What is ruching and will it really make me look 10 lbs. slimmer? What are some unique ways to fold napkins to dress up a table at the shower? How do I get rid of skin blemishes before I put on the bridesmaid dress? These questions – and countless more – beg for the advice of an expert.
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Q: What is something special I can do for my bride as a bridesmaid? We grew up together and I want to let her know she's special.
A: I can tell -- just by your question -- that you're going to be a wonderful bridesmaid. You obviously care so much and so your presence at the wedding will be the best present.
However, it's fun to think of a great gift that she'll treasure for years and think of you when she sees it. A simple yet poignant present is to buy the couple toasting glasses for the cake cutting/champagne toast. Recently, I was the matron of honor for my sister's wedding (such an honor, indeed!). She's so creative & thoughtful and I wanted to give her something special. She already has a full house, though, and requested that guests make donations to charity instead of giving presents so I didn't even have a gift registry as a guide. So I asked her to join me at a department store and we talked about the toasting glasses -- she loved the idea. So she picked out two exquisite crystal champagne glasses and that's what I bought. She obviously used them at the wedding but now she & her husband can use them to toast life's other celebrations.
Here's another, yet more time-consuming idea. My high school best friend mentioned several times that she'd always wanted a porch swing. Keeping that in mind, I bought a stained, wooden porch swing at my local home improvement store. I then stenciled a little bit of ivy on the top portion of the swing and painted the Bertrand Russell quote "the time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" between the ivy. I felt so crafty! Needless to say she loved it (she actually cried!). Even though I'm no artist, she deeply appreciated the thought and the time that went into the project.
My mother-in-law right also offered a great suggestion: you could buy a live present like a flowering tree or bush (a dogwood, azalea bush or rose bush) and plant it for her. Everytime it blooms she'll think of your living friendship and the beauty it brings to both your lives.
But trust me, your friend will appreciate any gift you give -- simply because it's from you.
Q: I'm going to be a bridesmaid three times this summer/fall. These were all situations I couldn't say no to and one of them is my little sister and I'll be her MOH. Anyways, so I met with the other BM's of wedding #2 the other night. There is one MOH and one other BM. Apparently, the Bride has requested that 60 people be invited to the shower. I was really hoping for a few at home showers where we'd just have to organize food and make favors, but 60 people will require us to go somewhere and likely pay a lot.
I just don't have the money to spend hundreds on a shower and I'm pretty sure 60 people is abnormally large for a standard sized wedding. I don't want the bride to hate me/hold a grudge/get back at me when it's her turn, but seriously, 60 people?!
- Bridesmaid "M"
A: Let's first acknowledge the fact that you're obviously a great friend. Three people want you to have a big role in sharing the most special time in their life! But realistically, we all know that comes with a price -- literally.
For "wedding #2," if you all -- the three bridesmaids -- are on the same page that 60 is too many (for what it's worth, I agree!) then ask the maid of honor to talk with the bride and explain the situation. That's one of her joys of being the "bridesmaid in chief."
Here are some tactics: explain to the bride that she'll probably feel overwhelmed and exhausted by a shower with that many guests. She won't have the chance to really enjoy an intimate party with such a large crowd. It's also important to be honest and let her know the bridesmaids' concerns about a budget-busting party. And don't forget, she who pays has a say in the guest list. The bride cannot expect the bridesmaids to go into debt to cover an outrageous guest list. Give her the number of guests you can all comfortably accomodate.
If the bride won't budge on the guest list, there are some options. If the guest list is women-only, the bride's mother or future mother-in-law may know of other ladies who are interested in hosting a separate party (neighbors, family friends, etc.) If that's the case, maybe you can all combine efforts into one shower and have additional hostesses to share the duties... and the costs. The same would be true if the bride's list includes men and women, then you could partner with the groomsmen to co-host a couples shower.