How to choose your Bride squad

All the funny movies and jokes about bridesmaids offer just enough truth to see what it’s actually like to have a Bridesquad.   You’ve heard the saying; “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” which describes someone who never quite fulfils his or her potential, a person who makes it to the finals but never wins the contest.  They are notoriously known as the second string, but the reality actually is they have such an important role to play in the wedding.

There are so many questions and decisions to make surrounding bridesmaids.  Who should I have?  How many?  What do they do?   What type of dress should I buy for them?  What gifts to buy for them?  I could go on and on.  We are going to hit on all the hot topics in this blog, but the questions that seems to get asked the most are:

Q 1: How do I choose who will be bridesmaids?

Bridesmaids are the ones who will stand next to you on your big day.  They are the ones who have been there for you on the hard days and the exciting days.  They have known you through your school days, your awkward teenage years, maybe even your rebellious phases… they were interesting.  Sometimes they are the ones who you have known since birth because they are your family.

You have a wide pool of people to choose from:

Family: It’s true when they say we can’t pick our family, but the loyalty we have to them because we hope they have our back runs deep.  Not all families are going to have a deep sense of relationship with each other, but it’s worth noting, if you don’t want to hurt your friends’ feelings you can keep your bridal party to just family.  Sisters, future sister-in-laws, nieces and cousins are in the running depending on the number of people you want in your bridal party.

Life-long friends: These are the friends that you may not have seen in a while, but if you showed up at their front door it would be as if no time had passed at all.  They are the ones who will most likely stand the test of time when life’s roads get rocky.

Your everyday besties: These are the friends you hang out with day to day; they might be your current crew, but they might not be the ones who will stand by you your entire life.  Work and going out friends are fun to hang out with, but can you see them in your life when you have children, your marriage is difficult or you need a shoulder to cry on? Maybe they will be life long friends, maybe not, but thinking about the future of your friendship with help narrow down the list if you need to.

  

What to remember when choosing your Bridesquad;

  • Family is going to be at every holiday party until you die.
  • Choose friends who will stick by you when life is difficult.
  • Women with helpful personalities make great bridesmaids.
  • Being a bridesmaid can be costly, so make sure you outline expectations and costs before you get your answer. You don’t want to have details planned out and then have someone back out last minute.
  • Don’t be offended if someone says, “no.”
  • If you are a social butterfly and have SO many friends you can’t choose, it’s completely acceptable to just have the family as your Bridesquad.

Q 2: How many is too many?

You know the criteria now.  Don’t worry about how many, but choose the women that are supposed to stand up with you. If it’s a large crew, then that’s just how you roll.  If it’s just one best friend or sister, that is special too.  Don’t get caught up in what other people think the perfect number is. Know who you are and who you want at your side.  Everyone loves the intimacy of just a bridesmaid or two, but there is something special about the bride who has a large squad at her side on her special day too. Your personality will shine through is so many details of the day. The kind and quantity of friends you have by your side on your special day will be another sweet addition. You do you!

Q 3: How much should I budget for, for my Bridesquad?

This answer really depends on your wedding budget. Generally in a Jewish wedding the Bride will take care of the cost of the dresses, shoes, make-up, hair.  However if budget is maybe a little tight it’s worth exploring less expensive options and maybe contribute to their shoes instead of paying for the whole cost.

A sentimental, thank you gift is always nice to receive from the bride.  It shows your gratitude for not just being a sounding board or taking over the hen do planning but mainly being a friend on your special day.  Check out my gifting blog for your bridal party here.  Remember, these women will be there forever, and your wedding day is just one day out of your entire life so its a great way to show how much you appreciate them.

Here are my personal top 5 which can be personalised or left in original state.

  • Weekender bag: They will use it forever and always think of you.
  • Crystal Stud earrings: You could even ask them all to wear them for the ceremony if you are a continuity sort of bride.
  • Glassware: You have boozy crew, wine freeze cooling cups, shot glass, flasks or champagne flutes are always a fun way to make sure they are thinking for you while at home in their kitchen long after you have said, “I do.”
  • A bangle: Personalised bangles that can go with most outfits or even ones with elegantly tied wire knots because you are tying the knot!
  • Fujifilm Instax Mini: This is the gift that keeps instantly giving and when I saw a bride give her crew these, I practically swooned! 

Q 4: How do I know which type of dress to give them?:

Traditionally the bride chooses a dress and hopes that the same dress, in the same style will suit all her bridesmaids, oh and all in the same size.  This can be disastrous.  It’s not a great look to watch the fuller figure, busty beauties squeeze into a dress clearly designed for someone with a long and lengthy figure, and watching those that cannot seem to fill out a dress made for a woman who is more curvaceous and shorter figure can be a bit uncomfortable too.

Thankfully years ago, a trend started where brides picked a shop, a colour to match their theme and then let the bridesmaids pick their own style depending on their body type.  This is a smart move for brides because your gorgeous bride squad can pick a dress that flatters their figure and are happy.  They won’t feel totally self conscious in their own skin and bearly able to look at their own reflection.  BUT if you know your crew and you know they can get crazy or all have very different styles, and you know that would drive you, crazy than you can set parameters.  Nothing strapless or only short or long or other criteria.  Your bridesmaids will all be beautiful and will compliment you greatly on your special day.  Just be sure to remember to ask yourself a few key questions:

  1. What will look best on everyone?
  2. Do you want them all matching?
  3. Will their hair be the same.?
  4. Do you want them to all have matching accessories?

Q 5: What exactly am I allowed to ask my bridesmaids to do?

It’s your wedding, you can do what you want, but there is a some etiquette you might want to, at least, consider before you start hounding your besties to be your go to’s.

Be upfront with what you need from your bride squad. When expectations are laid out up front to your lovely ladies it makes for a much smoother process.  These are some of the main aspects of the bridesmaid’s role, which are, like the rest of your wedding, customisable!

  • To wear the dress you buy for her.
  • Help plan your hen.
  • Go to you hen party.
  • Help plan the festivities
  • Collect any wedding items you may need to be delivered to the Synagogue and venue and delivered back.
  • Be encouraging

Q 6: What about the Maid of Honour?  How is she different than the rest of my bride squad?

Your maid of honour is like the manager of the details.  She doesn’t necessarily do everything herself, but she delegates, manages the bridesmaids and keeps you in check throughout the day, making sure you are always ok.  Hopefully, she is organised and loves you to death. You want her to have a good relationship with your bridesquad and to have  the willingness to ask when she needs help from them.  Apart from initially setting up the Whatsapp group or the group email to coordinate the bridesquad and organising your hen, attending your dress fittings and maybe even helping you select your bride squad, her duties on the wedding day include; helping you get dressed, making sure your make up is on point and your hair is immaculate throughout the day, all the while smiling through her own pain she is suffering from her extremely high heels she HAD to have!

The maid of honour should also carry around an emergency kit just for you, which can safely live in her handbag for the day and evening.  This should include, tissues, your eye liner, lipstick/gloss, pressed powder, cotton buds, small packet of hand wipes or chalk(!)  Apparently it’s a miracle worker for wedding dress stains, the variety selection of Compeed and maybe a small snack/mint if you can squeeze that all in her bag, you know you have chosen wisely!  She will also stand next to you on the big day and hold your bouquet.

As a woman who has been a Maid of Honour, it’s by far the strangest part holding 2 bouquets of flowers with no way to scratch your nose or move those wispy strands of hair out of your lipglossed lips, so be extra nice to your Maid of Honour!

Having your bride squad is a wonderful tradition.. With a little thoughtfulness, those closest to you can not only enjoy the events that lead up to your wedding, they can be a pivotal role in you all enjoying a memory you will share for a lifetime.

For more tips, advice and inspiration check out my Instagram @eventsbynatashaweddings or my Pinterest, click here.

Alternatively, if you would just like to have a chat you can email me info@eventsbynatasha.co.uk

Natasha x