Now that you are the Maid of Honor / Bridesmaid, what do you do?
Traditionally, you would be expected to throw a bridal shower. What is a bridal shower? It is a gift-giving party held for a bride-to-be in anticipation of her wedding (Of course, Wikipedia). Here's a few tips to make a successful bridal shower:
Know your assigned role and get to know each other.
There's a difference between a Maid of Honor and a Bridesmaid. To put it simply, a maid of honor is the chief of all the bridesmaids. Ask your friend if she has someone filling in for maid of honor position. If there is, she usually is in charge of initializing the planning process. If there are only bridesmaids, ask the bride if anyone has created a group in which you can chat with the other bridesmaids. If there isn't one, feel free to take up the task and get to know the others. Now, it is important to keep your attitude and mindset focused on throwing a shower that is best-suited for your Bride, as things tend to heat up really fast when there’s a difference in opinions. Remember who you are doing this shower for. If you keep that in mind, the rest of the decision making process will take place smoothly. Take majority vote, when necessary.
Decide on the date, the budget, and the theme (yes, in that order).
You must realize now that being a bridesmaid is not a full time job, so scheduling is crucial. Pick a date that is not too far off from the Big Day and works for everyone. If everyone has confirmed, don't forget to ask the Bride to save the date. Having a bridal shower without the bride is not fun. Date fixed, now the budget. The custom is to have all the bridesmaids chip in. In order to decide on a number - determine the venue, the list of activities and what kind of gifts you want to give. Be comfortable with approximate numbers and give room for extra charges. After you set a budget, pick one person to be financially responsible and have the rest transfer their portion to that person. I find this to be the least troublesome in terms of tracking down your expenses and sorting out any bookings or reservations. Last but not least, is the theme. Find one that best describes your bride. What does she like? Does she have any requests as to how she wants the shower to be? Is she comfortable if you throw her a kinky bridal shower? Is she comfortable being dragged down to the club?
Have the bride list people she wants to invite.
Personally, I would rather ask the bride than to invite people, whom I think she would have, for her shower. Afterall, it is the bride's shower, not mine. If anything, having the right people in your party is more important than the party itself. Create a list of names, get their emails and numbers and immediately contact them to RSVP in advance. You want these people to clear their schedules and jot down the date on their calendars. Formal invitations can follow much later. It is not a party until you have the right people with you.
Fitting the dress
The Bride has only two things to pin down before her Bridesmaids can start with the fitting: the budget and the material/color for the dress. Unless the Bride requests that you should be wearing the same design, you have the freedom to choose which cut flatters you the most. The key is to work with the designer and be sensitive to what he or she says on how much alteration and variations they can make, based on the budget set by the bride. Also, to be safe, don't snoop around trying to find out about the budget. It really depends on your relationship with your friend/bride-to-be, but the safest way is to stay away from the money issue.
Discuss and set a schedule amongst the bridesmaids to go fitting together. If you cannot make it, it’s fine to go alone, but you can always use someone else’s opinions. In my case, the most number of squad I have been in was six. This could be overwhelming for the designer at times, so be courteous to each other. Voice your opinions one by one and have your designer jot down each detail on a different piece of paper so they can be precise with the measurements. Be proactive and set schedules for two or three fittings before the big day. It is important to feel good about yourself so that you can enjoy the rest of the day.
Do share if you have other tips and tricks up your sleeves! I might incorporate them to article Part Three, so stay tuned!