Up until now, things had been taking me by surprise; the proposal, the registrar, the dress but choosing bridesmaids was easy; there was never any doubt in my mind who I would have by my side! In fact, that was the most straightforward decision I made and I made it long ago! It was NO surprise WHO I wanted, the surprises would come later on!
I think you have to choose people who mean the world to you and who will be by your side, not just on that day but for the rest of your life. So I did!
There are lots of different aspects to the ‘bridesmaids’ scenario which is why it’s so important to choose ladies you love and trust! I’m going to take you through a few of the stages I went through with my bridesmaids so if you’re planning a wedding you can prepare yourself or if you’ve already had a wedding, you can reminisce or if neither of the above apply to you, you can just have a good old laugh!
Deciding on the dresses
I’ve put this first as this is what I started with HOWEVER, this was very much an ongoing process, it did NOT happen overnight (I wish). I have already checked with the girls and they have given me the go ahead to write this so I am in no way being a bad friend but deciding on the dresses for my bridesmaids has to be THE hardest part of the process and that was where the surprise came into it! Deciding on my dress would only really affect me, I only had to please me but with the bridesmaids, I had 6 beauties to impress. Now personally, I think they’re all beautiful in anything they wear (yes, I am trying to butter them up for what’s to come, NO I’M NOT, THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL and would be in bin bags which is something I have witnessed at Halloween but that’s another story). I knew what I wanted and that was to keep costs down (because there were 5 of them), to have lace on them (as I knew I wanted lace on mine) and for them to be long, EASYYYY I thought.
So, I jumped straight on Pinterest to get some ideas, COURSE I DID!
After a little shopping around, I remembered seeing a photo of China (my brother’s beautiful partner and one of my beautiful bridesmaids) as a bridesmaid before and I’d seen her in this beautiful dress! I asked her to find out where it was from and low and behold, it was from the one and only ASOS! I had a little look on ASOS and it was ONLY IN THE SALE!!! I can’t remember the specific price but I’m pretty sure it was something like £15. So, I did what I do best and placed an order on ASOS; perfect!
I was so excited, surely my bridesmaids’ dresses can’t be sorted already? SURELY it’s not THAT easy? I was right, it wasn’t that easy I’m afraid. They weren’t for everyone! I mean, it was my fault really, I got carried away, I got excited and if people aren’t comfortable then they’re not comfortable! I wanted my ladies to be comfortable, I was sure of that so they weren’t to be; they went back (I love how easy it is to return to ASOS, hassle free, thank you ASOS)! (My beautiful bridesmaid Nia kept hers and decided she would wear it on the day of the wedding as she sadly couldn’t be with us, she is currently living and loving life in New Zealand)! I must admit, I started to panic a little. I had found these dresses that to me were perfect but I wanted everyone to be happy and they just weren’t in those dresses! I was worried we would NEVER agree. So the search went on! ASOS fast became my friend; they have such a HUGE range of beautiful bridesmaid dresses on there that I kept sending pictures to the girls!
After several Whatsap messages with pictures of ideas from Pinterest and ones we had all found online and a couple of days (full days) out shopping to try some on, I realised something, I just was NOT going to please everyone! It’s just impossible. Everyone has different tastes and ideas of what they want to wear and for once in my life, I put my foot down (yes, I hated every minute) it was my (and Dan’s) big day after all. I found some more dresses I liked! Perfect ones, a blush colour with a lace top. They would REALLY compliment my dress I thought, I love love love them. The next task was convincing the girls…please let them like them! I text them all a picture, I wasn’t convinced they liked them as the responses were delayed and not enthusiastic but I ordered them anyway. DONE! They arrived and I sent them to the girls to try on, do they fit? Yes! SORTED! I liked them and that’s all that mattered (well, not really but the girls didn’t hate them so I was winning!) Now, I have just read that back and it sounds brutal, quick and easy; it wasn’t but by the end what I came to realise was that we were NEVER all going to love the dresses but I loved them and the girls were comfortable wearing them! I let them make any changes with them, if they wanted them lined or altered but they were the dresses I loved and the girls respected that and that, my friends, is why I love them so much (yes, some more buttering)! I think they looked amazing anyway!
I must admit, the dresses were the hardest part; everything else ‘bridesmaidy’ was an ABSOLUTE JOY (no, that’s not sarcasm)!
The fun wedding prep
Now, you can’t plan a wedding and not go to a wedding fayre. Even if it’s just for fun, you have to go surely? However, ever the alternative, I wanted to do something a bit different. Part of my wedding process not only meant a hell of a lot of time on Pinterest, it also meant checking into Cwtch the Bride on numerous occasions for tips, advice, stories and to seek out others things for my wedding. If you are a bride (particularly a Welsh one) this site is a must. It has recommendations of some great, great people and places! They have what they call a ‘Lush List’ where they recommend venues, bands and all kinds of suppliers; it is brilliant! What I also found on this site was an advertisement for a ‘Wedding Festival’ A WEDDING FESTIVAL! No, not your “mud up to your thighs, stinky toilets” kind of festival but the “all things wedding” kind of festival; it is a must! It’s called ‘CWTCHFEST’ and well worth a visit; you should go! Take your bridesmaids and go! It’s a HUGE wedding fayre with a twist and a LUSH day out! We thoroughly enjoyed and picked up LOADS of ideas! Everyone there was so helpful and lovely, we loved it!
You know you have chosen the perfect bridesmaids if you say “I just want a hen where I spend time with the people I love and nothing dramatic happens” and they listen! My hen was PERFECT! JUST PERFECT! The best weekend ever! I was surrounded by ladies I love and we all had a lush time! We went to Bath; we had an outside heated pool all to ourselves, a BEAUTIFUL afternoon tea, some games and quizzes (which I loved) and a dance to some amazing MOTOWN music! MY PERFECT HEN! Bath is a beautiful place, the shopping is amazing, the bars are great and everyone we met was so friendly! I honestly had the best time ever and the girls did me proud! They put SO MUCH hard work and effort into everything and I will never forget that!
It’s good to be different
What I LOVED most about my bridesmaids was the unconditional support from the beginning of the wedding planning right to the end, the very last minute! They were amazing and what worked so well is they all naturally helped me with different areas. So, earlier on in the blog where I discussed how it was so difficult because they’re all so different, that was one of the amazing things too! Each of them offered help in a different way, with different things and that was amazing! Andrea was my wedding guru, she is currently planning her own wedding and that joint with the fact her sister used to be a wedding planner came in VERY handy! Anytime I had a question on wedding related things, she would have the answers! Nic was there whenever I needed her with suggestions, ideas and support. When I wasn’t feeling well, she came round and brought me treats along with a magazine (wedding flowers) as she knew I was struggling to find my perfect flowers so I was very thankful for this. Carly was the CHIEF at helping me in and out of my dress, she came to every seamstress appointment and was awesome! Nia was so calm, she helped keep me calm! On many occasions where I could have panicked very easily, she was there reminding me it was okay and to be able to do that from the other side of the world is a talent! China was my shoe guru, I LOVE China’s advice, her fashion sense and her taste in shoes and bags so when I was struggling to find shoes, she was awesome, as a big sister should be! One thing they all have in common is how much I love them, it’s safe to say I was a very lucky bride!!
The Big Day & forever after!
The girls did me proud from start to finish; they couldn’t do enough for me! The day before, they surprised me with a big white chest full of presents. They had spent so much time and effort putting together this chest with all of my favourite things in and they reduced me to tears, tears of absolute joy. They had also created a book for me and in this book was a message from all the people closest to me who had shared the build up to the big day! PERFECT!
They all looked absolutely BEAUTIFUL on the day! Looking over to my bridesmaids on the dance floor and seeing them having just the best time ever just made me so happy, seeing them smiling and knowing they were having a blast; well-deserved too! Not forgetting my beautiful bridesmaid Nia in New Zealand, she couldn’t be with me in person but she was in my heart for the whole day and thanks to the wonderful wonders of the internet (and Laura), I even got to have a selfie with her on skype!
I love my bridesmaids to bits. How do I know I made the right decision? Because they were with me through thick and thin and I know they will always be forever after!