They say when you know, you just know. So maybe they were talking about finding the love of your life, but it can just as easily be applied to picking the perfect wedding party, too. It's a fine balance of not alienating your best friends, but ensuring you might actually have a little help organizing the big day.
Veteran bridesmaid Jenn (last name withheld) has been in four wedding parties–once as a maid of honour, twice as a bridesmaid and once as a junior bridesmaid which is a position she's still not sure actually exists. "I think I was just too old to be a flower girl," she says. She's done it all—planned bridal showers and bachelorette parties, made beaded headpieces and veils, ordered and arranged flowers for the whole bridal party and even baked the cake.
"I would never offer to do it again," she admits. "I originally thought I would get my cousin who is a pastry chief to help me make the cake, thinking I would borrow most of her equipment. Nope. I ended up in my own kitchen making giant cakes until late into the night. The wedding was over an hour away so I had to transport the cake there and finish decorating it, not really knowing how things would turn out.
"I am going to out myself here–the bride wanted a sheet cake to cut for the guests. Thankfully, I panicked a couple days before the wedding and ordered a giant slab cake from a local grocery store and decorated it to match the tiered homemade cake. It went over well, and I still to this day have not told the bride and groom the difference."
A good bridesmaid knows how to keep a secret. An even better bridesmaid knows when to to tell it like it is. Even if that means going against the grain, which is Jenn's advice when it comes to asking people to stand with you.
Pick people you like and want to be part of your day," she says. "The fun thing about a wedding party is that it brings together your closest friends and family who want to celebrate you! As for the maid of honour, pick someone who you know is organized, will give you their honest opinion and will work hard in your favour. Just because you have family members–sisters in particular–in your wedding party, it doesn't mean they have to be your maid of honour so don't feel pressured to make them so."
In the end it's all about gathering the people who matter most around you and celebrating the love, which is why she always says yes. "Regardless of how much time, energy and money it takes to stand in a wedding, I love being able to share those moments with my friends," she says. "I think it's a great honour when you mean that much to someone that they want you by their side during a special moment in their life." Even if it means last minute panic attacks or having to bake the entire cake yourself. It's worth it.