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Bridesmaid Q&A

By Emily Capdevielle

Hey brides, listen up! Yes, this is your party and you can cry if you want to but hopefully you don’t make your bridesmaids cry with any crazy demands. Let’s face it, your bridesmaids want to be there for you but do they really want to put up with a bridezilla? No. I had the pleasure of talking to Laura Lane, a recent bridesmaid for many brides in the past to give all of you the low-down on what to do and what not to do.

1. Since you’ve been in plenty of weddings recently, what are some things brides should consider when it comes to things they ask of their bridesmaids?

Oh goodness, my friends and family joke with me that the movie “27 Dresses” was made about me. I suppose I just need to find myself a James Marsden type fella to sing “Benny and the Jets” with at a bar on a rainy night. All kidding aside, I have a bit of a ways to go before I wear 27 dresses as I’ve only been in four weddings (so far!). Brides should definitely keep in mind that each of their bridesmaids has a different budget. It gets expensive being in weddings between dresses, hair, makeup, shoes, alterations, throwing a bachelorette party, bridal showers, etc. — and I should know, being in four weddings in a span of three years gets pricey! While I have a full-time job and can maybe afford a bit more, that may not be the same case for the other bridesmaid who is only working part-time while in school full-time. Brides should also keep in mind that each of your bridesmaids has a different sense of style. What one girl feels comfortable wearing, another might absolutely hate it. There’s a happy medium somewhere. Let your girls show off their personality a little, too. One wedding I was in, I asked the bride if I could wear glitter heels down the aisle. She told me, “Girl, let your inner Ke$ha shine.”

2. What should brides avoid when it comes to choosing a dress for their bridesmaids?

Like I said, just keep in mind that not every girl will feel comfortable wearing the same thing. While I’m comfortable in most anything, I’m pretty small-chested. So, needless to say, wearing a strapless dress can be irritating for me. Thankfully after a good alteration and with the help of a good strapless bra, that problem is usually solved. A cool option one of my fellow brides is choosing to do is letting us bridesmaids choose what dress we want to wear. Her only requirements are that the dress is a long dress and that it’s her specific shade of blue. Not only will we get to find something we’re comfortable wearing, but we can show off our style a bit. Also, please make sure your bridesmaids are wearing a dress they can move in. There is nothing worse than a dress you can’t dance in, or not being able to eat because the dress is made to hold your tummy in. Thankfully I’ve only had to try on those kind of dresses, never actually had to wear them during a wedding.

3. As a bridesmaid, what was expected of you at the various weddings you were in besides getting your dress and showing up?

You don’t just show up the day of the wedding, that’s for sure. There is always the set-up of the reception hall beforehand, whether it be before or after the rehearsal dinner or early in the morning before you head to the salon to get your hair done. Then there’s any last minute details that need to be tended to. The week before the last wedding I was in, I was helping the bride dye her shoes blue (just an fyi, if you can, WASH those shoes before wearing them or else your feet will end up blue by the end of your wedding night), put sleeves in the CD cases they were giving as thank-yous and learning how to do bridal makeup (apparently I’ve been designated as a makeup artist of sorts … something to add to my resume). Also make sure you learn how to tie a dress if it has the ties in the back and how to bustle a dress. Both are time-consuming things. A few practices though, and you’ll become a pro (another thing for my resume). Remember you’ll be on your feet all day, too, so make sure your heels are comfortable. I have my favorite trusty pair of black peep-toe heels that have gotten me through many nights, so I know I can wear them all wedding day without wanting to chop my feet off at the end of the night.

4. What do you expect from the bride after you’ve accepted to be a bridesmaid?

I expect the bride to ask for tons of help (it’s a fact of life, and it’s totally why you’re her bridesmaid). To be beyond excited and share all the exciting details. Mostly I expect for her to have fun and to make it fun for her bridesmaids. One of the girls whose weddings I was in decided to do a paintball outing with the bridesmaids and her versus the groomsmen and groom a month or so before the wedding. It was a blast. It was an easy way for everyone to get to know each other and to have a little fun and blow off steam.

5. Have you ever come across a Bridezilla? What would you consider to be “Bridezilla” behavior?

Fortunately I have not. The girls whose weddings I have been in were wonderful. The last two have gone off completely without a hitch, and the two other lovely brides have been so wonderful so far. I have seen those television shows, though, where the bride goes completely bonkers, yelling at people being overly controlling and completely breaking down over the silliest things. The most recent wedding I was in, the bride was panicking a little because it started to storm mere hours before her outdoor wedding. She totally could’ve had a complete freak-out because of this (I know I probably would’ve, especially if I was having an outdoor wedding), but she was way calmer than I probably would’ve been. Just expressing how anxious she was. I think it helped that us bridesmaids kept reassuring her that the storm would blow over, and it was better that it was storming at that moment because it would clear up just in time for the wedding. There’s always a back-up plan in that kind of an instance, too. While it wouldn’t have been the most ideal option, we knew the wedding could’ve been moved indoors if needed.

6. What do you find to be the most stressful aspects of being a bridesmaid?

I think the most stressful aspect, I think is making sure everything goes off without a hitch. It can get a little nuts organizing a bachelorette party (you really want to make sure it’s a fun night and that everything is planned for ahead of time … you can always find deals). Also making sure you have the funds for everything. I’ve always had to keep an eye on it, especially with everyone getting married around the same time, and I know some of the other bridesmaids who I’ve been in weddings with have harder times coming up with the money. I think another thing that can be stressful is the timing on the actual wedding day. I’ve been fortunate enough to where everything has kind of fallen into place in the day before and of the wedding, but with how much needs to actually get done in such a short time span it can definitely be a bit overwhelming. Hair and makeup alone take forever. You also need to take in account how long it actually takes to get a wedding dress on, photos, etc. And then there’s the whole setting up the odds and ends at the reception hall. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s a lot to do in very little time. And you don’t want to forget the vows if the bride has written her own. I stuffed the vows down the front of my dress last minute for the wedding I was in earlier this year (the folks watching the ceremony got a kick out of it at least as I pulled them out and handed them to the bride during the ceremony).

7. What can a bride do to make sure she gives her bridesmaids enough direction, but not too much where you feel like you’re under a dictatorship?

Like I said before, I think it’s important to let your bridesmaids show off a little of their own style. The first wedding I was in, the bride was all for my glitter Ke$ha shoes. The second wedding I was in, the bride wanted us all to have updos but told us we could pretty much do it however we want. Another wedding I’m in next year, the bride wants us all to wear long dresses, but wants us to pick whatever style we want. All the brides have given ideas of what they did or didn’t want in terms of their bachelorette parties, just to give some guidelines. And all the brides have asked for help, but it hasn’t been completely overwhelming. I mean, I guess as long as you don’t make your bridesmaids feel like slaves, you’re golden.

8. Would there be any situation where you would decline to be in a wedding or revoke your invite to being a bridesmaid?

I think if I was completely taken off guard by the invitation to be a bridesmaid, I would decline. Like, it was an acquaintance kind of situation. I’ve heard stories of girls who have stepped down from being bridesmaids, but I don’t think there would be an instance where I would step down. Mostly because I wouldn’t say yes to begin with if I had any second thoughts. I don’t know what would cause me to revoke the invite after accepting either, mostly because I haven’t been in a situation where I considered it.

9.) What was the best and worst thing you’ve encountered during a wedding ceremony?

Gosh, I’m a sucker for wedding ceremonies. I think they are adorable. I always love watching the faces of the bride and groom when they first see each other. Be it the mushy vows, the funny jokes, the kiss, being a goofball as I walk down the aisle at the end, I have a blast. I think the worst thing I encountered the time the aisle was covered with a velvet-like rug. Seriously. I was convinced I was going to slip and fall and totally embarrass myself. I was definitely freaking out just a little. Then at the end as the groomsman and I walked down the aisle to leave, he started joking around and acted like he slipped. It was pretty funny. At the last wedding I was in, one of the bridesmaids had a bug fly up her dress. While I giggled, she was doing a little dance to avoid totally spacing out. I’m sure I’ll have funny stories from the next two weddings I’ll be in.

10. What was the best and worst thing you’ve encountered during a wedding reception?

You mean aside from the delicious food and all the alcohol? Hm, well the last wedding there were two things that really stood out to me. The first was I got to fill a to-go box with cupcakes (the bride and groom opted for a variety of different flavored cupcakes, and since I was stuffed from dinner I wanted a few to go!), and when the bride and I were called to the dance floor to do our silly dance to “I Swear” by All-4-One (I can’t wait to see the pictures the photographer got of this, ha!). We had glowsticks at the other wedding I was in, which was fun. I also enjoy harassing the bride and groom all dinner long by tapping on my wine glass incessantly. I know they’re hungry, but I also know if it was me they would do the same. I think the worst thing I encountered was at the wedding I was in last year when there was another wedding reception in the next room over, and the bride just so happened to have the same name as our bride. Somehow the cakes ended up getting switched around (we got theirs, they got ours). The bride and groom at our wedding was less than thrilled. And again, I’m sure I’ll have some funny stories from the next two weddings I’ll be in.