My dear friends Ashlie and Sarah both recently celebrated wedding anniversaries, and being as I was so involved in their weddings (and marriages, obviously), I wanted to share a bit on my life as a part of the wedding party. I also don’t have all our wedding photos back yet, so the Gearns Wedding will be featured eventually, just not today.
I’ve been a bridesmaid 6 times to date (it’ll be 7 in a few months). That means 6 bridesmaid dresses, 5 pairs of shoes I’ve only worn once or twice, and a little less in my savings if we’re being honest . My viewpoint of a wedding has always been from up on the alter or in the first pew (including my own wedding just this past May). And none of this is to belittle those experiences – they were amazing. All of them. I’ve loved every bride I’ve stood by, each wedding has been unique and beautiful, and it’s all been worth it.
Being a part of something so beautiful on so many different occasions, I’ve learned a few things along the way; some things I feel I did well, others not so much. So to all those about to hit wedding season in life, here’s my slew of lessons:
1. Get over the bridesmaid dress issue. And we all know there’s always some sort of issue. It’s not your color, you have to get it altered, it’s too expensive, one of the layers is inside out (this happened to a couple of my bridesmaids haha…not even sure how). Too often I (and others, this ain’t just me) make it about myself and get focused on my appearance on my friend or sister’s big day. And all I can say is get over it. The bride has a vision of how her wedding will look, and if she thinks these are the dresses to bring about her vision, then awesome. I have yet to be in a wedding where the photos aren’t stunning.
2. Be sympathetic to the huge life change the bride is going through. There were a few times I was very taken aback by friends going through these incredible emotional high’s and low’s. One day they’d be dreamy and excited, and the next her and her fiance are in a fight and she has more to-do’s than you’ve ever known a person to have. I’m not just talking about wedding planning, but life planning. For my friends, getting married meant moving out at the same time, committing to a new life in a new place, understanding your fertility and your cycle (which can be a challenge and a half for some) so you can begin family planning on your wedding night, and so much more.
3. Show your love along the way. Whether it’s a small gift, or an occasional card, or getting quality time with the bride throughout the engagement, be intentional about it. For my wedding, a few of my bridesmaids would send me a gift on the 30th of each month leading up to the wedding (because I was getting married on the 30th). It was incredibly generous. All the bride needs is your love and support. Try to show it in the way that she will best receive it (maybe learn her love language).
4. Offer to help. Even if your thousands of miles away, offer your time. It may turn out that you can’t really do much, but you never know. And all brides appreciate a bit of help.
5. Pray for the couple. Spiritual attack is real. Especially when you understand that this is your Vocation, and that this is how you will serve God in this life. The evil one does not want good and holy marriages. Knowing that marriage is an inseparable bond and a gift from God can put a lot of spiritual stress on the couple. And each couple has their cross. So pray for them.
6. The wedding week is a time to spoil the bride. It can be super easy to get caught up with your time with other bridesmaids or wedding guests in town, and to have the mentality that you’re on a vacation. The truth is, the bride may have a bunch of last minute to-do’s, she may be under a lot of stress, or she may simply want to hang out with her friends! No matter what her situation is, be present to her. If she has an itinerary, follow it. If she has projects to do, help her. If she wants to sit and chat with you all, talk with her.
7. Connect with the right people. Throw a line to the mother of the bride. Offer her your help in any way you can. Keep in communication with all the bridesmaids. And when the wedding festivities arrive, show your gratitude to the families, show everyone that the bride has good taste and judgement in regards to those ladies closest to her.
8. Remember the little things. On the day of, the bride will not be holding anything. So make sure that all her belongings, if any, are accounted for. Make sure her and the groom have plates of food. Make sure they get some cake (other than what is smashed in their faces). Collect trinkets from all over the reception for them to remember. A friend did this for me and Kevin, and we have a box full of fun memories, including the favors I made and put work into!
9. Take advantage of all the moments with the bride leading up to the big day. If any issues arise with your friend, talk it out. Because once your girl is married, things will be different! Soak up all the girl time you can get. Enjoy the sleepovers, the late night talks, making plans on a whim. If you both value your friendship, it will only get better with time, and marriage will be good for it (as it’s good for the person). But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy her while you have her to yourself. 🙂
10. Be excited that one of your closest friends is becoming a wife! That’s it. Just be excited.
Now that I’ve given you all my wisdom (well…not all of it, that’d be silly), time for the fun showcase of Katie’s life as a bridesmaid.
Now off to a bridal shower in PA for my dear friend Krista’s wedding that I’ll be in this November! Peace.