Broke-Ass Tag: bridal party attire

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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?

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    Affiliate Disclaimer NewGot New Excuses To Day Drink Will You Be My Bridesmaid Card

    This card should do the trick! Available from Etsy seller PattersonPaper

    Dear Heather,

    I haven’t asked anyone to be my bridesmaid yet, because I’m scared they’ll say no when I tell them I can’t afford to buy their dresses. How do I broach the subject to them without putting them in a position where they feel like they can’t say no?

    Heather

    Dear Heather,

    Awesome name. Not that I’m biased or anything.

    As for your question: I’m a bit confused. Traditionally, at least in the vast majority of America, England, and Canada, the bridesmaids pay for their own dresses. If you live in an area where this is not the case, please leave a comment and I’ll address your question in a different manner in a subsequent column. For now, I’m going to assume that you live in one of those aforementioned areas and were simply unaware that the bride doesn’t typically pay for all of her crew’s dresses.

    With that said, if you are worried about your ladies being unable to afford their dresses, then it should be your goal to find inexpensive dresses for them to wear, or allow them to choose their own outfits with some specifications (length, color, material) provided by you. I did a post recently about looking for bridesmaid dresses that might be helpful to you. There are tons of options out there that are quite affordable.

    On your end — even if you aren’t paying for their dresses, there are costs associated with having a bridal party. You’ll likely end up paying for a bouquet (or something else for her to carry) for each woman. Giving some sort of gift is also customary, often in the form of accessories for her wedding outfit, but this can really be anything at all. If your ladies throw a bridal shower for you, a thank you gift for the hostess is a polite thing to do. You’ve said you cannot afford their dresses, which is not uncommon. However, don’t think that because you aren’t paying for their dresses, that having a bridal party is free.

    When you ask the important women in your life to be your bridesmaids, be sure to let them know exactly what you’ll be paying for (i.e. makeup, hair, accessories, a portion of the dress) and leave it up to them to determine whether they can afford it. They are grown ups, capable of deciding what fits into their budgets. If your ladies haven’t been to/in many weddings and don’t know what all being a bridesmaid entails, you might even want to provide them with some additional information: Are you hopeful that they’ll throw you a bridal shower and/or bachelorette party? Will they need to travel for any of those parties, or the wedding itself? Will they need to pay for a hotel room? If you’re close enough to these women that you want them up next to you when you get married, then you’re close enough to have a frank, “If you cannot afford this, I’ll be sad, but we’ll find some other way to involve you in the wedding” type of discussion.

    Are you planning to pay for your bridesmaids’ dresses? Did any of your potential bridesmaids have to bow out due to financial concerns? Let us know in the comments below.

    HeatherH