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Wedding Tips & Advice

7 Things You Realize as a Bridesmaid but Didn’t as a Bride

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Get Ready in Boyfriend Shirts from Plum Pretty SugarInspiration:

As much as I’d like to say that as a bride I knew exactly what I was doing, that would be a bold face lie. Having been in the bridal/wedding PR and editorial world for years leading up to and including the time of my wedding, I could say that I learned infinite amounts to better my bridal game, but really, now 4 years later, I’ve found that being a bridesmaid and MOH has made me realize a hell of a lot more than I did when I was a bride myself. So, for any brides out there who are currently stressed about X, Y, and Z. Talk to one of your bridesmaids - see if she has any thoughts for ya. She might tell you that you have nothing to worry about // and you should fixate on something of higher priority OR she’ll tell you about a few things you should consider 100p to make your life way easier for the wedding day.

Here are a few things I recognized in my roles as bridesmaid and MOH this year, and if you’ve ever been a bride first and bridesmaid later, you’ll probably feel me completely.

Again, I am soooo not the gold standard for who a bride should be, what she should worry herself about, and what she shouldn’t, but there are a few things I’ve realized that...

.....I think every bride might take heed of or comfort in.

Bridesmaids by your side Inspiration:

Your bridesmaids want you to have the best day ever.

When you’re a bride, it can be second nature to slip into the mentality that you’re #1 and everyone else in your orbit should treat you as such in everything they do, everything they say, etc. I did it myself! It’s also easy to take a stance that your bridesmaids don’t give a s*** about anything and don’t want to help, won’t make themselves available for your important pre-wedding events, shopping trips, brainstorming sessions. Essentially, you try to justify to yourself why this bridesmaid blame game is OK. If they’re not doing everything in their power to make you a happier bride, then they obvi don’t care. Time to fire each and every one, maid by maid? But I’ll say that as a bridesmaid, I always wanted to make sure my bride was living her best life, feeling her best, looking her best, feeling awesome about our friendship, and knowing that she could come to me for support, advice help, day or night. Brides, give your girls some slack. Yeah, your college bestie might not be able to make your bach, but she’ll still Facetime you when you’re taking shots on the first night. Okay, maybe your little sister has an exam the morning you decide to take the day off for dress shopping. She didn’t plan it that way for serious sabotage, she just needs to be a student, RELAX. Your squad is behind you, and they do want to see you ride off into the sunset with your spouse, so don’t assume that them being MIA every once in awhile is a deliberate dig.

They also have self-awareness, for the most part. If they know they’ve f***ed something up - by not being somewhere you’ve asked them to be or failing to contribute to the good of the group - they’ll make up for it. They don’t need all the lecturing, especially not the passive aggressive kind, telephoned to them from one bridesmaid to another. You’re adults! Be kind to each other.

Bride squad toasting with bellinisPhoto Credit:

You’re a bride, so be a bride and don’t feel bad about it.

And no, that doesn’t mean you have license to be a total bridezilla, rather it means that you have only so much time in your engagement to act the part before it’s over. So, wear the basic bride tees, order the subscription boxes (as many as you feel you need), go to the bridal events+fairs, put that hashtag on EVERYTHING, flash that ring when you feel like it. When you’re a bridesmaid and you’re along for the whole ride, you kind of defer to the bride for everything - all the details on where you need to be, at what time, at which place, etc. Sometimes you can forget when the wedding day even is, because you know you’ll be there, of course, you just aren’t so overwhelmed by all the nitty-gritty nuptials stuff. As a bridesmaid, I’ve realized that a bride has a special glow about her - kind of like that I’m gonna be a mama glow - it’s unique and it’s wonderful, and it should be celebrated as much as possible, before it’s gone.

Your partner cares a lot, too, even when you don’t think that’s possible.

This is something that I bore witness to just a couple days before my sister’s wedding. It was certainly no surprise to me that my now brother-in-law wasn’t exactly psyched to plan a wedding. He went to the necessary vendor appointments with my sister, he researched with her as much as she asked him to, but it wasn’t like he wanted to pause football Sunday to play the groom game. And I get it, traditionally guys aren't that gung-ho about the planning part of things. That being said, he did care about making sure my sister was as happy as she could be. When all the guys went to pick up their tuxes last week, they were sent home with the wrong color bow tie, and my sister legit couldn’t deal with it. As the bridesmaid, I tried to tell her that nooo one would care about her guys wearing black ties instead of sangria-colored/bridesmaid palette-matching ones, but of course, she had a vibe she wanted (what bride doesn’t?) and this was not part of the plan.

She got reallllll pissed at her now hubs for what she deemed he was doing in ‘dismissing her feelings,’ and hung up on him quite a few times in our adventure out to round up 11 bow ties for the boys, but Michael only wanted to make her smile again. So, he woke up early the next day (after spending the night at his parents’ house, separation can be smart, especially when tensions are high), got to the tux store, and overnighted the right colored ties to their wedding venue - to be delivered as early as they could be on the AM of the wedding - and visited 4 different stores in New Jersey to pick up alternate options, just in case. Even though my sister couldn’t see his commitment through her acute anger cloud, I could. And it goes to show that bridesmaids can take a step back and see both sides, sympathize with both the bride and groom, and recognize that the partner who may not have been the most pumped-to-plan still cares and doesn’t want things to go to s***!

Bridesmaid in halter fringe dress looking across Inspiration:

You’ll want someone to take all those hot mess//makeup-free morning pics.

I had a great time the morning of my wedding. The mimosas were flowing, everyone was pretty much on time for hair and makeup, and my dress fit, obvi most important. But I will forever regret not making sure I or someone in my girl group took pics of us getting ready. In our makeup chairs, hair up and setting with curls, matching outfits, because duh. I didn’t even really have many staged getting ready shots with my photographer, either. And this is such a huge part of the day. When I was MOH for my sister, though, with 10 other bridesmaids, I finally realized why a large bridal party can be the best thing ever. There will always be at least one girl going around getting the most awkward candid captures of the crew. Bottles poppin’, bubbles everywhere, one pod of girls taking obligatory duck face photos, another group with their eyes glued to their phones, scrolling through Pinterest for hair inspo. If you don’t have those terrible-but-so good bridal party uniform(ation) snapshots, did the morning with your tribe even happen?

You’ll trust your bridal attendant even more than your MOH (maybe).

Earlier last week, we wrote about MOH fears, and one of my biggest ones was making sure my sister looked and felt her best on her big day. Her dress scared me a lot, because her tailoring was soooo beyond spot on that it fit her to a tee. I worried that I’d rip the zipper, I wouldn’t dress her like her bridal consultant/stylist did in the salon (he just killed it, I couldn’t compete, for reals). Well, my greatest fears were assuaged when the time came for her to de-robe and dress up and her bridal attendant stepped up to help me get her in the gown. She was a pro and she made my sister feel super confident. She helped her with so much that day, carrying around her bouquet, getting her champagne when she needed it, helping with her bustle before the reception, etc. As much as that was my job, as Matron of Honor, it helped SOO much to have someone else there for overflow responsibilities. My sister had totally forgotten that her venue supplied a personal assistant/bridal attendant for the day of, but she was blown away by her girl. And so was I! Not saying that this is something every bride needs, but it’s certainly one of those ‘hmmm, that could be hella helpful’ things! And I recognized it most as the bridesmaid/MOH, because she both illuminated and calmed all of my fears.

Bridesmaids walking with bouquets in the forestInspiration:

You’ll want a personalized ceremony.

This is probably one of if not the biggest realization I had as a bridesmaid + MOH, because my husband and I had a run-of-the-mill, religious church ceremony. It was fine, of course, but getting to stand up at the altar with my sister and one of my best friends as they said ‘I Do’ made me realize just how important a personalized approach is to the most VI-est P part of the wedding day. As a bridesmaid, by the time you’re standing by the bride’s side, you’ve been through the hardest part of it all, you made it there. You can breathe and start listening to all the words, really taking them in, letting them marinate, letting the words sink in, musing on their meanings. These days, nearly all wedding ceremonies have an element of the bespoke, but if you’re a bride who’s thinking about her ceremony - wondering how unique or traditional to make it - consider just how many bridesmaids have been brides before, not really having thought much about their vows or the verbiage used by their officiants. And then they come to yours, and get completely blown out of the water by how tailor-made your tie-the-knot efforts are. It’s one of those things that guests, too, really care about.

You’ll want uninterrupted time with your guy or girl.

When I was a bride 4 years ago, the day was as much a whirlwind as everyone always says it is. And when we were finally married and making our greeting rounds through cocktail hour, I never once stopped and said ‘babe, why don’t we sit down and eat together for a sec.’ We kind of just went on autopilot with the niceties and thank yous we, of course, needed to make. But at each of my sister and best friend’s weddings, their maitre ds made sure to take the couple back to one of their suites and let them have at least 15-20 minutes of totally uninterrupted time together, post-ceremony. It’s up to the couple how they want to spend the time, but OMG how wonderful to have a few moments of calm and quiet, to bask in newlywed bliss, obsess over your new titles, and (in my sister and brother-in-law’s case) nosh on ALL the cocktail hour munchies your spent so much time tediously selecting for your guests.

Couple staring at each other in front of barn windowsPhoto Credit: