the Wedding Party

Hey again, y’all! Another week into the holiday season…I hope it finds you happy and unstressed! This week has been a whirlwind of productivity: somewhere I’ve found this burst of energy that just keeps on going each day and I can’t lie, I’m loving it.  Maybe it’s the hot yoga? My recent return to exercise seems to be having some good effects! Plus, nothing better in the world for someone who is constantly cold like me, than being in the sauna for a good thaw.  Endorphins and warmth: I’m here for it! There’s also been a myriad of life changing events in the Coleman household (more on those way later) hence my writing absence last week! As in all things, time to dig deep and get back to it: especially if it’s worth all the work 🙂

This week I thought we’d take some time to talk about the wedding party, and all the good stuff that goes with, plus some side notes of experience-gleaned info from yours truly.  🙂   The tradition of having a wedding party goes wayyyyyyy back, when they thought there were pesky spirits hanging around that could ruin everyone’s lives.  Back then, it was custom for the bridesmaids to dress exactly like the bride, and likewise with the groom and his party.  It was all just an effort to confuse the spirits, so they wouldn’t know who was the bride and groom, and would leave them alone.  My, how far we’ve come (lol).  Nowadays, it’s become then norm to see different colors and dresses and even patterns in bridesmaid’s dresses, different colors and accessories on the groomsmen, OR, no dang wedding party at all! But, in the event that you DO want a wedding party with you on your big day, read on!

Selecting your wedding party is a big deal: there’s some stuff to seriously consider before asking.  First of all, when someone asks you to be in their wedding, its a huge honor, but it’s also a cost (and sometimes a big one, depending on the plans).  It also can impact things like work: a lot of people work on the weekends in many different industries and they have to request that time off, plus possibly lose the funds of that time.  If they aren’t local, they obviously will have travel costs to worry about.  It’s just important to be fair and understand what you’re asking of someone and making sure to help everyone navigate those things as smoothly as possible.  Having a wedding party is a big deal: you have those extra people to plan and account for, and the bigger the party, the more moving parts there are.  My biggest piece of advice: don’t pick people out of obligation.  It really just sets you up for frustration (mild to severe, depending on the situation) down the line.  Ask the people that are actively involved in your lives, and are cheerleaders of y’all and your new family beginning! I promise, there were times I had my hands full with just two who were our biggest cheerleaders! Everybody has their own personality and opinion, and that isn’t going to change just because you’re getting married.  We opted to keep our party small (our close circle is tiny!) and I really tried my best to keep both of their opinions and thoughts in mind.  I think we did pretty well, and I was so lucky to have both those girls with me on my big day.  Ellie chose her two people the same way, and they were both a dream: showed up to fittings on time, got where they were supposed to be on time and added no stress to us pre-wedding.  Really, what more could you ask for?! 

One of my favorite wedding trends right now is highlighting differences in the wedding party. Different colors or patterns, different styles of dresses, awesome accessories for the guys with patterned ties, bowties, suspenders, even socks! I personally feel like it’s a breath of fresh air from the super uptight “every single one of you must wear the same dress in the same color no matter how much the style doesn’t flatter you or the color clashes with your hair.” Whew. Who wants that?? As a red-head, I can whole heartedly say, not this girl. That’s risky! And honestly just makes for bad pictures. And bitterness over the price tag of a dress you wouldn’t really be caught dead in. I’m all for allowing some differences to shine through, and finding a way to flatter everyone and make them look their best that day! Cause, you know, pictures. Plus, everyone deserves to feel like they look amazing, and it’ll show!

I think a lot of times people get a little confused over who is responsible to pay for what in this situation too, so let’s touch on that really quick.  As I mentioned earlier, it can be kind of costly to be in a wedding party.  Bridesmaids are responsible for purchasing their dress, shoes, accessories, alterations of their dress, hair, nails and makeup.  Depending on how you swing it, that can add up! Groomsmen are responsible for rental or purchasing their suit, shoes, accessories and haircut and just generally getting to where they’re supposed to be when they’re supposed to be there (lol).  There’s also many that think the bachelorette/bachelor party cost should fall on the bridesmaids/groomsmen respectively.  I personally find this a tad gauche, but that’s just me.  I wanted a chance to spend some time with my girls and do something fun for all of us and they were already spending plenty to be a part of our day I didn’t want or need more, and neither did Ellie.  For our actual “bachelorette” parties, we went on a couples trip with our close friends (that weren’t in the wedding dealing with all of the extra costs) and had an absolutely amazing weekend! It was way more memorable to me than a night out drinking.  Again, that’s just me! We all get down in different ways, and Lord knows, that ain’t a bad thing.  Anyway, I digress.  Also important to note: what should you be doing for your wedding party?? Treating them to a nice dinner on the night of the rehearsal is a big way you show your thanks.  It’s also considered in good form to have a present for each member of your party: we got each of our girls Pandora bracelets they wore on the day and our groomsmen each got a set of drinking glasses that were handmade pottery by one of our super talented, amazing friends at her business.  And then there’s the things like, I tried super hard to be aware of both of their opinions, didn’t force them into things because I wanted them, but also held strong until we found an option we both liked.  I gave them plenty of heads up when it came to deadlines and did my best to work with their crazy (and my crazy) schedules to get everything done.  I did all I could to make sure every cost was well known up front and well in advance so there were no surprises that would make it hard on them to be a part of our big day.  Even with just two, it was a lot! I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t.  But it all came together beautifully, and I wouldn’t change a bit of it.  

So after all that, maybe we should talk about what the wedding party ISN’T supposed to do for a second. I think it bears at least a little mentioning! Remember those DIY projects we talked about a few weeks ago? Yeah, those. If you have people in your wedding party ready to throw down on some DIY, and they have the time in their schedule to really dig in and be there to help through every step: that’s amazing, and they should get a really good present. But the reality is, most people are busy with their own lives, and really don’t have time to take on all the extra stuff you’re having to take on at the moment. Being in the wedding party doesn’t really mean being a wedding planner. Just keep that in the back of your mind: all I’m saying. Your wedding party is also not responsible for throwing you a wedding shower, although sometimes that is the case, they don’t have to. Typically, someone close to you who isn’t already absorbing other additional costs for the wedding will take on this job! Also, I have to say I’ve noticed this theme of these elaborate bachelor/bachelorette parties where it’s a massive trip to some amazing place: AKA super freaking expensive! We’re not all in that place. If you can make those plans, and have some people who can also makes those plans with you, great. But don’t expect your poor wedding party to just magically be able to make it happen. If they can’t, they can’t. As I like to say, show a little grace, save a little face!

Well, I think that’s most of my nuggets of wisdom on the ever-important wedding party.  For me, our wedding party added a huge element to our day: it felt good to stand there with people that we know have our back, and to have them in our memories of that day.  Definitely do the cool photo research! Take the time to get some of those cool shots with your party: they’ll be some of your favorites later.  Pick the ones that you know will be there for the right reason, not because you feel obligated.  Be kind and show empathy and understanding for other people, even in the midst of all your stress from planning.  Actively listen, and actively speak your mind with compassion.  Show some grace and save a little face.  These are some of the best memories you’ll ever get to make.  And don’t forget to breathe.  You’ve got this!

Happy planning y’all!


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