April 2017

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Tips For Choosing Your Bridesmaids

When I first started writing about planning bridal showers, throwing bachelorette parties and all things bridesmaid for Ultimate Bridesmaid, I knew that I wanted to present the positive side of being a bridesmaid and encourage women to remember what’s important (hint: your friendship) and let go of things that aren’t important (hint: how the bride’s color scheme looks with your skin tone). But having a great experience with your wedding party starts with picking the right people. So when it comes time to choose your bridesmaids and maid of honor, ask yourself these important questions. You’ll be glad you did when you have a team of loving, supportive women surrounding you on your wedding day.

Who Will Put The “Team” In “Team Bride”?

Here’s my top advice for picking your bridesmaids. Imagine it’s the day of your wedding and it’s time for you to start getting ready. All of your bridesmaids will gather with you, and this will be the most important time you spend with your friends on your wedding day. It’s also the time when you may be the most stressed out. You’re about to get married, after all. The florist may call to say she’s late, the marriage license may be misplaced, you may have to redo your makeup twice because you just don’t like it…things can go wrong. Now think about who you want to have with you during that time. Who will bring only positive energy to your wedding day? Who will be supportive? Who will turn the room upside looking for that lost marriage license or drag you around into different lighting to make sure your makeup looks perfect? Who will put your feelings first on your big day?

Now think about the flip side of that equation…which friend of yours can you imagine freaking out about her hair and makeup or complaining about her dress? Who might add anxiety by expressing worries or doubts about the day? If there was a crisis, who would shrug their shoulders and say “not my problem”? Who would roll their eyes and say “oh, it’s not a big deal”? Who will sit idly by while you’re tearing apart the room searching for that lost marriage license? These people aren’t the right ones to spend the morning of your wedding with.

Identify Outside Pressures…And Decide If They’re Worth It

There are a few other factors that may come into play when choosing bridesmaids. Many brides have had the experience of a relative pressuring them to ask someone to be in the wedding party. Usually, this pressure comes from the bride’s mother, the groom’s mother, or maybe even the groom himself. The bridesmaid-to-be in question is usually someone the bride herself is not close with, but someone that her mother/mother-in-law feels she has an obligation to invite.

Identify these outside pressures…and decide if they’re worth it. I generally think these people should not be asked to be a bridesmaid. Those slots should be the bride’s choice, period, and should be given to the people she feels closest to. But there are circumstances where an exception makes sense. If you have five bridesmaid slots and have filled four with the girls you wanted to ask, you could give that fifth slot to your cousin or the groom’s sister. OR, if you feel that leaving this person out could cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your mother/mother-in-law/husband, it may make sense to include them. Only you can make that decision.

Would Being A Bridesmaid Be Hard For Any Of  My Friends?

You also may want to consider if any of your close friends are in a position that would make it difficult to commit to being a bridesmaid. There are a few important factors to consider: time, money, and emotional status. If being a bridesmaid would be a financial hardship for one of your friends, you may want to just ask her to be a guest rather than a part of the wedding party. Make sure to consider these outside factors. Has a friend recently gone through a divorce and so might not feel up to being part of a wedding party? If you have worries like this but still want to ask this person to be your bridesmaid, express your concerns up front and let them know you will understand completely if they feel they can’t be a bridesmaid at this time.

Your Most Important Decision: Picking Your Maid Of Honor

Deciding who to ask to be your maid of honor is the most important wedding party decision you’ll make. Your maid of honor has the most responsibilities of anyone in your wedding party. Bridesmaids really just have to show up. But maids of honor have two big jobs: planning a bachelorette party and/or bridal shower and giving a speech at your reception. It’s important to think about who you want to do these things for you. Who knows you best? Who is responsible enough to plan a destination weekend or party for you? Who understands your tastes and will throw a party that reflects your personality? Consider which of your friends has time for these added responsibilities as well. If one maid of honor candidate has three kids or is working on her doctorate, it may be difficult for her to plan a bachelorette party as in addition.

Now think about the reception. Who do you envision standing up to give a speech? If you have a few maid of honor candidates in mind, think about what each would say. Has one met your fiancé only once, but another sees him on a regular basis? The one who knows your fiancé better might give a better speech about you two on your wedding day.

Brides should also beware of friends who didn’t much care for your groom when you started dating. That stuff matters. For all you know, your friend may still have reservations about your fiancé, but have set them aside for your friendship. If you know your maid of honor has expressed doubts about your groom in the past, asking her to speak at your wedding is going to be difficult for both of you. She’s going to struggle with what to say and you’re going to worry she might make a distasteful comment or reference past events you don’t want mentioned at your wedding. A maid of honor who knows your groom well and likes him is the way to go.

Looking for an easy way for guests to contribute to your wedding or honeymoon? A honeymoon registry from Honeyfund might be your answer.

Bio: Caitlin Kenney is the editor of Ultimate Bridesmaid, the go-to resource for bridesmaids, which guides you through every aspect of your bridesmaid duties. Along the way, we tackle all the details of bridal showers and bachelorette parties, including invitations, themes, games, favors, and so much more. Plus, you can get inspired by tons of real parties from around the globe. There’s more than one woman in this wedding, and Ultimate Bridesmaid is here for you all!

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How o pack for your honeymoon

This entry is from our Expert Guest series where wedding and honeymoon professionals share their best tips on creating memories that last a lifetime.

Deciding what to pack for your honeymoon. You don’t want to over-pack and end up with overweight baggage fees, and you don’t want to under-pack and end up having to purchase things you need. While some of the specific items we mention below may vary according to where you are going, this list will give you the basic for warmer honeymoon destinations, along with some tips for packing.

Carry-On

Carry on what you can

You want to put in your carry-on everything that is necessary for your vacation/wedding. Include in here a bathing suit, cover up, and one outfit for dinner, too. This way, if your luggage gets lost, you won’t have a problem enjoying your vacation and you’ll still have everything you need for your wedding.

  • Passport and other IDs
  • Airplane Tickets/Boarding Passes
  • Hotel Reservation Confirmation
  • Shuttle/Transportation Confirmation
  • Copy of Travel Insurance
  • Credit cards, wallet, cash (for tipping)
  • Medicine (in original bottle)
  • Jewelry
  • Contact info for closest US Embassy and closest/best hospital in the area
  • Contact Info for Dr, house/pet sitter, etc.
  • One swimsuit and cover up, plus one light outfit
  • Camera
  • Cell Phones (fully charged)
  • Head Phones
  • Sleeping Mask, Neck Pillow
  • Books, Magazines, E-Reader/Tablet

Check-In Bag – Hers

What to pack for her

  • Swimsuits and Cover-ups (I recommend 2)
  • Sundresses (at least one nice one for the evenings)
  • Tanks, tees, and tops (2 total)
  • Shorts, skirts, pants, and bottoms (2 total)
  • Flip flops for the pool/beach
  • Shoes for dinner/going out (1 pair heels)
  • A wrap/sweater, in the event you’re somewhere chilly
  • Workout clothing (sports bra, top, bottom, sneakers, socks)
  • Sunglasses
  • Extra batteries, memory cards, etc. for camera
  • Hat/cap for the sun
  • Strapless bra
  • Underwear, Socks, Bras, etc.
  • Sleepwear
  • Accessories
  • Evening purse/clutch
  • Phone/Tablet chargers
  • Adapter

Check-In Bag – His

What to pack for him

  • Jeans or khakis
  • 1 pair nice slacks
  • Shorts (2)
  • Light jacket/pullover
  • Casual shirts (T-shirts or tanks)
  • Button-down and/or Polos (1 of each)
  • 1 sports jacket
  • Swimming trunks (2)
  • 1 pair sneakers
  • 1 pair sandals/flip flops
  • Extra socks and underwear
  • Undershirts
  • Hat/cap for the sun
  • Small backpack for excursions

Check-In Bag – Toiletries

Travel essentials to pack

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, whitening strips, mouth wash (travel size)
  • Hair styling products
  • Curling/Straightening Iron, Hair Dryer
  • Deodorant
  • Makeup and Makeup remover
  • Cotton ball/swabs
  • Q-tips
  • Comb/Brush
  • Razor and Shaving Cream
  • After-Shave
  • Feminine Hygiene products
  • Contraceptives
  • Contact lenses, case and solution
  • Bug Spray
  • Immodium
  • Aloe Vera
  • SPF 50 or above
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (resort probably provides)
  • Soap/Shower Gel
  • Body Lotion (resort probably provides)
  • Chapstick with SPF
  • Tweezers
  • Small scissors
  • Perfume/Cologne
  • Advil/Tylenol/Aleve
  • Band-Aids

Extras To Pack For Your Honeymoon

Something I missed? Make sure to add it to your own printed packing list!

To Do Before Leaving:

Before you leave...

  • Make copies of the following and leave with someone at home:
    •  Passport
    •  Birth Certificates
    •  All travel itinerary
  • Call your cell phone provider to inquire about adding an international package to your plan while you are abroad; some might be able to add this for free or for a small prorated fee if traveling to Mexico and the Caribbean. Otherwise, turn off the data on your phone and download WhatsApp, Viber, or another messaging app so that you can communicate with people via WiFi.
  • Purchase Tourist Card/Visa, if necessary
  • Have your mail held through USPS
  • Call your credit card companies and notify them of your travel plans
  • Let USPS know that you’re traveling and ask them to hold your mail
  • Pay any bills that will become due while you’re away
  • Clean out perishables from fridge. Ask someone staying behind to get some groceries for you the day you’re to arrive, so your fridge won’t be empty when you come home
  • Turn off appliances/electronics. Set thermostat.

Looking for a way to make your honeymoon a reality? Set up a Honeyfund honeymoon registry today.

Author Bio: Sharon Kopp is a destination wedding bride turned destination wedding and travel specialist. Through Barefoot Bridal, she helps brides and their guests book their travel and accommodations to various locations, focusing mostly on the Caribbean, Mexico, and Hawaii, and helps brides plan their weddings.

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