Dear Future Bride - Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. What an exciting time for you and your family as you plan one of the most exciting events of your life. You have picked your bridal party and they will stand by you and support you as you plan your wedding day. Just a word to the wise, as much as it's your big day, if you make that bridal party happy, it will not only make you the coolest bride in their eyes but it will also make them more willing to help you tie all your favors at the eleventh hour.
Here are just a few ideas and steps to help you on your way...
1. Why not start things off by asking them in a special way. You don't have to spend a lot of money, it's the gesture that counts. A cute gift basket that includes their favorite lotion or body wash from Bath & Body Works, a cute shot glass with a bottle of their favorite liquor, a stemless wine glass and their favorite bottle of wine with an invitation asking them.
2. If your friends are like mine, and all over the country, make sure to connect them before the wedding parties start. This helps them get to know each other and become a "group." A strong bond between your girls will make your big day better. There are great apps out there now that are perfect for keeping in touch. Check out Google Hangout, Skype or you can even create a Private Page on Facebook just for you and your girls.
3. Keep you girls up to date on the wedding details. They will love to hear about your ideas and any selections that you make. After all, that's what the bridesmaids are there there for.
4. If you are planning a destination wedding, think about helping your bridesmaids there. Traveling costs are daunting and can add to the stress for your girls. Check with your hotel and see if you buy a block of rooms for your girls. will they give you a discount or think about giving each girl a Visa gift card in their goodie bag or if you have airline points, think about helping them with their tickets.
5. Show them a little freedom with their dresses. No two of your bridesmaids will be built the same and neither will their budgets. Think about giving them a color swatch and let them choose their dress and budget. Of course, you can always have final say to make sure their style is in keeping with the style of your wedding.
6. When picking shoes for your bridesmaids, think about comfort. They will love you if the shoes that they have to wear ALL day and ALL night are comfortable. Think about buying your own pair and wearing them for a day to see what your brides will be experiencing.
7. Gift your girls something personalized. It means so much more to receive something that you purchased with them in mind instead of buying all identical things. Some cute ideas would be customized trays, customized coasters, customized stationery or a monogrammed frame where she can put a cute picture of the two of you from the wedding.
8. Provide your girls with a detailed schedule of the wedding way in advance. Be sure to include which events are mandatory and if it's a destination wedding or they are traveling in, what day you need them to be there. Please keep in mind their work schedule and that they may be taking vacation from work or need to arrange babysitters to attend your wedding festivities.
9. Have some pampering girl time the weekend of your wedding. Whether it's a local spa day or contacting a nail salon to do manis and pedis the morning of the your wedding. If you don't want the expense of a spa, round up the polishes and lotions and have your own spa day.
10. Give them small day-of tasks. They will feel appreciated and make your day less stressful. If they are able to contribute to your big day, they will feel more included.
11. Feed and hydrate them throughout the day. Although this seems like something something simple, the last thing you want is the girls getting so busy they forget to eat or drink. Although starting your day off with mimosas and pastries sounds fun, large amounts of alcohol can make you dehydrated, especially on a hot day. Think about a goodie box with everyone's favorite snacks and fruit drinks.
12. Take pictures with each of your bridesmaids. Although you will have lots of pictures taken with the wedding party, especially after you have primped. Think about taking some before pictures with your girls to remember the fun, as well as individual pictures with each bridesmaid that you can present to them in a monogrammed frame later. Also think about giving your bridesmaids disposable cameras that they can take goofy, silly photos throughout the day. Then after the honeymoon, get back together and share all the pictures with your girlfriends and talk about the fun times. If you have out-of-town bridesmaids, make to sure to include them via Skype or Google Hangout.
13. Let them sit with their families or significant others are the reception. Head tables can be hard to coordinate and sweetheart tables also allow you a few minutes of alone time to eat with your groom. Bridesmaids with husbands or boyfriends have been away from them all day and then you can concentrate more on your new hubby.
14. Take a few minutes to introduce your wedding party at the rehearsal dinner. Chances are your family doesn't know everyone and this will help them to get acquainted. Be sure to tell a little story about how you guys met.
15. Finally be sure to thank your bridesmaids individually before your reception exit. It is likely that they have dedicated a lot of time over the last few months to making sure your wedding day is a success. Most likely you will be headed off on your honeymoon and unplugging yourself from social media, email and phones. Be sure to show them the same love and caring that they showed you.
Congratulations on your big day and let me know if I can do anything to help you make it special. Remember, if you are a cool bride to them, they will return the favor!