Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses & 8 Other Ways To Make Life Easier On Your Bridal Party
As a bride, if there's anything you can do to make life easier on your bridal party, definitely consider it. While these folks are obviously there to help you, and want to make your life easier, there's a lot that goes into being a bridesmaid, too. And finding ways to keep costs, time, and stress levels down won't go unnoticed.
It is common, after all, to expect a lot of a bridal party. The job entails planning trips, organizing parties, and buying lots of gifts and (usually pricey) matching outfits — among other wedding traditions. But even with all those boxes checked, it'll still be possible to find balance.
"Being a bridesmaid is an honor, but can also be extremely stressful," Robin Baab Olascoaga, founder and creative director of RO & Co. Events, a Los Angeles-based full service event planning and design firm, tells Bustle. "Being a bride is also incredibly stressful, so in order to keep your stress level down, ensure your [bridal party is] well-informed, your expectations for them are clearly defined," and remembering that they are your friends and family, and not necessarily professional wedding planners.
If you need help, they'll be right by your side. But there are ways to work together to keep things fun and fair throughout the process. As Olascoaga says, "Treat them with respect and they will do the same for you." Here, a few ways to make their lives easier, with the goal of creating a great wedding day.
1. Going With Mismatched Bridesmaids Dresses
One of the easiest ways to make your bridal party happy is by going with mismatched bridesmaid outfits. Instead of trekking around town in search of the one dress to rule them all, go with a color scheme or overall theme, and let them choose the fit, cut, length, etc.
"Allowing your maids to wear a dress of their choosing [...] ensures they will [wear] a dress that meets their budget, that fits their style and body type, and that celebrates them as individuals, which will boost their confidence," Olascoaga says.
It'll also reduce their stress levels. "Choosing their own style means shopping for their dress on their own terms and schedule," she says. They can go about in their own time, and find something they love.
2. Breaking The Ice
Since your bridesmaids will have to work together on your wedding day, and all the events leading up to it, do them a favor and break the ice, especially if they've never met.
For example, you could "them all together for a casual meet-and-greet so they’ll be at ease within the group prior to the start of the wedding festivities," Jenna Miller, creative director at the national wedding website Here Comes The Guide, tells Bustle. "Or if they live in different parts of the world, you can even do this virtually."
That way, no one will feel awkward or left out. And, they might even make a few new friends.
3. Respecting Their Time
While wedding planning will take up a big chunk of your time, Miller says, it doesn't necessarily have to be all-consuming for your bridal party, if you take a few simple precautions. This might mean keeping the amount of in-person get togethers and meetings to a minimum, as well as emails and texts, "where brevity is a virtue," she says.
Instead of bombarding your bridal party with 20-page emails and never-ending group texts, Miller says, keep your communications short and sweet and to the point. And double check everyone's calendars before planning events, to ensure it'll fit around their work and school schedules.
4. Getting A Wedding Planner
Your bridal party will be there to help manage your big day, but you can't really expect them to know all the ins and outs of a wedding, or to have the time/energy/money to plan it.
Instead, "give them smaller roles like organizing the bachelorette party, rounding up accessories for the [bridesmaids], joining you at a dress fitting," Olascoaga says, and consider leaving the bigger roles to the professionals.
Things like organizing the seating chart, making plans with vendors, or determining the flow of the day, Olascoaga says, may be better suited for an actual wedding planner. So if you decide to invest in one, it may mean less stress for everyone.
5. Traveling To See Them
"For the bachelorette party, if you live far away from the majority of your [bridesmaids], offer to come to them rather than having them travel to meet you, or suggest a location that’s central and convenient to everyone traveling," Olascoaga says. "This will cut down on the stress of devising a travel plan and reduce travel spending."
You may also want to chat about budgets beforehand, so everyone will be on the same page in terms of where wedding events will take place, and what will be expected. If you want to do something over-the-top for your bachelorette party, letting them know well in advance will make it easier for them to plan and save up for it.
6. Offering To Pay For A Few Things
Speaking of saving, "bridesmaids are often making significant monetary investments when they say yes to being [in the bridal party]," Olascoaga says. And your friends should really only agree if it's something they think they can do.
That said, if you have big dreams for your wedding and want everyone involved, you may decide to chip in to help make it a reality. You could, for example, offer to help pay for or fully treat them to either their dress or beauty services on the wedding day, Olascoaga says, to help offset some of the cost.
Or, if you've always dreamed of going aboard with friends, you could even pick up the cost of the plane ticket, or find a way to keep it affordable. Weddings are pricey already, so this one can be tough. But it's important to keep everyone's budget in mind.
7. Creating An Itinerary
The one lengthy email you will want to send is the itinerary, which you can send out about a month before the wedding, and should include "schedules, location addresses, dress codes, a list of items to bring to the room for getting ready, etc.," Olascoaga says. "It will make your bridesmaids’ lives easier and will tremendously cut down on the calls, texts, and emails they will send your way."
It's all about keeping them on the same page, so they aren't left guessing, or worrying that they forgot something. It'll also help them help each other, so they can take some of the stress off your shoulders.
8. Letting Them Do Their Own Hair & Makeup
Following the theme of mismatched dresses, it can also make life easier to relax a bit with makeup and hairstyles, and forgoing the idea that everyone needs to look exactly the same.
"They'll feel the most comfortable if you let them choose their own makeup and hairstyle, whether they do it themselves or get professionally done up," Miller says. "Just remember: if you insist that your bridesmaids get their hair or makeup done by a professional, you’re required to pick up the tab."
9. Scheduling Events For The Same Weekend
Another way to make everyone's lives easier is by planning the bachelorette party and wedding for the same weekend, so your bridal party only has to travel and scoop up hotel rooms once. "This allows everyone to make one easy and less expensive trip while still being involved in all the festivities," Whitney Cox, a wedding coordinator from Vegas Weddings, tells Bustle.
"Bridesmaids are your closest friends and family and definitely want to help, but having a well-planned event to begin with is the best gift you can give to them," Cox says. And that means keeping everyone in the loop, calling in a few professionals, and paying attention to everyone's calendars and budgets. Keep these things in mind, and you'll all be sure to have a great time.