Plus, cute and creative ways to ‘pop’ the question.
By Lora Bilton Englehart
One of the most important decisions you will make (other than the dress, of course!) is who you will ask to be in your bridal party. There will be people who come to mind right away, and others you may be unsure about. There may even be expectations about who you should ask. In short, how many bridesmaids you will have and who you will ask is ultimately up to you. If you are still struggling with who to ask, or need some creative ways to propose to your bridesmaids, then read on.
Food For Thought
When recent West Chester University grad Krissy Sherlock opened a box of her favorite doughnuts from friend Kayla Snyder, colorful confetti exploded from the box. Then Sherlock noticed a note tucked in among the delicious pastries. It read, “I do-nut want to get married without you. Will you be my bridesmaid?” “Of course,” she screamed, “Yes!” The customized doughnuts were just one of the special ways Snyder asked her friends to be a part of her special day and is a great example of how creative brides can be.
Rachel Kooperstein Miller turned to Label with Love (www.labelwithlove.com) to propose to her bridesmaids for her wedding. She ordered wine bottle labels printed with an original heartfelt message that read: “As I prepare for the day that I am to be a bride, it would mean the world to me to have you standing by my side. Plan with me. Dance with me. Cry with me. Laugh with me. Will you be my bridesmaid?” She then visited her friends with the special bottle in hand. After each friend read the message, the women laughed and cried and enjoyed a “just the two of us” visit.
Send Personal Invitations
Anna Pike Nelson chose seven bridesmaids for her Greenville, Del., wedding—her sister, her future sister-in-law, her best friends and roommates from college. “It was really nice having a wedding party with girls who were already close friends,” says Nelson. For her bridesmaid proposal she created invitations with the help of ASHKAHN (www.ashkahn.com). She ordered pink cards with the message, “You have no choice but to be my bridesmaid” printed in gold on the front panel and on the inside, she wrote a personal note. She sent the invitations via regular mail, and, since her bridesmaids live “all over”—Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London—she reveled during the week that followed, as one by one, her best friends received their invitations and responded with joyous acceptances via phone calls and texts.
Do What Makes Sense to You
Pamela Meissler’s unique bridal party consisted of her cousin Paige as maid of honor, her husband’s sister and four of her closest guy friends. Meissler tossed convention aside and chose her best male buddies whom she describes as “wonderful, silly, hilarious and caring” to be her bridesmen. She has known three of the four since they were just 6 years old. Besides attending Brandywine High School together, they all were involved in B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, which solidified their bond. College separated them physically, but Meissler thinks that actually brought them even closer together. She asked her fellas to be in her wedding via FaceTime.
She was a little nervous about how this rowdy bunch would behave at the wedding, but also felt confident that her cousin and maid of honor would keep them in line. Since she couldn’t ask them to wear matching dresses, she did the next best thing: She put them in matching kilts. Meissler’s sharp-dressed bridesmen were a memorable moment during her beautiful Jewish wedding held at Greystone Manor in West Chester, Pa.
Four Ways to Ask
1. Order a Gift Box
For the bride who is not a DIY kind of gal, there are many online sources that can help. Start your search on Pinterest for ideas then head to www.askyourbridesmaids.com. Items range from the whimsical to the romantic and in a wide price range. For $48 you can send your gals “The Bridesmaid Essentials” gift box, which includes chocolate, ‘bridesmaids on duty’ pencil, journal, hair ties and a luxury bath bomb. Add a personal message on one of the postcards, like “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” for an extra $5. Owner and CEO Linda de Raad promises to make each gift box as unique as the person receiving it.
2. Or Make Your Own
If you are crafty, then make your own bridesmaid bags. Fill a canvas bag with items of your choice, like flowers, a bottle of bubbly, a piece of jewelry, and perhaps a journal (with important dates already marked!)
3. Search For Something Handmade
You cannot go wrong with something from Etsy. Otis B Jewelry designs personalized bridal party jewelry. The great thing about this Philadelphia-based shop is you can purchase the delicate jewelry in sets, based on the number of bridesmaids in your party, like these silver starfish necklaces that come with a customizable stone and initial. Visit www.etsy.com/shop/OtisBWeddings to shop.
4. Go Glam
Want your bridesmaids to feel like they’re “putting on the Ritz?” Then consider the company Kelsey MacLean (https://kelseymaclean.com). MacLean’s Kennett Square-based company produces a line of custom-embroidered luxury apparel. Her luxury cotton spa robes were originally designed for the Ritz Carlton Hotels, but now you can order them for your bridesmaids, personalized or monogrammed. Or, you might consider the 100 percent Pima Cotton monogrammed polos that your bridesmaids will enjoy long after the flurry of the wedding is over.
One More Thing…A hard consideration to face can be finances. The average cost of being a bridesmaid in the United States is $1,500. Being part of a wedding can be expensive, so make a list of what you expect your attendants to pay for. Communication is key—let your bridesmaids know up front if they will be responsible for paying for their own hair and makeup, for example. Give them the opportunity to say no if being in your wedding will pose a financial burden on them. Explain that you will understand if they can’t be in your wedding, and find another way to include them, such as greeting and handing out programs at the door.
But most importantly, surround yourself with those who are important to you. Whether you ask your best girlfriends (or guy friends) with doughnuts or printed invitations, just be sure to have fun with it.