9.18.2011

Bridesmaids Don'ts...and Then Some Do's

I was a wedding planner in Los Angeles for years. I loved it. I quickly caught on to the do's and don't of selecting my clients, and can honestly say after all the years spent walking people down the aisle, I had some awesome clients, families and wedding parties (really, I am not lying!)!

I could go on and on about stories - silly, ridiculous, just the stuff that comes along when you involve families, money, and emotions...but today, in honor of my Girls Night In with Bridesmaids I am sticking to bridesmaids stories - just a few tidbits here and there.

I was a bridesmaid many times. I probably was not the best bridesmaid, but not the worst. My biggest flaw (unless my friends come and chime in here and really tell the truth) was that I was over eager. I was not a wedding planner yet, but wanted to be and thought I knew way more than I did.
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My own personal stories are actually pleasant...except a brief period in one friends wedding.

My Own Personal Helen
I had a Helen in my life. She was the Maid pf Honor and lived out of town. The rest of us thought we were working together to throw a shower...until I received a message on my answering machine (and I paraphrase, but the intent and effect is the same)
"Hi, this is XXXXXXX. I just want to let you know that I do not think you can throw a shower worthy of the bride. Not the kind of shower she deserves and expects. So, I will be planning the shower alone."
Really...and who are you?
the end (to protect the innocent...I will stop here)
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As a wedding planner, I worked on one particular wedding were the bride and her maids were very young and just did not get anything about schedules or timing or having a good attitude. Here is the story:

Massages and Quickies
This wedding is one for the record books…If there could be a problem related to the attitude of the bride or the bridesmaids…or groomsmen this was it.

The day began with a call from the makeup and hair design team, asking me where the ladies were. “In the hotel room,” I tell them. “No they are not.” After getting a hold of the bride she informs me that she has sent the ladies down to have massages, because she felt like it. OK! YIKES!

Once the bridesmaids were all tracked down, they were indignant that they would have to postpone or miss their massage…apparently this day is all about them. To top it off they were very young and really had no clue what they should be doing or how to behave as an adult or as a responsible bridesmaid. I clearly remember lots of shrieking, mothers complaining, and chaos.

Fast forward to the wedding reception and preparing for the Grand Entrance. Now mind you, this is a bridal party of 15 ladies, and 15 men. Corralling them and lining them up is a feat all in its own self. After much tracking down and running around, I think I have it.

I turn my back, and when I turn back around, a pair is gone…where to…I do not know. I send an assistant to find them…she tracks them down coming out of the elevator. We get them lined up, and another pair is gone. This happened 4 times. Where were they going…upstairs for a quickie.
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Now, we move on to some serious Bridesmaids business! I recently authored the book  The Everything Bridesmaid Book: From bachelorette party planning to wedding ceremony etiquette - all you need for an unforgettable wedding (Everything Series) and in it shared some bits of wisdom I learned over the years. Being a bridesmaid can be fun, and truly define (and make or break a relationship), but what is important it to remember to take the task seriously and remember it is for the bride. 
Here are TEN do's for being a bridesmaid
(reprinted from the book)

How To Be A Better Bridesmaid
1. Listen…really listen. Some days the bride may just need to talk to someone to think things out. An open ear and a good friend are priceless.

2. Be calm. Even in the most stressful moments, keep your head about you. Calm is contagious.

3. Make her take a break. Steal away with your friend for a simple cup of coffee - no wedding talk allowed.
4. Approve of her choices. This is not your wedding. Let the bride have her way on her day. If she asks for an honest opinion, it is OK to give it, just do it nicely.

5. Let the bride speak first. Nothing is worse than listening to a bridesmaid go off on a tangent about the “ugly” flowers…when the bride thinks they are fabulous.

6. Plan a bridal shower and a bachelorette party that pays homage to the bride’s style, taste, and personality. 

7. Don’t compare. A laundry list of what you did better or how your friend did this or that will not make for good girl chat.

8. Be agreeable. Nothing ever good has come from a disagreeable bridesmaid.

9. Participate. You may despise the bouquet toss or wouldn’t want to be caught dead line dancing, but if that is part of the festivities, get out there!

10. Behave. Dirty dancing with the groom’s brother, passing out in the hall, telling the slacker bridesmaid off – not a good idea…for obvious reasons.

What's Your best advice or crazy story!
Link it up on my Girls Night In Bridesmaids Post!
Go HERE to link up!

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4 comments :

  1. I love your stories, Holly! I'm trying to think of the many, many times I was a bridesmaid if I was "well behaved." I'm pretty sure I was. Schew! :)

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  2. Great stories, Holly!

    I've only been a bridesmaid a few times. None were really bad experiences, but I was surprised to see how one bride talked to her mother and sisters when we were getting ready to leave for the ceremony. There was a lot of "f*** off" and such. I would never talk to my mother that way! Especially on my wedding day!!

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  3. Wait, what? A quickie? Who does that????

    I've only been a bridesmaid once - and I swore up and down that the bride must have been drugged the day of the wedding because I've never seen a person more calm than she was! I got lucky for sure.

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  4. oh...my favorites bridesmaids are the ones who have planned either their own wedding or another friend's wedding and think they know every. single. thing...those are the ones i want to tape their mouths!

    wm

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