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Choosing Your Maid-of-Honour, Bridesmaids & Best Man

Asking a good friend to be a bridesmaid is a special honour for them. Their role will be to support the bride and take away some of her stress. There are no hard-and-fast rules about how many a bride should choose; often that decision is based on the size of the wedding and venue.

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Someone who will muck in

So, whom to ask? She’ll either be a good friend or a member of either family. It needs to be someone who will muck in with the numerous jobs that go hand-in-hand with planning a wedding.

Don’t feel pressurised into picking someone you don’t want, as the group dynamics have to work in the lead-up to the wedding and on the day itself. It’s a tough choice to decide between close friends, but those who aren’t asked to be bridesmaids can be given other special jobs so they don’t feel left out.

Ideally, decide on whom you want for the role around the time of the engagement. During the excitement of telling everyone your news, you may live to regret it if you spontaneously ask friends without thinking it through.

Just because a friend asked you to be a bridesmaid at her wedding doesn’t mean you have to return the favour.

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Dresses reflect the wedding scheme

One of the biggest sources of conflict can be about the dresses. Often the bridesmaids’ style reflects the colour scheme of the wedding or season. Some brides want their bridesmaids to wear matching dresses. It is very difficult to find a colour and style of dress that flatters different body shapes, hair colours and skin tones. That’s one advantage in having fewer bridesmaids.

Some brides let the bridesmaids wear the same colour dresses in different styles or the same style in different colours; in some cases they can choose their own style and colour as long as it fits in with the look of the wedding.

Traditionally, the bride and groom pay for the outfits for the bridesmaids/maid-of-honour. If there are budget restraints, you can ask for a contribution but remember it may mean they want more say in the choice of dress. Be clear from the start what costs need to be met by them, if any.

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Delegate the jobs

Your chief bridesmaid or maid-of-honour usually plans the hen party, although its become more common now for the bride to be involved in the organisation of this.

The chief bridesmaid is usually your right-hand woman on the wedding day, doing jobs such as holding your bouquet during the ceremony and sorting out the dress and train, if you have one.

Bridesmaids can help with other jobs such as making decorations, joining the bride in the search for her dress, decorating the venue and collecting hired props. It’s important that the bride delegates. Talk to the bridesmaids about putting together a bridal emergency kit which has essentials such as: waterproof mascara, lipstick, concealer, tissues, paracetamol, needle and thread, flat shoes, spare tights and hand wipes.

No need to stick to tradition

There is no reason to follow tradition: it’s your day and you are allowed to break the rules. If you have a best male friend, he could be a ‘bridesman’. Likewise, the groom can have a ‘best woman’ instead of a best man.

If you want the cute factor, young children as flower girls or pageboys more often than not steal the show. Very young children can become overwhelmed by the occasion and may need a helping hand from adults to walk down the isle or line up for photos.

Planning a wedding can be stressful so deal sensitively with your bridesmaids, otherwise it could jeopardise your friendships. Remember that bridesmaids are not slaves – don’t use and abuse them. Have fun and you’ll notch up plenty of memorable experiences with the girls – after all, you can’t beat girl power.

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