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Recently I have been asked by several brides, “Who are you supposed to invite to the rehearsal dinner”? My answer usually is, “well, this is your wedding – - so whomever you want”. But if you look up wedding etiquette (and this is what I have always thought myself) – the answer is: the bridal party (bridesmaids and groomsmen), immediate family and out-of-town guests.
The bridal party and immediate family are a given – but people are usually thrown for a loop with the out-of-town guests (especially when there are a significant amount of them). This is how I look @ it. The rehearsal dinner is the perfect time to spend catching up with the family and friends you don’t get to see on a daily basis. You can exchange the “How have you been’s”, “What have you been up to’s” even the “thank you so much for coming’s”. This dinner should be relaxed, laid back and it’s not meant to break the bank. It should not “out shine” your wedding by any means. Choose a restaurant with a great entertaining area (maybe a patio or larger private room) and in a price range you (or whoever is paying) can afford. Spend your time laughing and telling stories and catching up with everyone. This should include the out-of-towners. Keep in mind that, in most cases, they have paid for their plane ticket, their hotel room, their transportation and no doubt a wedding gift for you. The night before the wedding, they most likely won’t have plans (seeing as though they don’t live in the area) so all the more reason to include them in your rehearsal dinner.
All this time spent catching up means you don’t have to do it at the wedding. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched the bride and groom spend their ENTIRE reception walking around, thanking people for coming and catching up! The bride and groom should be enjoying the delicious food they spent months picking out – and sipping on the champange they have been toasted to with – and creating new memories on the dance floor while listening to the music from the DJ or band they just had to have. They should be a part of the wedding they created and enjoy their perfect night.
No matter how it plays out – just sit back and enjoy the moments. They are going to FLY BY!
After throwing a bridal shower recently for a dear friend, it got me thinking that there are a lot of people out there who are unpracticed on what to do, and what not to do, at a bridal shower. As a bridesmaid, you have to make sure you’re one of the gals who is on the up-n-up about etiquette.
Use these tips to help make ensure you are a super shower guest…
Bring a gift. Group gifts are perfectly acceptable. My girlfriends and I always go in on a group gift – this way, the recipient gets something spectacular while not breaking the bank.
Be gracious. Remember that those hosting the party have opened their home to you, and have spent a lot of time planning and preparing. Just like you learned in kindergarten, say thank you.
Participate. Let’s be honest – nobody loves the games we have play at bridal (and baby) showers. If you are moaning and groaning about having to participate, though, you will make the bride feel bad. So just embrace the silliness and have fun – I’m often surprised about how competitive I end up being and how much I find myself laughing during game time. Seeing her friends and family laughing and having a good time tells the bride that you all are enjoying her shower, and this is important to her.
Watch the Clock. If the shower is supposed to end at 2:00, and it’s 2:15, be one of the first to offer to help clean up. This will hopefully prompt other guests to wind things up as well.
Focus on the bride. It’s easy to go off in your own corner and chat with the people you know, especially if you haven’t seen each other in awhile. It’s also easy to get caught up in conversations about the millions of things going on in your own life. Just remember that the shower is about the bride – she’s so excited to be getting married, so try to gear conversations toward fun things about the couple, their engagement, honeymoon, etc. This will make her feel like everyone is truly there for her.
Shower on, ladies.
Bridesmaid bouquets are an important accessory that ties in a bride’s vision during the ceremony. Flowers in a wedding may have sentimental value or help express emotions. Many brides are straying from tradition when it comes to incorporating flowers in their wedding. This includes the bouquets for your bridal party.
Shawna Reed, owner and designer for one of our favorite florists in town, Your Event Florist, updated us on the trends for bridesmaid bouquets. “ While hand tied bouquets are still the most common, some trends include monochromatic floral bouquets for each bridesmaid. For example, an all rose bouquet for one, all mini calla lilies for another or let’s say all roses but different colors for each bridesmaid.”
This trend lends to not only a unique look in bouquets for your wedding, it is also a nice way to tie in emotion. When choosing different flowers, take into consideration your bridesmaid’s personalities and design around them. On the day of your wedding, you can include a card to give to each of your girls that describes their arrangement and why you chose it for them. For example, beautiful gardenias symbolize joy. In your card let your maid of honor know that is what she represents to you in your life and explain all the reasons why.
If you are a bride that wants the flowers in your wedding to represent feelings and emotions, we highly recommend checking out Your Event Florist. There you will find a husband and wife team that truly cares about your wedding. The designs are always customized to compliment the bride’s vision, taste and style. They work personally with you to ensure the creation of distinctive designs, as unique as you, down to the smallest detail. Visit their website and create a gift for your bridesmaids that they will never forget.
I had a customer with a very small bustline this weekend try on a v-neck dress and say, “I look like a boy”. She was right. Then she tried on a strapless, sweet-heart neckline that had some ruching at the bustline, and we didn’t even notice her bust – we just noticed how amazing she looked in the dress. The bride, who had a bit more of a bust, tried the v-neck on and it looked completely different on her – it was adorable! It really is all in the bust when it comes to what neckline bridesmaids should wear. Good news, though, there isn’t just one neckline for each bust size – it’s about knowing your best options and also knowing what is universally flattering.
STRAPLESS: I hear girls mention all the time that there are so many strapless dresses, and not enough other necklines. The reason? A strapless neckline is often the most universally flattering on every bustline. A bridesmaid with a larger bustline can wear a strapless dress, but she must wear proper undergarments in order to have support. Try a strapless bra like this one – the longer style will offer more support on a larger bust.
These are some of my favorite strapless dresses that look good on a variety of bustlines:
V-NECK: On the hanger, v-neck dresses look more conservative and covering. On the contrary, a v-neck dress is going to show the most cleavage if you are sporting a fuller bust. The great thing about v-necks is that you can often wear a more traditional bra. V-necks are best on girls who have bustline that’s still standing high, or on girls who know how to make a killer bra work. It really depends on your comfortability with sporting cleavage, and it depends on the bride and location (very religious wedding=no boobs on display). If you do go the v-neck route, there are some really modern styles out there right now.
HALTER: I love halter dresses because I feel like they support my bust while slimming the area between my shoulders and neck. Designers don’t tend to offer too many halter styles, though. Halters are best for women who have a bust – they can sometimes make a flat chest look even more flat.
HIGH NECK: These are becoming more and more popular, and are a fun way to be conservative regarding the bustline. With that said, these dresses really do look best on smaller busted ladies – a very large bust tends to overtake the silhouette of the dress.
ONE SHOULDER: My new personal favorite for every bustline. With some of these styles, you could even wear one (clear) bra strap for added support. The one shoulder look flatters every bustline while offering something interesting – and something to look at other than the bust.
Also big for Fall – hues of silver, grey, and brown, along with deep burgandy, bold reds, purples, and navy. We also love how designers are mixing colors and hues to create more interesting looks.
Check out some of our favorites below…
Calling all bridesmaids – pay attention! Whether you’re a sister, cousin, co-worker, or girlfriend – there is a simple code of ethics to follow when it comes to being a bridesmaid.
*Accept an invitation to be a bridesmaid only if you are excited about being in the wedding. Do not accept out of guilt or because you feel obligated.
*Be available to shop with your bride if she asks. When I was in my friend Amy’s wedding several years ago, we spent an entire summer crashing wedding sites on Saturdays to see what they looked like all set up for an event. We had such a great time, and it made me feel like I had a special part of helping her plan her wedding.
*Let your bride take the lead when shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Talk to her about her vision before grabbing dresses to try on. Yes, we want you to look fabulous, but your bride has an idea in mind regarding the overall look of her wedding. Support her in that vision (see Jenni’s blog on her yellow wedding that never happened).
*Don’t complain to your bride about any of the following:
- Your attire
- The guy you are assigned to walk with down the aisle (more on the boy ethics below)
- How much money you’re spending on her shower/parties/bridesmaid dress/wedding gift
- Her family (you know the rule – you can vent about your own mother but no one else can)
- How fat you think you are (especially if you smaller than the bride….that is straight up terrible)
- Wearing heels (get a pair and practice at home – unless you get lucky and can go barefoot on the beach)
- The venue of the wedding or rehearsal dinner
- The food at the reception
- The groom (even if he’s your brother or BFF)
*Bring a date to the wedding only if you’re in a relationship. Remember – each head at a wedding is costing the bride/groom/family an average of $100. Before you bring a date, ask yourself if you would buy that guy a $100 meal.
*Speaking of boys…if you are single a wedding is a great place to meet someone. That said, do it tastefully and save any overnight adventures for a different evening.
*Offer to help all along the way, and be a sounding board, shoulder to cry on, and fabulous pal for girls’ nights out. If you’re married, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t had your own wedding yet, this is very good karma for your future wedding planning.
*You know that song, All You Need is Love? Make that your motto.
I just realized I could go on and on with this stuff, but I’ll leave it at that so as not to scare anyone away from accepting the honor of being a bridesmaid. If you are genuinely excited to be in this wedding, you will likely not have to worry about anything. Just be your naturally wonderful self and have fun celebrating this time in your bride’s life.
Before I owned Twirl, I knew very little about fabrics and even had to ask one of our designers how to pronounce Dupioni (du-pee-o-ni, by the way). It got me thinking that most bridesmaids out there are probably the same – it’s why everyone is so nervous about caring for their dresses. So I’m here to ease your mind with some tips for caring for a bridesmaid dress, along with the big no-no’s.
Hang in a dry place and leave your dress bag on for protection
Hang long dresses up high so that the bottom isn’t sitting on the floor
Always use care when zipping your dress. Many bridesmaid dress fabrics are delicate and can be damaged if a zipper is twisted or yanked. Have someone else zip your dress for you – if your hand is twisted to get the zipper in the back, you are likely twisting the actual zipper and could break it.
Though your dress has likely been pressed for you when you pick it up, it easily can get wrinkled again when traveling in a car or being smooshed with other clothes in your closest. And if you had to have your dress shipped to you, it’s definitely going to need to be pressed again. Either way, it’s best to press your dress the day of the wedding after the dress is all done with its travels and closet time.
Fabrics safe to iron: Raw silk, all taffetas, satin, dress linings (except silk charmeuse).
Rules to ironing:
1. Make sure your iron is clean….this may sound strange, but I once had a few splashes of BBQ sauce on my iron at home that had been sitting on my kitchen sink. Let’s just say it didn’t go very well for my white shirt that day.
2. Always start the iron on a low setting. You can turn it up little by little if it’s not getting the wrinkles out. If the iron starts to feel “sticky” on the fabric, you have it turned up too hot.
3. Iron the lining and the dress separately to be most effective.
Simply put – DRY CLEAN ONLY.
If you get a stain on your dress, don’t touch it! Take it to the cleaners 100% of the time….and not the $2.25 cleaners.
True story – we had a bridesmaid bring her raw silk dress in last year after taking it to the bargain cleaners, who obviously washed it. It was completely ruined, and ended up costing her a lot more than it would have to take it to a quality cleaners in the first place. If you live around here, that quality place is Prestige Cleaners on Shea/Scottsdale Road.
And you thought all you had to consider with dress styles is color and the bustline…no so, ladies. As you are probably well aware, bridesmaids come in all beautiful shapes and sizes. Just as important as the bustline is where the waist of the dress falls. Depending on your body, there are different cuts that will flatter. And not to worry – there are cuts that are universally flattering as well.
First, the Empire (or om-peer) Waist. The seam on an Empire Waist dress falls above the natural waist and below the bustline. This is a great cut for anyone who wants to hide a larger mid-section or fuller hips. It’s also a good cut for shorter girls because it can give the illusion of lengthing the body. This cut, more often than others, also lets you eat and drink as much as you want at the reception since it’s a little more roomy in the belly. Nice.
Next is the Natural Waist. A lot of women don’t know where their natural waist falls…it’s not your fault. We all wear our jeans so low these days (thankfully), that we often think our waist is below our belly button. Remember back in the 90′s when your jeans were so high that they made your bum look extraordinarily large? Those jeans fell at your natural waist. It’s the hourglass point under the ribs and above the belly button. Dresses that fall at the natural waist work very well to accentuate a small waistline. The natural waist brings attention to a woman’s natural curves. The only time I would steer clear of this cut is if you are more pear-shaped, meaning you carry most of your weight around the bum and hips, but are smaller on top.
Our third cut is the Drop Waist. This is my personal favorite because I have a shorter torso and a bum. The drop waist makes me look taller and makes my hips look straighter. I love (and own) this dress by Thread. The drop waist is also a good style for larger busted women – it elongates below the bust, minimizing a larger bustline.
The last waistline to talk about is none at all. These styles tend to hug the figure, and are very flattering if you are looking to show off your curves. This cut also helps women with a straighter shape to look a little more curvy. These photos are both great examples – the models aren’t exactly curvy women, but the silhouettes do a beautiful job of making them look so.
Your girlfriend (or sister, etc.) asked you to be in her wedding, and you both were all smiles and hugs and visions of happiness. And now, months later, your cheerful and pleasant bride has gone a little nutty. Sound familiar?
One of the main reasons brides get stressed out and show Zilla-like behaviors is that they have taken their already busy lives and added an overflowing to-do list that happens to matter more to them than anything they’ve ever taken on.
This is where you have to remember that you’re not just a pretty face standing by the bride on her wedding day. Being a bridesmaid means helping to ensure that your bride’s entire wedding experience is as stress free as possible. If your bride isn’t delegating duties to you and your fellow bridesmaids, step in and help her. Not everyone has an easy time asking for help, so don’t assume she’s got it all handled.
I speak from experience – when I got married a couple years ago, everyone offered to help. My stubborn self still had a hard time actually delegating what needed to be done and I ended up having a complete meltdown when we were getting in the car to head to California for our wedding weekend. Fortunately, I married a very patient guy, my family and bridesmaids jumped right in, and it all ended up fine. I was simply overwhelmed because I took on too much.
There are so many little details that go into creating, and pulling off, a fabulous wedding. Be specific when you tell your bride that you want to help, and assist her in delegating duties. Listed below are tasks you can help with, and can delegate to other BM’s as well…
1. Making sure the bridal party is on task with getting their dress orders in, shoes, etc.
2. Addressing invites, licking envelopes, and taking them to the post-office
3. Collecting items for, and assembling, guest gift bags
4. Calling guests who haven’t replied by the deadline
5. Running errands the week of, and day of, the wedding
6. Returning items to vendors after the wedding
7. Picking up/dropping off the guys’ tuxedos (this would be good to delegate to a responsible groomsman)
8. Assembling wedding favors (you can also help with brainstorming creative ideas for favors)
9. Help the bride and groom with the seating chart
10. Deliver the tip envelopes to vendors before or just after the wedding
Most importantly, practice patience and remember that any crazy behavior is usually temporary. Having her bridesmaids to lean on and ease the stress is something your bride will remember because you will have helped to make her wedding day everything she dreamed it to be.
It’s summer, and that means it’s time to get a tan – especially if you are going to be on bridesmaid duty. If you have a full two weeks to bask by the pool before the wedding you’re in, then I hate you. If you’re like the rest of us and have a job that takes you away from hanging poolside with the cabana boy serving frosty drinks to you, there are other ways to fake that fresh-tanned look.
If you’re like me, and have very little extra time on your hands, you need a tanning solution that’s quick and effortless. I think I have tried every tanning product under the sun, have done the tanning bed thing, and have taken a whirl with spray tanning as well. In the end, the solution is at the drugstore, of all places. I used to use the more expensive Tan Towel, but I’m telling you the L’Oreal Tan Towelettes work just as well, and are only about $10 for a box of five. Jenni asked me one day where to find the Tan Towels, and she found these at the drugstore. We both tried them and are hooked!
Just like any other tanning product, you have to be careful because you can easily end up with streaks and dark spots. The trick is to wash your hands really well after using the towelette, then apply lotion all over to blend in the tanning solution. And yes, they still make you smell – so use one before bed, then you can shower off the smell the next morning.
Practice before the wedding you are in (you can afford it with how cheap these are)….never try a tanning product for the first time right before you’re about to strut yourself down the aisle and be photographed. It takes several days, not scrubbing, for tanning mishaps to disappear.