Ahh.... that Bridesmaid life! It's a bittersweet phenomenon. We start out on this journey feeling honored, anointed, cherished, empowered... and then a few months into this emotional rollercoaster we find ourselves questioning how we got into this mess (and BTW...what in the world happened to our bank account??)
Any girl who's ever been a bridesmaid knows that with great power comes great responsibility, and no, that doesn't stop at finding a dress in the most flattering cut in that perfect shade of blush.
Well, all my maidens of servitude, lucky for you, I've pinpointed the 5 most troubling areas of maidhood, and jotted down some of my own tried and true tips to help you get through the long months ahead without getting that boho braid into a bunch.
So here it is.....
5 step bridesmaid survival guide
#1. Splitting the Bill
You never thought Venmo would be so relevant in your life until now. You thought those first engagement cocktails were the worst of it but no, the bill splitting has only just begun. You've still got the shower, the bachelorette, hotels, uber rides, "She-said-yes-to-the-dress" celebratory happy hour, and with the mix-n-match gown trend still going strong, who knows how many more shopping dates before each of your girls finds "The One."
Do yourself a favor and master your bill-sharing game plan ahead of time.
That means saying goodbye to chaotic "who owes who" convos and trying to shout over dance beats after one too many margaritas. No more confusing text arguments over who paid last (as if your bridesmaid group chat isn't blowing up enough.) The first time you gals are all in the same room together, do yourselves ALL a favor and follow these easy steps:
1. Agree on a money exchanging app or method (i.e. venmo, Facebook pay, etc.) and have each girl sign up for the app.
2. Make a list of all major bill-splitting events you anticipate between now and the wedding, and divide those up even further by category (i.e.) Bachelorette Party Dinner; Bachelorette Party Hotel; Bachelorette Party Transportation)
3. Decide who will be in charge of the bill for each event. Ideally, alternate between the women. That way no girl is ever covering too much at one time.
4. When it comes time for each bill splitting event, the girl assigned will pay for that event and be responsible for recovering each person's share. (Example: Using Venmo's Request Money feature.)
Voila! Bill splitting problem solved. You're welcome.
#2. Managing *And Silencing* Group chats
OH EM GEE... If I have to hear one more "Ding!" on my phone while I am trying to watch an intense episode of This Is Us I am going to freak out! When it comes to maintaining bridesmaid sanity, the bridesmaid group chat is a big threat and, while it's tempting to throw your iPhone at the TV for interrupting yet another Mandy Moore monologue, a cracked screen is the last thing you need to add to your long list of bridesmaid expenses.
Okay, I'm sure by now you've figured out the magical green toggle that is "Do Not Disturb" (thank you, Steve Jobs) But I am here to tell you... There's more you can do.
These are just a few tweaks that helped me when I was in your shoes.
1. Designate days off - i.e. "Wednesdays we wear pink...and don't group chat."
2. Use WhatsApp instead (Enjoy notification-free group chatting. Lose that annoying Text tone!)
3. Limit group chat use to two days a week - except emergencies. (Hint: Unless it's weeks before the wedding...it's most likely not an emergency!)
See? Don't you already feel better??
#3. So Much Party Planning
You and your gals are starting to plan the bridal shower. You're seeing dollar signs already, and you've barely scratched the surface. You've got invitations to design, a location to scout, desserts to plan, and duh! You can't forget the Mimosa bar! Hopefully you will refer back to step 1 to navigate some of the financial obstacles. But there are more ways to save stress & money than just delegating costs. How about keeping costs down to begin with?
Here are just a few of my favorite stress and money savers when planning Bridal Festivities (or any party for that matter!):
1. Decide where to splurge and where to save. Hire a professional for the invitations, then try these DIY guides for making your own cocktails & confetti cannons.
2. Choose a location that's naturally beautiful. Take your festivities to a relative's backyard or a park under a big Oak tree. Lay out some blankets & pillows for a moroccan style picnic soiree.
3. For the Bachelorette, plan a Girl's Night In! Any time you're all together, you know t's gonna be a good time. Let the Rosé & bubbly flow and make it a night of flashback 90's music and reminiscing before your BFF walks down the aisle!
#4. combat self-overload
No matter how many tips and tricks you read about, there is always going to be some stress and pressure when it comes to being a bridesmaid. When things get heavy, use these tips to lighten the load.
1. Have someone you can lean on. Remember that part of your job is to help take care of the Bride, not add stress, so you may not be able to share all your stresses with her during the process. It may be good to have a plan B, like mom. Moms are the best!
2. Give yourself a break now and then. Consider them mini vacations from bridesmaid planning mode.
3. Create space for "you time." Don't neglect your daily runs, yoga, netflix binging, or whatever it is you do to relieve stress. These things are just as important now - if not more than ever!
Try one of these DIY Relaxation Baths!
#5. Hanging up the Dress
Now, let's fast forward to the Big Day. Finally, the dress coordinating, party planning, and bill splitting has come to an end, your BFF has made it down the aisle without a hitch and your job is finally done! Give yourself a pat on the back. Thanks to steps 1-4, you've (hopefully) made it through without any major catastrophes and you're ready to kick those heels off and enjoy the evening. Soon enough you'll be toasting with all your girlfriends... annnnd let's be honest, you may be pounding back a little extra for all the stress you've been through these past several months.
Real Talk. Stress can have a huge impact on friendships.
... And helping share the weight of planning a wedding comes with enough to last longer than a few songs. As bridesmaids, we are doing a service to our friend, and for that reason we can sometimes feel overlooked and under appreciated. Hopefully a few dance moves and top 40 jams will be enough to shake most of that off, but don't forget that the past several months are just one small piece of you and your friend's story. After the honeymoon has been had and the dust has settled, be sure to talk with your Bride-F-F and squash any negative vibes that may have arisen during this stressful process.
If things are tense after today, just remind yourself that you did your best to provide a smooth and memorable planning period for your best gal, and she will love you forever for it! Reminisce on those unforgettable moments and keep moving forward with your one-of-a-kind friendship, because remember....
... That's why you were here to begin with.
Don't forget to share this post and tag your bride tribe!