Saying No... to Being a Bridesmaid

It’s an honor to be asked to be a bridesmaid, but occasionally it happens… you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid, but you don’t feel as though it would be right for you to say yes.

There are many reasons this might happen. For example, logistically or financially you cannot devote the time the bride requires, or you do not have the resources to fulfill your bridesmaid responsibilities. (such as the ones I highlighted in my last blog)

Regardless of your reason, there are graceful ways you can refuse, but first live by these guidelines:  

  1. Tell her right away. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to say no.

  2. Think through what you want to say prior to talking with the bride.

  3. Do not text or email. This is an in-person conversation if possible, or at least on the phone.

  4. Be honest and to the point.

  5. Everything you say should work to reassure the bride that you are supportive of her and honored she asked you.

If possible, offer your talents in another way that works around the reason you have to say no. For example, if you cannot afford to be a bridesmaid, offer to read at the wedding. If you do not have time for all of the bridesmaid’s duties, offer to help with one event such as a shower or the bachelorette party. However, keep in mind that the bride may not feel comfortable having you involved after you say no, so if you offer, respect her decision if she declines. If she accepts, you must be committed to doing what you have promised.

Saying yes to being a bridesmaid is like a bride saying yes to the dress. You can’t compromise with a half-hearted yes when saying no feels right. Instead, go ahead and say it, it is what is best for both you and the bride!

Saying YES... to Being a Bridesmaid

When you are asked to be a bridesmaid, what are the expectations? Every bride has dreamed of what her special day will look like, and although you may have your own ideas, you- the bridesmaid- are there to support the bride’s vision. You can do this by being a team player and keeping the bride’s happiness at the center of your decisions.

 Photo by  Geneoh

Photo by Geneoh

Be prepared to:

  1. Pay for a dress and shoes in addition to hair and makeup if required.

  2. Help host and attend pre-wedding parties and showers.

  3. Plan and attend a bachelorette party that highlights the bride’s personality.

  4. Order the correct sized bridesmaids dress as soon as possible and let the bride know. You should not stress the bride with your responsibilities.

  5. Block off the evening before the wedding and the entire day of the wedding as you need to be available to attend the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, pre-wedding preparations, wedding, and post wedding events.

  6. Learn how to bustle the wedding dress before the reception.

Be emotionally prepared to put aside:

  1. Drama. Keep your own drama out of the wedding. Your friend or family member made a statement by picking you as a bridesmaid. In essence, she cares about you and wants you there to support her during a crucial moment of her life. You can’t do that if you are wrapped up in yourself. Push your drama aside out of love and respect for the bride.

  2. Drinking. If alcohol is being served, it is disrespectful to the bride to become intoxicated during the wedding. It can also prevent you from supporting the bride through her big day, so save the drinking for another time.

  3. Groomsmen. Avoid fretting about which groomsmen you are paired up with. Unless he’s an ex or you are truly uncomfortable, keep your thoughts to yourself.

Being a bridesmaid is about friendship. Typically in your twenties and thirties, you and your friends are at different points in your lives. It can be tough to be a bridesmaid when you are going through a transitional period such as a painful break-up or wresting with being single. You simply have to keep perspective. Being a bridesmaid is an important moment in your relationship with the bride. Put her first out of love and embrace being a bridesmaid so that the bride has the day of her dreams!

The Separate Identities of the Rehearsal Dinner and the Wedding

The Rehearsal Dinner sets the tone for the wedding weekend, and since many of the guests are attending both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding, you want each event to take on a memorable personality.

Recently, a few of my clients have been able to achieve this contrast in a myriad of creative ways. One of my favorites however was a client who hosted the rehearsal dinner in a brewery and the wedding in a ballroom setting. In order to create this contrast, I worked with ScreenDoor Events and Design to first establish the personality for the rehearsal dinner by transforming Terrapin brewery in Athens into a relaxed, but beautiful environment to welcome family and guests in a way that sparked excitement and set a joyful tone for the wedding weekend. We achieved this look by filling wooden flower boxes and natural vases made of bark with florals and moss. The comfort food by local caterers Home Made perfectly added to the relaxed atmosphere. And to complete the setting, lights were strung from the celling, lanterns were placed in moss boxes, and candles were lit to give the room a warm glow. 

In order to establish the personality and vision for the wedding reception, I engaged the help of Greg Hall Florists to create a mood of traditional elegance with a little bling. Together we worked to play-off the black and white floors by decorating the 25 tables with a simple color palate that included black table toppers over white cloths. Strung café-lights hung over the table centerpieces styled with silver mercury vases and candelabras filled with beautiful, loosely-flowing florals which were then placed on mirrors and surrounded by candles that reflected onto the high ceiling. The sweetheart table gave the bride and groom a magical view of the festivities.

When the rehearsal dinner and the wedding have separate personalities, the events don’t compete with one another and each provides the bride and groom, family, and guests with unique memories from each evening.

 

 

See more from Rebecca and Gil's wedding here

 

My Most Important Wedding Advice

As I have pushed deeper into my career as a wedding planner, I have found that many of my clients did not initially recognize the value of a wedding planner. Unlike the wedding photographer, caterer, or venue provider, my product is not tangible. Yet, I would argue and many of my clients would agree that the service I provide is one of the most important investments you make. I ensure that all those other investments (often $20,000+) play out as you intended on the big day. Spending thousands of dollars on various vendors does not ensure you they will come together on the day as you envisioned. All the money you spend on your wedding deserves a guardian.

 

Over the years, I have heard numerous stories of weddings gone awry due to poor planning, communication, and organization. As those of us in the wedding industry know, planning a wedding requires experience and an understanding of how to engineer a timeline so that your day is flawless. Since I am a designer, I also have a keen sense of how to ensure your wedding is aesthetically as you envisioned. To provide you with a few of the most important reasons about why it is essential to hire a wedding planner, I have compiled a list that I believe anyone planning a wedding should consider:

 

1. You cannot coordinate your own wedding day.

Since you are the center of your big day, and your family and friends want to enjoy every moment, you must have someone who resolves problems, ensures the vendors are in place, keeps you on schedule, and is available to answer questions. I am always amazed by what can happen on the day, but I am always pleased when I resolve an issue quickly so that it does not disturb the bride and groom.

 

2. Experienced Planners know how to engineer your ideal timeline.

If your wedding flows well, it makes for a calm and memorable experience. The shape of the room, the size of the wedding, party, the personality of the bride and groom are just some of the aspects I consider when creating the timeline.

 

3. A planner can help you stick to your budget, and even save you money.

There are always costs that my clients don’t know about or consider when they start planning. Hiring a wedding planner can help you to think through every detail to ensure you are able to save money, identify the best vendors, and help you think of those unplanned details that often cost the most.

 

4. A planner can identify the right vendors.

Since every bride and groom is different, researching vendors on your own will not always lead you to the right ones. I have seen numerous vendors in action at many different weddings, which has enabled me to see them perform in different atmospheres, amongst different types of personalities, and I have seen those who succeeded and those who did not meet expectations. However, it is ultimately my client’s choice. I will simply provide you with my institutional knowledge.

 

5. Planners save your time and sanity.

Planning a wedding is a lot of work and time, and my clients already have busy lives. I save you hours of research time by identifying the right vendors, maintaining your budget, helping you to think through big decisions, and being a phone call away when you have a question, concern, or just need support. I even attend meetings with my clients or on their behalf depending on their needs. And when the big day arrives and it can be difficult to find help with the myriad of logistics, I am always in your corner ensuring you are happy, excited, and supported. 

A New Beginning

As a young girl growing up in New Zealand, I would watch brides come in and out of our house as my mother, a self-taught florist, created their wedding florals. For hours she would carefully wire endless amounts of ivy and flowers so every arrangement was flawless. Although I loved being a part of my mom’s floral work, I was in it for what I still believe is the best part of the day- seeing the bride. As my mother would hand-off her floral work, she would without fail tell the bride that it was an honor to be a part of their special day.

Reflecting on these memories today, I know that wedding styling and planning is a part of who I am, and what I love most in life- creating intimate and beautiful settings that bring loved ones and friends together to celebrate some of life’s most cherished moments.

Thus, with these memories in mind, I am excited to introduce “The Aisle.” A name that is both symbolic of the path we take together as I work with you to style and plan your wedding, but also literal, since on the day I help you to complete your journey as you take those memorable steps down “The Aisle.” As my mother would say, it is an honor. There is nothing better than being a part of one of the most memorable days in a couple’s lives. And for these reasons, I am so excited to expand ScreenDoor’s Event and Design’s wedding services into a brand of its own.