Weddings are supposed to be one of the happiest, joyous, most special times of a woman’s life, however it can also be one of the most stressful times for the bride to be. Normally once a couple is engaged and a date is set the anxious bride to be starts thinking of her dream wedding. She’ll ponder on things such as flowers or candles, whether they’ll have a beautiful garden for their backdrop or a more traditional church setting. One of the most important decisions she’ll make is who will share in the joys of her wedding planning process with her.

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A Message for the Brides

The methods for choosing the beautiful ladies who will stand beside you are ever changing. Some women stick to close family members, like sisters or cousins. Others go with friends, classmates and coworkers. Once selected your bridesmaids will decide details like the dresses, hairstyles and the location of the bachelorette party. Regardless of who and how many ladies you choose, the choice could end up causing you way more stress than happiness.

I’ve been in event planning for the past five years, and for the last three years I’ve tackled weddings for some of the sweetest brides you’ll ever meet. It’s my job as a wedding planner to fit as many memories as I can into one special day that will stay with a bride and her groom forever. It is also my job to relieve the couple from as much stress as possible. Unfortunately a major part of the stress sometimes doesn’t come from whether to do a plated dinner or buffet style or if it’s better to do a live band or a DJ—it comes from the women who are supposed to make the planning time more enjoyable.

I have some real horror stories from my previous weddings, jealous friends who completely sour the mood for a bride with their negative attitudes, bridesmaids who pull out just days before the wedding making it nearly impossible to find a replacement, maids who choose not to participate in any of the pre-wedding festivities. And how about the ones who never make it to the rehearsal because they didn’t “plan their time accordingly.” We can’t forget the ones who refuse to buy the selected bridesmaid dress because it’s not her style or a color that “works” for them.

I received some advice a very long time ago. “When it’s time to marry the love of your life, you’ll find out who your real friends and supporters are”. I wondered for a while what that meant, and I figured it out when I planned my first wedding. It seems as though weddings provide the opportunity for people to show their true colors. And if those “colors” are of jealously, envy, procrastination, selfishness and laziness then it could of course make for a really toxic wedding planning process.

I want to help future brides to be by giving them a few pointers on selecting their bridal party members. Although we want to believe that the ones currently closest to us are always the best people to choose sometimes it requires a slightly more strict criteria.

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Six Tips for Your Selection Process

  • Think about the ones who help you the most now, without ever having to be asked or begged. Sometimes it’s not about who you’ve known the longest but who you met and who continuously stepped up to the plate whenever they were needed. Think about who offers their assistance with your most tedious projects or important decisions. Weddings can be very detailed and overwhelming. Having people around that can help you by weighing in on difficult selections can be very beneficial. Sometimes you get caught up in doing every aspect of the wedding, but having people who will offer their time and helping hand is definitely a winning situation.
  • Who is closest to you and your fiancé? Did they introduce you? Are they the ones who tell you when you’re in the wrong and that you need to patch it up with things hit rocky patches? Marriage can be very tough sometimes and it’s nice to have someone who has witnessed the ups and downs of your relationship and loves the idea of your marrying your soulmate. Who better to have beside you then the ones you genuine want the best for you and for your union.
  • Keep it simple!!! If you can only think of one or two people that you would really want standing beside you then keep it simple. Bigger bridal parties come with more attitudes and more unnecessary drama. It’s difficult to coordinate just a couple of women much less 7 or 8. And also keep in mind you do not always have to an even number on the bride and groom sides. Traditional line ups are a thing of the past.
  • Take into consideration a person’s schedule and current financial situation (unless you plan to foot the bill for everything). If they are really busy with work or school it may be difficult for them to commit and be able to fully participate. It’s important not to make the decision for them but to also let them know if you are going on a grand scale that may require a nice budget to go with it. If they are not able to be bridesmaids, you can always select others as hostesses, ushers or allow them to head up some other aspect of the wedding festivities such as the bridal shower or bachelorette party.
  • Choose people who you have a true relationship with, not just because they are family or future in laws. Ask yourself, will this person be around in five to ten years. Sometimes family members can provide the most unnecessary stress. People think because you are related that you automatically have a space in the bridal party. “NOT”. Your wedding is about you, who’s close to you, who makes you laugh when you’re stressed, and who goes above and beyond. Just because you’ve been friends with someone since you were little does not mean they are better for you than the coworker you met a couple years ago that’s willing to help you craft all of your centerpieces over a glass of your favorite wine J! You have to consider the ones that will stay up with you in the late hours of the night putting together your programs, favors and napkin ring holders without complaining.
  • Choose people who know how to communicate with you effectively and someone who has thick skin because of the hard decisions you’ll have to make. That person will also be able to protect you from the occasional foolery associated with the wedding planning process. Effective communication is key because it’s just as important for the bride to state their expectations up front. You should tell your girls about your style, and any financial and schedule obligations. Sometimes people think showing up on the wedding day is all they have to do and that’s really only a small fraction of the hard work that goes into planning a wedding.

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And to Any Current or Future Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids need to know that planning a wedding is a process. Once you sign on to be a bridesmaid you are agreeing to make a person’s special day a priority for you. You are agreeing to be involved and supportive throughout the entire duration of the planning process. You are agreeing to work with women you may not know very well, and will need to establish some form of respectful relationship with to get tasks done. You are agreeing to the financial and schedule obligations. You are agreeing that when certain days, times, and tasks are asked of you, you will oblige. If you are not willing to agree to these things. DO NOT AGREE TO BE A BRIDESMAID. It will save a lot of time, money and relationships in the long run. NO ONE wants to deal with an unruly, jealous, lazy bridesmaid, PERIOD.

Special thanks to my previous brides Twanshella Leathers, Nakeeta Batson, Melissa Williams, and Shokira Johnson for their contributions for this article and thanks to Rae (RC) for giving me the opportunity to plan her own wedding. It is a pleasure to be a part of your blog and I look forward to its success.

Desiree’ Thornton
A.M.E.E. Events

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