Look up the basic format of a bridesmaid's speech online. I didn't realise, but there are "guidelines" of who thanks who, who compliments who, etc. They seem a little archaic and (I thought) uncommon knowledge, but rest assured that usually everyone else speaking has googled the same thing and will probably stick to the traditions. It's also great for beating writer's block. First, think who you want to thank/shower love upon. Then think, why? Speech written.
Wednesday, 29 January 2014
How to be a bridesmaid - Guest Post Tiffany
There is no set instruction manual on how to do this, but here are a few jumbly thoughts!
You’re a bridesmaid, congratulations! Be grateful and honoured. Chances are your bride selected you from a lot of her closest friends (or family), and wants you with her on her day. Use this knowledge to squash any and all nerves.
If you’re out of the country (like Tammy and I were), don’t panic. Think of ways you can be there, even if it’s just with emailing, pinterest boards, or chatting online. Provide an ear (or a comment) whenever you can. Tammy took this a step further, sending beautiful bridesmaidly gifts. Do what you can to add to the excitement and show support!
Play to your strengths. Your bride has chosen you, and she knows what these are. Tammy was a superstar at all those beautiful crafty thoughtful things, fashion advice, design – she even did Erin and I’s make-up on the day and made a stunning original hairpiece for Erin.
I am NOT good at these things. But I played to my strengths (a big mouth and complete comfort in using it) and used it to make sure people’s glasses were topped up, shy family got up and had at least one dance, speeches were made, etc. A good mix of bridesmaids can mean all the bases get covered.
Enjoy the chance to get to know your bride’s family better! You’re going to be seeing a lot of them. Having grown up with Erin I already knew her family, but really appreciated the chance to bond on a more adult level. This is a whole group effort to make the day as special as possible for the bride and groom. Be positive and inclusive - you are going to be providing valuable support to each other all day!
Really, really collaborate with your fellow bridesmaids. Communication is key, and planning is everything! Tammy and I have the great luck in being friends from the womb, so this was easy. If you don’t know the other bridesmaids well, GET TO KNOW THEM. GET IN TOUCH NOW, YESTERDAY. You’re going to be covering potentially awkward topics, such as divvying costs, removing facial hair, and how much penis should be at a hen’s party. At best you’ll make new friends through your mutual love for the bride, and at least you won’t find a sour faced bridesmaid photo of yourself on the day to haunt you until the end of time.
Have an opinion! Well, more of a balance of opinion. Do not have too much opinion. Tammy and I were really lucky in that Erin wanted us to feel comfortable and beautiful in our dresses, so we had a large part in choosing them and were both very happy. Keep in mind, this was ERIN’S decision to include our opinion. If you are expected to turn up in the Christmas present dress chosen for you, you do it. Look pretty at your own wedding.
As a bridesmaid, what you are is an EAR. People have bridesmaids for support, and it's usually for wedding decisions. Most of the time the bride realises what she wants while she is asking you about it. If not, be practical. If she’s having trouble deciding, ask questions. They’ll usually lead you both to a decision.
Money. Sometimes, money can be an awkward subject. Remember, this isn’t a birthday. This is an event that you will (hopefully) only witness once in your bestie’s life. That said, things shouldn’t need to get astronomical either. Again, communicate. The bride should let you know honestly what it is you will be paying for (Erin was great but I have heard horror stories - brides reading this: be clear early on to avoid confusion later). Our bride paid for our dresses, which was a special gesture. As far as I know, bridesmaids and hen guests cover the cost of the hen’s night for themselves AND the bride. She shouldn’t have to lift a finger.
Tammy really put in all the beautiful effort for this, she created a totally special environment and theme with the use of china cups, special teas, hair adornments, and gift bags. We decided early on that we (and hopefully Erin) would want her hen’s night to be about the special girls and friendships in her life, and not a bunch of random guys/strippers. So we had a very special afternoon tea in a hotel room, where we cracked open the bubbly, told our favourite stories about Erin, played games, and basically reminisced over what Erin had given us.
If you are worried about entertaining a room of girls - look into hen's parties in your area! You may find an activity to cater for you. We chose a burlesque lesson. This was another way to chill out, celebrate being female, and put ourselves in the hands of an expert. We had a great instructor who was totally comfortable in running hen’s parties.
We did also go to town, armed with a to-do list for Erin. Again, this did not involve anything too risqué or offensive to her 9 year long relationship to Chris!
Think about your bride, think about her tastes, think about her relationship. Remember the hen’s night is about the hens and bride, you don’t have to stick to tradition!
SMILE! Be gracious, calm, inclusive, and above all – positive. :)