Posts in the 'bridal party' Category

BAB Classics: Ask Liz: The Wedding Things You Just Can’t Do

Food and money. Man, oh, man. Isn’t that the broke-ass life? You always try to have enough of both, but what about when you’re trying to throw a big ol’ party? That’s where the stakes get raised, and some good, timeless advice from erstwhile BAB team member Liz, of Silver Charm Events, swoops in to soothe the nerves.

Dear Liz,

My fiance and I LOVE a good party. We have budgeted for 150 guests at our wedding, but there are more than 150 people that we want to celebrate with us. The long and short of it is: we cannot afford to feed everyone. We are having a great local cover band, and we would like to send out secondary invitations for those acquaintances to join us, after dinner has been served at the reception. Is is tacky to ask an additional chunk to come at 8:00 for dancing and drinks but not the ceremony and dinner? How should we word those invitations so as not to offend anyone?


Down to the Count

Make ’em fit, or leave ’em out. Anything else is asking for trouble.
(Courtesy of Elizabeth Anne Designs)

Dear  Down,

Not to be harsh, but I don’t really see that going over very well. Basically, you’re saying that you don’t like them enough to invite them to your wedding and pay for their meal, but just enough to hang out with them when it’s going to cost you less money. It’s not what you mean, but it’s definitely what you’re saying. And I don’t know if you sent Save the Date cards to them, too, but if you did, eyebrows are definitely going to rise, just like their expectations did.

So, what to do, what to do? A couple of things, I think. Figure out how much each additional person would cost you, and look at the various pieces of your budget to see where you can make some cuts to accommodate. One step down for your meal, or one less appetizer? Stick to beer and wine and a specialty drink? Don’t go top shelf on the liquor? I don’t know what you’re doing now, but there are almost always places where you can cut and still be comfortable with what you’re getting.

And, realistically? Not everyone is going to be able to attend, anyway. I’m not the biggest fan of B-listing potential guests, mostly because it’s a lot of work, but try and make it work for you. Send your invitations out early enough to the 150, and then for every “No” you get, send one out to the B list.

But, I would definitely do a budget check, first.

The only other option is to not invite them, period. And, yes, this means that you won’t have everyone you want at your wedding, but most couples face that reality, sooner or later. You’re really not doing them, or yourself, any favors by sending out a half invite. Invite or do not invite. There is no “try.”

“That’s so funny! Together, we spent over $3,000 to be in our friend’s wedding!”

Dear Liz, 

 I am a bridesmaid in my childhood best friend’s wedding. I knew I’d have to shell out some bucks, but I had no clue how much I was expected to spend… until now. She’s had an engagement party, a bridal shower, a honeymoon shower, and now her two-day destination bachelorette party is coming up. I told the Maid of Honor that I wasn’t sure I could go if it’s going to cost me more than $300. She has already booked the hotel, but every time I ask her for the total amount I am expected to shell out, she dodges my questions. This has happened three times, so far. It’s getting to be frustrating. I’d hate to cancel last minute on it, but she really won’t communicate with me. Plus, it’s a surprise for the bride, so I can’t talk to her about it. I also have to have a minor surgery a week before this shindig. I don’t want to jeopardize my recovery process by going on this weekend trip, either. My question is, do I stay or do I go? I feel that I will risk the friendship of not only the bride, but also the Maid of Honor (who is another childhood friend) if I didn’t show up. I wasn’t at her bridal shower (same day as my grandma’s 90th birthday party) so I feel obligated to go to this bachelorette party. Yet at the same time I don’t know how I will be physically after this surgery, and I do not want to go broke because of this bachelorette weekend. If I do not go, how do I break the news to the maid of honor? This is really stressing me out!


Bridesmaid Bummer

Dear Bummer,

Bottom line? You can’t go. I’m really sorry, I know you want to celebrate with your friend, I know you’re worried about your relationship with her and your other friends. But you will be a week out from SURGERY, and if you’re talking about a “recovery process”, then it isn’t that minor. Not only is it a really good excuse, it’s a really good reason. Plus, it’s not going to help your stress level, before or after surgery, if you’re worried about how you’re going to cope, financially.

Being a bridesmaid is expensive. The last time I was one, about 4 years ago, it cost me over $1,000, and I see girls in my weddings spending that and more. I was honored and thrilled to be a part of my friend’s day, as are all the other bridesmaids I’ve met and known. I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it. But, that’s not a small amount of money — it just isn’t — and that should be taken into consideration.

So, how to tell the MOB? Tell her that you’re having surgery the week before, and you don’t know how you’re going to feel after it, or what you’ll be physically able to do. So, you can’t go. If you think you can pull it, give her $50 – $100 to buy a round of drinks at the party, or figure out how to get it to the bride, with your name on it.

What are the tricks you used to afford all the guests you want? And, what do you think about Bummed’s predicament? Let me know in the comments below! And, if you would like to find out more about me and my little part of wedding world, visit my website at

See you at the end of the aisle,


Winning Wednesday: Get the Support You Need with Hourglass Angel

Y’all, let’s talk bras, shapewear and all those other underpinnings that are a total asspain but are soooo wildly necessary if you’ve got anything more than a Kate Moss physique.

I bought a corset-y strapless bra for my first wedding, begrudgingly. It was expensive, but once the chick at the lingerie shop had me fastened in, I knew it was a good buy. I thought I’d pretty much only wear it on my wedding day, but new it *might* come in handy on other occasions and, truth be told, I’ve worn it a ton. It’s perfect under those slightly sheer dresses, or ones that have lower backs, and it holds the girls up while also whittling my waist (helloooo, Dolly!).

But here’s the thing: Buying these types of items, the ones that are necessary but don’t seem necessary, can be tough because you don’t really want to plunk down the cash for them. But trust a sister when I say this — sometimes there’s a little extra squish that you just want to cinch into place, or you have unruly boobs that tend to go all double-bubble, and shapewear is a freaking godsend for these situations.

Hourglass Angel Collage.jpg

Lucky you! One BAB will have the awesome opportunity to win $75 toward Hourglass Angel to get yourself in good shape for the big day with all the right underpinnings. Whether you’re looking for a little waist-whittling, boob-boosting or butt-lifting, you’ll be able to find the right piece to go under your wedding gown.

Hourglass Angel has a gargantuan selection of products, ranging from XS to 5XL, so ladies of all shapes and sizes will find something to fit their needs. And whether you’re looking for a corset, shapewear or something sexy to slip in to, Hourglass Angel has it all, and including a whole mess of things for under $50. Oh, and they’ve got free shipping over $75 … who doesn’t love free shipping?

As usual, each task snags you one entry. Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And just in case you don’t win (sorry, darling) you can still get your mitts on a pretty rockin’ deal: You can still get curves in all the right spots for you and your gals! When you order 4 or more shapers from Hourglass Angel’s bridal section, you get to knock 25% off the order!

Real Bride Peach: MOH 102 – The Maid of Honor’s Top 10 Wedding Day Rules

In my MOH 101 post I talked about all the prep work you need to expect as a Maid of Honor, but I knew the real doozy would be the actual wedding weekend. And man, I was right! In no particular order, here goes.

Screen Shot 2014-05-11 at 8.33.55 PM

1. Be careful with the booze! Because it’s everywhere on wedding weekend. And as MOH, you have to be ready to jump into action with a moment’s notice. It’s okay to indulge with the bride if you have a night with no critical obligations first thing in the morning. In my case, I flew in on Thursday. Having copious amounts of bubbly with the bride that night and being able to sleep late the next morning was perfect!  But I held back during the rehearsal, at the rehearsal dinner and until my toast was over at the reception. After the toast and once the dancing started? All bets were off! :) MOH102 Booze


2. Bustles ARE HARD.  Figure out ahead of time how to work the damn thing before you find yourself on the bathroom floor in your poofy dress with the bride, fumbling through what seems like miles of lace for hooks that do not exist. #MOHFAIL  However, small crochet needles are absolutely life-saving when you have a bazillion teeny buttons and button loops to fasten her into the dress!

3. Help the coordinator. That hard-working person may have a team of people, but there are still 100+ guests and an entire bridal party to corral. At Nette’s wedding it was a bit tricky to round up the bridal party for pictures after the ceremony. The parents of the bride were nowhere to be found. The guys needed to be herded to the front of the vineyard. The coordinator was assisting guests with finding their seats for dinner. Peach is super damn glad she wore flats because she was sprinting through the winery, around guests and friends, hollering a cheerful, “Gotta find the mom, talk later!!”  if they tried to stop her as she whizzed by. In the end, all the pictures were taken with the correct parties (WHEW!) and everyone eventually made it to where they were supposed to be. Running in a dress = All a part of stepping up when you have to. :)

4. Time doesn’t move on the wedding day. IT HAULS ASS. So many blogs and brides have told me this and I thought it was completely cliche. But it’s unbelievably true!! A good MOH must stay calm and not get overwhelmed in the frenzy. (Easier said than done!) We started the day at 8 a.m. with Starbucks and pedicures, then the bridesmaids began getting ready while the bride went to the hotel for hair and makeup. We met her there, finished getting ready and fed her snacks and a sip of bubbly, then whisked her off to the vineyard to beat the groom’s arrival. Once there, we all did our final prep, got ourselves dressed and poured her into her amazing dress, took a few pics and the next thing we knew, it was time!!! 9.5 hours, gone in a flash. MOH 102 Top 10

5. Be organized. When, as MOH you are charged with ownership of small things like, oh … the groom’s ring and the marriage certificate and the bride’s vows, you need to be trustworthy. Know where these key items are at all times. (I carried my Lululemon yoga bag everywhere!) It’s also great to know the schedule inside-out, have important cellphone numbers and bring (or rent) vehicle of your own. Preparation is key and knowledge is power. If you don’t know, ask!

6. Remember that no wedding day is perfect. Nette’s wedding had two gigantic OHHOLYSHIT moments that I know she won’t mind me sharing. First, we had a hospitalized officiant with less than 48 hours to go. He wasn’t going to be able to marry them. Then we had a 100% chance of pouring rain the day before, which meant adding tents and redoing seating for everything, plus a very soggy/cold rehearsal.  And oh yeah, renting a UHAUL to move the decor without it getting wet! The amazing bride was able to accept the situations without meltdowns, help with the alternatives where she could and luckily had a backup officiant ready to go! Her best groomsmaid Ivy’s husband was already ordained and experienced. The hospitalized officiant was able to email the ceremony text, but our hero still had less than 24 hours by that time to get comfortable with it!  In my eyes, her coordinator, Ivy and Ivy’s husband really took the challenges by the balls and worked out all the details. All the bride and groom had to do was bless the decisions. And all I had to do was be there for the bride, whether to shove a piece of  Gouda cheese in her mouth or just listen to her say “Whoa, holy crap, these are some GOOD curveballs! But I’m okay!” for a minute. Color me one lucky MOH! MOH102 Uhaul

Because sometimes you just gotta rent a UHAUL and get it done!

7. Charge your phone. Often. Everyone. Especially the bride. Because her phone did. not. stop. ringing. ALL. WEEKEND. Like, whoa.

8. Give a good toast! I found a formula in BRIDES magazine that worked wonderfully for me at the wedding. Highly recommend the following:  1. Introduce yourself and describe how you know the bride. 2. Tell a funny story/memory of the two of you and why you love her. 3. Talk about meeting the groom and how you feel about him. 4. Describe why the bride and groom are so good together. 5. Wish them congrats, love and best wishes. 6. CHEERS!  This formula kept it meaningful, funny and sweet, but not hours long. See also: Careful with the booze. No one likes a slurry, wobbly, ugly-crying MOH. Don’t be that girl.

9. Enjoy the moment, too. I blinked back tears of joy as her father walked her down the aisle. She was beaming and radiant, ever the gorgeous woman I’ve always known her to be. He was dashing and only had eyes for her. I stood beside her and held her bouquet with his ring on my thumb as they spoke their personal vows to one another. I alternated laughing at their witty quips and gulping down the lump in my throat during their tender professions. And I’m so glad I did. Because after all the madness, chaos, drama, stress and emotions of planning the wedding, it all culminates in one thing: Witnessing the love that these two amazing people share.

*posted with the Bride's permission

*posted with the bride’s permission

10. DANCE. Because it’s so much fun to “Gangnam Style” in a poofy dress. Plus, you’ve earned the right to let loose now. Your bride is married and your MOH duties are done! Be sure to give her a big hug and send her off on the honeymoon with her new husband. (And yes, it’s okay to cry a little.)

Real Bride Andrea: To Bridesmaid or Not to Bridesmaid? That is…

…. one of the many questions I have about Bridesmaids!

This looks like a nightmare. Both, the amount of bridesmaids and staging this picture in the middle of your wedding day.

Credit: Nina Carman Photography, Ltd.
This looks like a nightmare. Both, the amount of bridesmaids and staging this picture in the middle of your wedding day.

Growing up, I was one of those girls who didn’t have a lot of girlfriends because “girls were so much drama.” (I know. Gross, right? Don’t worry. I’m over that now.)  I had a few female friends because I was a dancer but mostly I hung out boys in my formative years with the exception of one female best friend I’d had since elementary school. (After a falling out in college, she and I parted ways. Woof. ‘Nuff said.) I had not formed any other close relationships with women. My time at Arizona State was spent dancing my ass off, leaving no time for friends. I was lucky to have met Travis. I had one sister in the bridesmaid age range and no real familial obligation to use any extended family. So, after the orginal engagement back in 2008, as soon as the high from the proposal and ring wore off, I realized that, other than my sister (who was only 15 at the time,) I had not a single option for a bridesmaid. This was an incredibly sad realization. I mean, I had friends, but no one close enough, you know? I had the kind of friends I could’ve asked, but they would’ve thought it was weird and definitely would not have used me as one of theirs. I realize that it is not necessarily the way to make decisions regarding bridesmaids, but it would be nice to know the “Will you be my right-hand bitch?” sentiment would be reciprocated.  My solution to this problem? NO BRIDESMAIDS! They were an overrated wedding ritual that we didn’t need anyway, right?!

I was depressed.

This bride is generous. GENEROUS. I would sooner have my bridesmaids in jean overalls than in white.

This bride is generous. GENEROUS. I would sooner have my bridesmaids in jean overalls than in white.

Well, we all know now that wedding never happened and I’m so glad. As I’ve grown and matured, (and thanks to “Sex and the City”) I’ve learned the importance forming relationships with female friends. It is healthy and incredibly rewarding! I mean, Duuuhhh, right?! Do I wish I’d learned this earlier? Yes. But boyo, am I incredibly happy I have the girlfriends I do now! I have some the most intelligent, talented, funny, and inspirational women in my life. I am even more thrilled to call these women my family and friends. I have so many options for bridesmaids, it’s even going to be difficult to narrow it down! What a fantastic problem! But, it IS, in fact, a problem.

They are perfect, aren't they? What an era! Thanks for all the Cosmos, ladies.

They are perfect, aren’t they? What an era! Thanks for all the Cosmos, ladies.

I assumed, perhaps somewhat presumptuously, that my fiancé, Travis would be against the idea of a bridal party. He tends to be a minimalist when it comes to wedding planning. However, when I broached the subject, he surprised me. Not only was he open, but he had six, SIX men in his life that he just HAD to have as his groomsmen. SIX?! This is frustrating number for a couple of reasons. First of all, I feel obligated to match the number for ceremony purposes. Secondly, I could have 4 or 8 bridesmaids. I’ll explain. There are echelons of friends and family. So, how do I cut a 1 or 2 women out when they are of equal importance to me?

I guess you could just see which of your friends were willing to to take this picture... That's how you know who your real friends are.

I guess you could just see which of your friends were willing to to take this picture … That’s how you know who your real friends are.

There are many surprises on the road that is planning a wedding and this was one of them. I didn’t anticipate “ranking” the women in my life; debating the pros and cons of each. I have not chosen my complete bridal party yet, but I sure do appreciate that I have an incredible selection. And this is just the beginning. In what creative and fantastically crafty way can I ask them to be my bridesmaids? Aren’t they supposed to get gifts that are equally clever and crafty? How do you make each lady happy and comfortable with what they wear on my big day?

Here’s to wrangling my chicks,


Real Bride Jess: The Maids and the Maid of Honor Dilemma

How do you choose your maid of honor? Until recently the question was easy: my high school best friend & mother of my two goddaughters. As I grew closer to one of my college roommates, however, I started to wonder. Once I got engaged it was a dilemma: I love my high school best friend, but I knew that my college roommate had more time & resources to do the planning. How could I choose?

We’ve all seen enough “Say Yes to the Dress” to know that bridesmaids are tricky. You have to be delicate; say one wrong thing and you have disaster and drama. I’d heard horror stories of people that had no maid of honor, and equally scary stories from brides who had one tyrannical maid of honor.

So rather than choose between them, I asked them both! My high school friend is married so she is technically my “matron of honor” while my roommate is my “maid of honor”. I wanted to make sure that neither of them was hurt by this decision, and I made sure they each knew how important and invaluable they are to me in this process.

Me & Bailey in San Francisco

Me & Tessa in an LA bar


Anyway, I was right! They both totally understood my decision and were super stoked to my matron/maid of honor.

I’m so excited to have both of these ladies (plus my sister & sister-in-law to be) by my side on my big day!



{Real Bride: Carrie} Axing The Wedding Party To Focus On The PAR-TAY

Cute. Legitimately cute.

In one of our many efforts to keep our wedding simple and laid back, Zach and I decided not to have an official “wedding party.”  It’s not that we don’t have friends who we’d love to honor with this position, as I think both of us could easily pick a few close buddies to stand up with us.  It’s more that we just don’t really see the point.

I mean, dressing alike is cute when you’re toddlers…And then all of a sudden it’s cute again when you’re a fully-grown adult if you’re in a wedding?  I don’t get it.

We didn’t want to boss people around and tell them what to wear and what to help with for our wedding.  Honestly, we hope that our friends and family will voluntarily step up and help us out of the goodness of their hearts, not out of obligation because of some “title” we’ve bestowed upon them.  We’re still involving some special people in the ceremony by having them perform readings, and both of our best friends will still be giving toasts at the reception.

Still cute?

Another factor in our decision was that our wedding is only going to have about 60 guests.  The more people you put up front the emptier the seats will look!  I don’t want our ceremony to look like no one is there because there are no butts in seats!

Anyone else forgoing a traditional wedding party for a more casual approach?

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} Monique Lhuillier-Inspired Bridesmaid Dress For Under $150

Weddings aren’t just about your own budget. Being in a wedding can be costly for everyone involved. It totally makes sense to want to keep costs down for those supporting you on the big day. This week’s request is for for sexy, full length bridesmaid dresses…


This is a submission for can’t afford it, get over it.

I’m looking for my bridesmaids dresses and everything I’ve found that I like so far is a little over their budgets. I love this Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaid dress, but it’s too expensive. I love the grape color, the one shoulder strap and even the slit! Please help if you can to find a dress under $150.

Thank you!

Purple was my wedding color! Personally, I’m OK with dress styles not matching. So I gave ladies a color and basics that I wanted in the dress, and let them pick something within their own budget. Thankfully, finding a variety of long, matching grape-colored dresses for cheap isn’t too difficult.


ML Monique Lhuillier Bridesmaids Pleated One Shoulder Chiffon Gown


Carlos Miele Amazon Rain Gown ($150 rental at Rent The Runway)


Strapless Long Charmeuse Dress with Slit ($129 at David’s Bridal)

One Shoulder Satin Dress ($159 at David’s Bridal)


American Living One-Shoulder Dress ($80 at JC Penney)

Tinley Road Ruffle Front Maxi ($21.97 at Piperlime)


Purple Chiffon Floral Applique Strapless Gown ($126 at Unique Vintage)

Don’t worry, that glaring red David’s Bridal dress also comes in grape! Also,  I realize one option is over $150. But, it’s so close to your inspiration, it would have been criminal not to include it. At least now you have a number of options to offer the girls. Happy shopping.

Renegade Craft Fair Round-Up: Handmade Bridal Party Gifts Edition

Screen printed "I fucking love you card" by 55his, $3.99

Say it like you mean it.

Searching for original budget-friendly gifts for your hard-working bridesmaids and groomsmen? Never fear. My fiance and I spent last weekend culling through the Brooklyn edition of the Renegade Craft Fair, a collection of hand-crafted wares by independent designers and crafters, to bring you the latest and greatest bridal part gift ideas.

All the mind-blowing gifts featured below are under $50 and handmade by independent artists, who may be willing to work with you to customize your gifts. Most are made using sustainable methods and eco-friendly materials.


Give your girls a place to store lipstick, double sided tape and tissues for when you start bawling at the altar with this handmade ikat and leather Shelburne clutch by Shelter, $49.00. Shelter focuses on using local and sustainable materials, and many of their fabrics, including leather, are made in the USA.

Shelburne Clutch by Shelter $49.00

So pretty you could take it down the aisle

Bridesmaids Back-Up Gift: If your girls aren’t into clutches, check out this reversible hand-printed Hunting Circle Scarf by Bark Decor, $42.00. It’s made from fine jersey cotton and eco-friendly inks.

Going Hunting Handprinted Circle Scarf, by Bark Decor, $42.00

A circle scarf for those in your inner circle. Brilliant.


What to get the sports fanatic? How about a custom hand-cut remake of an Official League Baseball from the 1900s for $39.95. Huntington Baseball Co. creates hand-stiched, pitch-perfect replicas of vintage baseballs. Crafted in limited quantities by a single artist, these are among the finest you can buy. Best of all, William, the craftsman and baseball fanatic behind Huntington, can hand stamp a custom message on each one.

Official 1900 League Ball by Huntington Baseball Co., $39.95

Make sure he opens this outside

Groomsmen Back-Up Gift: If you’re guys aren’t into sports, gift them these men’s cotton handkerchiefs screen-printed with the words “Blow Me” in the corner, $12 for a pack of two.  Witty and functional, what more could you want?

Hand-screened "Blow Me" Men's Handkerchiefs by Aperture Agog, $12 for a pack of two

This could be taken so many ways

Ring Bearers and Flower Girls

It’s not just any toy that can teach tykes cognitive skills and help them prepare for future teenage rebellions, but this Matching Tattoos Memory Game by Seven Acre Toys, $35, pulls it off. The twelve Maplewood tiles are laser-etched with six classic tattoos. Children flip over them over and play a game to help strengthen their memory-building skills. All products are handcrafted and made without paints, dyes or stains. While you’re at it, check out Seven Acre’s Mustache Wooden Pull Toy.

Matching Tattoos Memory Game by Seven Acre Toys, $35.00

Perfect for the young bikers in training

Ring bearers and flower girls back-up gift: The kids in your bridal party might be too old for a game of Memory, but not for a knitted friend, like this Elephant from Sweater Toys, $44.00. All Sweater Toys are one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn from recycled sweaters and vintage inspired cotton prints.

Elephant Sweater Toy by Sweater Toys, $44.00

Hugable and lovable

Stay tuned next week for my round-up of envy-sparking registry and wedding ideas from Renegade. Do you have other unique bridal party gift ideas? Share them in the comments!


Holla-worthy Headbands

Oh hello. Could you get any cuter?

I require a few of these delicious creations from Old Soul New Heart. My mom thoughtfully forwarded me today’s Daily Candy featuring these sweeties, which is extra nice when you consider that the duo behind Old Soul New Heart is a mother-daughter team, who keep it real by mixing vintage notions with modern twists, and make a bad hair day into something fun. Headbands, necklaces, and belts – oh my, I just love them!

I also love the prices – everything is less than $65.  Wouldn’t a row of badass bridesmaids absolutely kill it in a sampling of these?  Maybe they’d dress up your rehearsal look with just the right amount of jazz?  I know my Tuesday would be greatly improved with a little headband action….

What about using one of these belts as a wedding dress sash?  I DIE!!!!

The trouble is, of course, deciding between them all!  Which one should I get?  Which is your favorite?