Broke-Ass Category: Bridesmaids

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Danielle's bridal party invitations

“Will you be my bridesmaid” card I made

Bridesmaids. This single word can hold so many emotions, meanings, joys, and nightmares. I have a whole gang of important women in my life that I want to stand by me on my special day. My fiance, Michael, has a lot fewer friends than I, so I’ve always known that the number of bridesmaids I had would be dictated by how many brothers he could rally to his side. Even numbers are a must in my book.

After Michael popped the question, I asked my sweetie to go out and find himself five groomsmen. We had already discussed making his older brother his Best Man and my little brother one of his groomsmen, that left him three gents to hunt down. Needless to say, I was a tiny bit peeved when Michael called me and happily declared that he had rallied all six of the groomsmen. Six … that number doesn’t at all sound like five. They don’t even start with the same sounds … how could you not underst- … *SIGH* yes, thank you dear. *Quietly grinding teeth*. Yeah, it’s a bit tacky to “unask” a guy to be one of your groomsmen so, I had to go rally another bridesmaid.

I had taken pains to ask all of them individually in a unique way to be my bridesmaid. I had a lass in mind, but it was legit MONTHS after I had asked all the other girls to be my bros. How do you ask a lass to be your wingman without making it look crazy obvious that you need her to fill a quota? Then, how do you tactfully drop the, oh by the way, we have an appointment this weekend to go look at bridesmaid dresses, I hope your Sunday is open?

A huge smile, a tiny bit of groveling, and a really nice card (with a killer presentation) help along your case if you land yourself in the same spot. She took it well, didn’t even blink or bat an eye when I gave her the card I’d made. Panic levels? Dropping back to manageable levels. Oh yeah, and thanks for saying you’d be a bridesmaid Ashlee, did I mention that we are going dress shopping in four days? Got plans this Sunday? *Panic-meter jumps* What? No plans you say? Great, meet you at David’s Bridal at 10am then.

Danielle's troupe goes bridesmaid dress shopping

My junior bridesmaid begging for a dress

For the complete trainwreck asking my girls to stand with me was, I’m surprised at how well they all got along while we went dress shopping. We hit David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo that day with a lunch break in between. I had asked them all to look at some dresses beforehand so we had some ideas of what they wanted. I secretly wanted everyone to pick the same dress, but as long as it was the same fabric and color, it didn’t matter. They all have vastly different body shapes, especially my just recently flowered junior bridesmaid who’s only 11. After at least 20 dresses and two stores, they were all leaning towards one dress that I pretty much hated but they all seemed rabid over … or so I thought.

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The dress we all apparently hated

We decided to order that dress in March to give some of them a chance to finish their weight loss plans. Weeks crawl into months and one by one they casually mention to me how much they also hate the dress. Seriously y’all, why didn’t anyone say something in the store? One of my ‘maids is a bit more … outspoken, than the others and must have led them down that path of least resistance. So … we find ourselves back at square one again. My sister, Angela, and I went out over Christmas break and picked a fabric, color and two designers. I think this time I will just pick a handful of dresses that I don’t think suck and just ask them to pick one from that selection instead. This way, if they hate the dress, they are the ones who picked it. I made it super clear that if all the ones I picked suck, to let me know and I can hunt out another dress they’ll like. I love all of them, but picking a dress is apparently like herding cats.

What about you, any bridesmaid moments that make you want to scream and pull out your hair?

  • 8/16

    Over the course of my engagement, I had a lot of different ideas on who I wanted to be in my wedding but I held off until I had my date and venue at least to ask anyone. Being engaged for four years meant people came in and out of importance in my life and I knew that was the way things went sometimes. I’m glad I held off on asking anyone for that very reason. I knew I was going to most likely ask my four sisters to be in the wedding party and I knew I was going to have Matt’s two sisters as well. It got more difficult from there though. What about friends or sisters-in-law? An even bigger question for me was about my nieces and cousins. I have nine (eight at the time) nieces and a crazy amount of cousins and second cousins, many of whom I’m pretty close with. Leaving them out of the wedding party didn’t really feel right because of what they all meant to me. With my nieces in particular, though, I realized that having them in the wedding party would’ve doubled the cost to my sisters. In the end, I had the niece and cousin who were closest in age to me (and who I had grown up with as friends as much as relatives) in the wedding party and that was it. I did have two of the youngest as my flower girls and then found roles for the rest as party of the wedding ceremony. I still am sad I couldn’t find a way to incorporate another couple of cousins I’m really close with, but I figure at least I saved them the hassle of having to take on any planning.
    12473646_10100571625445000_2425953772683319059_oThe full crew! Photo by SK Photography
    I wanted to make a big deal of asking my bridesmaids be in my bridal party. When all the details were sewn up about my wedding I decided it was time to come up with how I was going to ask my girls to be in my wedding party. I figured I’d DIY some beeswax candles and come up with some cute way to ask them using those. And then the winter hit. It was February 2015 and Mother Nature decided New England had to pay for the Patriots winning the Super Bowl. I was stuck inside my house for the better part of a month with little or no creating supplies. Some beeswax candles got made, but then they got tossed aside as I couldn’t figure out  exactly the way to ask with them and I re-thought their significance. Time was creeping up on me and I knew I needed to ask soon or there wouldn’t be time for us to go out and do all the things that needed to be done in anticipation of the wedding. So I used the world’s worst communication method to ask: I texted them.
    I know, I know. Texts are impersonal and …whatever else they might be that makes them a not-so-worthwhile form of communication. But time was of the essence and I’m not good with phone conversations. I didn’t have everyone’s emails at the time, and it was important for me that I put my thoughts together before I came out and asked them. I didn’t just fire off a text that said “Hey b in my wedding plz?” or even let emojis do the talking. I sent them miniature novels in text form that said: 1. Why I wanted them to be in my wedding and what they meant to me; 2. What my expectations of my bridal party were going to be; and 3. That I understood if they couldn’t take part in it because of money issues or just a general desire not to. I let them know my feelings wouldn’t be hurt if they said no (even though they totally would have and I waited for each return text with trepidation as to what they’d have to say).
    I think that beyond any beeswax candles or sparkly gifts I could’ve given them, within those texts, I hit on some important things that a lot of people neglect to talk to their bridal party about and that lead to a lot of problems down the road in planning. Not so much why I wanted them to be in the wedding, because I think that comes down to individual relationships and feelings, but more my expectations and the understanding that I was asking them to be part of it, not telling they had to be.

    Expectations for the bridal party are a big deal. How often have we tossed the “z” suffix onto a bride because she outlined her expectations of her bridesmaids and went a little bit (or a lot) overboard? These things might seem crazy at times when put out there like that, but at the same time, it’s important to be honest at the start about what being a bridesmaid means to you. When I was actively involved in Wedding Yard Sales, I’d see brides that had all different ideas about what their bridesmaids roles were, and bridesmaids who had even more ideas. Some people feel its the bride’s responsibility to pay for her bridesmaids’ gowns while others feel its up to each bridesmaid to get her own dress. Some feel the bridesmaids take care of the extracurricular parties, like the bridal shower or bachelorette party and that the bride is to have no part in planning those whatsoever. Others feel it’s up to the mother of the bride and still others feel the bride does that herself. Outlining YOUR expectations as a bride at the start avoids confusion and possible arguments later rather than assuming that you’re on the same page and finding out later that you weren’t even in the same book. If you can go so far as to let people know a dollar amount or range when giving your expectations, even better (although I’d say give room for that number to change because some things can cost more than you originally expect, too). The better you can give someone an idea of what they’re agreeing to when you ask them, the better off things will be down the line.  It’s important to come to terms with what being a bridesmaid means to you before you ask someone else to do that, and maybe even do a little bit of research before talking to them about costs and responsibilities.

    It’s also important to recognize that you are giving people a choice. Just like when my husband proposed to me, this proposal can come with a “yes” or “no” after the fact, not an assumption of agreement just for the question having been asked. Being in a wedding party can be really expensive, even a broke-ass one where you do your best to keep costs low. My bridesmaids had a mish-mash of expenses they were dealing with above and beyond my wedding: A new home, a new car, multiple kids and the tuition that said kids were racking up in all grade levels through college, a new baby and other weddings. No matter what age or stage of life my bridesmaids were at, they had something major going on in their lives money-wise and I acknowledged that when asking them because it’s important to remember you’re not the only one dealing with expensive, life-altering stuff at any given time. Sometimes even greater than the dollar value is the cost to people’s time and energy, especially if they have demanding jobs or families or are just in a spot in their life where they’re already being dragged in several different directions. Like I said, my feelings might’ve been a little bit hurt if some people had turned me down … but realistically, it’s important to be understanding of other people’s circumstances. It might feel like they are saying they don’t care enough about you to take part in your wedding, but they could also be saying they care too much about you to be there for you on a part time basis when they know you deserve better than that. There are many different thoughts and emotions that can go into the decision to become someone’s bridesmaid, just like there are a lot of emotions that go into why we choose the people we do. Be mindful of that and do your best to not take it as anything personal against you or your husband to be.

    In the end, I didn’t spend a ton of money on my proposal to my bridesmaids. I used the beeswax candles I made myself and instead spent my energy on coming up with just the right words and put it out there to them. I’m glad I was able to express what they meant to me, and had the opportunity to really talk about what their role in the wedding meant to me. I used the money I would’ve spent on a proposal on their thank you gifts.

    It’s not so important how you ask them, but making sure they fully understand what they’re being asked and that is is a question, not a declaration is important. I can’t say my bridal party was without any drama at all, but I can say that I minimized it as best I could on my part by letting people know what my expectations were and allowing them to make a choice to take on that role that meant so much to me. Everyone played their roles in the end and added different elements to the wedding.  I’m grateful to all of them for being part of such a special day for me.

    How did you ask your crew to stand by your side? Did you create elaborate proposals or keep it simple ‘n’ sweet?

  • 7/25

    bab heather3

    I made my first wedding craft!!! It was a lot of fun, and it helped to get me excited again about the wedding! When you spend the first part of your engagement trying to come up with a budget, venue, and all that goes with it, it's easy to start feeling overwhelmed. We have been through our fair share of ups and downs as I…

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    7/6

    maiddress

    There is no question that bridesmaid dresses have come a long way. Hello, 1980s: you were cruel and unusual Even so, choosing the right dress for your girls can be daunting. Everyone has their own style, their own body type and their own budget. The more ladies in your wedding party, the more difficult it is to find something that works for every girl --…

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    6/20

    Etsy MyLittleShopofWonder Thanks for Holding My Dress Card

    Card available from Etsy seller MyLittleShopofWonder Although I'm not having a formal bridal party, or a formal wedding, I still have some great friends that are helping me celebrate. Some of my closest friends have come together to throw a shower for me. Sometimes it seems weddings become an exchange of gifts: Your bridesmaids do something for you, you buy them gifts. You feed your…

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  • 4/15

    Team Bride Badges by MakeLoops

    Team Bride Badges, $7.28 by Etsy seller MakeLoops It's a fact of wedding planning that people are the second-most unpredictable variable (weather is the first!). There will always be someone who doesn't do or say what you're expecting or hoping, and it can be extremely frustrating when it's someone close to you.  Every now and then it's a bridesmaid that seems to go rogue, not following The…

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    7/30

    Real Bride Shannon custom bridesmaid dress

    Many a friendship has suffered some scrapes and bruises over bridesmaids dresses. Much like diamonds, dresses come with a handful of “C’s” to consider, too: color, cut, cost … you get it. I never felt too picky about what my ladies were wearing; I just wanted them to look good and feel good, and knowing the cash wasn’t exactly flowing for anyone, I wanted to…

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    7/21

    Gown WG3532, Headpiece 35986C001, Bracelet 9721|| David's Bridal Busts Out A Big Ol' Heaping of Savings

    It's Christmas in July! No, not really, but pretty damn close, y'all. David's Bridal is having their hugest sale of the season. And by huge, we mean RIDICULOUS. For serious. From wedding dresses to styles for your entourage to all those pretty little sparkly adornments, prices are slashed across the board: * Wedding dresses that were originally $300-$600 are now as low as $99, with…

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  • 6/16

    Is it Saturday yet? How about now? You guys, my wedding is THIS WEEK. Like, when someone asks “So, any fun plans this weekend?” I can say “Yeah, I’m GETTING MARRIED on Saturday.” As one does. Oddly enough, I’ve had countless people tell me how miserable this week is going to be: “Oh wow, congratulations! Get ready for the worst week of your life!” Ummm,…

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