Posts in the 'maid of honor' Category

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?

{Bridesmaids Blog Tour} Team Broke-Ass breaks it down

Last week, Universal treated myself and a few members of Team Broke-Ass to a sneak preview of Bridesmaids, which we turned into a girls night out surrounded by many a cocktail. I was so excited for this film. The all-star line-up features some of my very favorite female comedic actresses, and the uber-duo of producer Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, Superbad) and director Paul Feig (creator of Freaks and Geeks) quite literally tickles my funny bone.  So I rounded up Liz, Britt and Maddie – and we met up with Lydia – and we headed out on the town for rambunctiously good time!

Team Broke-Ass rocking beers and Bridesmaids. Hell to the yeah!

Check out the premise: Kristen Wiig leads the cast as Annie, a maid of honor whose life unravels as she leads her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), and a group of colorful bridesmaids (Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Ellie Kemper) on a wild ride down the road to matrimony. Annie’s life is a mess. But when she finds out her lifetime best friend is engaged, she simply must serve as Lillian’s maid of honor.  Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals.  With one chance to get it perfect, she’ll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you’ll go for someone you love.

And there’s some hella decent eye candy, too – with Chris O’Dowd (or as Britt calls him – Chris En’dowd) winning at being cute like he’s got tiger blood coursing through his heartmelting Irish veins, and Jon Hamm popping in for a very fun spin on his handsome-boy-modeling-school reputation. We laughed, we cried… it became an instant classic in the Broke-Ass film library, and I’m already looking forward to seeing it again!

It was especially fun to view it from an “inside the business” perspective. There were plenty of wedding in-jokes, jabs at ridiculously over-the-top details, and commentary on the external pressures under which a bride (or her maids) can easily find herself succumbing her vision and get into a wedding that either costs way too much, or feels nothing like “their style”.  It definitely provided some interesting conversation fodder among me and the girls over our beers at Beauty Bar later. $3 Buds? Yes please!

Here’s what BRITT had to say:
An aspect in “Bridesmaids” that really struck a chord with me was the relationships between each of the maids. Chances are, your bridesmaids won’t know each other prior to being asked to stand in her wedding.  And since there will be many social activities leading up to the wedding in which each of the bridesmaids will be forced to interact, (i.e. engagement party, shower, bachelorette party etc.) it is imperative that the bride do her best to foster these new friendships so that everyone feels comfortable.  Speaking from experience, I have been the “odd maid out” before. I’ve been the “badseed bridesmaid” who’s loud and curses and drinks way more than the other bridesmaids.  Thankfully, for the most part, my fellow bridesmaids were open to my more wild-child, big-city gal behavior.  But they had warning, thanks to the bride.  So when I gave my bridal shower gift to the bride — “anal ring toss” and some classless lingerie (as a joke) — they already expected it and were therefore less-so shocked by my antics and more-so amused by them.  And in the end, I walked away with a host of new friendships, ones that I still maintain til this day, even though we are all very different as individuals.

Here’s what had LIZ talking afterward:
Bridesmaids: Have the wedding YOU Want.

I love that Bridesmaids tells the story of Lillian’s wedding from Annie’s point of view, the Maid of Honor who’s known Lillian her entire life. And given what we know about Lillian through Annie’s eyes… this isn’t Lillian’s wedding. It happens all too often, a bride gets in over her head and loses control of her vision to the point where it’s unrecognizable. Later in the movie, Annie points out that if it was someone else, the two of them would making fun of how completely over the top the whole thing is. And it is completely over the top.

So, this is coming from a wedding planner: Be very cautious when anyone, family or friend, offers to take over any part of your wedding. Because they will. Maintain your right of first refusal. And second refusal. And that’s if you’ve hired a wedding planner, too.  It’s a very sweet offer, but I’ve seen it go wrong many, many times.  Raise your hand, ask questions, say No, and have the wedding you want.

MADDIE had this to say:
I think the funniest part of this movie was how out of control everything with the wedding got. I’ve never been a bride or a maid of honor before, but I definitely think you should relax. Don’t try to go super crazy out of this world over the top with dresses and party favors and shower themes. It’s your party and you can do what you want. And don’t let people influence your decision making either. Be true to yourself.

And MY two cents:
Too often, brides morph from friend into manager when the ring slips on, and views her maids more like assistants and less as besties for the duration of the planning process. While your wedding party is there to support you and shoulder some of the weight to help your big day be as seamless, beautiful and memorable as possible, try to be sure to nurture your friendships throughout the process and remind them how much you appreciate their help, patience, expense and support. Think “in their shoes” and do unto your bridesmaids as you would have done unto you, were the roles reversed – they very well may soon be! Be mindful of their time, effort and expense – and be flexible and thankful whenever you can. Plan non-wedding related “detox dates” with your girls and ban wedding talk from the evening. Ask instead about their lives and catch up on what’s new with them. Remember the balance so that your friendships not just survive the wedding, but flourish as a result. It’s such a special time – a beautiful opportunity to share moments and memories that will carry through the lifetime of your friendship… so make it fun for everyone, and be as gracious as you can, even when they’re all driving you secretly crazy :)

But most of all, take your girls to see this movie, and definitely go out for drinks after. Let the girl bonding begin!

Don’t forget to check out the other stops along the Bridesmaids Blog Tour!
May 2               Borrowed & Bleu
May 5               Ever Ours
May 8               Merci New York
May 9               Forget Me Knot Weddings
May 10             Green Wedding Shoes
May 12             The Brides Cafe
May 13             From “I Will” to “I Do”

Bridesmaids opens in a theatre near you on May 13th!


A Tale Of Two Sissies: Part 2

I promised you some DIY, and the conclusion to the story of how I asked Dawn to be my Matron of Honor…. but prepare yourself: I am not the craftiest meatball in the sub.

To make the moment special, I decided to make a book for her to chronicle our story, with a very happy surprise ending. For inspiration, I went to our local 99cent store and found a wonderland of scrapbooking supplies, stickers, stamps markers and gluesticks!

So, with scissors in hand, I sat down and broke the story down into major bulletpoints to make sure it would fit in the book and that I had photos to accompany the best parts… Have a gander.
This photo was taken the night we all met. Note my bad perm (ouch) and the dazed expression on Dawn’s face! She must have been so overwhelmed! Also note my sweet mom, dad, and brother Michael, aka Mi-cool.

BIL Wayne, niece Candace, sissy Dawn, and nephew Max – he just turned 18, but was 11 in this photo! Look what a cute family….

You can see how Candace and Max have changed over the years.

Dawn’s a dental hygenist, people. We don’t have weird cleaning rituals in our family otherwise! 😛

This photo was at Michael’s college graduation. Sister Kim on the left (one of my lovely bridesmaids, and the conveyor of our Balinese OOT bags). Aren’t my sisters gorgeous?

March of 2006 – sister Kim got married in West Palm Beach, and we all went down for their wedding. It was a tropical beachy wonder of a day. That’s BIL Eric in between Kim and Dawn, the day before the wedding!

Here we are the day after the wedding, soaking up the rays. Hunter’s on his way to the bathroom, because…..

…Hunter, Dawn and I came down with a *nasty* bug the day after the wedding. We were sequestered off in a bedroom for almost 2 days of the trip. Note all the gatorade and water on the nightstand. What was amazing was how much fun the 3 of us had, dying together in Florida.

Hey, there’s my dad peeking out behind Kim! And Paco under my feet, with a terrible haircut. He’s such a jetsetter.






She said yes! I thought this book would make a nice keepsake for Dawn, and was a fun way to express my love and appreciation for her. I kind of love the fact that it turned out so hodge-podge and silly…. its a very accurate representation of my style in that way :)

This book inspired another… but we’ll save that post for another day!

Did you push your crafty limits to ask your MOH to join Team Wedding? How did you ask?


A Tale Of Two Sissies: Part 1

Deciding on who to have by our sides on the big day was relatively easy. In the early days, we considered just having 2 folks stand up with us on either side, to keep things simple. But as time went on, we realized that having family surround us was very important, too. Ultimately we decided to include all our siblings (5 combined), and a few dear friends that we now count as family, without whom the day wouldn’t be the same. In total, we’ve got 4 on each side. The hardest part, actually, was deciding how to invite them to be a part of Team Wedding.

Now, I’m not an especially crafty gal. I’m no artist. I can conceive of crafty ideas, but the execution is where I falter. But, for this occassion, I felt it necessary to push my limits and attempt a handmade keepsake invitation of sorts for at least the top 2 positions on my side: The Matron of Honor and Best Lady.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my very own MOH – big sister Dawn.

(BIL Wayne, Niece Candace, and Dawn)

Dawn is an amazing sister. She’s all the things a big sister should be: we have fun together, we share secrets and dreams, and we love eachother very much. But what makes my relationship with Dawn so unique is that I’ve only known her for 7 years.

When my mom was 19, and long before she new my father, she was with a fella and found her self in the complicated predicament of unexpected pregancy. At the time, abortion was not only illegal, but unsafe, and my mom had a heart to give up the baby for adoption instead. She told her family that she was staying with a friend in Texas for a few months, but in reality moved just one town away from home, to keep the pregnancy a secret. Awhile after she gave up the baby, she and her boyfriend became engaged and later split, and over time my mom moved on, met my dad, married and had my brother and me. My dad has a daughter from a previous marriage, my wonderful sister Kim. I felt so lucky to have a brother and a sister whom I loved very much.

Cut to Spring Break 7 years ago. I came home from grad school and that night my mom asked my brother and I to sit in the living room… she had something to tell us. I was nervous, because she seemed so nervous. Even before she started talking, she was crying. Immediately, I thought that she was dying… had cancer… or something awful. So when she explained that she had a daughter, I was nothing else but relieved. Then the relief turned into excitement.

Apparently my mom had received a letter from her long-lost daughter… who was reaching out to seek information on our family history. She is a cancer survivor (ovarian), and wanted to know what else to expect, for the sake of her two children. My parents met with her, and were surprised and delighted to find my sister to be a kind, honest and lovely woman who lived only 40 minutes away from us. So, they arranged a meeting, and we all had dinner. It was so hard not to just stare and stare at her – she looked so much like my mother and me! She was a little shy, but incredibly open, kind, gracious and fascinating. Since then, our families have become one, Dawn and I have grown very close, and we’ve all lived happily ever after.

My mother is one of the bravest people I know. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to go through what she did, at such a young age. I understand why she kept it a secret from us kids all those years – what good would it have done any of us to know there was a mystery sister out there, if we couldn’t know her? I’m so grateful for her bravery, so that today I have a sister that means just as much to me as the siblings I’ve known for my whole life.

I chose Dawn to be my Matron of Honor because she’s the most level-headed person I know. Her unselfish, thoughtful and organized nature make her a perfect selection to be 2nd in command on the big day – to calm any storms that may erupt and provide a strong sense of support to everyone. Plus, she’s insanely fun and knows how to party!

So there you have it: a tale of two sissies, with a very happy ending.

Up next: How I asked her to be my Matron of Honor (oh, the DIY horror!)