bride's planning guide

Tips for Bridesmaids | Bride's Planning Guide

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Over the years, I've been privileged to hang out with many wedding parties, and have noticed a few things along the way.  Sometimes everything works perfectly smoothly, sometimes there is a bit of drama, and sometimes there's a bit of both.  One thing can be sure though -- the bridesmaids are there to support the bride and groom (but mostly the bride!).  I wrote a list of my best tips for bridesmaids as we all dive into wedding days and all that surrounds them! 1) Don’t bother the bride!If you have grudges, complaints, issues, or egos    — check them at the door!Take your issue to someone else who can help.Do not burden the bride on this day.A wedding day can be stressful enough without having to worry about someone else’s problems.

tips for bridesmaids
blush casual bridesmaids pose

blush casual bridesmaids pose

2) Plan, plan, plan.Once you’ve officially be asked to be a bridesmaid, there will be lots of duties and responsibilities.And it will cost you some time and money.You’ll need to pay for your dress, you’ll need to help plan the bachelorette party and bridal shower, and you’re expected to buy the couple a gift.Plan your finances in advance and set a little aside each month if you know it will be hard to pay for many of those things at once.

purple wedding party pose with ivy wall

purple wedding party pose with ivy wall

3) Help the bride.Offer to get her snacks or water.Make sure she stays hydrated and that she eats a little something throughout the day!Often brides are resistant to eat or drink anything either because they’re nervous, or they’re worried about being able to use the restroom later on while wearing a huge gown.I’ve seen people pass out at weddings before, and I’d bet that she’d rather not have a dehydration hangover on the first day of her honeymoon!Don’t be pushy, but just encourage her to drink some water here and there.

purple bridesmaids movie pose

purple bridesmaids movie pose

4) Remember: this is not your day — it’s THEIR day.Yes, you want to look nice and not do anything to sabotage the bride and groom’s photos or vision, but ultimately the bride’s wants and needs far exceed your own (at least on this day!).If she needs a piece of hair curled that fell out of place and it’s time to walk out the door — hers is getting fixed and yours is not.If the spare bobby pin you were getting ready to use is desperately needed by the bride — it’s hers.If someone needs to run and grab something she needs from the car — do it for her.Let her enjoy the day and take any possible burdens off her that you can.Plus there are a group of you!Put your heads together and work as a team to ensure that she has no distractions and doesn’t have to deal with any last-minute problems.

colorful bridesmaid sitting standing poses

colorful bridesmaid sitting standing poses

5) Cooperate!The best thing you can do all day is listen when the wedding party is getting instructions.These could be from the wedding planner, the church coordinator, the photographer, parents, the DJ, etc.It’s ok to have fun and be relaxed, but if you pay attention during those times, the day will flow smoothly and leave more time for partying!

Tips for Groomsmen | Bride's Planning Guide

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Groomsmen have the ever-important job of keeping the groom relaxed and calm throughout the wedding day.They are one of most fun aspects of my job, so long as I keep them in line and they don’t get too rowdy!I love joking around with them and lightening the mood from the start so they don’t that I’m there to make them look good and make being a groomsman a breeze.The day goes so smoothly when they trust me and know that I’m going to get the job done (read: wedding party photos) efficiently and in a timely manner.I often will tell them that my goal is to get through the full wedding party and groomsmen photos thoroughly but quickly to get them back to cocktail hour/the limo/the reception to continue the festivities.They are instantly on my team!

tips for groomsmen
groomsmen tuxes with cufflinks

groomsmen tuxes with cufflinks

Now onto my tips for groomsmen.Your job, much like the ushers jobs that I wrote about last week, is relatively easy.But there are a few things you can do to really win the bride and groom over.

groomsmen helping the groom

groomsmen helping the groom

  1. Be on time!There’s nothing worse than someone who is NOT the bride or groom holding everything else up.Get your clothing and any applicable accessories (shoes, cufflinks, pocket squares, socks, etc) lined up the night before, so all you have to do is grab your shades and walk out the door.

  2. Offer to help the bride and groom.Now this advice is mainly for the months/weeks/days leading up to the wedding, and not necessarily the day of, but it’s also helpful to ask before the ceremony if there’s anything you can get or do for the groom. Maybe he needs a small snack to level out his blood sugar.Maybe he needs a quick shot of liquid courage.Maybe he left something in the car.Whatever it is, no matter how big or small, be there to help him out so he can focus on his main objective for the day — getting married to that smokin’ hot wife! ;)

  3. Help plan the bachelor party.While the best man should be the one to head up this gig, it’s likely that he could use a bit of help or insight.Offer to take one of the tasks off his plate, and organize that part of it.It’s also nice to have input from a few different people to pull in a few of the groom’s interests and hobbies.

  4. Be ready for double duty.If there aren’t any ushers, you may be asked to help seat guests at the ceremony.Check out my “Tips for Ushers” post for more on that.

  5. Buy a gift.Yes, you already had to drop a bit of cash to rent or buy the suit or tux, but the bride and groom are feeding (and possibly also providing drinks!) for the event.Gifts are generally expected.Don’t shy away from using the registry (might as well get what they want to save them the hassle of returning or exchanging it!), and feel free to go in with another groomsmen or a group to give you a larger budget to work with.

  6. Enjoy the night!Once your official duties are over, it’s time to let loose!

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Tips for Ushers | Bride's Planning Guide

My list of tips for ushers is very short, as the job description for ushers is also very short! Ha ;)  I find sometimes that my couples don’t have ushers and they have the groomsmen pull double duty.  Ushers can be a great part of the wedding though, and it’s a great way to get a few more friends and/or family involved in your wedding party.  An usher has one job really and that is to escort the wedding guests to their seats. So here’s my tip for you, ushers. OWN IT!  Your job is basically over before the ceremony even starts and you get to escort a long line of lovely ladies to their seats.  So offer out your arm with gusto and confidently guide them to their seats!  Then for the rest of the day, you can relax and enjoy the party (though you may still have to take a few photos… but that part is easy!). :)

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groomsmen and ushers group photos

groomsmen and ushers group photos

groomsmen having a good time with flasks

groomsmen having a good time with flasks

This seems like a given, but I have seen my share of ushers that stand around at the back of the church like a deer in the headlights.The goal of each of the vendors, the venue, and the couple is to get this party started on time, and you can be a hugely helpful part of that by seating people in a timely manner (avoid having people stand around in the foyer or vestibule), and close the guestbook and/or sanctuary doors at the exact time that the ceremony is to start.You can remind people that there will be plenty of time to sign the guestbook at the reception, and that is important that we get started on time.Thank them for coming and then ask them to kindly take their seats.Easy peasy!You’re done!

For more tips, here's a fantastic blog post on the Art of Manliness on being an usher.  If you are ever unsure of your duties, definitely ask to be sure that you are doing everything expected of you.  Now go do your thing, usher!