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Thu Apr 17, 2014

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How to Ask a Bridesmaid

by Uppereast.com Staff

“Yo dude, wanna be in my wedding?” That is most likely how the groom goes about propositioning their groomsmen to be a part of the wedding festivities. While it may be all about the bachelor party for groomsmen, for the bride and her bridal party there is more thought and sentiment bestowed upon the occasion. Early in the planning process, brides-to-be are posed with the difficult task of selecting bridesmaids. (Most authorities on weddings believe the question should be asked within the first month or so of engagement.) But figuring out who, how many and asking in a creative way complicate the issues.

Brides wrestle with who to include in their party. Do you include your sister-in-law to be? Do you leave out an old friend from high school whose wedding party you were in years ago but you are not as close to anymore? Can you have two maids of honor if you have two best friends? The conundrums are endless and the consequences grand. “People lose friends over this. I didn’t ask my roommate from college because we weren’t as close as we once were, but she was really offended when I didn’t ask her. She just assumed she would be part of the wedding party,” said Emily, a bride who had strained friendships come her big day.

While there are no hard and fast rules for choosing bridesmaids, leaving the choices up to the bride seem more imposing and overwhelming than following some prescribed protocol of etiquette. “I didn’t want to run into issues by choosing my party. I knew people would be upset with the money they had to spend since we were right out of school and I knew that I would have 20 people in my party if I didn’t go the opposite way,” Jasmine said explaining her choice to keep her bridal party to just her two sisters and her fiancé’s sister. Some brides feel the more the merrier, asking a large group of girls who have been important to them throughout different stages of their life. “I didn’t see the need to limit my party to just my two or three best friends. I wanted someone there from every aspect of my life – childhood, college, work and family. I knew 12 bridesmaids were a lot to have, but all 12 were very special to me and I am glad they were there to share that moment,” Casey explained. “At least I didn’t make them wear a pink taffeta dress with a million bows.”

As a recently engaged BIP (bride-in-planning), I had already mapped out my wedding party long before anything sparkled on my finger. Standing up in countless weddings in my 20s, I had “concepts” of how, if I ever was a bride, that I would plan. Screw tradition, I was doing it my way.

There have been three of us for as long as I can remember. My two best friends and I function like a tri-cycle. Fortunately one married earlier this year, allowing me to have a maid and a matron of honor – bestowing upon them equally important yet different roles. Despite being a bride in her 30s, I haven chosen to have a large bridal party. There are 9 in total, each one representing a place and time in my life.

I wanted to find a creative and unique way of asking them to do me the honor of being a bridesmaid. Sure, I could call them up on the phone and just flat out ask, but where is the fun and ingenuity in that? I decided to consult my creative director and in-house expert – my Mother. Together we devised a very personal gift for each on of my bridesmaids-to-be.

The Friendship Candle ... I selected pictures of me and each one of my bridesmaids from my online and digital photos. I emailed them to my mother who printed them on photo printer paper. We selected plain crystal votive holders from Bed Bath and Beyond. They were approximately 3 inch squares. My mother, using decoupage, adhered the pictures to the underneath portion of the cube so that the image face upwards and could be seen. On the bottom of each cube, I inscribed a personal message to each of my bridesmaids with my wedding date. It is something which they can use in their apartment. Who doesn’t love candles? And it is something which is personal.

For those of you with a creative spirit but not a lot of creative flare when it comes to assembling something (or a mother or relative who can), try using a picture in a nice frame. You can purchase inscribed frames at Tiffany’s or Bloomingdales or you can simply use a beautiful frame bought at Gracious Homes, Wedding Things or any camera store. It’s the words and the sentiment behind them that matter when you pop the question. “I used quotes about friendship,” said Casey, “when I asked my friends to be a part of my event. I was having a destination wedding so I bought luggage tags and inside where the address is supposed to go, I added a quote about friendship and then the date and island where the wedding is going to be.”

For some people, it may be as simple as inviting all of your friends to dinner at an Upper East Side restaurant. Treat them to a nice meal and they will be forever in your bridal-debt. “You want to make sure you have a nice environment to ask them. Don’t pick something masculine like a steakhouse or uber loud where you can’t pass the ring around and be all girlie,” Emily warned. “We made it a tradition. When our first friend in the group got engaged we went to Atlantic Grill for dinner: Adult, sophisticated, great food. Now it’s our honored place to go whenever someone gets engaged.”

But of course all BIPs must head over to Weddings Things (61st and 3rd Avenue). At Weddings Things they do the thinking for you. For those tongue-tied on how to ask, let the card do the work for you. Very cute “Will you be my Bridesmaid” cards are ready for purchase, straight off the rack (unlike your wedding dress). Pick up a bridesmaid T-shirt and really say it all without having to say a word.

View the main Brides and Weddings section


How long have you been in this field?

How long have you been in this field? You seem to know a lot more than I do, I’d love to know your sources!