Luke and I are getting married in the UK and that was definitely something that played a big role in choosing my bridesmaids. Being a bridesmaid a big undertaking, but then add the cost of traveling to an international wedding?! (Insert wide-eyed emoji here!) I really only wanted to ask women who I knew would be going to the wedding and emphasize that asking part, that there was no obligation to say yes.
TAKE TIME SELECTING YOUR BRIDAL PARTY
The best advice I got (and read) was to take your time deciding. Don't start asking as part of your engagement announcement. For us, our wedding is 15 months to the day after our engagement. We have plenty of time, but originally we were only planning on 7 months to the day and I did feel a little pressure to hurry at first. Still, I only asked my sister to be my Matron of Honour right away, because that was something I had decided on a long time ago. Luke and I agreed on a number we wanted for our wedding party (4 on each side) knowing exactly who we had in mind before we asked the rest of our party.
DON'T ASK SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE SHE ASKED YOU
Another great piece of advice to consider. This doesn't exactly apply to me since I've only been a bridesmaid once, when I was the Maid of Honour for my aforementioned sister. But it's something I feel strongly about. Even now, I can recall times in my life when I thought "If I get married this year, I would have her, her, and her in my wedding." Now I'm not even considering those friends because life happens, people move, and sometimes you lose touch and grow apart. It's not quid pro quo for your wedding. Not a time to even the playing field.
That being said, I knew I wanted to ask in a cutesy, Pinterest-worthy way. Yes, that's right. I've fallen into the trap of being a pinnable bride, but I swear I'm trying to keep it under control. I wanted their gift to be something they would use, something they would love, but also something reflective of the wedding.
I ordered robes for them and myself from David's Bridal during one of their sales. (I got ivory for me and got blush for them, two of our colours.) I went to Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and a liquor store for the rest.
WHAT YOU NEED:
White Photo Box (Hobby Lobby, $3.99 each, 50% off)
White Shredded Paper Filling (Hobby Lobby, $2.99 each)
"Will You Be My Bridesmaid" Printable (Blushed Design on Etsy, $5.99 for 4 different printables)
10 Yards of Ivory Ribbon (Michael's, $3.99)
Ivory Card Stock (Michael's, $0.49 each)
Pink "Hello" Cards with Envelopes (Michael's, $2.00 for 6)
Mini Zonin Prosecco Bottle (Wyatt's Liquor, $3.99)
Blank Luxury Satin Robe in Blush (David's Bridal, $39.95 each, BOGO & free shipping)
In total, I spent about $45 per box, which I consider pretty good consider the original cost of the robes were about $40 each. I was able to put together what I consider a personal, nice gift for each of the four women I asked without breaking the bank, and I'd call that a win!
I wish I had been able to include swatches for my colour palette from Weddington Way, but I only had one of each swatch, so I had to include the picture instead. Luckily, one of the first things I did for wedding planning was pick out bridesmaids dresses. I knew I wanted to get them through Weddington Way and it was really important to me that each of my bridesmaids pick a dress that she feels comfortable in, they just had to pick in the colour palette below.
I should note that I also found groomsman boxes on Pinterest. Please don't make your groom send his friends cheesy gift boxes filled with "manly" stuff. Guys don't want that!
Now that we're married and the wedding is a few months gone, I wanted to include a few things I wish I had done differently. I gave my bridesmaids their gifts at my going away part/our engagement party, which was about 11 months before the wedding. Over the course of those 11 months, one of the bridesmaids lost her robe and another left hers in Nebraska. Luckily, there's a David's Bridal in Birmingham so we were able to replace one (though it was bedazzled on the back; we returned it the next day), but one was replaced with a different robe from Amazon. I like that I gave them something when I asked them, but I would have either taken the robes back to be in charge of them and make sure they made it to the UK or waited to give them to them until the morning of the wedding.
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Updated August 2018 with new tips and wedding photos by Brianne Haagenson Photography.