On Bridesmaids

by Laicie

I have one very strong opinion here and one that’s, well… a little shaky.

Here’s the thing.  Yes, you are the bride.  It’s your day… I get that, I really do… but for Pete’s sake, let your bridesmaids be themselves.

I want my girl(s?) to look good up there.  And by “good” I mean I don’t care if they pull a Pippa, because in the end everyone was still staring at Kate.  I don’t need to put them in an ugly dress, and despite common belief (and a lot of seeming evidence to the contrary) I don’t think most brides want their bridesmaids to look bad.  It’s when the bride starts moving in the opposite direction that things really start to spiral out of control.

Matching dresses, fine.  Good even!  I’m not going to deny that some matching dresses go over really well…

… and I even get matching shoes.  Seriously, you can’t be too safe — you never know when someone’s going to bust out a random clog.

It’s when you get down into matching hairstyles that the micromanaging really begins… and I don’t have to go on about it here, there’s a whole show devoted to it now on TLC.

I love that the trends have started to shift to bridesmaids dresses that are more personal.  We’ve gone from matching fabric, color, and style; to just matching fabric and color; to color; to not matching at all.

But, ultimately, it’s not really about the matching.  It’s about giving your bridesmaids a choice.  By asking them to be your bridesmaids, you’re asking them to be there for you through an intensely stressful/exciting/unbelievable process.  You’re asking them because, why wouldn’t they be?  They’ve always been there for you in the past… and the important thing to remember is not, “why wouldn’t they be?” it’s “they’ve always been there for you.”

… so thank your girls.  Let them be themselves.  Let them have a say in the process, because they will have to look at the pictures forever too.

Now, that’s not to say you should let your bridesmaids dictate your choices.  In fact, if you feel you might be a little too much of a pushover, maybe you should tune in the next time TLC runs a “Say Yes” marathon (so, like, any given weekend).

Which leads me to my next, well, non-opinion.  More of a question…

How many bridesmaids?  And what about the whole “uneven bridal parties” thing?

I’m really torn on all of this.  I know that I will have (and have already started to plan how I will ask!) a maid of honor… and while it was hard to pick who it would be, it really wasn’t.  This girl was there with me every step of my engagement and I want her there every step of my day.  We didn’t grow up together… she wasn’t my college roommate… I don’t feel obligated to ask her in any way… she’s just the person I want next to me when I marry the man of my dreams.

But what about the others?  If I’m totally honest with myself, there are probably about six girls that I want with me in the dressing room that day.  Six girls that I want in my pictures.  Six girls that can’t miss my bachelorette party.  Six girls that I love and admire and can’t live without.

But — there are going to be 50 people at our wedding.  Do we really take 12 of those and put them up front?  And do I force Mark to even out the parties or go the lopsided route?

I know the honest advice here.  There are no rules against massive bridal parties at tiny weddings and there are plenty of ways to pose a lopsided party that look great… go for it.  Do what you want…

… but I’m not sure I want it.

I feel a little silly admitting it, but I think it’s too many.  The vision I have for my wedding is not one that includes a large bridal party.  In fact, everything about the wedding I envision is small… intimate… easygoing (yes, I am still at that point in the wedding planning process where I can use words like “easygoing” and believe them… just let me be).

I want the event to be small because I truly love everyone who will be there… because they all mean the world to me and to my relationship with Mark… I can’t imagine this day without any one of them.

So, in a way, they are all my bridal party.

The problem is, I’m not sure they will see it that way… especially my five other girls.  I’ve seen some really cute ideas and ways to ask your friends and family to be a part of the day without asking them to stand up there with you… but they all seem to fall just a little bit short.

Any ideas in blog land?  I think there are a few of you out there reading…

Photo Credits: Jose Villa / Joielala Photographie via Grey Likes Weddings / Katherine O’Brien Photography via The Loveliest Day / Samm Blake via Once Wed / Jason + Anna Photography via Engaged & Inspired