Wedding DIY: Bridesmaid Proposal Gifts

Popping the question to your bridal party can be a fun and sweet ordeal. Not only are you asking your best girlfriends to play a part in your Big Day, but you’re also requesting they take on responsibilities (emotional, physical, financial, etc.) which may not be the norm for their everyday lives. So why not ask them in a unique way that is exciting and cute to thank them for their friendship and upcoming awesomeness in bridesmaid duties?

When I considered how I wanted to ask my girls, I looked to my wedding theme: whimsical, rustic, and fun. Then I thought of some of the details of the wedding which I could emphasize with the girls’ proposal gift: floral, color, overall feel of the day. I wanted to bestow that G’s and my wedding would, first and foremost, be a laid back celebration of love. I did not want to overdo the gift by overspending or overindulging on elegance.

Thus I sought simple and usable pieces to the gift:

  • A bottle of pink bubbly: Okay, so obviously my gift would have something to do with wine, friends! Front and center, I provided a bottle of Sparkling Pink Moscato to each bridesmaid. There was no “popping” the question without some uncorking to be done!
  • A pair of rose gold earrings: To emphasize our wedding colors and provide a piece of jewelry to be worn at the wedding, these Lauren Conrad earrings are dainty and adorable. Rose gold with crystal leaves, each girl will have a piece of bling to keep with them following our wedding day which can go with a wide range of attire. Not too elegant, these earrings can be worn on any given day!
  • Silk peonies: Obviously! Peonies will be our statement flower the day of the wedding.
  • Dress ideas: Scrolled to the side, a sheet of dress ideas along with suits the groomsmen will be wearing are provided. G and I, hoping to make the wedding as affordable and easy as possible, told the girls to choose dresses in the color profile of blush to dusty rose which fit their style, body type, and budget. I love the mix matched bridesmaids dresses trend, and it’ll only enforce our whimsical theme at the wedding.
  • A rustic basket: As someone who loves to decorate, there can never be too many baskets around my home. I found these lovely burlap-draped wire baskets at Michael’s on clearance and just had to get them! With a bit of shredded cardstock, the entire gift pulled together into a classy, adorable proposal gift.

Remember, you will be spending a lot of additional costs associated to your wedding, and in a roundabout way the bridal party, in the future so do not go overboard on your gifts for them. However, if one of your girlfriends steps up to stand by your side at your wedding, she is making a big decision and dedicating much time, resources, and (possibly) money to you and your fiance as well. She is worth putting a bit of effort into and treating like the special friend she is!

Thank her in a way which makes sense to your wedding and your friendship. That’s what is most important.

Have your asked your bridal party with a proposal gift? If so, what did you do? Or, have you been asked to be a bridesmaid with a special gift? If you would like to share your experience, we would love to hear from you!

Also, don’t miss meeting my girls — they are the best!

Asking Our Bridal Party: Man of Honor

I am an only child. I think I’ve said that somewhere over the past three years on this blog, but I’ll refresh your memory. And though I absolutely loved growing up a sole child, sometimes I get a prick of pain in my heart when I see people around me with awesome sibling relationships.

I think this is one reason why I attempt to give my all to my friendships. For me, if I reach the point in a friendship where I view you as family, then that’s that — I will fight to the death for you. However, to have someone return that treatment is something completely different. To have someone who looks out for you, advises you, laughs with you, and protects you as if you’re part of their own clan… that’s when you consider that person a sibling as well.

And that is what my friend Josh is to me. He is my brother.

So when G and I became engaged, we decided to do something very nontraditional to honor this guy who has been my brother for over a decade — we asked him to be not only a groomsman in our wedding but also my Man of Honor.


Josh and I met back in 2007 while working at the local Dairy Queen. With my amazingly quick wit (*smile*) and his joking personality, we hit it off right away and quickly became good friends. We have almost four years worth of DQ stories in our friendship, much to the chagrin of his wife, Courtney, who has been forced to relive them with us countless times. (Truly, she’s a saint.)

After DQ, Josh and I both went on to become Western Michigan Broncos. It took me a year to decide to move to Kalamazoo knowing I’d be stuck close to him again (*another smile*), but following a lot of counseling from my parents, school advisers, and even Josh himself I decided to transfer prior to my sophomore year.

It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Western became like a home to me, and I was blessed to have such an amazing friend on campus. Though I did not see him every day, we made a habit to get together for hockey games and the occasional football game. We celebrated birthdays together and sometimes holidays like New Years or Halloween. If one thing was certain, when we would hang out there was sure to be plenty of laughs.

Western also offered more than laughs in our friendship though. Both of our hearts were broken while we were in college. It’s a horrible thing to watch your friend suffer through their first heartbreak. Yet, by the time graduation rolled around, we were both stronger and wiser people due to the circumstances. Personally, I know part of my own strength was borrowed from Josh during that time — he was someone I had to lean on for support. He was also some necessary laughter required to keep me sane. Actually, he became one of the first people I would turn to during any of my tough breakups. There is no cure like a joke from Josh to wipe away hurt and tears.

Following graduation, there was a fear Josh and Courtney might move away which meant our friendship might take a decline — something which simply happens with distance and growing older. Fortunately, though, he moved back to our hometown to begin his career.

As we waited for Courtney to graduate and move here as well, our friendship was able to take a more tangible form. Josh joined my trivia team on Mondays, we attended superhero movie premiers every opportunity, we had an annual pumpkin carving get-together, and I spent more time with him and Courtney hanging out in our little corner of Michigan.

Then in August 2016 I was honored to act as mistress of ceremony at Josh and Courtney’s wedding. There are simply no words for watching one of your oldest friends marry his best friend and better half. The pained tears from our past had become such happy ones!

It only made sense, then, that this person who means so much to me and who I have walked through so much in life with should have an honored position at my wedding. In reference to yesterday’s post, I definitely felt the “family trump card” was in play. Perhaps not biological, Josh is the closest thing I have to a sibling and someone I truly treasure in my life. His continued support and friendship throughout the years made my choice a no-brainer: he should be my man of honor.

Plus, I can only imagine what sort of speech he will design come the reception…

My message to Josh upon asking him (along with a fifth of Apple Pucker — our own inside joke):

“Joshua!” Even before our engagement, G and I were talking about who we wanted as a part of our wedding. We both, hands down, said, “the Dunaj’s.” But when it comes to you, Josh, simply having you as a groomsman doesn’t seem like a high enough honor to me… you are simply too much and have been so much to me over the past decade. You have talked me through heartbreaks and counseled me when switching colleges, you’ve been my comic relief countless times and a sounding board more times than I can thank you for. You’ve been an amazing friend, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to express how much you mean to me than to say — you’re my brother. You’re family.

So… to my only Catholic friend (this is HUGE!), my fellow superhero nerd, my old DQ colleague, the guy who has gotten me through so much in the past ten years, and the closest thing I have to a brother… will you be our Man of Honor (and groomsman)?

… which basically means we want you to wear a pink suit and give a speech. Nothing more.

Upon asking my girls to be my bridesmaids, one of whom is Courtney, and now having Josh as my man of honor, I almost feel like I might not faint with nervousness come my wedding day. But I suppose only time will tell on that front.

 

Choosing Your Maid of Honor

Choosing one friend above another is a difficult decision to make and bringing family and future family into the mix does not help matters. Add in the possibility that you’ve been a bridesmaid or maid of honor in one of your best friends’ weddings and the whole concept of choosing a maid of honor can be a stress-inducing mess!

I was fortunate enough to have alternative options when I came into wedding planning (I’ll explain in my next post), but some brides-to-be do not have such luxuries. So, as I’ve had this conversation with friends in the past, here is a bit of advice for when it comes time to decide on your maid of honor and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed:

Family is trump.
When choosing your maid of honor, choose the person you feel most connected to no matter if they are friends or family. There is no rule that you have to choose your sister over your best friend. That being said, however, choosing family over friends often provides a pass to family drama, especially if your sister or family member believes she should be the maid of honor. Friends may already think they can’t trump the family card, so they may expect you to ask your family member above them. Communicate that you still want that friend to be a bridesmaid because you could not imagine the day without her by your side.

Keep it simple.
The person you choose as your maid of honor should not be the solution to a math problem. Were you in her wedding but not as a maid of honor but are now closer to her than you were when she got married? Great! Your maid of honor should simply be the person(s) you could not imagine getting married without. These are the people you feel closest to, feel supported by, and would regret not having them by your side as you say, “I do.” Consider choosing your best friend or family member, or perhaps a combination of the two — a friend who feels like a sibling or your sibling who is your best friend. If you have any hesitations, then that person probably shouldn’t be your maid of honor.

Were you in her wedding as a bridesmaid and you’ve now fallen from being super close due to distance, work, and adulting struggles? Now is the time to reach out to this friend and spark some life into your relationship! If you are not very close anymore, still send a personal invite to the wedding, as well as you bridal shower and perhaps ever your bachelorette party, but there’s no need for her to stand up in your wedding.

Consider the responsibilities.
Being a maid of honor has some requirements and not everyone is up to the task. She is more than a bridesmaid. She actually should be the leader of the bridesmaid troupe, making sure everyone gets their dresses and accessories, schedules dress fittings, and provides all the 411 on prewedding parties. She assists with cohosting a bridal shower, plans the bachelorette party, keeps record of all gifts received, and spreads news about where the bride and groom are registered. She also holds the bride’s bouquet and groom’s ring during the ceremony, signs as a witness on the marriage license, and toasts the couple at the reception. Overall, the maid of honor is the main line of support for the bride and continues to be a trusted friend, smart adviser, and laugh-inducer to the bride throughout the entire wedding process.

Toss tradition to the wind.
In today’s world, tradition is not necessary in weddings. So, if you can’t decide between two friends or family members on whom should be your maid of honor, choose both! Or perhaps you feel all your bridesmaids are wonderful; choose none! Your maid of honor duties can be shared among your bridesmaids. Delegate which tasks each bridesmaid will handle or have them split the responsibilities equally. The options are endless.

Gender rules are officially out the door as well. So if you want your brother, father, or best guy friend to stand next to you on your Big Day, then go for it. Ever hear of a “bridesman” or “man of  honor?” (This is what G and I have decided to do, actually — which you can read more about here.)

 

Bottom line: your maid of honor (or man of honor) and bridesmaids should be the people you feel most connected to and trust the most with various responsibilities. Do not let politics or other people’s opinions dictate who you choose to stand by you. It is your wedding after all, and when you look back on the day won’t you want to smile at the thought that you were surrounded by the people you cherish most?

Reblog: Here’s What My Parents 1974 Wedding Would Cost in 2017

With our list of all-things-wedding-related (vendors, rentals, objects, songs, guests, etc.) ever increasing, I just had to share this blog post with you as it hits STRAIGHT. ON. THE. HEART. of what I have been saying lately: weddings are ridiculously expensive! And it is simply due to the word “wedding” that vendors and other event-aimed businesses are able to increase prices. Ugh! DOUBLE UGH!! Now, with this handy little monster of a post at my disposal, whenever someone feels the need to say, “We didn’t pay that when we got married!” I’ll be able to cheerfully hand this wonderful explanation as to why the world hates on true love and makes the wedding planning situation so much more difficult than necessary. (Please excuse the language.)


Reposted from Buzzfeed, originally posted on October 22, 2017 and written by Meg Keene.

I got engaged in San Francisco, exactly 35 years after my parents’ 1974 wedding. Their San Francisco wedding cost about $2,000, which in today’s money is roughly $10K. So naturally, when we started planning, my mom thought that if I made the same good practical, frugal choices that she and my father had made, I should be able to pull off something similar for $10K. I just needed to be smart about it.

In fact, when most people get engaged, I think we generally assume it should be possible to get married for $10k BECAUSE THAT IS A FUCK TON OF MONEY. And yeah, if you cut some corners, in many parts of the country you actually can pull off a pretty nice wedding for $10K. (Hell, I’ve built a whole business around helping people do just that.)

But by today’s standards, my parents’ wedding was BEYOND. They got married in San Francisco’s reigning massive church, Grace Cathedral, three days after Christmas. They had a whopping 300 people in attendance, and a cocktail reception at the swanky Marine’s Memorial Club. Their cake alone was so big that when we tried to re-create their wedding, we couldn’t even find a baker that still made cakes that large.

And yet their budget was only $10,000 in 2017 dollars.

“When most people get engaged, I think we generally assume it should be possible to get married for $10k BECAUSE THAT IS A FUCK TON OF MONEY.”

As sticker shock began to set in (one quote I got for “affordable invitations” would have been one-fifth of the proposed $10,000 budget) it became really clear that $10,000 wouldn’t buy me a wedding anything like my parents’ bash. But if you’ve planned a wedding, you know how breaking that news goes:

“Well, in my day, we were able to do that for a dollar. If you just got down to business and weren’t so self involved/financially irresponsible/addicted to your iPhone, you could do it for that cost too.”

“Well, my coworker’s best friend’s cousin’s daughter was able to plan her wedding for only $500! So I know it can be done.”

“Well, maybe if you were just willing to do things a little more simply. How much of that stuff do you really need? I’m sure if you just ask them, they’ll offer a discount.”

The problem is it’s really hard explain WHY things are so goddamn expensive, when everyone around you keeps pointing to your bad choices and blaming millennials and Pinterest.

So, with the help of my cooperative parents, my staff and I set out to re-create their wedding in today’s economy, to show exactly what wedding inflation looks like. Luckily, my dad is a mathematician who remembers every number ever, so we were able to re-create their line-item wedding budget with astonishing accuracy. He gave us a line item on costs that added up to $2,195, or just under $10,000 in today’s currency. Then we made a bunch of undercover phone calls to see what the same things would cost in real life 2017 Wedding Dollars.

This is what we came up with:

The Ceremony: My parents got married in Grace Cathedral — aka a huge-ass church in the middle of San Francisco. They weren’t members of the congregation, but they were able to snag the membership discount in exchange for a kneeler, needlepointed by my grandmother. (Totally how weddings work now!!!!) The total cost for a Saturday morning wedding was $100 for the cathedral, $100 for the organist, and $50 for the verger (who assists with the ceremony). In 2017, the cost for nonmembers is $7,500 (or $7,250 if you pay by cash or check). There’s also an additional fee of $150 for the carillon (aka church bells), which my parents still talk about as being magical.

1974 cost: $250
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $1,201
What it actually costs in 2017: $7,650
Increase: 537%

Invitations: My parents sent out engraved wedding invitations, which, if you’re not familiar, is basically the most traditional, formal, and expensive method you can choose. Engraving is so fancy that most online retailers don’t even offer it. In 1974, they paid $250 for 300 invitations (they invited 600 people, because…1974), which translates to $1,201 when adjusted for inflation. In 2017, you can get a set of 300 engraved invitations in a simple design for $2,209 (with the invitation card, envelope and RSVP included, but no other bells and whistles.) The funny thing is, at $250, the invitations were easily one of the bigger line items on my parents’ wedding budget (certainly the most expensive detail). But in our 2017 calculations? They ended up being one of the least expensive things on the list, not because they were cheap, but because everything else was so damn expensive.

1974 cost: $250
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $1,201
What it actually costs in 2017: $2,209
Increase: 84%

Floral: My parents got married three days after Christmas, so for the ceremony, they used the flowers that were still up from the holidays — which means their floral needs were relatively small: one bridal bouquet made with holly, ivy, and irises; three bridesmaids bouquets full of daisies; flowers for the flower girl (same); and two arrangements for the cake table at the reception with chrysanthemum and ivy. All in all? $50 in 1974 terms.

Had they wanted decorations for the church? Grace Cathedral currently has an “approved florist list,” and the first one I clicked on had a minimum order of $8,000.

And in case you thought you’d be thrifty and reuse some of your ceremony decor at the reception? NOPE, not allowed. Which might seem reasonable if those altar flowers didn’t cost EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS AT MINIMUM.

As it stands, flowers can come from anywhere, so we sent some photos of my parents’ bouquets to our friendly florist Belle Flower for a quote, and the estimate came in at $1,400. (That said, many florists in San Francisco these days don’t get out of bed for less than $4,000, so in reality you may end up with more flowers than my parents had…and a much higher bill.)

1974 cost: $50
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $240
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,400
Increase: 483%

Photography: My parents met their (very experienced) photographer when he shot my aunt’s wedding. He had subsequently raised his rates, but was willing to honor the old price…which was a whopping $50. And while with enough elbow grease (or Craigslist skills) you can find photographers at almost any rate these days, most professional photographers working in San Francisco will be priced at $2,500 or above — and that’s on the conservative side. The experienced photographers often start around $4,000.

1974 cost: $50
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $240
What it actually costs in 2017: $2,500
Increase: 941%

Bridal attire: Getting married in December meant my mom was able to get a nice wedding dress from the premier department store of the time during a half-off sale the previous spring. It cost $150 in 1974, and her super-long cathedral veil and satin flats added an extra $45. All told, her attire would have cost $937 if you adjust for inflation. Recently (and blessedly) we’ve had an explosion of retailers offering more reasonably priced wedding dresses, so 50% off a dress of similar style and fabric would come in at around $1200, compared to the inflation-adjusted cost of $721. Her veil, on the other hand, would have cost four times as much, even from a relatively affordable brand like BHLDN ($144 in inflation dollars compared to roughly $650 in today’s dollars). Though once you start adding embellishments like lace, you could easily get upward of $1,000. The only thing that came under budget during this whole experiment? Ballet flats. Which you can get for $50 pretty much anywhere.

Bridal attire: 1974 cost: $195
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $937
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,900
Increase: 102%

Cake: My parents’ cake was ridiculous. Wedding cakes were bigger back in the day. And my parents got it into their heads that they wanted to serve birthday cake–size slices of cake, not teeny wedding cake slices. As a result, that cake will go down in history as only slightly less absurd than the woman who baked a life-size cake in the shape of herself. We’re talking five tiers — with every tier in a different flavor — and enough servings for 600 people. There was…a lot of leftover cake.

In 2017? Of the handful of bakers we called for quotes, most of them didn’t even offer a cake that big anymore. At most, we could get five tiers that would serve 300 people and then the offer to supplement with sheet cakes. But given the original cake’s extravagance, this is one area where wedding inflation wasn’t as bad as it could have been — because, hey, it was only triple the cost.

1974 cost: $100
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $480
What it actually costs in 2017: $1,500
Increase: 212%

Reception & Catering: My parents had their reception at San Francisco’s Marines’ Memorial Club, where they got a sizable discount because my grandfather was a founding member. (Today’s membership discount is 2.5%.) My father says, “We served hors d’oeuvres and wedding cake. My mother-in-law, who paid for the reception, gave us the choice of limiting the guest list or eliminating full champagne service. We gave up the full champagne service and served champagne punch instead.” Total cost for the reception? $1200 (which, if you adjust for inflation, would be $5,769 today).

In 2017, my parents would have had one of the cheapest options offered by the Marines’ Memorial Club: an afternoon hors d’oeuvres package. I called them up to see if it’s possible to forgo the included open bar for a similar champagne punch setup, and was told that it would only save $10 per person on the built-in $80 per person cost (which I was told “they wouldn’t advise”). Translation: We will offer you discounts that are so menial you won’t even take them. All in all? Getting the same package they got in 1974 would cost $24,000 today, beforetaxes and tip (and more than $30K after).

1974 cost: $1200
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $5,769
What it actually costs in 2017: $30,128*
Increase: 422%
*Includes 2.5% discount

So all in all, this is what we’re looking at…

Total 1974 cost: $2,095
What it should cost in 2017 dollars: $10,068
What it actually costs in 2017: $47,286
Increase: 370%

You read that right. That is a 370% increase in what it would cost to throw my parents’ wedding. Why? It’s kind of a chicken-and-egg thing. Sometime between 1974 and today, people realized that weddings weren’t necessarily a side business. And now there’s a whole industry around weddings. An industry that, as Rebecca Mead writes in One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding, has been “assiduous in working to establish the trappings of the lavish formal wedding as if they were compulsory rather than optional.” And wedding vendors aren’t out to get you; most are small business owners who are charging for the increase in time, attention, and ~perfection~ that couples and their parents have come to expect.

Basically, expectations around weddings are much higher than they used to be, and everything is now considered mandatory in order to have a “real wedding.” Which you already know if you’ve ever heard someone say, “Well it’s not a wedding if you don’t… [serve three kinds of steak/hire a professional photographer for 14 hours/wear a crystal-studded thong].” And the phenomenon of higher expectations feeds into higher costs which feeds into even higher expectations, and the whole thing just snowballs until you feel like saying “Fuck it, let’s elope.”

Wedding vendors aren’t out to get you; most are small business owners who are charging for the increase in time, attention, and ~perfection~ that couples and their parents have come to expect.

But there’s hope! Here are some things you can do to help mitigate the sticker shock:

  • Don’t spend money (or time) on things you don’t care about. No one shows up to a wedding for the details.
  • Prioritize fun over pretty (it’s cheaper and more effective).
  • Remember that just because you can’t do what your parents did doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong.

And of course, the next time someone suggests that they know how to plan your wedding better than you do, tell them you’d gladly take them up on their offer to be your wedding planner. After all, wedding planners aren’t cheap these days.

Asking Our Bridal Party: The Bridesmaids

Today marks the official last day of rounding up my best girls and asking them to be my bridesmaids. (This may have been the most difficult part of wedding planning to date, folks! Adult life is BUSY!) However, though I knew who I wanted to be my bridesmaids and had a general idea of how I wished they would appear on the Big Day, I really didn’t know too much in terms of what is required of a bridesmaid. And to be the best bride-to-be and friend for my girls, I felt it was my responsibility to do a little bit of research prior to popping my own proposal their way…

Did you know that the the origin of bridesmaids can be traced all the way back to the Book of Genesis? I’ve studied the Bible time and time again, and never truly read the story of Jacob and his two wives Leah and Rachel with the intent of discovering their wedding plans. There it is though, in both 29:24 and 46:18, references to the two wives hosting handmaidens as their maids during their weddings. Thus the tradition began!

The history of bridesmaids actually spans across multiple cultures, religions, and time periods. In early Roman times, bridesmaids formed a kind of bridal infantry as they accompanied the bride to the groom’s village. It was the maid’s duty to act as a sort of protective shield if any wayward thugs or vengeful suitors should try to kidnap the bride or steal her dowry. In the Chinese feudal era, the production of an heir was so precious that brides were susceptible to kidnapping before their wedding by rival clans. Therefore it was the bridesmaids responsibility to protect the bride by dressing just like her to lower the risk she may be identified.

It became the Western tradition following later Roman law, though, to require ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits. Dressing like the bride and groom, both bridesmaids and groomsmen were meant to confuse the spirits into not knowing who was truly getting married. This can be evidenced as late as the Victorian age by viewing wedding photographs — it is difficult to decipher the marrying couple from their bridal party!

Though I did not consider choosing my girls with the intent of having them protect me from evil spirits or Highwaymen on my wedding day, these early customs still do have some influence in today’s traditions. The bridal party commonly dresses with the look and feel of the wedding, and continues to serve as key support staff and advisory board for the bride and groom.

The modern-day bridesmaid is not only an honored member of the wedding party and special guest at the reception, but she is also a special assistant to the bride during the wedding planning process. From shopping for dresses to writing invitation to designing centerpieces to hosting a bridal shower, a bridesmaid’s first duty is to be helpful. The 21st Century bridesmaid is a helper, organizer, and adviser to one of her best friends in the world. And the payoff is pretty sweet — looking absolutely beautiful walking down the aisle and witnessing up-close the marriage of your loved one.

After doing some research, I had a question: what does being a helper, organizer, and adviser actually entail though? Here is the gist of what I found:

  • Co-Host Bridal Shower 
  • Co-Host Bachelorette Party
  • Be Present at Rehearsal Dinner
  • Be Present at Wedding Ceremony & Reception
  • Act as Emotional Support: Wedding planning can be a stressful time, so turn to your best girlfriends for support when you’re feeling stressed or frazzled. As people who care about you, your bridesmaids want to help.
  • Take on Financial Responsibilities: Typically the bridesmaid pays for her own dress and accessories, and the bride should outline additional costs early in the planning process.
  • Assist with Assorted Tasks: Be it addressing envelopes, fluffing the bride’s train, or helping choose the bridesmaid dresses, bridesmaids should be able to be relied upon to reduce stress and aid in a range of detail work.

My biggest issue, as with all-things-wedding-related, was the financial responsibilities my girls may have to take on and how I could help alleviate any financial strain. One of my girls was a new mom, another just got married last year, and another is planning her own wedding for August 2018. I want their roles as bridesmaids to be fun and as stress-free as possible.

So, G and I decided since our wedding is whimsical and rustic anyways, there would be no need for the bridesmaid dresses to match! Even though dresses have come a long way in recent years (averaging around $200 with alterations), this still seemed a hefty burden to ask of my girls on top of them needing possible hair stylists, makeup, transportation, or accommodations. Instead, we’re telling the girls our color profile (blush to dusty rose) and allowing them to choose whatever dress fits their style, body type, and, best of all, budget. The mix-matched look is something I absolutely adore and cannot wait to see what my girls come up with!

1,048 curtidas, 7 comentários - Brideside.com (@brideside) no Instagram: “From dusty rose to ballet pink mix-and-match maids Shop all our shades of pink right here /…”

I also noted that shoes do not need to match, and that we simply want the girls to be comfortable first and foremost. Silver or gray shoes would be liked, but if any of the girls do not have these colors, just find something in their closets which they are okay dancing all night in.

The girls are already discussing my bachelorette party and it’s various possibilities. I am so excited to have them all meet — none actually know one another, so it’ll be fun to have a meet-and-greet sometime in the near future.

And although I foresee needing help from my girls with a few things, my family and fiance are more than willing to assist with wedding details as well. I am truly blessed by the people in my life! I am so thankful for these girls for saying, “YES!” to being my bridesmaids and cannot wait to dance the night away with them on June 16th!

So, without further ado, please meet my wonderful ladies:

Kari lived with me at Western for an entire two weeks, but would return weekly to force me to watch The Bachelor. She is my reminder of PSL’s return, Snapchat updates, and lives for bad puns.

Courtney is my official Catan coach and wine drinking pal extraordinaire. You’ll notice her on the dance floor at the wedding — she won’t leave it all night!

Tonie and I blissfully met on a cruise to the Bahamas. We mostly speak to one another in Mean Girls GIFs or emojis. If you happen to run into her, please yell, “Go Green!” She’ll love it.

Amber has always been there for me, pruning me on the ways of womanhood. Follow the scents of sweet pea and sounds of the Chicken Dance, and you’re sure to find her!