One of my absolute best-friends is getting married this year. Emily is an absolute doll and I love her more than anything. One of these reasons is that she is smart. I live in Montana and that is just simply too far away to be a major planning part of a wedding in Wisconsin. However, I am one of youngest of my friends that's not in the military. Therefore I get the specialty Matron-of-Honor card. Matron = married, maid = not. So Emily has a Matron-of-Honor and a Maid-of-Honor.
We've had the conversation numerous times about how I wish I was there and I could be more of the planning process but the fact is, I can't. I live 14+ hours away and it's difficult to take leave for occasions like a bridal shower or bachelorette party. When it's wedding time, I've blocked off a section of days that are dedicated to Emily and saying "hello" to my family. Emily has the assistance of her family, her maid of honor, bridesmaids, and her fiance's family back home. I trust that she's in good hands, especially since I get Facebook and text updates.
I said "yes" with all of this as part of the understanding. However, I have witnessed other ladies for other weddings say "yes" when it really should have been a "no."
Being a bridesmaid requires a great deal of work and commitment. You are there for the bride on the couple's special day. I know it's the "bride's day" but honestly, two people are committing to each other for the rest of their lives. That's a bigger deal than the shade of peach the bridesmaid dresses seem to be. It's their day. That means the role of a bridesmaid differentiates per wedding but overall you are there to help in anyway you can. It may mean having to help in the DIY department, sending out e-mails, being there for dress fittings, footing the bill for a dress, etc.
There are costs with being a bridesmaid including probably over $100 for the dress, then the shoes, then accessories, then your hair, probably your nails, a hotel room, plane tickets if you're flying in, etc. I've seen young women enthusiastically accept being a bridesmaid when asked but then they don't follow through. One of my friends who recently got married, had a bridesmaid essentially back out a few months before the wedding because she didn't think she could afford the plane ticket. On one side I can understand the financial difficulties that comes with flying to a wedding and being a part of it but ultimately, if there's a possibility that you can't afford this then you need to communicate that with the bride. Weddings can be very expensive and that's not fair to your friend to back out on her that close to the wedding.
I have always loved weddings, ever since I was a little kid. I learned everything I could about them, including etiquette and the roles of the bridal party. When I married Ryan, it was so stressful because I was trying to plan a very small wedding in California while I was in Wisconsin and we were all in college. My sorority sisters threw me an awesome bachelorette party but it was difficult to plan anything else because you were working with young women at an age where none of use were really used to weddings. From this lesson, I would highly recommend brides express their expectations and when they need help to their bridal party. I had been so stressed out that when our ceremony got cancelled due to the passing of Ryan's father, I basically let Ryan's mom coordinate our small ceremony and low key reception. I had like zero interest in doing it because I didn't have any help from my family. Ryan and I would like to renew our vows but I feel like I'll still keep it a small occasion just because I think weddings get out of hand and I still want to be friends with my bridesmaids after the day ;)
How was your wedding? If you're in the midst of the planning process, what would you recommend to other brides on their planning process?