Wednesday, June 19, 2013

{Wedding} How to choose the perfect bridesmaids

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{Bridesmaids left-right: Nicole, Kerry (maid of honour), Jaclyn and Ingrid}

How to choose the perfect Maid of Honour/Bridesmaids
Choosing your bridesmaids is one of the hardest wedding decisions you will have to make (until you get to the table seating part). I am incredibly blessed to have so many amazing friends who have been so much a part of my life over the years. I have developed friendships with people from around the world and maintained friendships while I've been traveling the world so it was extremely difficult to try and choose only a few to be with me in the lead up to one of the biggest moments in my life. In your life you will have friendships that grow because of mutual love and respect and are watered largely due to close proximity and daily interactions. You will also have friendships that always remain the same regardless of time, distance and space between you. The decision for me was not easy - but I went with my heart (and gut) and chose those girls who have meant something so special to me over the years, in whichever time of my life, and whose love and friendship I value more than anything. 

Apart from choosing to surround yourself with bridesmaids who are your most favourite, most special people in your world - who will keep you grounded, keep you sane, keep you remembering why you are getting married, lend an ear for bridal-bitching-sessions (no that never happened, ahem), share advice, give support, help stitch/tape/mend/print/sew/stick and generally show their love for you, your husband and the new journey you are about to embark on -  Here is my (tentative) guide to choosing the perfect bridesmaids -

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Choose Bridesmaids who will make you laugh

No matter how much you prepare for your wedding day there will still be a small part of you that will be overwhelming stressed with something - because getting married is a big deal and anything that's a big deal involves stress. Choose to surround yourself with friends who will make you laugh, make you feel relaxed and make this huge crazy thing called marriage that you're about to embark on - seem like the most natural, wonderful and happy thing in the world.

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Choose Bridesmaids who will think about random things and act accordingly

Ain't no bride wants big strap tans in their wedding pictures. Ain't no bride wants to know that one table is missing a spoon. Ain't no bride wants to be contacting her decorator the day before the wedding with requests for an extra chair tie-back. Ain't no bride wants to deal with organists and music complications the day before the wedding. Ain't no bride wants to worry if there are enough pens for the guestbook. Your job is to enjoy everything amazing that is happening around and soak up all the love, good vibrations and happy vibes that you are experiencing. Good bridesmaids will think about these random things. Good bridesmaids will sort it out, they will make a plan, they will get it done. You won't even know about it. You can thank them later. (Thanks y'all!)

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Choose Bridesmaids who GOT SKILLZ

You will no doubt choose your bridesmaids from the amazing friends and family you have known over the years - {picking strangers off the street corner will not go down well - especially not for your long-awaiting sister}. A good bridesmaid should not only be a loyal and dedicated friend or member of your family - but should also have added skillz such as administering eye-drops to red eyes because you are too much of a wussy do to it yourself (above). Other skillz include: fixing broken zips, efficient-wedding-supply-car-packing, people-skillz (for when no-one is talking to your lonely-uncle-Ned-twice-removed), honeymoon-packing and night-before-fashion advice and wedding-speech editing. Your family and bridesmaids will be your world before you get married and their skillz will be invaluable.

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Choose Bridesmaids who know how to open a bottle of Champagne.

This is a mandatory bridesmaid requirement. And furthermore - bridesmaids should not only know how to open a bottle of champagne, but will also not wait to be told to do so. Similarly, a good bridesmaid/maid of honour will be right by your side with a bottle of water come wedding night - knowing that you can't be mortally sozzled before your wedding speech. Hydration is key.

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Choose Bridesmaids who will help get you ready

Obviously, your bridesmaids will help you get ready on the big day. So choose bridesmaids who will not only help you climb into your gigantic wedding dress, but who will also climb up a mountain of chairs to retrieve your dress which is hanging from the ceiling (to get the perfect shot). Choose bridesmaids who aren't afraid of getting stuck in with all the pulling-and-tugging that comes with getting into many wedding bodices. Choose bridesmaids that will get down and fish around under your skirt to make sure all your petticoats are lying flat. Choose bridesmaids who are there to make sure that you look your absolute best. Choose bridesmaids that you know will make sure there isn't even the tiniest mascara-tear stain on your cheek or the smallest smidgeon of spinach stuck in your teeth - although, if you are eating spinach for breakfast on your wedding day - I'd have to say that you could probably handle all of this on your own because that's very Popeye of you.

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Choose Bridesmaids who have your best interest at heart

Of course, if you have chosen carefully, your bridesmaids will undoubtedly have your best interests at heart - but further than that - good bridesmaids will be able to intuitively read the signs and respond as any good friend would. The morning of the wedding, while I was having my hair and make up done - I started feeling terrible - and the most massive case of heartburn starting creeping in. Call it nerves (or general acid reflux) but it started making me feel very anxious so I sat quietly having my hair and make up done and hoping for the case of the heartburn to disappear on it's own. Before I even knew it, bridesmaid had come to the rescue with Rennies and food to stabilise the nerve shakes -

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(because let me tell you, even if you eat a full nutrition-packed breakfast {viva la futurelife}) there will be so much going on around you - and so much going on inside you that you will
a) forget to eat and
b) will have digested every single breakfast scrap in the first fifteen minutes. (Butterflies are hungry creatures)
Good bridesmaids will be mindful of this and they will load you up with good foodie snacks before you even realise you need to eat anything -

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(Above: bridesmaids holding up a white duvet to create the perfect lighting for photographs)

Choose Bridesmaids who will do what you've asked them to do (even if they think you are being slightly pathetic about it all)

There was a lot of stuff going on at our wedding and I had planned things, crafted things, DIYed things and been preparing "stuff" for an entire year. I had spreadsheets and word documents and timelines and email print outs and specific instructions for just about every minute second of our day. In the end, the über obnoxiousness organisation paid off and everything went so absolutely perfectly wonderfully! Buuuut, I am sure the bridezilla in me surfaced a few times to get on the bridesmaids nerves -
"Yes, Ché, we've got it - we will take care of the guestbook and the photobooth signs and the Flower Girl flowers and the road signs and the bathroom kits. You've already told us. Twice. And three times yesterday."
Make sure that you choose bridesmaids who will not be shy to tell your pre-wedding-self that you need to calm down because everything will be taken care of. But make sure that these very same bridesmaids will do everything you would've asked for anyway. Because this is your one day in forever and being the good bridesmaids that they are, they will make sure that it is the only day in forever that you will ever need.

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Choose Bridesmaids who are ready to lend a hand

This is another obvious requirement - the lead up to the wedding will be filled with mountains of things to do - regardless of whether you are DIYing your wedding or not. Choose bridesmaids that you know will be available - literally and emotionally - to be able to support you during this time. The last few days leading up to the wedding will be crammed with table-seatings, name cards and last minute things to do. Enlist the help of your bridesmaids- that's what they are there for. (Above: the Wednesday evening before the wedding - all my bridesmaids flew/drove in to help with the last minute "things". It was such a special time to be able to spend these last few days as a 'single-lady' with my most favourite people. I roped them into all sorts of DIY wedding things which was an absolute nerve-calming help. The missing bridesmaid in the pic above flew in and arrived shortly after this pic was taken - but don't worry - there was still plenty of stuff for her to do.)

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Choose Bridesmaids who will pick up your camera (or any camera) and snap away

I'm a photo-fanatic as it is, so multiply that with a wedding that happens only once in your life and you have yourself an obsessive-compulsive. I had mentioned to the bridesmaids how I just wanted every tiny little thing to be captured, documented, snapped, pictured, preserved - and I was SO extremely grateful when I picked up my camera at the end of all the wedding festivities to scroll through and see all these amazing little moments that I had no idea about - all captured by the bridesmaids who continually picked up my camera and snapped away -

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(above: the mom and I having our hair and make up done)
You can see more of these "little moments" in the blog post I wrote about my big little brother.

At the end of the day though, choosing your bridesmaids isn't really about finding the most organised delegator or the most handy DIYer or the most skillful eye-dropper-inner (although that was a huge life saving), it is about choosing to surround yourself with people who genuinely love, care and support you and your husband and have your best interest at heart. If you choose those people who tick that one massive box - everything else will follow.

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Thank you to the Bridesmaids

As a little "Thank You" to the bridesmaids, I organised for us to have a Spa retreat day the Thursday before the wedding. I booked us in to Indigo Fields for a full body massage, a hand and foot massage in the Boma and a yummy champagne breakfast - When we arrived we were given some warm Ponchos to wear - which we christened the "Monk Suits" 

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(above: arriving and filling in our massage preferences)

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After our morning treatments out in the Bomas in the lavender fields, we were taken back to the pool area where we had a champagne breakfast - croissants, scrambled egg, bacon, grilled tomato -
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After our indulgent morning of massage pampering at Indigo Fields, my mom treated us all to gel manicures and pedicures at eZali - they were absolutely amazing and organised (more) afternoon snacks: brownies, cocktail sausages, mini sandwiches, wraps, fruit juices. Warren actually popped in as a surprise (to drop off more champagne - what a guy) and I asked him to choose the nail colour for my toes. He took it as a very big decision since he had no idea what my dress looked like or what would "work" or not. Bridesmaids made sure that he felt it was the most pressure-filled, pivotal decision of the entire wedding. He chose well.

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(Dear Ingrid, stop biting your nails)
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While we were waiting for our manicure or pedicure we sat outside in the sunshine, drinking champers, snacking on more snacks and chatting - my two aunts also joined in for this pampering so it was lovely to have all my "girls" together!

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{view outside eZali Spa}

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{Bridesmaids having drinks at Blueberry Hill Cafe - Friday before the wedding}

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{left-right: Kerry (MOH), Ings, Me (BRIDE BONANZA), Jacs, Nicole}

Dear Beautiful Bridesmaids,

Warren and I haven't even started our mountain of thank you cards yet - but all of you are at the very top of my list. Apart from throwing the most incredible Kitchen Tea and Crazy Fun Bachelorette, you have all been so amazing in making our big day run so smoothly and fantastically perfect. Your love, friendship and support to me (and Warr) over the years has been indescribable. Thank you for the G'nT Sunset Drive-Bys, the Drop-and-Rolling, the Momument Marshmellow Sob-Sessions, the Saturday Friendships, the Hot Chocolate drinkipoos, the Smartie Study Breaks, the Popcorn Wine Nights and Epic Shopping Sushi Dates. You have all been such important influences to me in different times of my life and I am so grateful and humbled to call you my friends.

Thank you for everything.
Formal cards (and essays) to follow.

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More posts to follow on bridesmaids make-up/hair and general style


Che Kershaw said...

food and snacks are the essentials of the bridal realm! you did good! ;) x

Che Kershaw said...

thank you! x

Keri Bainborough said...

Beautiful! Ker looks amazing in her monk robe hahaha!

GeeGee said...

please feed me Rhianne! I like this tip Che :)