I found myself reminiscing and looking through old photographs this past week. I am amazed at the many sweet memories that I’ve made and am so thankful to have photographs to relive these moments! One in particular that I’d like to share with you is the first time (and only time so far!) that I’ve been a bridesmaid.
As a photographer, this was surprisingly hard for me but, actually, easy at the same time. Have I lost you yet? Yeah, I’ll admit that last sentence was a little confusing! Here…let me elaborate. As a wedding photographer, I wanted to bring my camera with me to everything: the bachelorette party, getting ready in the morning, the ceremony, the reception, and even outside the venue as they waved goodbye in their limo. However, I resisted. Like hardcore resisted. I didn’t bring it at all. I flat out left it in Florida where I was living at the time and just didn’t even try to bring it. It was really, really hard, but, honestly, I’m so glad that I did. I was able to really experience each moment with my best friend (the bride) and her other bridesmaids.
Being a bridesmaid was a really fun and unique experience. I thought some of you might like to hear about it and hopefully benefit from some of the advice I am going to share! Comment below if you have any other advice for current or future bridesmaids!
1. Go to as many parties as you can and make memories together. Unfortunately, part of growing up sometimes means that you won’t always live in the same city as your best friend. This was true in my case because, at the time, she was living in Tennessee while I was living in Florida. I couldn’t be there for all of her parties, which broke my heart, but I was able to go to what I thought was the most important one- the Bachelorette party. This is the one day (or weekend in our case!) where you get to spend tons of time with the bride and her best ladies. Fortunate for us, the bride’s (have I even mentioned the bride’s name yet? It’s Caroline by the way!!) … sister thought of a truly unique bachelorette party, and we got to experience new things together by going on a trip to St. Louis. Below shows a few photos of the crazy things we got to do at the City Museum- talk about a rush of adrenaline!! I am terrified of heights, but this was not the time to be a scaredy cat. I don’t typically get a ton of time with my best friend, and I wanted to be a part of every second of this trip. So I did it! I may not have looked cute doing it, and I may have lots years off my life from pure terror, but it was worth it! We made some incredibly fun memories that weekend, and it made me even closer to my friends!
2. Do what you can to de-stress her and make her laugh. Ask her if there’s anything you can do for her, anything you can help with and take off her plate, or something you can ask someone else to do! There’s going to be little things that someone will ask the bride about that she truly does not care about. Those are the things you can just handle for her and she’ll be oh so grateful! The afternoon of the wedding rehearsal, Caroline called me in sheer panic, crying, and literally freaking out because she could not find the CD she had burnt of the song that she was going to have the church guys play during her recessional. I told her not to worry and that I would download the song off iTunes, burn it to a CD, and give it to the guys at the church. Bless her heart- I could just tell that doing that for her lifted 1,000 lbs off her shoulders.
It’s stressful being the bride. It just is. This is the day that you’ve dreamt about since you were a little girl, and you’re so excited to marry your soon to be husband, but there’s so much pressure for everyone to have a good time, for the details to be just right, for you to not fall on your face while walking down the aisle, to not faint while you’re on stage, and I could go on and on!! And don’t get me started on all the eyes that are watching you the entire time. That was the kicker for me, at least! Whew! Try your best to make her laugh. Dance and sing if you have to! When I got married, my sweet bridesmaids took a look at my face before I walked down the aisle and knew that I was a nervous wreck (not to get married but for everyone to be staring at me). They started hilariously dancing, making me laugh so hard the wedding coordinator had to tell us to be quieter- Haha…oops! Well, it did the trick. After that, I was ready to go. I no longer saw the people staring at me in the pews, I started looking for my fiancé, and as soon as I saw him, our eyes were locked, and the rest was history. I don’t even really remember thinking about all the people behind me. It was just me and him up there.
Photo credits: Matt Phoenix Photography
3. Keep her hydrated and make sure she eats something. Nerves on the wedding day make it nearly impossible to eat, but the bride needs to eat on her wedding day. She also needs to drink tons of water so she doesn’t get dehydrated, nauseous, sick, or worse. That would ruin everything! Make sure she takes care of her body, and the rest will fall into place. Bring a bag of goodies with you filled with emergency snacks and water bottles. Gatorade and peanut butter crackers work really well for me when I’m not really wanting to eat something but know I need to. It fills me up and calms my stomach when I’m nervous. Or…pizza always works! 🙂
4. Above all, just support the bride! She chose you to stand next to her on one of the most important days of her life. You are that important to her. Be her shoulder to cry on if she needs it, listen to her stresses, and be patient if she seems a little strange during the whole wedding planning process. Weddings are so much fun and are absolutely incredible, but they can also be one of the most stressful days for a bride and for her groom. Yeah, let’s not forget about him! 🙂 I speak from a bridesmaid’s perspective, but this goes for all groomsmen too! Support the groom…see if there’s something he needs for you to take care of for him, be helpful and positive, and just be his friend.
Photo credit: Matt Phoenix Photography