Avoiding Wedding Problems

If you’ve ever watched any of those addicting wedding shows, you know that wedding planning isn’t all cake-tasting and rose-smelling. A wedding must be planned like any other big event; it takes a lot of time, energy, and often, frustration. Likewise, your role as maid of honor will take a lot of time and energy, and probably a little frustration, too. You have several events to plan, the shower and the bachelorette party, you are expected to be the glue that holds all the bridesmaids together, and you might even have to (GASP!) speak in public. Anytime you are charged with working with a group of people, there will be disagreements, and it will probably be no different in this situation. The best advice for you is simply to be prepared.

Do your homework and research everything: shower ideas, wedding gown shops, wedding toasts, and anything you are responsible for. When in doubt, Google it!

Stay on top of things and follow through with what you say you’ll do. If you are prompt and keep the bridesmaids and bride in the loop, there will be less room for discontent or talks of mutiny among your bridesmaid ranks.

Advice for Long-Distance Maids of Honor

Living far from the location of the wedding and/or the bride can be tough, and even tougher if you’re not in driving distance. If you’re not local, you simply can’t accompany the bride on dress shopping trips, vendor interviews and meetings, or lunches with the bridesmaids to discuss cake flavors or first-dance songs. It can feel horribly alienating to be the only one who feels out of the loop. If you are in driving distance, do what you can to schedule one trip into town early into the engagement to get together with the bride and bridesmaids and celebrate and discuss plans and expectations. If that’s not a possibility, absolutely get everyone’s email address and start an email circle. This is a great way for the bride to update you all on what she’s doing, and for you and the maids to discuss and plan the shower, dress shopping, and the bachelorette party. Be honest with the bride and the maids; if you can only afford to come into town for the wedding and one other time, let them know that. She’ll either decide that the shower and bachelorette party must be on the same day or understand that you can only be at one of them.

Keeping everyone happy

The maid of honor often has to act as a middleman to make the bride’s life a little easier, and sometimes she has to jump into action where she sees things that need to get done. There may be bridesmaids who feel like you are telling them what to do and resent that. That’s why it’s so important to really concentrate on being positive and diplomatic any time you communicate with them, especially when it’s a message to the entire group. You were chosen as maid of honor for this wedding, so that must mean you’re a lovely person. Just make sure that in the stress of being the bride’s right hand woman, you don’t lose that loveliness and become bossy and demanding.

Staying Organized

As the head of the Bridesmaid Brigade, you’ll want to help the bride out by making sure the maids know where they’re supposed to be and when. Again, the email circle will be helpful for this. You can create a calendar in a word processing program and notate all the important dates on it, such as when the bride wants you to help pick out bridesmaid dresses, possible dates for the shower and bachelorette party, deadlines for when their dresses have to be purchased, etc. You can email this file to all the other bridesmaids to make sure everyone’s in the loop and knows what is expected of them when.

Your Wedding Ceremony Duties

Ahh, the wedding ceremony, the culmination of everything the bride has hoped for and planned for so long. As maid of honor, you have the honor of standing next to her as she vows to love and to cherish her new husband so long as they both shall live. The wedding day is an emotional rollercoaster, and any bride can go from frantic to giddy to nervous to weepy in the span of a few minutes. She’ll want you there with her for every minute of it, whether it’s to hold her hand, check her makeup, reassure her, make her laugh, or help her into her ensemble. Your job is to be there for her for whatever she needs on the wedding day, and that includes a few things that are a given, such as signing the marriage license after the ceremony, holding the groom’s wedding band during the ceremony (your thumb is a good place for it), and holding the bride’s bouquet during the couple’s vows. Also, if the couple has decided to do a traditional receiving line after the ceremony, you’ll need to arrange the bridal party and get them ready for that. You can enlist the help of your fellow bridesmaids for this task.

A very important job that the maid of honor must know how to do is securing the bustle on the bride’s wedding gown. A bustle is simply a way to beautifully bundle up the gown’s train so that the bride can walk and dance with ease once the ceremony is over. Bustles can be secured in many ways, including buttons, snaps, or ribbons. You may want to go with her to her final fitting and have the seamstress show you how it’s done.

If there isn’t a wedding coordinator to corral everyone for pictures after the ceremony, you may be charged with this task. Ideally, everyone has been instructed to meet at a central location after the ceremony, usually at the altar of the church or wherever the ceremony took place, but if there are stragglers, make it your mission to track them down unless you are told otherwise.

TIP: The Emergency Kit

Every Good Maid of Honor’s Secret Weapon: Any maid of honor or bridesmaid worth her salt will tell you that it is your job to anticipate what will be needed on the wedding day and be ready for it. That’s why you should put together a wedding day emergency kit, and stock it with items that could save the day in a pinch that no one else will think of. Putting together all these supplies will probably run you about $50, so see what you have around the house first, before you go shopping.

Here’s a list of ideas for the kit:

  • White chalk to covers stains (God forbid) on a wedding gown
  • Straws so the ladies in the wedding party can hydrate without ruining their lipstick
  • Safety pins
  • Double stick tape
  • Nail glue/nail file
  • Deodorant
  • Breath mints or gum
  • Clear fingernail polish
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Over-the-counter pain reliever and/or antacid
  • Granola bars or something to munch on (By the way, make sure the bride eats something!)

High Tech Wedding Planning Ideas

High Tech Wedding Planning IdeasIn today’s fast-paced modern times, everything has become convenient, efficient, and compact – including wedding planning. Before the internet, wedding planning is a tedious and time-consuming process involving bulky binders, clipped magazines, and that ever iconic Rolodex. Every detail was to be written down and filed for future reference but carrying it around from the house to the office to any meeting place would be a chore for the excited bride-to-be.

All that has changed now, thanks to technology and innovation. The tech-savvy brides and wedding planners of today have so many tools and devices to help them get the job done as quick and as easy as possible. Any gadget, from the tiny smartphones to the handy tablets and laptops, can turn into an instant wedding planning idea box with the right application. Of course, as the kids would say these days, there is an app for anything and everything.

With these new tools for wedding planning and organizing, brides of today get to enjoy easier collaboration with their bridesmaids, event planner, and even the other vendors. All details are available right at a touch of button or screen, which means it can be brought anywhere and accessed anytime without any fuss.

Here are a handful of the most convenient mobile apps that are perfect for the highly technical brides of today. These tools are ideal for the multi-taskers, the working brides, and the DIY enthusiasts who are determined to transform their dream wedding into a reality.

Appy Couple. Promising to deliver the complete wedding package, this handy wedding planning app offers quick RSVP links which are accessible for the guests, shared photo galleries where guests can pool in all snapshots from the party, and even alerts and notifications related to wedding-related tasks.

Evernote. It’s like having a digital notebook that can hold all photos, lists, sketches, and little memos needed for planning a wedding. Evernote is so handy and flexible that it can be accessed across different platforms, from the mobile phone to desktop computers. Collaboration is also made easier as content can be shared between accounts and users through email addresses.

Thankful. Yes, even gift registries can be built and curated to suit the digital world. Wedding guests don’t need to travel across town just buy a specific tea set at a special store. Simply download the app and share the registry from any site or any store with just a click of a button.

Pinterest. Unleashing all glitter, mason jars, and paper doily projects to the entire world, Pinterest is a heaven-sent application where users can collect ideas for their wedding and also collaborate in making idea boards related to the theme. No need to clip magazines, print wedding gown styles, and hunt down catalog prints – all wedding inspiration ideas can be viewed instantly and shared easily among the bridesmaids with just a touch of a button. With the success of Pinterest, it is a wonder how brides survived without having this handy tool in wedding planning.

Wedding Toasts & Etiquette

There is no hard and fast rule of etiquette that requires the maid of honor to make a speech or a toast, so if you count yourself in the group of people that would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy, don’t worry. It’s quite possible that you don’t HAVE to make a speech. These days, wedding celebrations are so varied and personal, that it is not always a given to hear toasts at a wedding reception. It’s not uncommon in some regions for toasts to take place at the rehearsal dinner instead of the actual wedding, and it’s possible that the families may be very informal or nontraditional and may choose not to make toasts a part of the wedding celebration. Again, consider your couple: if they are very traditional, then you can probably expect to hear the best man make a toast at the wedding reception and if you choose to or if you are asked to, you may follow him with a toast of your own. The best thing for you to do is to simply ask the bride whether there will be toasts and whether she would like you to make one. If she asks you to make a toast, or if you’ve simply decided that you want to, here are some guidelines to follow.

When To Toast

The traditional best man speech takes place during dinner at the wedding reception. If there is no seated dinner and there is a buffet or a spread of hours d’ oeuvres instead, the toasts usually start after everyone has served themselves, but within the first one to two hours of the reception before too many guests have started to leave. Traditionally, the best man serves as the emcee and gets the toasts rolling, so be sure to coordinate with him beforehand and find him when it’s getting about that time.

How To Toast

First off, be sure you have a drink in your hand! Something like that is easy to forget when you’re nervous. It’s always in good taste to start off your toast by thanking the couple and their parents for inviting everyone to such a lovely event. If you have a short anecdote or story about the couple (and it’s in good taste), that’s a great way to engage your audience and get them laughing and relaxed. Conclude your toast by wishing the couple happiness and by raising your glass and saying something like, “To Jane and Joe!”

What Not To Toast About

Just because the best man rehashes Joe Groom’s drunken college conquests (and he just might), absolutely does NOT mean you should follow suit. If you want to be funny and tell a story, go ahead, but remember that there are several grandparents and maybe even great-grandparents in attendance! Don’t make the bride or groom uncomfortable, and for goodness sake, don’t scandalize Great Aunt Nellie! Your toast should focus on their love for each other and everyone else’s love for them, NOT past indiscretions or tasteless inside jokes.

You’ve probably also seen plenty of movies where the best man or maid of honor has had a stressful day and a little too much to drink and uses their toast as an opportunity to vent…please don’t do this! Keep in mind that this is a sacred, very special event, and it is not about you. That may sound harsh, but we’ve all experienced the awkward angry speech moment, right? Not fun.

How To Come Up With A Good Toast

Start thinking about your toast several weeks before the wedding. Do a little research and check out a book like Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations to get ideas for how to start it off with a quote or poem. Think about what makes the couple so perfect for each other, and express that in your toast. Look through old pictures or letters for inspiration. Be yourself-don’t feel pressure to be funny or sentimental if that’s not you-it’ll just sound unnatural and forced. The bride chose you because she loves you for who you are, so if you’re sappy and sentimental, feel free to get a little weepy and tell the bride how much you love her. If you’re sarcastic and cynical, be that…as long as you are not diminishing the bride and groom with your humor. The maid of honor can rock the wedding toast no matter her personality!

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.