Your bestie just got engaged! Hooray for her! You are so excited for her bachelorette party, her bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner, and the big day. What you are not so excited for is what attending all these events will do to your bank account. You are also worried about how you will support her during the planning process and on the big day. Take a deep breath and remember that weddings are meant to be fun celebrations of love! Here’s a little guide to help you through what has become the modern wedding marathon.
Keeping Costs Contained
It seems like weddings and all their related events have become more and more of a production. Each and every party needs to be photo-worthy. What used to be one last hurrah of your single life, bachelor and bachelorette parties have morphed into entire weeks or weekends, sometimes traveling to another city and renting a house for everyone to stay in. While all of this can be extremely fun, it can also become very costly. When planning trips suggest the group Air BnB it instead of staying at a hotel. It can be way more comfortable and you often save a ton of dough!
Another way you could end up spending a lot of money is by having to buy a bunch of new outfits to wear for all of these more formal occasions. A brand like Ann Taylor has a range of sharp styles from dresses to slacks, perfect for such celebrations. Since it can be costly to get all the outfits you’d need for each wedding event, try your hand at online consignment shopping where you can find Ann Taylor clothing and so many other brands you love for less. Sport all your new looks at each wedding occasion and enjoy knowing how much money you saved! This can even be applied to bridesmaid dresses. It is becoming more and more popular for bridesmaids not to have to wear the same dresses. It adds some texture to your photos and makes it easier on the bridesmaids to get something they think is flattering on them, they can possibly get a dress they can use again, and it can be MUCH less expensive. My sister actually did this at her own wedding. She just had each bridesmaid send her a photo of the dress before they purchased it so that she could make sure it fit together with the wedding color pallet.
One place that is great to find MAJOR bargains is ThredUp. It even has a category just for bridesmaids dresses. But don’t limit yourself there, check out the formal wear as well. And the great thing is it isn’t just great for your wallet, it’s great for the planet too. Reusing fashion instead of throwing it away is better for the environment.
How to Support the Bride
Planning a wedding is STRESSFUL! The day of the wedding is even MORE STRESSFUL! As a bridesmaid you can really help keep the stress levels down. During the planning stages you can be a sounding board for the bride. If she is worried about all the details remind her that at the end of the day all that really matters is that the she and the person she loves with all her heart are now married! Everything else is just icing on the wedding cake. If she is worrying about expenditures show her all the amazing new ways you can save money on weddings these days. For example you don’t need to go to custom stationary stores any more to get beautiful invitations. Check out Basic Invite, their stuff is fantastic and affordable!
For flowers suggest she have them make her bouquet the size of a bridesmaid bouquet instead of the GIANT sized ones that typically weigh you down. It saves money and it is just so much more comfortable to carry around on your wedding day. To make hers a little different than everyone else’s she can have a slightly different color scheme. If your friend is overwhelmed with everything they are finding on Pinterest, remind them it is just there for inspiration, it doesn’t have to be imitation.
On the day of the wedding here are some tips to keep in mind. Don’t be surprised if your dear calm friend becomes a bit of a bridezilla that day. This type of behavior usually stems from stress. As soon as the festivities are over she will return to normal, so try not to take anything too personally that day.
On the big day you want to be an asset, not a liability. To help reduce her stress make sure you get to the bridal prep location early, not late. Bring dress friendly snacks. Avoid things like chocolate that can melt on your hands and get on the dress or Doritos that get that orange cheese dust on everything. Items with wrappers you can use to keep your hands clean while you eat them are ideal. Bring water and straws to drink it from so that she stays well hydrated and doesn’t ruin her lipstick. If it spills on anything it won’t stain things. Offer to help her to the restroom. Going to the bathroom in a wedding dress is NOT an easy feat. Bring a bridal first aid kit with you. Scissors, a sewing kit, safety pins, anti-perspirant, hair spray, bobby pins, tampons, bandaids, and double-sided sticky tape can be real life savers on the day of a wedding. Get an extra copy of her room key so that when someone needs to take her veil or shoes back to her room during the reception the bride doesn’t have to go searching for the key.
When it comes time to take photos do your best to politely help corral friends and family that need to be in the shots. Listen to the photographer so that the bridal party formals don’t take up a huge amount of time. This will give the couple more time to get shots of just the two of them or to help get them to the cocktail hour faster. Another way to speed photo time up is to not take photos on your phone while the photographer is taking shots of the group. People don’t know where to look, at you or the photographer, and then everything takes twice as long as necessary. If you happen to notice the bride’s “Uncle Bob” encroaching on the photographer’s space and slowing things down, gently suggest to him that his talents would be better used taking photos of other people during the cocktail hour, etc since the photographer is tied up here. During the actual ceremony and first dance remember to look at the couple and try to keep a nice smile on your face. Nothing ruins a wedding album like a member of the bridal party in the background looking like they don’t want to be there. Lastly, try to party it up on the dance floor with your friend. You may be totally tired, but it will mean the world to her.
By keeping these points in mind hopefully your wallet won’t be quite as light and you will be super helpful to your dear friend who asked you to be her bridesmaid.
For nearly 7 years I have been volunteering my photography services to the amazing organization that is Project Place in Boston.
Formally the mission of Project Place is to promote a community of hope and opportunity for homeless and low-income individuals by providing the skills, education and resources needed to obtain and sustain employment and housing. They are the total embodiment of the old proverb “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” But what so many of their clients say is that Project Place does SO much more than that, it gives them a second chance at LIFE. Some have even told me they would probably not even be alive today if it wasn’t for Project Place.
With our country facing an epidemic of homelessness more cities need to have programs like Project Place. So in an effort to celebrate what Project Place’s clients have accomplished and to bring greater awareness to the problems facing so many residents of New England, and across the country, I offered to do a free Help-Portrait session for the clients of Project Place.
Help-Portrait is a global movement of photographers, hairstylists, and makeup artists that use their time, tools and expertise to give back to those in need by taking their picture and delivering it to them for free. Some of the participants have extraordinary stories of how they have turned their lives around. After the shoot is done I hope to present a selection of the portraits in conjunction with their incredible stories in a gallery showing. Current Project Place clients as well as alumni of the program have been invited to participate.
Pam Goncalves — W.O.W. (Working Opportunities for Women), Program Coordinator/Case Manager, by Vail Fucci
8”x10” photographic prints by Miller’s lab will be given to each participant for free.
The 2019 Faces of Project Place Help-Portrait Session will take place December 3rd and 4th, from 9AM-5PM, in Project Place’s conference room located at 1145 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118. If you would like to cover this event for your news organization please contact Rose Lovett via email at email@example.com.