Last week we gave you six reasons to ditch the wedding party. But we know that going sans wedding party isn’t for everyone. Some people want to stand up there with their bridesmaids, groomsmen and other attendants – and that’s totally awesome! If you want to have a wedding party, we think you should do it. But we also think you should make your wedding party experience as stress free, straight forward and super fun as possible.
Here are seven tips to help you have the best wedding party experience!
Your wedding will never be as important to your wedding party as it is to you
This is so key. Seriously, go ahead and read that sentence again. There are a billion wedding blogs out there that will tell you that your wedding day is the most important day ever. And it might be – to you. It is not the most important day ever to everyone you know, including your wedding party. That doesn’t mean your wedding party attendants don’t care about you and your day. Of course they do, or else they wouldn’t have agreed to be in your party. But it does mean your wedding won’t always be priority #1 and that is okay.
Set expectations early
We are firm believers in communicating clearly and setting expectations. So many conflicts in relationships come about when these two things aren’t done. When you ask someone to join your wedding party, let them know exactly what that means to you. Do you want them to attend your bachelor/bachelorette party in Vegas? Are you expecting them to host a shower for you? Do you need them to pay for their own outfit?
If you can communicate your ideas clearly from the start, your friends will be able to prepare and make informed decisions. It will also save you a lot of disappointment when no one plans a shower for you because you didn’t make it clear you were expecting one.
It’s an honour, not a job
Remember how we told you to set expectations? Well, those are your ideas and wants, not strict requirements. When you ask someone to join your wedding party, you are honouring them with a title and a position. You are telling them they are so important to you that you want them standing next to you on your big day. You are not hiring them to do a job. Bridesmaids and groomsmen are not required to spend all of their free time and disposable income on your wedding (remember, it’s not their #1 priority). You can ask someone to be in your wedding party and explain to them what that looks like to you. But you can’t dictate how they spend their time and money.
If you want someone to throw you a party, hire a party planner. If you want handmade favours, buy them from Etsy. Don’t force jobs on your wedding party (especially since you’re not paying them!).
Your wedding party cannot read your mind
Actually, no one can read your mind. This is another lesson in clear communication. Let’s say for example a bride has asked her bridesmaids to organize her bridal shower. Her bridesmaids consist of her best friend from college who lives across the country, her fiance’s little sister and her cousin, who mom insisted had to be in the wedding. None of these ladies have ever met one another. And none of them know what the bride wants in a shower. They don’t have a clue who to invite, they don’t know when she’s free, they have no idea what kind of cake to get, etc.
You see the problem, right? Sadly, there are countless wedding parties dealing with this exact problem right now. We can’t expect our friends to read our minds, even if they are our besties. Instead, why not tell your wedding party what you want out of a shower? Take responsibility for an event being thrown for you and, more importantly, take responsibility for your own happiness. You’ll definitely enjoy a shower you got to give input on much more than one your wedding party planned in the dark.
Don’t talk wedding 24/7
If every phone call, text, email and in-person chat you’ve had with someone in your wedding party in the last three months has started with, “So for the wedding…” you have a problem. Your wedding might be on your mind 24/7 but that’s not true for your wedding party. Give your friends a break from the wedding and hang out like you used to before you got engaged. If all you talk about is your wedding for 12+ months, you’ll come home after the honeymoon and realize you don’t have any friendships left.
Try starting your next conversation with a wedding party attendant by asking about their life. Or go out to a movie or concert. Ban the word “wedding” from your conversation and remember why you like this person and why you asked them to be in your party in the first place.
Break the mould
Who says a wedding party has to be made up of 10 identical female bridesmaids and 10 identical male groomsmen who stand at the altar and take photos with you? No one! If that doesn’t sound like your friend group and isn’t what you want, we encourage you to break the mould.
Your wedding party does not need to be gendered; male attendants can stand on the bride’s side and vice versa. It also doesn’t need to be perfectly balanced; one partner can have five attendants while the other has three. You can even change up the traditional role of the wedding party. Want them to walk down the aisle but not stand at the altar? Sounds good, they can take a seat. As we always say, it’s your wedding, your way.
Prioritize your relationships over the wedding
At Young Hip & Married, we believe you should be investing more in your lifetime marriage than in your one day wedding. Your marriage relationship is way more important than any one day. And the same is true of the relationships you have with your wedding party.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of lifelong friendships being ruined because of wedding party drama. Don’t let that happen to you and your friends. Your relationships are so much more important than a missed fitting appointment or poorly planned bachelor party. Remember, these are your closest people – that’s why you asked them to be in your wedding party. Don’t lose them over a one day event.
What tips do you have to ensure all goes well with the wedding party?
written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Emily Nicole Photos