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.


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) 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!