Over the next few weeks I will be posting a series of “Your BEST Wedding” blog posts. I in no way profess to be a complete wedding expert, but I have planned a ton of weddings, and photographed them too, so these are the items I’ve observed in the past 8 years or so. And from the Brides I’ve talked to, well….it’s good information to share!
So, let’s start this party off right….
1) CHOOSE your Bridal Party C.A.R.E.F.U.L.L.Y!!! I used to plan weddings, I still do coordinate when asked, if I’m not photographing of course, and I do flowers too, sooooo I’ve seen it all! The good, the bad, the “Bridezillas“…even the “Maid-zillas” The latter is more rare but anyone who’s been in the wedding industry for any time at all will tell you this very important piece of information… “Weddings will either make, or DESTROY, your friendships!” It’s true! If you haven’t seen the “WE” T.V. show “Bridezillas” I urge you to do so! You’ll see what you’ll look like to the rest of the world should you decide that the end all be all of EVERYONE’S lives at the time surrounding your wedding day will be all about Y.O.U! Granted it is YOUR AND your Fiancé’s day (Don‘t ever forget that it‘s HIS day too!!!), but the moment you start thinking that your BFF since grade school MUST skip out on her child’s school play, game, recital, etc… or forego earning a living just to attend your bridal shower and keep a guest book or hand you gifts that anyone can do, well that’s when you need to take a step back and say “WHOA! I’m outta control!” Because otherwise after your big day, when the smoke clears, the honeymoon is waaaay over, and your new boo is under your skin from all the “together time” you’ve been having non stop since the wedding day madness was over….well….he’s all you’re going to have because you’ve thrown a land mine on any pre-existing friendships you held…for ONE day! There’s always a happy medium….find it and roll with it, otherwise prepare for the fallout!
So, what about the aforementioned “Maid-zilla” I spoke of? What of her? Well, this is the tricky part, but most of us females know who we can trust and who we need to keep at a distance because, SADLY, some “friends” just can’t be happy for anyone else when it’s not them getting what they feel they deserve…hey this is life, we‘ve dealt with this mess since we learned how to want what others have! If she’s always downing your other mutual friends, or separate friends for that matter, to you welllllll you can bet she’s doing the same thing to you behind your back…to them! Nix her…and fast! Who wants backstabbing, snide comments and evil glances on their wedding day…and trust me…it happens! That whole “photojournalistic” photography approach you want to capture Every. Single. Random. thing about your day….yeah, we see those looks/hear those comments…you may not because we delete them, or edit them when possible, but it’s never pretty…and deep down…you really know what’s going down, so….in the words of Barney Fife “Nip it. In the bud!” and spare those friendships!
WHO to Choose? That’s all on you! It’s never easy, hey, who said weddings were easy anyway? And there’s going to be hurt feelings if you pick someone else over a friend who REALLY thought they should be IN your wedding party, and not the book keeper or a server, but before you go finalizing your picks ask them “Why?” they want/should be in your party! What will they bring to the day? Can they absolutely be there for everything you want them at (again, be reasonable, people do have lives), and will they be a true friend and really do what needs done to make your day everything you want it to be? Bottom line…have they displayed these characteristics in your pre-wedding friendship unconditionally, or not so much?? Only you can answer that question honestly, and you know what to do if the answer is “No they can’t/wont!” P.S. PLEASE don’t give in to the pressure of family!! Just because a family member, or friend, was in another family member, or friend’s, wedding does NOT mean they HAVE to be in yours!! If Aunt Sally really wants her daughter, your cousin and your mom’s niece for example, to be a maid and you don’t, then simply, and gracefully, explain the below few paragraphs about “party selection advice” to her…and your mom….so *hopefully* she will back your decision and can field any further comments from Auntie for you! Now, all of that aside sometimes they just wont understand, and you may have to cave for family peace! A sure fire way to ensure they, and the family member who’ll be standing up with you on your wedding day, knows what you’re expecting from them, and all your other attendants too, is to draw up an itinerary!
Party Selection Advice: An itinerary is a list of those items and estimated dates/times of events, parties, etc… you’re expecting/wish to have…this is a wedding…like you weren‘t planning this years ago in your head, just put it on paper now! The best way to use this is to show it to potential maids (or men, because your fiancé may want to make one too to show his boys) and ask them if they think they can make it to everything….or those events you deem of absolute importance (again…be considerate and flexible….they have lives too)! This way if they see what all they will need to do (pick up ice, chips, or anything else that is forgotten or needed for the day of, a shower, etc… and to plan/help with the Bridal shower, organize or help with the Bachelorette party, the lingerie shower, Bridal luncheon, Rehearsal, rehearsal night sleep over, mani-pedi spa day, etc… they either will say yes, or decline! Don’t be upset if they do decline, they’re doing you a favor by bowing out early….afterall weddings aren’t just expensive for you!
While we’re on selecting attendants it’s important when deciding #‘s that you go ahead and decide WHAT you’re paying for and what you expect them to pay for! This is VITAL!! If it wasn’t for the Bride picking up the tab for my dress, or shoes, or mani-pedi, etc… I wouldn’t have been in as many weddings as I have been! Just being honest! And make sure they can afford what you’re expecting; otherwise if you’re requiring their tips and toes be a certain way or color, and they can’t spring for it, then it’s your duty to pay, or supply the color so they can do them themselves. Only Bridezillas make friends go broke, yes, it‘s your day, but it‘s their cash! Again, this is something to consider when choosing maids, and a # for them! If you can‘t pay for ALL their nails….or for that matter their dress, shoes, jewelry, etc… when they tell you, or you already know their financial situation, that they can‘t do all or part of what you’re expecting then having them as a maid (or a groomsman because they’re stuff is expensive too) is going to cause undue stress on everyone, and especially the friendship…so, think ahead before asking your 10 bff’s to stand up with you.
Now, all of the above flows in to my next bit! I know you (or your boo, or your mom, or your granny, etc…) may want that huge Bridal Party of 7 maids and 7 men, or more, but really….if you or your hunny has to go begging waaaaaaay back on the family tree to grab a cousin’s cousin or friend’s friend just to meet a quota it’s really not going to be a very fun/genuine looking party because they’re going to feel awkward (if they eventually give in to the pleading your family or hunny will undoubtedly do just to please you) just being there, and to pose for pictures and get close to a bunch of other people they don’t know from Adam is going to show in your photos! You want real people, fun people, real friends and family that YOU’RE close to! *Age and personality should be considered too! If you want people who’ll take a running leap with you for a photo, to hold you up laying down, get out on the floor and shake it like a salt shaker, or SMILE and laugh in your photos (Trust me, I’ve seen groomsmen and maids who wouldn’t crack a smile or do any other pose other than stand there, arms in pockets or right over left…while the younger folks were joking, laughing, cutting up, having a grand old time…making for awesome photos) So PLLLLLEASE think about what you want your party mood to be, and will the people you choose ENHANCE it or drag it down and make it look and feel awkward? Also, If you can’t stand his high school bud, co-worker, or his 3rd cousin, or vice versa for him and your crew, are you and they really going to want to pose in a picture, more than likely side by side because that’s just how it works sometimes, with someone you can’t stand? Don’t fool yourself…NO! You’d be surprised the emotion, good and bad, you can grab in one single photograph! SO, Choose carefully, and bottom line…it’s YOUR day…who says your # of maids HAS to match your # of men? It’s all for the good of the mood of your day…and the mood of your day is what will last…not only in still shots…but especially in video! Do you want to remember the smiles and the laughter among a group of friends, or the conflicts and trash talking from the bitter party of 16 or so?
I only offer the above as suggestions from what I’ve seen, experienced, and heard numerous times over! Bottom line is it’s your and your Fiances day and you will do what you will do, BUT if I didn’t offer these tidbits up that sometimes go overlooked I’d feel terrible! Please share this with any Brides or Grooms to be….and family/friends of the like! It’s all for the good of YOUR Best Wedding Photos!!!
Wishing you happy planning & FANTASTIC photos!