiful, and the best women I could have asked to stand up in front of friends and family with when told Mr. Library “I do.”  Though they looked a lot less confused when I asked them to be there…

When Mrs. Sox asked me to be her bridesmaid, I was psyched.  I had no idea what went into being a bridesmaid, but I did know that I was going to try my best to be a darn good one.  I put a lot of time thinking about different details of her bridal shower and how to make her wedding day to Mr. Sox super special, and I think all of my hard work was appreciated.

When Ms. C got engaged, I was ready to be the best cheerleader around, title of bridesmaid or not.  It doesn’t matter if you get to wear a coordinating dress and stand up in front of the crowd; when a friend gets married, you support that person.  In my book, that’s the end of the story.  It was just icing on the cake when she asked me to be her Maid of Honor (yes, I’m married, but I despise the word “matron,” so I pretend it doesn’t exist).  I was happy, and I’m pretty sure she was happy that I had said yes.  Everything was going great, right?

Well, maybe not.  Other potential party members hadn’t answered her question yet.  What took me 2.3 seconds and lots of jumping was taking them a few weeks.  What gives?

A lot of different scenarios, actually.  While not everyone shares my enthusiasm for all things wedding related, there are other reasons to think long and hard about taking on the role of a bridesmaid.  Brides get lots of advice on how to select, ask, and work with their bridesmaids, but there aren’t that many guides for considering if you want to be a bridesmaid.  It is, after all, a big responsibility with quite a few financial obligations.  So what should bridesmaids think about?

1.  Budget – Do you have the money to be able to give this your all? Before you read into putting budget first, hear me out.  Money definitely isn’t the most important factor of life, and it certainly isn’t the most important factor in being a bridesmaid.  Time is the most important (see #2), but for some people, time equals money.  As a bridesmaid, you have certain roles you need to play.  You need to be the lovely lady who stands up in front (or sits in the front pew) wearing the dress the bride has deemed appropriate and to her liking.  With bridesmaids’ dresses going into the $300 category from some designers, it can be a hefty chunk of change for a dress.  On top of that, you may have to pay for shoes, jewelry, makeup, and a hair stylist.  Add to that the bridal shower costs, the bachelorette costs, shower and wedding gifts, and any other parties you decide to throw for the happy couple, and it adds up.  Fast.

Some brides are amazing people and understand this whole money-suck concept.  It has become more popular for brides to just give their ladies a color and length of a dress and tell them to run with it, find a dress that works within those boundaries and that fits into your budget.  Others have opted to ask bridesmaids to wear black dresses, items they may already have so they don’t have to buy anything else, or shoes that generally fit a predetermined color scheme.  When I was planning my wedding party’s outfits, I just told them I wanted the shoes to be silver.  I didn’t care if they were flats or heels.  They could be new, old, used, ruffly, textured… whatever.

Find a way to talk to your bridesmaids or bride and talk about money expectations.  If you are a bridesmaid and you are clear that you definitely want to be a part but funds are short, it’s helpful to the bride.  Being open from the beginning makes the experience better for everyone.

2.  Time – Where did it all go?

Being a bridesmaid seems like it involves a medium amount of time.  You have spend time picking out dresses, perhaps having a “get to know the bridal party” luncheon or party, planning and hosting the bridal shower and the bachelorette, and, of course, being in the wedding.  But there is so much more to being a wedding party member than that.  The bride is probably going to need help on certain projects, a shoulder to lean on and/or cry on when planning gets stressful (which it will), and more than one trip to pick out and order bridesmaids’ dresses.  The planning of the shower could take multiple meetings, not to mention shopping trips and lots of “homework” time for picking the theme and venue.  If you are the MOH, you should be available to go on different errands with the bride and groom if they ask, eating up more weekend time especially as the wedding gets closer.  The wedding weekend (or week of, depending on the size of the extravaganza) includes rehearsal, rehearsal dinners, running around to vendors to pick up anything last minute, the wedding, and any after-parties or get-togethers.  The medium amount of time just turned into a much larger endeavor.

This sounds cruel, but if you cannot put in the time to help out the bride and your fellow bridesmaids, don’t say that you will be one.  It’s just not fair.  Sure, you may love the bride, but it won’t be fun for anyone if you are constantly trying to duck out of your time responsibilities.  I had a large problem with this with one of my bridal party ladies, and trust me, it was awful.  Realize that sometimes wedding errands pop up and you need to be flexible about it.  Not everything can be planned a month in advance.

At the same time, brides need to be democratic and realistic about their expected schedules.  Not everyone is going to be able to drop whatever they are doing to scour racks of shoes for the “perfect wedding pair” with you.  Sorry, it’s just not always possible.  Make sure your ladies (and gentlemen if it suits you) are aware of the top time priorities so they can put them on their calendars.  Also, give them lots of notice in advance if possible.

3.  People People – Go team!

This one is short.  If you don’t get along well with others, don’t be a bridesmaid.  I’m not sure why you would be one if you didn’t (maybe it’s a family obligation?), but be open to communication and ideas.  Be friendly.  Realize that others have ideas, budgets, and feelings too.  It takes a team to get the wedding to go off without a hitch; no one is trying to show up the others (if you are, seriously… knock it off!).

4.  Boy/Girl Toys – You may have to drop the “+1”

Some weddings just don’t have room on the guest list to allow bridesmaids to bring a date.  It sucks, but it happens.  If this is a job killer, say no.  Don’t whine and hint and make a spectacle because you can’t bring Jim Bob (wow, your boyfriend must be a red neck…).  For brides, I would recommend seeing if you might be able to squeeze in those +1 invites for your bridal party just to make it more of a party for them.  Think of it as a small “thanks” for all of their hard work.

5.  People are watching

You will be up in front of the ceremony with the bride.  Can you handle that?  No, the spotlight won’t be on you personally, but if you don’t like attention, being a bridesmaid may not be for you.  Perhaps you could ask to be a smaller helper instead, helping to hand out programs or arrange decorations before the ceremony or reception.  No one likes to pass out in front of hundreds of people, so know your showcase limits.

There are, of course, hundreds of other thoughts a girl might have when it comes to making a bridesmaid decision.  How well do you know the bride?  Are within a reasonable distance to make it to the wedding?  Can you afford to travel?  Do you believe in marriage enough to be there (I haven’t run into many people in this camp, but they could be out there)?  Are you even available to be at the wedding?  The point is, you need to think through all of your options before honestly committing.

But please.  For the love of Pete.  Don’t make the bride wait three weeks for an answer!

Volumes of Love: CATCH!

Traditions in weddings are often disputed.  Sure, some traditions can seem out of date or a little cheesy, but I didn’t really care.  I wanted to keep most of them because they were fun and made for some excellent pictures.

Case in point?  The bouquet and garter tosses.  Some people want to ditch them because they think people are uncomfortable with the tradition, but I love them.  Our wedding featured them, and the hilarity that ensued did not disappoint.

First, the DJ called Mr. Library to the floor to remove my garter.  The problem was, I only caught on to this fact about two minutes before when I realized that I didn’t actually have my tossing garter on.  I had my own garter on, but the one meant for tossing was in the day-of bag.  Oops.  I got Miss Sox and Bridesmaid Al’s attention, and they helped me through it on just in time.

I kindly tried to sneak Mr. Library some hand gestures to show him discretely which leg it was on, but we failed in the secretive communication department.

It was then my turn to toss my bouquet.  I have always loved the photos that come out of an event like this, so I made sure I gave a good toss.

The funny thing about that is… well… the toss wasn’t exactly “good.”  Sure, it got where it was going, but I released a little too high up in the arc, the bouquet hit the ballroom ceiling (according to Mom Library), and promptly fell to the floor with a thud.  My friends then looked at each other going, “Do you want it?  No?  Well I don’t want to pick it up… Come on, just take it… Anyone?  Crickets?”  Even though Miss Sox was clearly the next to get married, Friend A sucked it up and picked up the bouquet.  Way to take one for the team, A!

Mr. Library then had his turn at tossing.  As you will notice, the guys didn’t back away quite as fast.  They waited until the last possible second and left Mr. Sox in the lurch!

Their faces all seem to suggest the same message:  “Hahaha sucker!”

Being a good sport, Mr. Sox made the best of an awkward situation with Friend A (don’t you wish you picked it up now, Mrs. Sox?).  A pointed to the spot on her leg where it would be acceptable to place the garter, and once there, Mr. Sox made a run for it.

With all of our formalities done, it was time to party the night away!

Walk me through this:

Our bridal party began to come together!

We did as UPS does!

We’re cat-walking baby!

We practiced eating!

Our wedding gets Jewish!

The girls and I have a slumber party!

I fell in love with a poet.

Mr. Library runs around.

Wake up call!

Christmas in July

Hairscapades abound

Making us up as we go

The Groom Squad strikes back

Magical flowers

We get the deets.

What should I wear today?

Click click click flash

Ding ding ding goes the trolley

The Groom Squad activates

We hear the music.

The guests are coming!  The guests are coming!

Let’s have a parade!

A walk to remember

We do?  Yes!  We do!

Let’s have a hug

Documenting the love

Our friends get in on the act

We find a snack in a pretty field.

We keep it in the family.

We dance into the reception.

Ch-ch-ch-chow down!

You have a little something on your face…

Dancing in tune

 

 

 

Take a Shower!

No, we’re not talking about what Miss Sox’s mom said before Mr. Sox proposed (that story is still legendary…).  We’re talking about my incredible bridal shower that took place just yesterday!

My bridesmaids, sister, aunts, cousins, friends, and parents worked so hard on this event, and it really showed.  It was a total surprise (because they know I love surprises) and totally fun.  Want to see some highlights?  Yeah, you do!

The day began with Mom and Dad Library saying that they were going back to their hometown to put memorial baskets on their parents’ graves.  They also had plans to catch up with an older couple who used to be Mom Library’s neighbors.  Mom Library had spent Friday afternoon making the memorial baskets for the graves at Aunt C’s house, so I figured it sounded legit.  Wrong!

I woke up and had a feeling something was up.  I had received a text message from Bridesmaid Al the night before that said, “Hey lovah!  Yyyaaayyyyy!”  Um… Yay what?  Okay… Red Flag #1.  Sister/MOH Library also came home pretty early from her boyfriend’s house, but he had to work a lot on Sunday mornings and we had made plans to go shopping for a dress.  Oh well.  Maybe it would happen later in the day after we went shopping.  When I put on the dress I had planned on wearing just in case my shower was that day, Sister Library told me I looked “ridiculous” because “we weren’t having tea with the Queen.”  I tried to stand my ground, but decided maybe I could come up with something more casual.  We jumped in Sister Library’s car and headed to Portland.  Halfway there, she exclaimed that she needed to sign up for a swim instructor licensure course at Saint Joseph’s College on the way to the mall, so we needed to swing by.  Red Flag #2.

When we pulled into the college, Sister Library started rambling on and on about what room it was going to be in.  She also started to think that we should have parked in another lot.  Red flag #3.  Once I got out of the car, I noticed Bridesmaid C’s cute blue Ford, and I knew.  Why on earth would she be here if it wasn’t a party?  They were busted!  We walked into the student center and into the room filled with friends and family.

The best part?  It was toga themed!

Miss Sox and Bridesmaid/Cousin A rocking their togas

Bridesmaid C in her lovely floral toga

The invitations had asked our guests to either wear a toga or something green to celebrate our honeymoon locations (get it?  Rome equals Romans who wore togas and green equals the color of Ireland… all caught up?  Excellent!).  Sister Library had even made a toga for me with a veil attached to the back!

The man on the bag behind me decided to start the bachelorette party early…

I was so excited for all of the people who came to celebrate with me.  Aunts from my family and Mr. Library’s family, both of our grandmothers, tons of cousins, family friends, and even Dad Library were in attendance (I have to admit, it was one of my favorite parts that my dad was a part of this party!  It meant a lot to me!  I’m tearing up as I even write this down!).

Dad Library working his griddle magic on our delicious crepes

Sister Library and I when we walked into the room

Closest to farthest away:  Old neighbor D, Mom Library’s old neighbor J, Gram Library, Aunt K, Cousin K, Cousin B, Cousin Ke, Nana G (not my nana, but close enough), Aunt P, and Aunt CClosest to farthest:  FMIL’s family friend A, FMIL’s family friend J, Second/third grade teacher B, FMIL Library, Granny Library, Mr. Library’s Aunt S

And oh man, was there ever delicious food!  These ladies knew what I liked!  We ate crepes (mixed by Bridesmaid C and cooked by Dad Library) with different types of fillings, fruit salad made by Aunt P (she totally carved our bird symbol from the invites onto the watermelon bowl!),

yogurt parfaits, champagne (which I am totally a fan of now!), juice, coffee, and lemon water.  There was also trail mix on all of the tables.  Yum!  Oh.  And there was…

CAKE!  Mmmm cake.  Delicious marble cake with beautiful frosting flowers.  You can be sure that most of this was gone by the end of the shower.

Once people had had some delicious food, I was ushered over to my decorated chair and instructed to start opening presents.  Aye aye, Captain!

See that mountain of gifts?  Our guests really were generous!  I could not believe how big and bold all of these lovely ladies went to make me feel special with their shower gifts.  Honestly, having them there to have fun with was good enough for me!  It felt like the pile was endless.  Actually, it got to the point where people were getting a little antsy, so we took an intermission to get more food, cut the cake, and play a game!

We played my new favorite bridal shower game:  toilet paper bride!  Oh my gosh, I love love love this game!  We had four teams, and there was no shortage of laughter from anyone.  I may want to reinvent this game for other types of parties…

Aunt C in the first picture was named “Pirate Bride,” and Cousin K in the third picture was named “LA Bride.”  The lovely lady in the last picture, Family Friend A, was the winner, though I gave old neighbor D (second picture) style points for being modest when her dress fell off!

After everyone had laughed themselves silly and I had made a run to the little bride’s room, we settled back in to finish the gifts.  Man, it still looked like a mountain!  There were some amazingly generous and heartfelt gifts to receive, like this afghan that Gram Library made for us:

Sister Library’s face in that photo?  Priceless!  Mom and Dad Library also got us a Kitchenaid mixer (YES!) in cornflower blue (DOUBLE YES!).  I cannot wait to try it out!

There were, of course, some unmentionables that cannot be shown but can be giggled over.  Miss Sox had the exact same thought as me when shopping for gifts and told Bridesmaid Al that she wanted to be that bridesmaid.  Sound familiar?  It’s the exact same thing that I wrote in my post about her Panty Line!  I must say, though, she was much nicer than she could have been!

My shameless and devilish thoughtful bridesmaids made me a “Honeymoon Survival Kit” that I had to open in front of everyone, including Dad Library, who had shown up to help haul stuff home.  Thankfully, Cousin Ke told him to take a walk.  I think he ended up passing back and forth outside.  When a trooper!  This “kit” had some interesting contents… Tylenol, lip balm, lingerie, message oil, and the one thing that we only “really need”:  a foldable toothbrush!  Hilarious, albiet embarassing, to talk about lingerie and massage oil in front of Mr. Library’s grandmother, who kept a stone face throughout most of the lingerie gifts.  Hah hah… oops.

Once the gifts were all opened and the last of the games were played, we began clean-up and “put Ms. Library’s stuff in Dad Library’s truck.”  I got so many hugs and “see you when you walk down the aisle!”s; it makes me so excited to be getting married in 54 days!

To all of you who attended and/or helped out, thank you.  Thank you thank you thank you!  I felt incredibly loved and special, and I couldn’t have planned a better shower for anyone.  It was perfect and I loved it.  And I love all of you!

How did your shower go?  It did have as great of a theme as mine?  (Good luck achieving that!)

Bridal Showers 101

Good morning.  I am Professor Library, and I am here to help all of you who don’t know a whole lot about bridal showers.  You need to plan one, you say?  No problem!  Attending one and don’t understand the customs?  No sweat!  So sit back, relax, and help yourself understand what a bridal shower is all about.

What exactly is a bridal shower?

A bridal shower is a traditional American party that celebrates the bride.  For the bride, it’s a nice pat on the back from friends and family for all of the planning that she has done.  Typically, attendees are female, but Jack and Jill showers have become more popular lately.  There is food of some kind, typically a theme that ties it all together (even if it’s just ______ is getting married!), and females who are invited to the wedding.

Who throws the shower?

This one all depends on if the bride has a bridal party.  If she does, it’s traditionally the Maid of Honor’s task of putting the event together.  Mothers, Mother-in-Laws, and other bridesmaids are often called upon to do the grunt work as well (and I mean that in the most loving way possible).  Sometimes, when a bride lives far away from her family, a third party will step in and host a bridal shower for her.  Also, sometimes a bridal party will throw one shower and then the future mother-in-law will throw her one as well.  It all depends on the situation, but the bridal party is almost always involved.

Where does a shower typically happen?

Again, it all depends.  How big is the guest list?  If you have a big enough house, bridal showers can be thrown there.  If you plan on having a lot of people, showers can be hosted at a restaurant or conference center.  If you are the one doing the planning, think about hosting the party at a location that will be easy to get to and has a fun atmosphere.

What do you do at a shower?  Is there water involved?

Unless you plan on drinking that water, there typically isn’t any involved.  No need to dump water on the bride, she’s stressed out with planning already!  Bridal showers revolve around love for the couple getting married; that’s what you are “showering” the bride with.  While most people believe that weddings and their planning are all rainbows and butterflies, I’m here to tell you that it’s not.  The bride has a lot to deal with, so a shower of love is greatly greatly greatly appreciated!  What you end up doing is up to the planners.  You can eat food (pretty much a MUST!), chat, play fun bridal games, open presents, and just soak up all of the excitement for the wedding.

Games?  What kind of games?

No one says that you have to play games, but they do add a nice touch to the standard “greet bride, eat food, open presents, thanks for coming” routine.  Here are a list of ideas for different games you can incorporate:

  • Dress the Bride – Get a roll of toilet paper for each team and one timer.  Make sure teams are small, as this will work a lot better.  The bride can act as the judge.  Tell the groups to pick a model for their “bride.”  Explain that they only have a set number of minutes (around 5 works pretty good) to create a new bridal look for the bride-to-be.  She will pick her favorite at the end, and that team’s members will get prizes.
  • Famous Couples – This is a fantastic meet and greet game.  To get people to mingle, stick a “Hello, my name is…” sticker on each guest’s back.  Each sticker has the name of one person in a famous couple (i.e. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt).  Without asking the name or being told the name, the person must guess who she has on her back and then find “her other half.”  The first people to get their pair right wins!
  • How Well Do You Know the Mister? – Easy-peazy game.  Come up with questions ahead of time and have the groom answer them.  Ask anything from “what’s your shoe size?” to “who was your first kiss?”  The crazier, the better!  Hand out a piece of paper and writing utensil to each person in the room.  The person who gets the most answers correct wins!
  • Surprise Gift Buzzer – To keep guests entertained (and paying attention) when the bride is opening gifts, set a timer for random intervals of time.  When the timer goes off, whoever’s gift the bride is opening wins one of the centerpieces from the tables at the shower.
  • Wedded Bliss Advice – Have each person write a piece of advice for the bride-to-be on a piece of paper.  Mix them up and then have the bride read them out loud.  There are sure to be some racy ones in there somewhere!

Food?  You mean people like to eat?

Yes indeed, and do they ever enjoy it (and some expect it!).  Food doesn’t have to be complicated; it must be tasty, group-appropriate, and filling.  A full crowd equals a happy crowd.  You can make the food revolve around some sort of theme for the shower or just go with some good old standbys.  Basically, if it’s good looking and tasty, people will go for it. (Funny how that slogan applies to men too…)

Do I have to bring a gift?

Ah, the age-old question.  Here in today’s American society, it is pretty much expected that you bring some sort of gift to a bridal shower.  I know it’s awful to say straight out, but I’m just saying what everyone is thinking.  Even if you can only afford to make a card, it’s better than empty-handedness.  It’s just nice to celebrate with the bride.  Will the bride tell you you have to bring a gift?  Absolutely not!  If she does, she needs some more helpings of manners.  No one invites people simply for gifts (or at least they shouldn’t).  But when it comes down to it, if you show up, most people bring a gift.  Treat the situation as you will.

I’m the Maid of Honor.  What’s my job?

First of all, congratulations for being tapped at MOH!  It’s a great honor and should be a great time for you and the bride.  It will also be stressful.  For the shower, you will be the leader.  You need to bring the bridal party together with the moms and create the event.  Here is a comprehensive (but probably not totally complete) list of some of your duties for the shower:

Before the Shower

  • Pull the group together to decide on a date for the shower
  • Ask the moms to put together a guest list with addresses
  • Assign the creation/purchase of invitations to someone in the wedding party
  • Assign food, game, and decoration duties to people in the wedding party
  • Keep track of who is coming to the shower
  • Decide as a group what the theme will be
  • Keep the shower a secret (or tell the bride if she doesn’t like secrets)
  • Make sure everyone is working at a certain pace to get everything put together
  • Find a location for the shower

Day of the Shower

  • Make sure the food is there and organized
  • Run any last minute errands
  • Set up room with other helpers
  • Greet guests as they come in
  • If there needs to be any announcements made during the party, you will probably act as emcee
  • Sit beside the bride and write down a list of who gave her what presents
  • Poke a hole in disposable plate to make the rehearsal bouquet with all of the ribbons from the bride’s gifts
  • Help clean up and put the gifts in the bride’s car to take home
  • Take a deep breath!  You’re done with the shower!

What else do I need to know?

Be happy for the bride and groom.  Don’t be a party pooper.  If you have something against either one of them, either don’t go to the shower and zip your lips, or go and say nothing negative.  Zip up that negativity either way.  No one needs to hear it!  Show some enthusiasm!  They are getting married for Pete’s sake!  Help the bride celebrate and share the love.  Trust me, it’s a good time!  Happy bridal showering!

Made for Maids

A bridal shower is made for maids to celebrate their appreciation for and excitement over the bride.  I have been to quite a few thanks to all of my older female cousins, so I knew a few things going into the planning process for Miss Sox’s surprise bridal shower.  As with any wedding process, I also learned a few things as well.  So if you are a bridesmaid, or a bride for that matter, here are Ms. Library’s words of advice for the ultimate bridal shower.

(Source)

1.  Know your bride. Sounds silly, right?  Of course you would know your bride!  If you didn’t, why would you be planning her bridal shower?  Well, maybe you know her pretty well, but you need to know her in a planning sense.  Would she want a lot of people?  Who would she want on the guest list?  What kind of a party would she want?  Since this party is about her getting married, you need to be able to think outside of your own preferences.

2.  Know your audience. Once you have picked your guests (a task best left for the bride’s mom, sisters, or MOH), think about what kind of a group they are.  If you have a “Sex and the Kitchen” party, and you invite her very conservative religious relatives, you may have set the party up to be super awkward from the beginning.  At the same time, you don’t want to make the theme too boring.  Think about what you will need to do to get everyone to loosen up, mingle, and celebrate.

3.  Pick a theme early on. The theme sets the whole tone for what kind of an experience this will be.  It determines invitations, paperware design, decorations, games, prizes, etc.  Pick it and stick with it.

Here is a list of some pretty awesome themes (in my opinion) that you could do a lot with for your own:

  • Around the Clock – assign guests a time of the day to incorporate into their gift!
  • Sex and the Kitchen (not for the faint of heart when addressing invitations!) – Have guests give gifts either for sex (i.e. lingerie) or the kitchen (cookware).
  • Tea Time – You could even make this into an Alice in Wonderland theme!
  • Marriages throughout History – Design your party around classic love stories.
  • Foodies – Give guests recipe cards to put into the guest book for the bride to enjoy later!
  • Honeymoon location – Are they going to a tropical island or a fun European city?  Make the shower about the honeymoon location!
  • Sugar and Spice – Well, after all, they are everything that’s nice, right?
  • The Perfect Combination – Create your shower around perfect combinations in the world, like chocolate and mint, chocolate and peanut butter, hearts and flowers, unicorns and glitter (okay, I know… a little too much on that one…)
  • Nautical – Have the location by a body of water and go nuts!

4.  That being said, don’t be afraid to look outside of the basic wedding shower themes. If your bride has a passion for something, try it out!  Miss Sox loves the Red Sox (hence the name), so we picked that.  Not only did it capture her love of baseball, but it gave a cute nod to her wedding blog as well.  Was a baseball theme the most bridal thing that popped into our minds?  Oh heck no!  But it certainly captured Miss Sox’s personality and interests.

5.  Know your fellow bridal party members’ strengths. This is huge.  As a group of girls who were put together by one common person, you may not know a lot about the next girl who will be in the same dress color as you, but it’s super important to find out.  People plan events in very different ways.  I am a total big picture thinker.  I start with the big topics and then make my way to the smaller details.  Other people just throw it together and hope everything is covered.  Some people are really great with people, so they may be better suited for something like games.  Others love to cook.  Others are organizers.  Some can do it all!  Put the time into asking questions.  Everyone wants to help, so by asking for volunteers for certain tasks, you will save yourself a bunch of headaches.

6.  Speaking of headaches, keep your eyes on the prize. What’s more important, hashing out every tiny detail or keeping your attitude fixed on making the bride happy?  I know that those seem to go hand in hand, but let’s take a step back into reality for a minute.  Is the bride going to appreciate the details?  Absolutely.  Does she want you to go out of your mind trying to micro-manage everything?  Absolutely not (or at least not the brides I have dealt with!).  The party is about the love and excitement you have for the bride, not the amount of money each person spent, the fact that the ribbons aren’t exactly straight, or that the color of the punch doesn’t go with the rest of the room.  It’s about the love!

7.  Have something for people to do. Like it or not, people tend to stick to their own, and when you put a bunch of random people together in a room, you need something to help them mingle.  For Miss Sox’s shower, I knew that there were a bunch of people coming from Mr. Sox’s side who hadn’t met Miss Sox’s family.  To help them ease into it, I turned it into a game.  I came up with names of celebrity couples, and each person got someone’s name of her back.  It was then her task to find out who she was and where her love interest was.  She couldn’t ask straight out who she was, so each person needed to give little hints.  It really gets people talking!  The first couple to find each other won a prize.  If you create fun, informal ways of breaking the ice, the room will be a lot more receptive to celebrating in style.

8.  No games?  No problem! You don’t have to have games at bridal showers, but they certainly are fun.  To keep guests entertained, keep the movement going.  Have music in the background or have different types of visuals around the room.  When people are left to their own devices without stimuli, you get that evil group clumping again.  Nobody like cliques at a shower, not even Gossip Girl.

9.  Have delicious food. No matter how fancy or informal you make the shower, have some food!  It goes along with keeping people happy and entertained.  No one is going to judge you on whether or not you had smoked salmon, but they will judge on being hungry the whole time.  Think about what the bride’s favorite foods are and go from there.  Miss Sox does NOT do cookies, so we knew to stay away from them (except for one contributor who apparently didn’t get the memo).  Was there a special meal involved with the couple meeting or getting engaged?  Does the couple come from an area or areas with signature food items (I would totally pick blueberries for Maine!)?  Use that as inspiration!  The sky is the limit!

10.  Enjoy yourself! No one likes to look back at her bridal shower pictures and see one of her bridesmaids always frowning and fretting over something.  Relax and enjoy the party.  It’s going to be great!

A bridal shower is an awesome thing, and everyone should have a great time.  And don’t forget to be creative for presents!  Every little thought counts!

Always a Bridesmaid

I have never fit that slogan, and apparently I never will.  It has come to my attention as of late, however, that the demands on a bridesmaid are a lot greater than most of us who are new to the arena might realize.  I have been working on some top secret missions for Miss Sox’s wedding, and here are a few things that brides need to consider when working with their bridesmaids.

1.  Bridesmaids should have the right (somewhere in the midst of wedding planning) to be themselves.  Brides pick their friends to be honored as bridesmaids for individual reasons, so why not let them show it off a little bit?  I’m not saying you have to do away with everyone in the same color, the same dress, or the same shoes, but consider some small details that you leave up to your very capable girls.  Let them choose from a couple of different hairstyles, nail polish colors, type of shoe, types of accessories, etc.  Ultimately, your friends are doing you a huge favor by being part of your wedding, so I think they deserve at least a little bit of time to be themselves. (But you could always ask them to tone down the crazy if need be!)

2.  Not everyone plans the same way.  This has been a HUGE learning curve for me.  You mean that not everyone likes to plan everything six months before it really should be done?  Huh.  Who knew!  My planning has probably driven Sister Library crazy with how I like to plan out different details to the extreme.  It’s just the type of person I am.  She happens to be a different kind of planner, which probably works well for her, but her style doesn’t work well for me at all.  It’s something to take into consideration when doling out responsibilities and tasks.

3.  Your choice in MOH not only affects you as the bride, but it also plays a big role in how the rest of your bridal squad feels.  If you love her but she tends to be a little bit of a dictator, or maybe she’s rather disorganized, please be kind to your bridesmaids and give them a nice heads-up.  It would be greatly appreciate by all involved, and will probably make your planning go a lot more smoothly when everyone is prepared to be on the same page.

Please let us know ahead of time if we will be working with this girl.

4.  If you are a bridesmaid, you need to know when to speak up when you feel something isn’t quite fair.  I haven’t personally needed to do this, or had anyone say anything to me, but I feel like it should be a bride’s and her MOH’s job to create a type of community where everyone is comfortable saying if something is too expensive, the timing of a get together is completely awful, or if too much pressure is being put on a certain group of people.

5.  By the same token, if you are the bride and you think one of your lovely ladies isn’t acting as she should, you should feel comfortable mentioning it to her.  Awkward?  Absolutely.  But you don’t want one person to ruin everyone else’s experience, including your own.  Maybe it’s an easily fixed problem that could be cleared up with a little bit of communication.  Don’t be afraid to give it a try.

6.  If you are the bride and there is something specific you want for your shower, DROP HINTS!  I know that many of us like to be surprised, but if you want a certain type of cake, certain people to be invited, or any other certain things, start leaving hints like Hanzel and Gretel left breadcrumbs.  As your bridesmaids, we love you and know you pretty gosh darn well, but there might be something we miss that you absolutely wanted.  Put the word in someone’s ear and then let us handle the rest!

(Source)

7.  On the other hand, it is soooo important to know your bride’s feelings on surprises.  If she hates them, DO NOT plan a surprise wedding shower for her!  Let her feel comfortable with the parties and plans!  If she loves surprises, hire or recruit someone to be the wedding smacker if anyone ruins the surprise.  (Just kidding!)

What else do you have to add to the learning list?  What important messages do brides (and bridesmaids) need to hear?

Nailing Down Some Bridal Pampering

Dear Library Bridesmaids, Library Groomswoman and Moms,

I have a surprise for you!  Are you excited?  You should be!  This is an awesome surprise and I am super excited that I got it to work out!

Are you ready?

Continue reading