Wedding party

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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Lulakate-2016-Bridesmaid-Dresses

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

How do you ask your gal pals to be your bridesmaid?

This might be one of the first questions you ask yourself after your honey has popped you the big question himself. Because after you’ve said “yes!”, chances are, you’ve bought dozens of bridal magazines and have been scouring Pinterest for the dress. But who will you share all of your ideas with? Who will you want with you when you find the dream dress? Your bridal party of course, and that means deciding who your bridesmaids will be.

Perhaps you’ve had your “list” for a long time, but how do you go about asking them? You definitely want it to be memorable! After all, this is a big moment and you only plan on doing this once. So let’s go ahead and get right down to it. How are you going to ask your best gal pals, the girls who have been with you through thick and thin, to be one of your bridesmaids? Well, you are in luck! We’ve got 8 oh-so-awesome ideas we can’t wait to share!

 8 Awesome Ideas On How To Ask Your Gal Pals To Be Your Bridesmaid

 1.) Name It!

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Whether presented in a group setting, or individually, handing a little white box with a bow over to one of your bffs is a very sweet gesture. Even better when opened and it’s a necklace made with their name. At first, she may look a little confused as to why she is receiving such a sweet gift, but we are sure she’ll put two and two together, especially when you ask her if she’s doing anything on the date of your wedding. She’ll be jumping for joy, and every time she wears it, will be reminded of the special occasion.

2.) Just A Little Trip…

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Speaking of using their name…Perhaps you’ve planned a girl’s trip. Just a quick getaway for the weekend, and you’re holding onto a few more bags than expected. Everyone gets to the house and you whip out monogramed totes packed full of your girl trip necessities. If you’re going to the beach, pack beach essentials, i.e. sunscreen, a small bottle of Evian spray water, and the latest Cosmopolitan. If you’re in wine country, pack up a wine score card, a few granola bars, and maybe a little travel bottle of ibuprofen. Either way, and based off of whatever theme of little girl’s trip you choose, have a little card in there as well asking them to be your bridesmaid. Your girls would be incredibly surprised, and now these totes have so much more meaning!

 3.) Sweet Sayings

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That card that was put into the monogram tote or even attached to the little white box holding a necklace, can be one with a unique saying of your own and made on Etsy. For those of us who still put pictures up on the fridge, your bridesmaids will be able to put up their own sweet card, along with some darling words written by you, on their fridge for all to see. In today’s world, we might forget the power a thoughtful card has on us, and with this charming gesture, we are certainly reminded of it. Simple, sweet, and definitely tried and true.

4.) Cup Of Coffee?

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We are definitely lovers of coffee over here at Lulakate, and when popping the question to a friend if they’ll be a bridesmaid, coffee seems like a great idea. Meet your gal pal for a coffee, but while she isn’t looking, hand the barista your hand painted coffee cup with the words “I can’t say ‘I Do’ without you!” and when they call her name, she is totally blown away.

 5.) Picture This…

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It is known that memories can be shared by taking pictures. Our thought would be to have a double picture frame with only one picture of the two of you inserted, leaving the other frame empty. Why you ask? And we are hoping your gal pal asks this too. Handing a picture over to her, a look would come across her face, slightly confused as to why only one side is filled. This is when you get all giggly and ask if she’ll be one of your bridesmaids. Then, the other frame can be filled with this exact moment of her saying “duh, of course!” or of the two of you on the wedding day in your pretty dresses.

 6.) Throw A Brunch

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Party time! Find a day when all the girls you want to ask to be your bridesmaid are available. Design and plan a special brunch for them posing as a fun girl’s brunch. Can be at home in your backyard or in a restaurant, your choice, as long as you’re able to surprise them with a fully stocked mimosa bar! As everyone is getting to know each other and mingle with their mimosas in hand, have them sit down with a envelope with their names on their plate. Ask them to open their “Will you be my bridesmaid” cards and continue the party with a cheers to your bridesmaids. A great way for everyone to get to know each other and start sharing what your ideas are for the big day.

 7.) Pop The Balloon

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You see DIY boxes made for bridesmaids all the time, but this idea is super unique and fun. Definitely memorable, your future bridesmaid actually gets popped the question with this DIY Pop the Balloon Kit! Customize by choosing your colors and what you want your secret message to say. Very easy to make and quite inexpensive.

 8.) Lovely Labels

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Let’s get the party started with these custom labeled champagne bottles! Even if you’re just casually meeting up with your girl and hand her this bottle, you can still make it a special moment by sharing in the fun by having a glass of champagne to toast. She can then keep the bottle if she likes and perhaps use it as a flower vase.

With all of these ideas, we are 100% sure, that whomever, and however, you ask your gal pals to be your bridesmaid, they will be grateful and so excited to participate in making all of your bridal dreams come true. We only hope to have inspired you to make this a special moment you and your bffs can treasure for many many years to come.

Looking for a way to finance your honeymoon? Consider a Honeyfund honeymoon registry.

Credits on Lulakate Bridesmaids Lookbook:

Lulakate Bridesmaids Lookbook:

Photography by Kat Harris

Styling by Beth Chapman Styling

Florals by Hana Floral

Hair & Makeup by AbpMakeup

Bio: Lulakate is a bridesmaid brand with a modern twist on classic styles. Made in the USA, we are founded by Katherine McDonald, owner and founder of our big sister, Kate McDonald Bridal. We believe in love, happiness, and lots of color. It’s not about following the trend, but establishing the new classic. It’s about dressing your best friends in something happy. It’s about being surrounded by love and friendship on your wedding day. It’s about finding the perfect bridesmaid dress.

Live Life, Love Lula.

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