Friday, May 4, 2012

Bad Bridesmaidery and other Upcoming Horrors

Sorry for the delay in updates... not having been a bridesmaid in a year has really slowed down my thoughts on bridesmaidery!
This post comes after a chat with my cousin, who was providing all the dish about the wedding she's in in July.

Issue 1: You only know the bride in the bridal party.
Issue 2: The other bridesmaids joke about your size while trying on bridesmaid dresses.
Issue 3: The maid of honor (already married) only wants to plan the bachelorette party... and wants it to be out of town... the week before the wedding.
Issue 4: The shower is in 3 weeks, and no invitations have gone out. For 50 people. And it's the bride's only shower. And it's on a holiday weekend.
Issue 5: The shower, that has been poorly planned, also has an unrealistic budget and effort assumption, given the amount of people attending.

There's a lot of problems here. Sure- you can't help not knowing the other members of the bridal party. That's not a big deal. But bridesmaids making fun of another bridesmaid's dress size is just downright despicable (same goes for you, dress shop employees).
Also, a maid of honor who doesn't have the excuse of living out of town (or if the bride lives out of town) really has no right to refuse to plan the shower. It's one of the expectations when you agree to such a thing. ESPECIALLY when you're already married and have been through this before. No excuses.
Planning a shower on a holiday weekend might not be a terrible thing, but people need to have advanced notice that such an event is happening so that they can plan ahead, and hey, what do you know... BUY A GIFT. I've got nothing to give you regarding underbudgeting, other than thinking ahead that if you want certain things (and want them done correctly), you're starting off on a wrong foot by not planning for a bigger budget.
And the bachelorette party? Well, I think I've made it clear that I don't have a good track record with bachelorette parties, so maybe I'm not the best person to talk about this one, but out of town parties can't happen a week before the wedding... that's when wedding stuff is vital. And out of town parties need to also have the understanding that if every bridesmaid can't attend, then that's ok too. Budgets seriously need to be taken into consideration.

I'm looking forward to my cousin sharing more of her bridesmaid stories with me, and I'll pass them along!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

UPDATE: What to bring to the wedding

As I learn new things, I'll keep updating this list. I'll bold the latest items, but I'm going to include everything from before so any followers don't have to go searching.
  • Dress (really, as long as you remember this, everything else can be purchased in the town of the wedding or borrowed)
  • Shoes (If bride is requiring maids to wear the same shoes, prior note is in effect)
  • Reception shoes (i.e. flip flops)
  • Jewelry (some brides will provide jewelry as a bridesmaid gift, but always have backup in case)
  • Tissues (For the bride or you)
  • Advil/ Tylenol/ Aleve (I shouldn't have to explain this one)
  • Band-aids (important for blisters, random acts of clumsiness, and other accidents)
  • Gift (acceptable to give it to the happy couple in advance too!)
  • Makeup/ Hair tools (unless having these professionally done)
  • Small pack of needle & thread (have white, ivory, and the color of the bridesmaid dress at the very least)
  • Something blue that's small, in case the bride forgets (a small blue ribbon with a safety pin is always great to have)
  • Gum/ mints for just before you head down the aisle
  • Nail clippers (will help cut tags off of dresses, hang nails, broken nails, etc)
  • Cotton balls/ q-tips
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hairspray
  • Lotion
  • Imodium/ Pepcid (Food poisoning, bridal nerves, rehearsal night indulgence, etc... learned this from a fellow bridesmaid)
  • Small hand-sized fan (especially for summer weddings that have anything taking place outside... you know, the cheap ones that are sold at drug stores)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Wedding Shower gift suggestion

So, I was supposed to attend a wedding shower (my first in over a year) today, but winter decided to pick this weekend to magically appear, so it wasn't quite safe to drive 3 hours there, when it's already not the best drive in the world in good conditions. But I digress.

Wedding showers always send me in a tizzy, even when I'm not worrying about weather, and driving there and back, and whatnot. I hate registries. Sorry bride friends, but I do. I never get to them in time to get the decent stuff, so I'm stuck buying the random kitchen or bath stuff that got left behind. So in the past few years, I've stopped dealing with registries.

2 years ago, one of my best friends got married. I was a poor grad student at the time (as opposed to the poor part-time nanny that I am now), and definitely couldn't afford anything good on the registry, especially knowing that I was the maid of honor and was going to have at least one more shower and bachelorette and dress and everything else to pay for. Which led me to this idea... Her wedding theme was "Live, Laugh, Love." And she loves the beach. So on my summer beach trip, I wrote out the theme, the wedding date, and the bride and groom's names in the sand and took pictures of each. Then I bought a 5 picture frame from IKEA (aka- cheap and chic) and printed the pictures. Surprise! It was the HIT of the shower, and most original gift by far. I think it cost me $25 max.

This time around, I'm serving as the photographer. I picked my favorite images, and bought them a similar IKEA frame. (I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that she doesn't know about this blog, since it could be several weeks before I get the present to her).

Not great with photography? Get them a gift card to Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc, to go with a nice frame. That way, they can pick out their favorites.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stuff Brides Say

It's been awhile. For this, I apologize! Between the holidays, two deaths in my family the week of Christmas, and life in general, I haven't wanted to think about weddings (and since I'm not currently with any bridesmaid responsibilities, I'm going to allow myself that break).
There's this video on YouTube that I saw that inspired me though:
In the video (a recap in case you didn't watch, or haven't lately), the bride says multiple times "I just wanted you to be the first to know!"
Now wait. Hold on. Do what now?
I've been asked to be in five weddings, and maid of honor for three. In two of those cases, I knew that the groom was proposing before the bride knew (though only one of those did I know the actual day that the proposal was happening). Do you know how many times I heard "I just wanted you to be the first to know!"?
Zero. Zero times.
In fact, none of the brides called me (at least not as the first form of communication). I got 3 text messages (pretty sure they were mass texts too), one in person, and one, I found out on Facebook.
Do you know who was probably the first person to get the phone calls? Their parents. And you know what? That's how it should be. I'd probably think less of my friends if I was their first call.

Now that that little soapbox is out of the way... the rest of the video is hilarious. And not really like any of the brides I knew. I'll consider myself lucky, I guess!

If I were to make a "Stuff Brides Say" based on my experiences...
"You can wear that dress again." (oh that's right.)
"I like this dress for you. No... wait. This one. That's really the one. Or..."
"I'm not a bridezilla."
[morning of the wedding] "I just want this day to be over with."
"The wedding is more about the guests than me."

Anyone got any brideisms that aren't in the video or on my list?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Special People" and wedding snobbiness shines through

It's been a long time since my last post. Let's be fair... the last time I was a bridesmaid was 7 months ago though, so it's only natural to have posts slow down, right? At the very least, future posts will likely turn into wedding tips, whether for brides/ grooms, bridal party, or guests. I don't foresee any bridesmaid invites coming for a little while, so keeping it strictly to bridesmaids may require posts to take FOREVER inbetween.

On that note... a real post. I'm gearing up for my second "special person" duty in March (aka, photographer and anything else needed). That's right... I've turned my bridesmaid experiences into something somewhat constructive, and it saves me from buying a present, and saves the bride and groom for paying for a photographer (hey- they know I'm an amateur, so it's totally fair, right?)

Although, I'm pretty sure there's more pressure on being the photographer than being a bridesmaid. I'm not going to lie... being a bridesmaid is not easy-peasy. But to know that they are going to use these pictures to remember their day for a long time, as are their family members? Well... it's a bit stressful. I'm already picturing bad weather, dead batteries, missing the perfect shot, etc. (though thinking about it, my fears while being a bridesmaid were forgetting the dress, dress tearing, tripping, dropping my or the bride's bouquet, running out of money before the wedding, etc).

In a related note, my younger brother has moved into the world of groomsman duties. Today, his Save the Date postcard arrived, and I was horrified. I don't know what they did to the picture or the card, but I could have done 100000x better with the exact same idea (it looks like the picture was taken with a cell phone, and not the new nice high megapixel cell phone cameras, and the numbers on the front made no sense until you actually saw the back of the card). I guess I've turned into a wedding photography/ wedding invitation snob. I've seen my fair share (10 weddings in 4 years, 5 as bridal party attendant) of save the dates, and while I might laugh at some, this officially ranks as the worst.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mad Bridesmaid Skills To the Rescue

I haven't been a bridesmaid since... April. For 3 years, I'd had weddings to prepare for... and now... nothing. Well... other than to be wedding photographer in March, but that just doesn't even count.

Which might be why I was so willing to agree to anything that a recent bride asked me to do (which, yes, was mainly photography related, but still- my title in the program was "Special Bride's Attendant," not photographer). And then it happened. Quite possibly every bride and groom's worst nightmare, short of someone taking the "Speak now or forever hold your peace" line seriously.

This particular bride and groom found out during picture taking time (you know, between the ceremony and reception?) that their flight from home connecting them to their honeymoon was canceled, and since they were going on a cruise that next day, that was a VITAL flight for them to catch.

But wait... it hasn't gotten bad enough yet.

They got pushed onto a later flight that should still have gotten them to their honeymoon on time. And disaster struck again. While in the air, the pilot (or whoever) discovered that something was wrong with the plane mechanically and they had to turn around and return here to get it fixed. So, they ran into the bridesmaid that I'd chauffeured around all weekend, including having just dropped her off at the airport. That bridesmaid texted me to tell me of their continued troubles with flights, and I did what any good bridesmaid (regardless of if I was a bridesmaid this time around or not) would do... I found an expert. I told my mom what the trouble was with their flights, and she immediately pulls out her computer and finds them a flight that will get them to their destination in what we hope will be enough time for them to get on the cruise. And here comes the other important bridesmaid skills... recalling how attached to her phone the bride was the day before. OF COURSE she'll have it on and attached to her. And luckily I had her number to text her this information.

Unfortunately, since this new flight wasn't with their same airline, they had to pay for it out of pocket (I'm still holding out hope they could get their previous money back since they had 2 flights canceled), but they not only made it to the destination on time, but actually 20 minutes early!! And caught their bus from the airport to the port in time and had, what I assume to be, an excellent time on their cruise.

(I should also point out that several other people had been calling the cruise line and others to explain the situation, to see what options there were, so I wasn't the only person helping out here.)

Sometimes having mad bridesmaid skills isn't about standing beside a bride on her wedding day, or even doing all of this by yourself, but knowing who to ask and how to get the information to the people who need it. And that, folks, is what a true bridesmaid does, even when she's not a bridesmaid.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

That Awkward Moment When You Don't Know Anyone At A Wedding

I now see the true benefit of having a date to a wedding... when you aren't a bridesmaid. I still maintain that bridesmaids don't HAVE to bring a date just for fun (multiple people agree with me on this one now).
Yesterday, I had the fun of attending a wedding of a college friend (and fellow bridesmaid in a previous wedding- the bride from that wedding was a bridesmaid this time around). And short of the bridesmaid and the bride, I knew NO ONE. Luckily, I'd been invited to all the pre-wedding events, and was briefly introduced to the fiancé of another bridesmaid. When chauffeuring my bridesmaid friend to get her hair done, we started discussing cocktail hour... and how I wouldn't know anyone. Luckily, I remembered that the fiancé of the one bridesmaid would also be in the same situation... and we'd likely be the only ones in that situation. So I told my friend that I'd just go search for him and try to hang out with him during that time.
It worked! I walked over to him, introduced myself, and explained the situation. He chuckled, and we started talking. Turns out, this whole terrible job economy is a great topic for a current grad student/ recent grad school graduate still struggling to find *real* jobs. Who'd have thunk it? His fiancée came running down at one point of the cocktail hour to get the bride some food, and was really glad that I'd come over to talk with him.
I lucked out (well, I think it's lucking out in this situation), and there wasn't a seating chart for the reception, so we found the only open table and saved seats for my friend the bridesmaid and his fiancée, while continuing to chat.
So my tip to you if you're going single (or just plain aren't given a plus one) to a wedding that you aren't in and only know the happy couple and members of the bridal party? Hunt down people in similar situations as you. It works. Trust me.

(coming soon- when mad bridesmaid skills save the day)