Bridesmaids 101: A Bride's Guide

After the love of your life proposes to you, it's now time for you to choose and to "propose" to the ones you want to stand with you on your special day.

Who to Choose

Who you choose to be in your wedding party is a personal decision and will, brace yourself, be emotional no matter how you ask them. Some may be long-time friends from childhood, some may be your new besties from college, and some may be a relative that has been there your entire life. No matter who it is make sure you choose a wedding party that will be supportive and make the planning process fun. Make sure to include a mixture of personalities that could further your pre-determined wedding ideas and maybe some that could provide some constructive alternatives. If you sense that there could be drama amongst your choices remember to promote an open dialogue from the very beginning and remind them how important your special day is to you. If you do choose to have an even number of Bridesmaids to Groomsmen, make sure you decide on your wedding party with your partner. Also, do not be afraid to break away from social norms and have a Man of Honor or Bridesman. There is no wrong way to choose your wedding party.

Bridesmaids Proposals

Now a day’s brides don't just shoot a text to their chosen party. The newest trend is to create a somewhat “Proposal” for your bridesmaids and make the event extra special. When planning to "propose" and crafting ideas, remember to use this time as a time to reflect and slowdown the wedding planning process. Include in your proposal how your relationships with each one contributed to the support you felt in within your relationship with your partner. Remind them of why your relationship has been so close. You can make the moment personal and ask each person individually or make it a huge affair and ask them at your engagement party.

Here are just a few ideas:

· Craft wine/champagne glasses with their name and/or "Bridesmaid/Maid of Honor"

· Bridesmaid Survival Kit

· "Will you be my bridesmaid" Trinket Bag with a Necklace/Wedding Color Nail polish inside

· Personalized Shot Glasses or Mugs

· Check out WeddingForward for more ideas


Since a wedding party can be constructed from all your life experiences, it is very likely that not everyone in your party will know each other. Having an engagement party is not only a way to celebrate your engagement, but it is also a way to introduce your wedding party to each other. Consider starting a group text, sharing contact information, and planning get togethers. For the ambitious brides, perhaps send out a periodic newsletter to schedule events such as, paint/wine nights, movies, slumber parties. If time is a factor, task your Maid of Honor to plan social events. It's important to gather your entire party at least once or twice (other than the bridal shower and/or dress shopping) before the bachelorette party (especially if there will be drinking). Consider planning a weekend getaway if some of your bridesmaid are not local.

Choosing Dresses

Choosing a dress that will appease a group of opinionated personalities can feel impossible. Consider allowing each person to choose a style that they like, then stand in a circle and critique each chosen dress as a group. Also consider allowing each member of your party have a little something different from each other; different strap styles or different style shoes. If you have a particular look in mind, make sure the store knows ahead of time, so your group does not get distracted by styles you absolutely do not want to have chosen. Discuss and share photos of the dress style you have in mind with your party, so everyone is on the same page. If at any point you feel drama may be stirring, surprise everyone by putting on your wedding dress. This will mostly likely be the first tangible wedding item your party will see, so this is great opportunity to share the theme you are trying to achieve on your wedding day. The dress shopping day is a great time for everyone to meet and socialize to be sure to choose a day that suits the entire party. Make a day of it and plan a lunch beforehand; some people may get cranky when they are hungry. Perhaps have snacks and water available if you are unable to have lunch before shopping.

Hair and Make Up

For cohesion and to make sure you, as the bride, have the look you desire, it is important to provide your wedding party with the same stylists and/or salon on the day of the wedding. We would suggest having your party together the morning of the wedding (perhaps provide a place for everyone to stay, after the rehearsal dinner). Even if they are doing their own hair and makeup, it is important that you can see the full picture while the beautification is taking place. Once the photographer arrives onsite for pre-wedding photos, you will have no time to change hair styles or redo makeup. While it is not customary for the brides to pay for the attire of your wedding party, budgeting to pay for the makeup and/or hair for your wedding party is often used as a “THANK YOU” for being there and supporting you throughout this special journey.


1st Capital Events, LLC | York, PA | 717-683-8127

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