Planning A Bridal Shower

One of the most fun parts of being a maid of honor or a bridesmaid is planning the bridal shower. It is a chance to really be creative and show the bride how much she means to you. You and the bridesmaids are responsible for helping plan, set up, pay for, and attend the shower. If possible, it’s best for all the maids to get together to talk about the shower and what kind of shower the bride wants? Would she like a traditional ladies’ shower with cucumber sandwiches and tea, or would she prefer a more casual couples’ shower with barbeque and beer? Try to find out what other kinds of showers are being hosted for her, and you can feel free to ask for her input on the shower’s atmosphere and theme. There are several factors to consider when planning the shower: when, where, who, and how much.

WHEN: It’s of course essential that you consult the bride regarding a time frame for the shower; she is likely to be pretty booked in the months leading up to the wedding, so check with her for open dates before you plan anything. A very traditional bride may want to have her shower very close to the wedding, but a DIY (do it yourself) bride may prefer to have it earlier so that she has plenty of free time leading up to the wedding to complete her projects. You’re probably thinking, “…but, all she has to do is show up!” Ah, then you would be forgetting something very important: she has to find the perfect outfit. She may not have time to scour the dress department at Macy’s two weeks before her wedding, because she may need to be hot-gluing her homemade centerpieces or assembling her candy buffet! The important thing to remember: every bride is different, so don’t assume that the bride from the last wedding you were in is going to have the same preferences and expectations as this one. As far as time of day, most showers start anywhere from 1pm to 3pm.

WHO: Figuring out the guest list takes some thought. First you have to determine whether anyone else is hosting showers for the bride…perhaps an aunt or a friend of her mother’s. If this is the case, then you know that family members (if it’s an aunt) or family friends (if it’s the mother’s friend) are already being invited to a shower. In most cases, there is no need to invite them to another shower, with the exception of the mother of the bride and/or groom. It is a lot to ask of a regular wedding guest to attend and bring gifts to more than one shower and also the wedding. However, if your shower is the only one the bride is having, you’ll need to coordinate with the bride or with her mother, to find out what family members or family friends need to be invited.

WHERE: This can be tricky. Often there is a hometown, a college town, and/or a current city…which one do you pick? That depends on the WHO. If yours is the only shower, then hometown is the most likely answer. If your shower will just be the bride’s friends, then picking your college town or current city makes more sense. If you’re not sure, the bride probably has an idea of where she wants it; just throw a few suggestions at her and ask what she prefers!

HOW MUCH: You and the bridesmaids really should discuss budget very early on in the planning process. Typically the cost of the shower is simply divided equally among all the hostesses (which is usually the maid of honor and the bridesmaids), so you should consider the financial situation of all involved before making any plans. Budget can determine location, what food/drink is served, how many people are invited, and decorations. For the average twenty something bridesmaid, it’s reasonable to ask for $30-50 per person. If you have four hostesses, then, your budget could be from $120-$200. But every situation is different, so just discuss it with the bridesmaids.

Once you and the bridesmaids have the basics of the bridal shower decided, you can begin work on the fun stuff-like the theme and the food!

The Wedding Reception

Now that the vows have been recited and the couple has sealed their marriage with a kiss, it’s time to party at the reception! Well, actually, it’s probably time to spend an hour taking pictures first, but after THAT, it’s off to the reception. But before you and the bridesmaids let loose, you should act as hostesses for arriving guests and direct them to things like the

restroom, the gift table, the bar/buffet if applicable, the guest book, where to sit and try to answer whatever questions they may have. Guests don’t want to bother the bride and groom with these inquiries, and you will be wearing the bridesmaid uniform, so you’ll be a target for questions.

Dancing

Many brides choose to have a big entrance for themselves and the groom, as well as the wedding party. This type of introduction usually goes in this order: entrance and the first dance of bride and groom, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, bridal party introduction, and dance. This order can of course be mixed up any number of ways. During the bridal party dance, you’ll likely be paired with the best man. However, the bridal party dance is not a given at any wedding reception. Many traditions like this are regional; it may be the thing to do in the Northeast but people in the South have never heard of it, or vice versa. It’s another one of those expectations you’ll need to check with the bride on. Even if there isn’t a bridal party dance, but there is dancing at the reception, you and the bridesmaids and the groomsmen should make an effort to get people on the dance floor by being the first ones to bust a move!

Toasting

If it’s a traditional or formal wedding reception, the best man will probably make a toast. It’s a wonderful touch and so meaningful for the maid of honor to follow him, but in most cases, it’s optional.

Taking Care Of The Bride

Once the reception is in full swing and you’ve completed all your official duties, you can relax and enjoy yourself but still, make sure the bride has everything she needs at all times. This includes making sure she’s taken a moment to eat and drink (unless the reception is a seated dinner), fixing her bustle or dress if needed, checking and reapplying makeup, and, let’s be honest: it might even include holding up her dress while she, ahem, “powders her nose.” Also, if the couple didn’t opt for a receiving line, the bride and groom will be bombarded with guests talking to them at the reception. While this is great and what the couple wants, there will be guests who don’t know when enough is enough, and the couple needs to make the rounds to all their guests. This might be a good time to rescue the bride by telling her she’s needed somewhere and taking over with the guest or simply by joining the conversation so that the bride can make a gracious exit without leaving her guest alone. Of course, be as discreet and courteous as possible; these situations can be tricky.

Helping The Bride Choose Wedding Attire

What’s The Best Way For Me To Help The Bride Shop For Dresses?

Traditionally, brides ask the maid of honor to help them find their wedding attire. This task can be monumentally challenging and take months and several out-of-town trips, or it can be a lucky coincidence that she finds “the one” on the first shopping day. As maid of honor, you may want to ask the bride when she’s planning on going and let her know you’d love to come and help if she would like as wedding attire. And any bride would feel spoiled if you presented her with a stack of clippings from bridal magazines full of dresses that just made you think of her or that you thought would look amazing on her. She has undoubtedly been scouring the magazines herself looking for THE dress but an outside opinion is always helpful.

Knowing ahead of time which dresses she wants to try on can save time in the search, but try to encourage her to be open-minded and try on lots of different styles.

How Do We Find Out Where To Go?

This really depends on the bride’s budget, which can be anywhere from $150 to $5,000 and up. If you are in a smaller town, it’s probably a good idea to research the bridal shops in the nearest metropolitan area and spend a day shopping there for wedding attire. Research on a site like theknot.com to find out the price ranges of certain designers and you can call the bridal shops ahead of time to see which designers they carry-that way you don’t waste any time at a shop that only carries designers that are way out the bride’s price range. Regional bridal magazines and the internet are a great resource for finding out what dress shopping choices you have locally.

What Time Frame Should We Follow For Making Her Choices?

For many brides, dress shopping is the first thing she wants to do as soon as she is engaged. Generally, if the bride is traditional and classic, this approach works well. However, if the bride is ultra modern and trendy and wants the dress of the moment, she should try to hold off on purchasing her gown as late as six months before the wedding, so that the “it” dress isn’t soo five minutes ago. Some dresses can take as long as three months to come in, while some can arrive in as little as a month, and then others that can be bought off the rack and taken straight home. You’ll also want to consider the time needed for fittings. The first fitting should take place at least six weeks before the wedding day. For example, for an early October wedding with a dress that takes the maximum time to come in, the dress would need to be purchased in mid-May. Five to six months is really the latest most brides should wait to purchase their wedding gown.

What Should I Know About Purchasing My Dress?

The necessary lead time for purchasing bridesmaid dresses is similar to that of the wedding attire: purchase 5-6 months before the wedding and leave at least 4 weeks for alterations. In almost every case, you are responsible for purchasing your own attire for the wedding, including the dress and alterations, as well as any accessories such as shoes and jewelry. You can probably expect to pay $120-250 for your dress, plus around $50 for alterations. If you’re asked to wear a dress any more expensive than that, the bride should really offer to pay.

More Tips for the Maid of Honor

Planning The Bachelorette Party

Now it’s time for the real fun to begin, the bachelorette party! This is the bride’s chance to really go wild and dance all her wedding stress away before the big day.

What’s The Difference Between The Bridal Shower And The Bachelorette Party?

Most brides have a bridal shower AND a bachelorette party on two separate occasions and if you do it like most people, they are VERY different. The shower, although you can make it as fun as you want, often has grandmothers and mothers in attendance, and as a result doesn’t get too wild or loud. It’s typically held at one location, such as someone’s house or a favorite restaurant, and lasts a few hours. Conversely, most bachelorette parties are basically just a crazy, crass night out on the town where the bride is paraded around in ridiculous, embarrassing wedding regalia. Of course, if you’ve learned anything from this site, it is what? Every bride is different. While some will lap up the attention they’ll get from people because they’re wearing a blinking tiara and a Bachelorette sash, others would be extremely uncomfortable and would prefer something more low-key.

What Types Of Different Bachelorette Parties Are There?

The traditional bachelorette party is as we mentioned earlier: a wild night out just for the girls, where the bride is adorned with tiaras, or homemade t-shirts, or any number of phallic-shaped items. A popular activity is to give all the girls in the party a scavenger hunt and put them on teams and the first one to complete all their tasks wins something. It’s a great way to get everyone out and about and talking to people and having fun. Since most bachelorette parties like this involve drinking, it’s a good idea to book several hotel rooms near where you’ll be going out so you don’t have guests driving home. Plus, it can serve as a central meeting location for everyone to get the party started.

However, if your bride is not up for this kind of party, there are plenty of other options. Some brides’ perfect bachelorette party might be simply going out to dinner and drinks with the girls, or to a wine bar, or to a spa for the day. One very fun (and funny) idea is the Ugly Bridesmaid Dress party. Invite all the guests to arrive wearing an old bridesmaid dress to get one more use out of them. Or you could buy a selection of awful formal dresses from a thrift shop or Goodwill to have available for guests and wait for the hilarity to ensue. This party idea makes for priceless pictures and is sure to lead to lots and lots of laughing, a great stress reducer for the tense bride.

Who Is Invited To The Bachelorette Party?

Bachelorette party invitees are typically close friends of the bride who are also invited to the wedding. Depending on how wild you plan to get, you probably don’t want to invite family (other than sisters or close cousins) or elders. But there’s no limit to how many people you can invite-the more, the merrier!

When Should We Host A Bachelorette Party?

Get with the bridesmaids and come up with a few tentative dates, then check with the bride. As I mentioned earlier, it’s helpful to do this several weeks or a month before the wedding so she has the time before the wedding to finish up last minute things. Surely this goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: do NOT have the bachelorette party the night before. Even the weekend before is cutting it close to the wedding, because the bride probably intends to spend that last week perfecting her body, skin, hair, etc. A really crazy bachelorette party could lead to a good two-day hangover, which is not a good start to a week of beautifying, is it?

Who Pays For The Bachelorette Party?

Unlike the shower, where it’s never ok to ask guests to pay for anything, the nature of the bachelorette party makes it much more acceptable. It often involves a hotel room and transportation, which you can ask everyone who is using them to help pay for. A typical hotel room that sleeps 4-6 should cost between $120-240, and this truly varies by city and area. Costs for a limo or party bus also vary by area, anywhere from $80 to $300 an hour. And you may go out to a bar which would involve cover charges and the cost of drinks, and guests will expect to pay their own way here (but try to make sure the bride never has to get out her wallet!) Just be considerate-you might be able to afford to stay in an expensive hotel room or book a limo or a party bus, but not everyone can. Just keep in mind that some people may not come if you make the cost of attending too high. The one thing you and the bridesmaid really should pay for is if you plan to provide food and drinks in the hotel room or the central meeting location.

What Do We Do About Invitations?

A bachelorette party is much less formal than the shower usually, so online invitations, such as those from evite.com, are very popular for this type of party. We still can’t condone the use of the store-bought invitations that you write on yourself, but if you must, use them for the bachelorette party instead of the shower. However, there is often a lot of information to convey about a bachelorette party, such as how much they’ll need to pay if you’re getting hotels or transportation, what to expect, etc. It’s difficult to fit all that on one of those tiny hand-written invitations. Like with the shower, you can buy the package of already designed invitations and just lay out the wording with your computer, and they should be sent 3-4 weeks before the party.

Should We Ask Guests To Bring Gifts?

Since you’ve already hosted a shower that required guests to bring gifts, it’s a good idea not to ask them to bring gifts to the bachelorette party. If all the bachelorette party guests weren’t invited to your shower, one idea is to call it a Lingerie Shower/Bachelorette Party, or ask the guests to bring lingerie or naughty gifts from a sex shop-the more embarrassing, the better! Often, people will just bring gifts like this on their own, so it’s perfectly ok not to instruct them to do so, especially if you’re already asking them to pay their own way.

How Much Should The Bridesmaids Help? Should The Bride Get Any Say?

You and the bridesmaids should plan the bachelorette party together, preferably with a little bit of input from the bride just to set ground rules. If you want your plans to be a surprise, that’s ok; just ask her to tell you what she’s not comfortable with ahead of time so you don’t have any hurt feelings the night of the party. Bridesmaids should help you plan, set up, clean up, and pay for things that you wouldn’t ask your guests to pay for, such as food or drinks for the central meeting location.

Best Maid Of Honor Speeches – How do You Write the Best Maid of Honor Speech?

How do you write the best maid of honor speech?

It’s almost the big day and the stress of figuring out what to say in front of hundreds of people can be overwhelming. I know, because I have been there. I wanted to honor my best friend, someone whom I have grown up with and now its her day, her wedding. I remember the day as if it was yesterday, running around in a frantic just to get everything done. My mind wasn’t even on my speech or even what I was going to say. I knew I wanted to have the best maid of honor speech that I could come up with, but still didn’t have the time to write out my thoughts.

It was three days until the wedding day when I started stressing out about what I would say. I began asking some of my close friends what would be expected of me. Since this was the first time being the ‘Maid of Honor’ I really didn’t know what to expect. I remember breaking down one day and crying in my mom’s arms asking her for advice. She reminded me why I was the Maid of Honor and then started asking me questions. Without knowing what she was up to and why she was asking me all of these questions, I began to realize what I could say for my speech.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed when we are told we have to come up with a speech. A speech to me is a scary thing! Come on, do I really want to get up in front of all of those people and spill out my heart in front of them all! That is a scary thought to me. For some people, getting up and speaking to large crowds of people is like second nature, but not for me.

So what would make the best Maid of Honor speech?

  • The Best Maid of Honor Speeches are well prepared. I started preparing for my speech three days before the wedding. For some that is plenty of time, for others you might want to start writing down ideas and thoughts about your speech at least a week ahead. Having at least a week will give you enough time to practice and rehearse your speech. Sometimes its better not rehearse or practice because then the speech sounds like you are reading it and its not coming from the heart. Remember that the Best Maid Of Honor Speeches come from the heart, even if you never practice or rehearse before hand.
  • Some will say to include jokes, quotes or a poem that reminds you of the good times and funny times. Not all great Maid of Honor speeches have these qualities to them, but getting the crowd engaged and laughing or crying will do your best friend good. Remember the ‘good ole days’.
  • The best speeches are not too long, anything more than 8 minutes and you will start to lose the crowd. Include a short story or your favorite memory to get your audience involved. Short stories are often added to the best maid of honor speeches and are some times a great way of ending the speech.
  • The is important! Know what you want to say from the start to the end. If you just stand up and read from a note card you will lose the attention of the audience quickly. Most people don’t like listening to someone who is just reading from a card. The best Maid of Honor Speeches come from the heart and if you speak what is on your heart, you won’t need note cards. Not cards are good to put points you want to cover and to keep you on track, but not to just read from.
  • Being prepared is the most important thing that will separate the Best Maid of Honor Speeches from the rest. You can find many resources online that can help guide you to writing your speech and how to properly write the Best Maid of Honor Speech ever. Remember, you only have one shot at this speech, so take the time now and prepare for what you will say.

After I sat there crying in my mom’s arms, I got up and started jotting down my thoughts and ideas. This helped me remember memories and the great times we had together. I honestly believe that the best Maid of Honor speeches come from the heart and not from a note card. So take this as a maid of honor guide and prepare yourself for your best friends greatest day!