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Supportive Bridesmaids

How to Be a Great Bridesmaid

How to be a Great Bridesmaid

When your friend asks you to be their bridesmaid it is such an honor. It comes with lots of fun, but also some responsibilities. Once you’ve said, “yes” to becoming a bridesmaid your job begins! What does that job entail, you ask? Here is exactly how to be a great bridesmaid.

Be the calm in the storm and a listening ear.

Wedding planning can cause heightened emotions. When brides are overwhelmed, things that may seem small to others may seem tragic to the bride. Sometimes we all just need a listening ear without advice or judgment. Because of that, don’t forget to ask if they need advice or just a listening ear. It’s important to be both supportive and level-headed for your friend. Whether her dream photographer is unavailable, her wedding dress is delayed in shipping, or her veil came in at the wrong length she will be grateful to have an empathetic and problem-solving friend like you. Remember, the key is to be supportive AND level-headed.

Put all important dates and deadlines in your calendar.

Wedding costs can add up quickly and you will be surprised how quickly the year of wedding planning will go! Make sure you mark any deposits needed for dresses, hair/beauty services, or accommodations in your calendar so you are prepared. Don’t make the bride have uncomfortable conversations about overdue deposits. Keep in mind there are many celebratory events throughout the wedding planning process. Engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsal dinners, and after-wedding brunches are all important events you’ll want to mark in your calendar.

Communicate Early

Take stock of your allotted PTO days at work. We all only have a certain number of days off available each year. Look at how many you have, pronto, and let the bride know if you cannot attend any events. While the bride may be disappointed that you can’t attend every event, she will likely appreciate you telling her far in advance.

Another important thing to communicate is your abilities based on whether you have children or are pregnant. If you’re due around your friend’s wedding date, be clear with her about that. If you have children, it’s also important to communicate what you can/cannot do based on your children’s needs or schedules. Again, the bride may feel disappointed, but it’s best to be clear up-front to prevent any last-minute surprises. Moms & women are known to be excellent multi-taskers, but it is okay if you cannot do everything as long as you communicate early!

Be excited with/for the bride!

Every bride has likely looked forward to their wedding day for a long time. It always feels good to be supported by your friends, so show your friend your mutual excitement for her wedding day. While you may have opinions about how you’d plan your own wedding, allow the bride her turn to choose whatever wedding colors and details she loves. Then, be complimentary and supportive of her choices. Likely, the bride will not make terrible choices, like in the movie 27 Dresses, but be supportive regardless. Don’t forget, no matter the bridesmaid dress, you can likely shorten it and wear it again ;).

On the wedding day, be ready to jump in!

Be on the lookout for any hiccups on the wedding day. One often missed detail is fixing the bride’s train during the ceremony and pictures! Be on the lookout during the ceremony to ensure her train is fluffed and positioned beautifully so her photos turn out well. There’s nothing worse than beautiful ceremony photos, but the train is bunched up, fluff that train!

If anyone tries to begin conflict with the bride (Let’s be real, every family has that one family member.) gently whisk her away with an “important matter.” If her hair doesn’t look like she’d hoped, advocate for her, help her fix it, or talk her off the ledge by putting it in perspective. Be ready to make her wedding day as stress-free as possible.

Being a great bridesmaid is essentially just being a supportive friend.  By following our tips on how to be a great bridesmaid, your friends will be so glad they had you by their side on their wedding day! Now you are ready to be a great bridesmaid! For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. And don’t forget to share this with any bridesmaids you know!

groomsman suit

A Guy’s Guide to Being a Groomsman

A Guy’s Guide to Being a Groomsman

Congratulations on being asked to be a groomsman! It is an honor that shows how much you mean to the engaged couple. Because you mean a lot to them, you’ll want to show up as your best as their groomsman. To help you do that, here is a guy’s guide to being a groomsman.

Mark Down the Wedding Date

Once you know the date of the wedding and have agreed to be in the wedding, mark down the date and make arrangements. Everyone has only so many days off for work, so plan ahead if you have to take any days off for the wedding. If you are not sure how many days off you will have by the wedding date, make a plan. Talk with your boss well in advance if you will need to take any days off. Then, make sure you communicate with work throughout the year so they don’t forget you have a wedding coming up.

Other Wedding-Related Events

Being in the bridal party means there is an expectation you will be at the engagement party, rehearsal dinner, wedding, and the day after brunch. It’s important you ask the engaged couple what events they have planned so you can ideally be there, if not, let them know in advance. (Are you getting the hint that sooner is always better?) Some nationalities’ traditions mean even the wedding is a multi-day affair. If this is the case, be sure to ask which events you should plan on being at.

Getting Your Suit

The day you get the email or text from the bride or groom about the suit rental/purchasing information, make a date to do it. Do not wait for the deadline to go to your nearest tailor to get measured. The week you get that email/text go get measured and take care of your rental/suit purchase. If you’ll allow us to paint with a broad brush, guys tend to wait till the last minute to take care of their wedding attire. Don’t be that guy! Get it done a.s.a.p., way before you have to.

Plan for the Bachelor Party

If there is going to be a bachelor party, be transparent about your ability to participate sooner than later. If you have a particular budget to stay within, communicate that clearly with the rest of the groomsmen. Clarity & honesty is key. If there are days you know you are unavailable around the proposed time of year of the bachelor party, make that clear so there are no hurt feelings or surprises.

Wedding Gifts

When you are a groomsman you’re normally off the hook for purchasing a bridal shower gift, but you will need to bring a wedding gift. Wedding gifts can be anything from home or cooking goods to gift certificates. If you have a plus one coming to the wedding, have them bring the gift. Then, you will not forget the gift at home before the couple leaves for their honeymoon. We all know how adult friendships go, you probably won’t see the couple for a few months. So bring the wedding gift to the wedding so you don’t have to give it to them late.



There you have it, a surefire guide to being a great groomsman! Your friend will be sure to appreciate your promptness and cooperation as they plan their wedding. For more wedding planning tips and inspiration check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below. Happy Planning!

Helping Bride Wedding Planning

How To Help The Bride

How To Help The Bride

Are you a bridesmaid, friend, or family member wondering how to help the bride? That’s very thoughtful of you. That being said, there is a right and wrong way to offer your help to a bride. We will help you navigate the do’s and don’ts of how to help the bride with her wedding planning.

Do’s:

Help her assemble wedding items.

Especially the week of the wedding, a brides to-do list is massive. Help the bride by offering to do tasks she doesn’t need to be present for such as putting together welcome bags. If the bride is putting together her own centerpieces another great way to help is to put them together for her. The more tasks you can take off a bride’s to-do list, the less overwhelmed she’ll be.

Treat her to coffee and/or food.

It’s easy for a bride to get exhausted from wedding planning and organizing as the wedding day approaches. Coffee is a great way to show the bride you care and to help her get her tasks done. The day of the wedding it is very important the bride remembers to eat. Help her out by offering to bring her favorite breakfast so she feels ready for her wedding weekend.

Simply ask, “What can I do to help you?”

Sometimes brides have everything under control, however it’s always helpful to know there are extra sets of hands to help. Some bride’s feel awkward asking for help as they don’t want to bother anyone. Because of this, it makes it easier for them to get their tasks done without having to worry about inconveniencing anyone.

Don’ts:

Ask the bride questions you can easily google yourself.

We’ve established brides have endless tasks as their wedding day approaches. Forget the address to the reception? Phone a friend. Don’t remember what time the ceremony starts? Ask around. Brides have enough ducks to keep in a row without having to answer unnecessary questions.

Give too many opinions when helping the bride.

Brides have dreamed of and planned for their wedding day. If they want the centerpieces off-centered, great! If they want chairs to be stacked upside down, you got it! The name of the game is if you offer help, you’re helping the bride fulfill her vision, not your own.

Offer to help, but then don’t help.

Often wedding tasks have to be done in a timely manner due to a busy schedule. It’s important to not distract from the task at hand. If the bride has asked you to help make sure you’re being productive as opposed to socializing. You always have the option to politely decline if you don’t want to help. Better to say no than add more stress to the bride.



Are you a bride to be? What are ways you would like your loved ones to help, or not help, you? Tell us in the comments below! For more wedding planning inspiration and advice, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below.

Bridal Party

How To Choose Your Bridal Party

How To Choose Your Bridal Party

Congratulations on your engagement! When you plan your wedding everything from wedding colors to guest count is dependent on your bridesmaids and/or groomsmen. There are a few factors you should keep in mind when you think about how to choose your bridal party. Here are some ideas to help you choose.

Unequal Numbers

Let’s begin with saying, there are no rules. If your fiance has 5 groomsmen and you have 2 or vice-versa it is not the end of the world. That being said, having equal numbers in a bridal party is important to some couples. If you do have an uneven number, do not panic. You can have the bridal party walk down the aisle without partners. You could also have the bridal party ready at the altar at the beginning of the ceremony. Another idea is you could double up and have groups of 3 walk down the aisle. Either way, it is okay to have equal or unequal numbers for your bridal party.

Gender Of Bridal Party

Do you have a gender diverse friend group? It is no problem! In fact, it is something to celebrate. As long as you know your wedding colors it is easy to color coordinate any group of people. When you plan your bridal party, do not worry about separating genders. The gender makeup of your bridal party will not matter as long as you and you fiance choose your long term closest friends and family.

Long Term, Thick And Thin, Friends & Family

Some of us have a makeup of friends as our family; and that is a beautiful bridal party to have. Others have so many cousins they are close to, so there is not much room for having friends in the bridal party. The most important factor is not the relation to you, but the long term quality of their relationship with you. There is nothing worse than adding someone into your wedding to not be in contact with them a year later. Think long term. There are many ways to involve people who you’d like to be a participant without having them in a bridal party. Some people make amazing wedding guests, but not bridal party participants.

Personalities

And last, but not least, one of the trickiest factors when choosing your bridal party. Of course you want all your closest people in your bridal party. However; those few friends who are on again/off again with how they treat you will not make good bridal party participants. It is important to remember wedding planning is stressful. You want only those who will be supportive of you in your bridal party. You do not have to have anyone in your wedding unless you truly want to.

Always remember your wedding day is one day in your life. The wedding planning process goes on for months. Keep the people who care about you the most close to you. Those who will be lifelong friends make amazing bridal party participants; no matter the numbers or genders that make up your bridal party.



We hope this helps give you some ideas for how to choose your bridal party. For more wedding planning inspiration check out the blog posts below. To submit your wedding to be a featured wedding please e-mail hello@chicagoweddingblog.com Happy Planning!

Wedding Decor Colors

How To: Choose Your Wedding Color Scheme

How To: Choose Your Wedding Color Scheme

Often couples choose a trending color for their wedding color scheme. When wedding planning, there are no wrong choices. However, we do have some suggestions to choose your wedding colors in a different way. Trending colors come and go, but if you choose a color scheme that is so ‘you’, it’ll be timeless & unique. Here are five steps to choose a color scheme that is ‘you’!

First, Narrow Down Your Top Colors And Use A Layout App To Put Colors Together.

Start looking at color options. Then narrow down some of your favorites. Afterward, ensure all colors and textures knit together cohesively by using a layout app. You want to ensure the flowers, ties, suits, dresses, & shoes coordinate.

Second, Instead Of A Trending Color, Think Of Colors That Are ‘You’.

Next, from all those options think about which options are very ‘you’ and nix the excess options. We all can easily tell the year most weddings were by the color of wedding they chose. Navy, blush, burgundy, & gray/blue are all beautiful trending colors that have been widely used. That being said, if you love to wear black every day, black can be a great color for your bridesmaids. You do not have to choose a trending color. If you have a favorite color, say green, that is a color choice you know you’ll love for years to come. Choose colors that can complement each other and reflect your personal style.

Third, Check With Bridesmaids & Groomsmen Attire Designers To Ensure Your Colors Are Possible.

This is often a step brides/grooms forget. Not every designer has fabric in every shade of color you can imagine. Some colors are rotated in and out by year. So before you announce your color scheme; ensure it’s easily accessible to your bridal party. It’s not worth going on a wild goose chase for a color that doesn’t exist. That being said, there are hundreds of color options. You are sure to find at least one of your favorites from step two that you love.

Fourth, Gather Your Decor Ideas.

Now that you’ve narrowed down your colors, choosing coordinating decor is your next job.  When choosing decor you can use one of the coordinating colors you may have eliminated to be a pop of color, contrasting with your bridal party color. Looking at your wedding decor options will also help you solidify your overall color scheme as you keep in mind your venue and wedding flowers.

Fifth, Put It All Together.

You’ve chosen your ‘you’ color, found your bridal party’s attire, and put together your decor ideas and pops of color! Now it’s time to put it all together. At this point, it helps to print everything out so you can see it on paper. You can cut out pictures from magazines, or just print out the final version of the layout we discussed. Then you can present your scheme to your vendors so they can help you bring your ‘you’ wedding color scheme vision to life!



For more wedding planning tips and inspiration, check out more Chicago Wedding Blog posts below! Happy Planning!

Bridal Party Proposal

Four Unique Ways To Propose To Your Bridal Party

Four Unique Ways To Propose To Your Bridal Party

Pinterest has become a hub of DIY and wedding planning. Because of this, ways to propose to your bridal party have become more creative. If you want some unique ways to ask your bridesmaids & groomsmen without breaking the bank, we’ve got you covered! Here are four unique ways to ask your bridal party to be in your wedding.

Option #1- A handwritten note on the back of a meaningful photo of you together.

It’s always nice to receive handwritten notes. Friends love reminiscing on memories by looking at old photos. When you combine those two ideas together it makes for a special keepsake. If you want to go the extra mile, purchase a clear plastic or glass frame so your friend can always see the front and back of the photo and note.

Option #2- A custom sticker put on a mini bottle of champagne or the bridal party’s drink of choice.

This is a yummy and easy option. Purchase printable stickers from any office supply store. You can design on your computer using the brand of choice app, and TADA, you have a fancy & fun bridal party proposal! If your bridal party isn’t the alcohol type, that’s fine! How about a specialty coffee drink?! Decide which drink is your bridal party’s favorite and choose that option.

Option #3- A T-Shirt Or Custom Apparel

When you are getting married there are many fun outings with your bridal party. Who doesn’t love cute or comical bridal party coordinated apparel? You could go simple with bridesmaids bride tribe shirts such as these cute ones from Liz & Kate boutique in Geneva, IL. Or some fun ones for the guys like these groom squad shirts. If you wanted to go a bit simpler, bridesmaid and groomsmen hats are easy to find at many local brick & mortar shops.

Option #4- Give them a box of their favorite sweet treat with a note on the inside of the box asking them to be in your bridal party.

This one is an easy DIY if you like baking. If not, there are many local bakeries or candy shops that make it easy to fill up a box with their favorite things. Who doesn’t like getting candy and cookies?! You can find bakery boxes at any local craft store. Check out some of your local bakeries may even help you out and box it for you.

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

Three Wedding Planning Conflicts And How To Handle Them

You went from dating to engaged, excitement ensued. Now the engagement bliss is fading. This means it is time to get wedding planning. Let us prepare you: while wedding planning is fun, there are many emotions, traditions, and people’s opinions involved. These things can complicate not only your wedding planning, but also your relationship. Here are three examples of wedding planning conflicts and how to handle them with a problem solving guide.

1. Your parents or in-laws have a different wedding vision than you do.

Most of the time, your loved ones mean well. Let’s assume that for the purpose of this section.

  • First things first: handle your own family, let your fiance handle theirs. If your parents want a large wedding and you don’t, explain to them you appreciate all they want to give you, however you and your fiance are only comfortable with a smaller wedding. If your in-laws have the differing opinion, your fiance should explain on behalf of both of you how you feel, what you are going to do, and why. This will set a healthy boundary between in-laws and your relationship. Here is more advice on family communication .
  • Second things second: Give your family space and/or time for them to understand your vision. They probably envisioned the kind of wedding they’ve wanted to give you your entire life. They have seen your grow up. This is a sentimental time for them. Maybe they still can’t believe you don’t want a glamorous fairytale wedding as you loved in your storybooks. They will need some time to slow down and refocus on what you actually want. Here is more advice on narrowing down the size of your wedding .

2. Drama over who, or who is not, in your bridal party.

Here we go, from movies on TV to fiction books there are numerous stories based around these wedding planning conflicts alone. There are so many emotions built into a wedding day. Your loved ones want to be there for you, but maybe you envisioned a small or no bridal party. Maybe your family wants you to include your sixth cousin, twice removed. Let’s talk out some scenarios.

  • First things first: Think of those people who have always been there for you and always will. Sometimes friends fall away, but family never will. Unfortunately sometimes it’s the opposite. Either scenario, think long and hard about those permanent, loving people in your life and include them. That being said, “loose lips sink ships.” Before you are absolutely sure who is going to be in your wedding do not talk about it to avoid unnecessary hurt feelings.
  • Second things second: Think long term. A wedding is one day in your life. The situations and their effect on your relationships, both good and bad, will continue long after your wedding. When considering who or whom not to have in your wedding think about the long term effects that choice could have on your relationships. Is it a good idea to include one friends instead of a pair of two because you have a large family? Or would it be better to only have family in your wedding to not hurt that one friend’s feelings? Every situation is different, but remember this is one day. Make the choice that will have the best results to continue happy, healthy relationships moving forward. Here is more advice if you want a small wedding party.
  • Third things third: (Because this is a big topic) Every situation is different. These ideas are simply prompts to help you think through your options. Some couples are in the middle of a very difficult family dynamic. Because this is unfortunately common, let us let you off the hook, trust your gut! This should be the happiest day of your life. Do not allow people who want to manipulate or harm you, or your relationship, into your wedding or life simply because it’s easier to placate them.

3. Friends or family don’t like my (fill in the blank).

Everyone has opinions. That does not mean you need to change yours because of them. If you want to wear an orange dress on your wedding day, you rock that like the queen or king you are! Everyone can choose to wear what they want when it is their turn to plan their wedding. The same rule applies for if they don’t like your: food choices, hair style, fiance, church vs. outdoor ceremony, and even riding in on an elephant instead of a horse. All jokes aside, if no one is put in danger by your choices, it’s your day! Wear, do, eat what you want, and enjoy!

  • First things first: Remember often people’s opinions are said to you with good intentions. Maybe they wish they would’ve worn a more traditional wedding dress and don’t want you to have the same regrets.  It is possible to acknowledge their good intentions while also staying true to yours. Many wedding planning conflicts can be solved with saying, “Thank you for looking out for me, but I prefer a different direction.”
  • Second things second: Don’t ask for opinions if you don’t want them! Too many opinions will lead to definite confusion. If you want someone’s opinion on your dress, wedding colors, or kind of animal you ride into the sunset on; choose them wisely. Not everyone has the same taste. Ask someone whose tastes are similar to yours so you can be confident your wedding day stays true to your vision.



We hope this wedding planning conflicts problem solving guide helps you have a seamless wedding planning process. For more expert wedding planning advice, check out the other blog posts on The Chicago Wedding Blog. 

Small Wedding Party

As a new bride it’s tempting to rush out and tell everyone and invite all your friends to the big day but we’re giving away tips on how a smaller wedding party can make your life easier! Just because some friends are not IN the wedding doesn’t mean they can’t have a good time or enjoy the celebration with you.

We aren’t just talking about bridesmaids and groomsmen either. Having a small wedding party in terms of guests will help cut down costs. The average cost per guest for a wedding is $100 so multiply that by 100 guests and it adds up. Keeping your guest list limited is the first way to cut costs.

However, let’s address the small wedding party itself. Keeping your bridesmaids to three or four close friends will save you a lot of headache. For one, it’ll make things easier to stay organized. It’s hard enough to plan an entire wedding so be sure your bridal party makes things easy for you.

It’s easier to take photos after the wedding ceremony as well with a smaller wedding party. You can fit everyone in the same frame and have time to try fun pictures like goofy shots or even use props. Along with photo taking a smaller wedding party allows you to let your bridesmaids have more flexibility with their choice of dresses. If you are comfortable letting your girls pick their own styles the less people makes the “mix and match” look classy instead of messy. You could also give them the option to rent a dress instead of buy. Happy bridesmaids make for great photos!

A small wedding party will both cut costs and allow you more control over your big day!

 

Bridesmaid dresses

You’ve asked all your best friends or sisters to be in your wedding but now what? The dreaded bridesmaid dresses! Some people are reluctant bridesmaids because they’re obligated or spoil sports. As the bride you can help alleviate some of that stress by what you decide they should all wear.

Bridesmaid dresses can range from ball gown to boots and jeans. We’re sure all your bridesmaids are models and would look exactly like the pictures in the catalogs…Or they’re people with bodies that work hard for them and are of all shapes and sizes! As the bride you should definitely be aware of who’s in your party and what their body types are. Maybe give them a color or style of dress but leave the details to them like straps, no straps, belt or no belt. Some women are larger up top than others and will not feel comfortable in strapless gowns.

It may be easier to ask your bridesmaids what they do not feel comfortable with rather than what everyone wants. Bridesmaid dresses come in all sizes so that shouldn’t be a problem. But some maids may feel shorter is something they’d rather not wear. To make things less complicated and to keep you from pulling your hair out try selecting a designer and color you like. Then, let the bridesmaids pick among the style choices in that range. It can keep everyone on track and also feel their comfort levels are being taken into consideration.

Bridesmaid dresses can also be easier if you try Brideside, a site that lets you choose 3 styles you like, are shipped to your house and you get to try them on! They have consultants who can organize your bridal party as well and thus alleviate some stress off of you. They understand your girls have actual body parts that sometimes don’t cooperate or look good in certain styles. We recommend you tell your girls to give those dresses a good shake and jump too! You never know how the dress will hold up dancing versus just standing or walking. You and your bridesmaids can have a lot of fun picking dresses that will compliment them and make you the center of attention on the big day!

Bang for your Buck

Bang for your Buck

Bang for your Buck: Bridesmaids Dresses

No matter what any bride says there is a universal truth about bridesmaid’s dresses: you’ll only wear the dress once. “You’ll wear it again, right?” the bride asks, perhaps to make they feel better about asking you to shell out hundreds of dollars for it. Nope, you won’t. You’ll never wear that floor length, one-shouldered aubergine satin dress with the weird unflattering ruffles ever again.Bang for your Buck

It seemed like a lost cause, just part of the deal of being a bridesmaid–suck it up and buy the ugly dress, right? Wrong. Enter Rent the Runway and Little Borrowed Dress, maids can opt to rent a dress for the big day versus getting stuck with a frock they truly are not in love with.

Rent the Runway Weddings, an expansion of Rent the Runway, and a beacon of hope for future bridesmaids everywhere. Rent the Runway Weddings launched in 2011. It focuses on bridesmaids dresses. Badgley Mischka, Robert Rodriguez and Nicole Miller have designed bridesmaid collections that come in up to four styles in up to four seasonal colors exclusively for the site. Whereas Rent the Runway only allows users to rent dresses for a few days at a time, Rent the Runway Weddings offers 8-day rental periods. But the best part? The price. A Badgley Mischka bridesmaid dress averages at over $300. At Rent the Runway Weddings it’s $65.

Little Borrowed Dress does not have the big names like RTR does, but has very cute and simple options for your girls. With LBD, every style we carry was specifically designed to fit and flatter a variety of shapes and sizes. They are determined to design the ultimate bridesmaid dresses, so we use multiple fit models with varied body types to ensure the dresses will fit with no alterations required! Lastly, if you would like to try on before committing to the rental, that’s OK too. Why have an ill-fitting dress the day of the big day and a bridesmaid breakdown.

Another nice feature about LBD is that the process is simple, you can order color swatches beforehand, and if you’re girls DO want the option to buy a new dress…they can!Bang for your Buck