Saturday, October 5, 2013

Be a Nice Bride: How to keep your friends

The most wonderful thing has happened!  You're engaged!!  Now begins a new chapter in your life and you want your very closest friends to celebrate with you, in so many ways.  There will be engagement parties and bridal showers. Bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners.  Dress shopping, cake tastings, fittings, and on and on and on.

Your friends are so happy that you've found your match.  And they're honored that you've chosen to involve them in your big day!  However, there are certain things that you need to make sure you take into account as a bride...if you want to gain a husband and still keep your friends in the process.

Schedules:  Now that you're engaged, there's a very good chance that wedding planning has started to consume a very large part of your life...and that's expected.  This is going to be the perfect day you've always dreamed of and you're willing to put in the time and energy to make that happen.  And your friends want to put in as much effort as they can to help!  But it's so important to try and remember that they still have jobs, families, and relationships of their own to juggle.  They are going to be available as much as possible to help you pick the perfect flowers for the bouquets.  They will do their best to be there for you every time you call and have a panic attack about writing your vows.  And yes, they do want to see the 72 ideas you found on Pinterest for the photo booth.  But there will inevitably come a time during your wedding planning that they won't be available.  Life happens, and sometimes it gets in the way of your plans.  Try to be as understanding as possible and remember that this wedding may be taking up every waking minute of your life, but it can't take up every minute of theirs.  Be respectful of that.

Your Friends Have Lives Too:  As the bride, you're not the only one to have exciting things happening.  Your friends are also having big life changes every day!  They're your friends because they have celebrated you every day, not just since you became a bride.  When you met that dream guy of yours, when you got that big promotion at work you had worked so hard for, when you finally got that new car you had been wanting, when you and your guy first moved in together....they celebrated every bit of it with you.  You need to make sure that you don't let your impending wedding overshadow your friends' big changes!  Do whatever you can to continue to celebrate these exciting moments in their lives as well.  Acknowledge their accomplishments.  Listen to them dish about their new love interests.  Have wine nights without bringing up your wedding.  And most importantly, thank them...just for being your friend.  After all, you are who you are in large part because of them.  And your fiance fell in love with you for being you.  You sorta owe them!!

The Bachelorette Party:  You've probably thought about/mentally planned out your "last fling" for a very long time.  And guess what, your friends have likely been doing the same thing since you got that sparkly new rock!  They can't wait for a big girls' outing to celebrate their dear friend and bride-to-be.  However, as grand as your bachelorette party has looked in your head, you have to be realistic.  A week-long jaunt to Hawaii to celebrate your last bit of "singledom" is likely not in the cards {or the wallets} for most of your friends.

Your friends do not want to miss this amazing trip.  But they also don't want to feel like they'll need to take out a small loan to afford it.  Being in a wedding/attending a wedding is very expensive.  Not only do the dresses and gifts cost money.  But many people will have to take off work and make travel arrangements.  Add to that the showers & parties {all of which they want to be involved in}, and an extravagant bachelorette party could be the breaking point for some of your friends.

Try to be mindful of your friends' time/money constraints.  If you're dead-set on doing that trip to the other side of the continent, you should go for it.  After all, you likely won't get this chance again.  But make sure to be understanding if any of your friends gracefully bow out from this part of the wedding fun.

Your Wedding Is One Day:  It's a very BIG day for you.  But it's still only one day.  The ring on your finger does not give you a free pass to monopolize the year leading up to your big day.  Try not to have 367 bridal showers/engagement parties/bridal outings leading up to your wedding.  Everyone wants to celebrate with you.  But you cannot expect them to come to every single event that is thrown by you/in your honor.  Referencing my earlier point, your friends have lives outside of your wedding.  They have family members with birthdays and anniversaries.  They have trips of their own planned.  They have other friends getting married, other weddings and showers to go to in addition to yours.  And they should be able to do all of those things while still wanting to celebrate with you.

Not only is it a little presumptuous to expect everyone to celebrate your wedding ten times over and bring you gifts every time {again....expensive}...people may start to feel like your wedding day has turned into a wedding year.  And they will begin to resent you when they have to turn down that weekend getaway with their sweetie so that they can go to yet another of your bridal showers, this time thrown by your great aunt.  So try not to monopolize your friends' social calendars too much.

The Dresses:  I know every bride says they want their maids to look ravishing at the alter with them.  And I know it's really hard to find dresses that fit every body type & personality in your bridal party.  I really do understand all of that, and chances are, so do your friends.  However, please keep in mind that the worse you make your bridesmaids look, the worse your pictures will turn out.  Look back at those pictures from when you were a kid and your mom dressed you in those clothes that you hated for family pictures.  Taking the actual clothes out of the equation, how miserable did you look?  When someone is wearing something they dislike or feel that they look less than their best, it shows.  Keep that in mind when choosing the dresses for your maids.  Let them have a say in what they wear.  Trust me on this....this is one of those "choose your battles" times.

When Your Turn Is Over:  The wedding has come and gone.  You're very happily married and probably more than a little ready to get back to "regular" life.  No more crazy wedding planning taking up every spare minute you have and keeping you awake at night.  And there's a pretty good chance that one {or a few} of your friends will be heading for the alter next.  Yay!!!  And there's also a good chance you'll be chosen to help with their big day.  Double Yay!!  But, something to try to remember.  You planned your wedding and it was absolutely perfect....for you.  Having planned your wedding does not make you a professional wedding planner.  Therefore, constantly throwing out the whole "Well at myyyy wedding...." when discussing plans for your friend's is a little frowned upon.  Read: It Gets Old.  What worked for you and your hubby may not work for your friends.  You have to be mindful of that and realize that it's not your wedding anymore.  It's their turn.

In closing, when you're the bride-to-be/newlywed, just be nice.  Consider your friends' feelings, wallets, lives.  Don't be demanding just because you have the ring on your finger and a wedding date planned.  These people were your friends before you were engaged and, if you'd like to keep them as your friends after your big day, you will need to treat them like they're important to you.

Happy Planning!

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