Inviting the bridal party was one of the first things things we did after our engagement. Mr. Crab took a straightforward approach and asked each of the members of his party in person. I also asked my brother and my man of honor in person, but for the others I had something else up my sleeve. After our 30th birthday discussions about an engagement ring, I discovered wedding blogs. I came across this post on DIY “Be My Maid” boxes, and I knew I wanted to put together something crafty for my ‘maids’ invitations. Bridesmaid boxes are a popular bridal party invitation choice; in fact, Miss Coral and Miss Angelfish recently posted about the boxes they made for their ‘maids. I was inspired to embrace the spirit but went a bit of a different route. I was fortunate enough to find these fantastic sparkle clutches at Target, and I knew they would be the perfect vessel for my invitations.
We started our invitations before we had secured the venue so we didn’t have any specific details worked out (including the date!), but I included the information I had so my nearest and dearest could get the feel for what we had planned. I also printed a few of my favorite pictures depicting our friendships throughout the years, and I wrote a handwritten invitation for each one. When they opened the clutch, this is what they saw:
So, remember when I was talking about how hard it is to get your ladies together to shop? Then I confessed that it was probably more because I hate clothes shopping than it is actually difficult to corral people? Well, I was totally right. (I hate shopping. HA!)
This happened on Saturday:
We are classy.
Oh wait, you’re wondering what happened? My two ladies ended up “shoe shopping” (courtesy of the interwebz) and picked out these babies:
To be honest, I find the tradition of sex-segregated bridal parties confusing. For some people, it is a tradition that works and it is definitely more convenient for some wedding events (read: bachelorette party), but it made more sense to me to have the bridal party line up by relationship, not by sex. Mr. Crab agreed, and that’s how we ended up with a mixed-gender bridal party.
It was definitely the right choice for us, but there have been a few challenges to “bucking tradition” in this way:
Updating the language. Probably the least of the concerns, because for the most part coming up with alternative descriptors has been simple. I have a “man of honor” and three “bridesmen,” but there is no catchy term for Mr. Crab’s sister on the other side. “Groomswoman” doesn’t have quite the ring to it.
There are so many details that never occurred to me before I became a bride. Among them are all of the considerations that go into building the bridal party. Of course, the overall approach is simple—choose some of your nearest and dearest and ask them to stand with you on your wedding day—but in practice, I found that there were many things we needed to consider when we were building our bridal party.
One of the first discussions we had after getting engaged was about our bridal party. Mr. Crab has a group of absolute best friends from college. They were housemates their senior year in college and have been in almost daily contact since then. Their friendship and group dynamic is really great, and they truly love each other. Mr. Crab will be the sixth of their group of seven to get married; he thought it would be cool to have all of his friends participate as groomsmen. OK, six people seems reasonable, but of course, he also wanted to include his best friend growing up and his siblings. This made for a grand total of 10.
So let me start this post out by saying, “Hello, my name is Miss Walrus, and I’m kind of jealous that I’ve never been a bridesmaid.” That’s right, I have never been a bridesmaid. Which is a shame, because I’ve found some amazing ideas for showers and have always wanted to plan an awesome bachelorette party! I always joke with my bridesmaids saying at least NOW I’ll get to have a prestigious title in their weddings now since I can be matron of honor by default. Such a selfish bonus for me, LOL.
As a newly engaged bride-to-be I knew who I wanted to ask to be in my bridal party, and I knew that I wanted to ask them in a special way, but I wasn’t sure how. The ladies I had chosen are pretty spread out all over the world, from California to France to South Africa. Only two of my friends actually reside in Pennsylvania with me, so that made any sort of get-together to ask in person out of the question. Also, strictly from a cost perspective, anything I mailed had to be lightweight, inexpensive, and fairly flat. The last thing I wanted was to force a friend to pay customs fees on a present asking them to be in my wedding, so a card seemed like a good way to go.
I saw a lot of great ideas on Etsy, but ultimately decided that making it myself would be more personal and meaningful; plus, it would create a legitimate excuse to partake in my favorite type of shopping excursion. To the craft store I go!
Personal Photo – glitter cards from Michaels craft store
Throughout the wedding-planning process, it’s natural for people to ask about the process and how things are going. I have so many ideas, plans, and details floating through my head at a given time, so keeping track of who I told what to began to be a big mess. I’d start telling someone about a restaurant we found in San Diego that Mr. PB and I really wanted to go to, and they’d look at me puzzled. Turns out, I hadn’t told them that was our plan. Oopsies. Or I’d go to tell them about the aisle runner, and they’d look at me like I had eight heads because they heard about it seven times already.
I definitely didn’t want any information confusion or omission to happen when it came to the bridesmaids and important information like dresses, accessories, and timeline. I could easily send out a quick email to the bridesmaids, but that’s too easy and simple for this girl. No, I like to make things complicated and pretty.
I decided to put together a bridesmaid bulletin. I designed it quick in Adobe InDesign, but anyone could do something similar using Microsoft Publisher.
Ohhhh, ahhh, pretty. / Personal photo
Things I included in the bulletin:
A general note to all the ladies (including a countdown).
Dresses. Info about the dress including style, color, date when it needs to be ordered, cost.
Hair and makeup. I let the ladies know that I would be hiring Ella in Harmony Salon to do their hair and makeup for the day of the wedding. (Looking back, this could have been clearer as some of the ladies didn’t totally get the message that I will be paying for the services for them. Make sure you’re super clear in what you say.)
Accessories & such. I gave the ladies ideas about the shoes, cardigans, and jewelry I was looking at. (Not so surprisingly, especially with my indecisiveness sometimes, I changed my mind on this topic, but that’s for a later post.)
Project updates. Just a quick run-through about the things in progress (in case I hadn’t mentioned them to each bridesmaid).
Tentative timeline. I included this as just a reference for the bridesmaids (again, in case we hadn’t talked about it).
Upcoming. Yet another thing I included as an FYI. This also allowed them to see the plans and attend as well, if they were interested.
Could I have just sent a quick email with all of the same info and had it work just as well? Absolutely. Did I complicate things by doing it this way? Sure. Would I do a bridesmaid bulletin again? Of course.
How did you keep your ladies informed? Did you stick with email or was a mass text good enough? Am I the only one who had a hard time keeping track of who knew what?
Way, way too long ago I spoke about our bridesmaids’ dress inspiration—and then Christmas happened, other posts happened, and I got sidetracked from sharing what we actually picked. Well, here’s that much anticipated part deaux, y’all, with some introductions of my bridesmaids!
We were looking for a short dress, in an eggplant purple, a full skirt, and maybe some kind of straps. And it was a challenge. Online searches left us underwhelmed—I’d definitely recommend going into the store and looking at dresses in person if you’re struggling.
One day, Momma P and I were running errands near the salon I bought my dress at, and we decided to stop in and see what they had for the bridesmaids. And I couldn’t believe it—we found a dress that I loved! The sample was in gray, but we scoured the racks for purple dresses by the same brand. I actually nearly passed on the dress since the only purple we saw was a bit too bright and bluish for what I wanted, but they had swatches available of the other purple by the brand that was just perfect.