Photo Credit: What I Wore
As anyone who’s planned one can tell you, weddings are stressful. Suddenly, there are a million things to do, and even with a year or more to arrange everything, time (and tempers) can easily run short. Planning a wedding takes huge amounts of time and effort, and it’s easy to lose people in the chaos, even if they mean the world to you. When trying to create your perfect day, don’t forget that there will be many other people involved in your wedding, taking time out of their lives to help you celebrate your love. By taking a little time and effort to honor and thank those people, you will make your day even more special, and strengthen the bonds of friendship that brought you together in the first place.
Between coordinating your own monstrous list of tasks and making sure the officiant, guests, and everyone else is in place, it might seem next to impossible to block out some time to bond with your bridesmaids. But that’s all the more reason to find some time just for you and them. Schedule a breakfast together, include them in some aspect of the planning, make bouquets together, or plan a surprise makeover for all of them. If you can’t handle or coordinate anymore organized events, just try to carve out an hour after the rehearsal to just hang out with no added pressure.
If there’s simply no time before the big day to plan something fun to do together, consider putting something together after the ceremony – perhaps some sort of weekend trip or small vacation after the honeymoon is over (when you’re in the mood to make plans again), just you and all the bridesmaids. You will have a lot to talk about, and you can relax together without your impending nuptials creating potential stress. These are the days that you should remember forever – so take the time to make some good memories.
Photo Credit: Ronnie MacDonald
Honor Them With Words
A wedding is a day when all attention will naturally be on you and your groom, but that doesn’t mean your bridesmaids won’t appreciate a small gesture of thanks. It doesn’t have to be a grand poetic gesture – a small note in the wedding program, or personalized notes left at the reception table for them to read after the ceremony, can make a great day even better. Or write them each a short note ahead of time, telling them why you chose them to be part of your special day. Even a few sweet words can make all the difference.
Make Them Feel Special
A bridesmaid can do much more than just stand in place and look pretty during the ceremony. Choosing to include your bridesmaids in the wedding process can not only make them feel cherished, but it can take a lot of pressure off you – and by the time the wedding day approaches, there will be plenty of pressure to go around! Start this process early, as soon as possible after you’ve chosen your bridesmaids. Talk to them about wardrobe choices, what they’re comfortable wearing, and, if you’re good with it, get their ideas on catering and venue. The ultimate decisions still lie with you, of course, but an invested bridesmaid can bring a lot to the table.
If you have the time, consider putting together a slide show or small presentation at the rehearsal dinner, bragging about your wedding party and thanking them for the time and effort they put into your special day. No relationship is an island, honor the people that have made you feel special and loved. They’ll love you for it.
Photo Credit: Tobyotter
Make Gifts Personal
Pearls might make a nice, traditional gift for bridesmaids, but they’re also a little staid. Now is the perfect time to break with tradition. When planning your wedding, make some time to give your bridesmaids something truly special and memorable. You can create a gift “theme” that is both personal and consistent, a favorite perfume, a pashmina (in case it’s cold at the reception), or gifts that suit each bridesmaids interests: yarn for the knitter, a book for the avid reader, and fancy salts for the chef. If you stick with jewelry, make sure you take it to the next level by gifting personalized jewelry. Don’t give those tired pearls, give a zodiac bracelet, or a wire wrapped name necklace instead. By taking the time to choose something unique just for them, you’ll show that you care.
Most brides-to-be have enough to worry about when planning their wedding, especially when it comes to pleasing everyone. But remember that your special day is not just about the love between you and your groom, but also a celebration of the love you already have in your life.
Sarah Levine is a contributing author and outreach specialist for RedEnvelope.