I'm back with another wedding-related post! Now that we are in the full swing of planning for our wedding, I've realized how hard it is to blog about it because I want things to be fresh and fun and surprising for our guests! For example, we had our catering tasting a couple of weeks ago, and I took photos of everything so I could blog about it . . . but then realized I want to make sure our food is a surprise :) And of course I took a ton of photos of wedding dress shopping, but that has to stay a surprise too! So, I think I'll be doing a ton of planning recaps in late summer/early fall once we're married and back from our honeymoon!
But one thing I realized I could already blog about is how I asked my sweet bridesmaids to stand beside me on my wedding day. I sent out care packages to everyone in October, so they've all long ago received them and happily accepted my "proposal." I wanted to write this post as a quick inspiration for anyone looking for a relatively simple way to do something sweet for your besties who are going to be in your wedding! This one is also a good option if your friends don't live in your city.
Let me back up and say that Grace and I are having a BIG wedding party. We each have 10 people on our side. I'm sure some people will roll their eyes and say that's excessive, but here's the thing: each of these people are INCREDIBLY important to us, and we can't imagine not having them in our wedding. Plus, I've wanted to incorporate Southern traditions into our wedding where possible, and having a large group of bridesmaids is super Southern. I've regularly seen weddings in the South with 15 or more maids, so don't hate me, haha!
Grace and I handled inviting our 10 to stand beside us separately. A lot of Grace's people live overseas, so she went with a simple heartfelt handwritten note, which I thought was so classic and sweet. It also would have been too expensive to mail care packages to different countries like I did with my people (who all live in the US).
When thinking about how to ask the people on my side, I knew I wanted to send something fun in the mail. I love the idea of having a lunch or cocktail party and inviting your bridesmaids to ask them all together as a surprise (I love this styled shoot inspiration on that idea), but the problem is that my bridesmaids live in 6 different states. My wedding will pretty much be the only time they'll all be in the same place, so having a party with all of them was out.
I thought about what the people in my bridal party would find special, and I decided to curate little care packages for each of them. I went to stores like Anthropologie, Paper Source, and Dylan's Candy Bar to find cute trinkets and candies that I thought would make them smile. I also ordered customized scratch-off cards with each girl's name from this Etsy shop (shown in the photo above). The gold hearts on the cards scratched off with a penny to reveal the words "Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" or in my sister's case, "Will You Be My Maid of Honor?" I thought the scratch-off element was so fun and added a bit of surprise even though I couldn't surprise people in person.
Speaking of the cards, if you notice that there are only 9, the reason is because my brother is my bride's butler! When we were little, I always knew Blair would be in my wedding, and my sister came up with the name "bride's butler" as the boy version of bridesmaid. (Get it, maids and butlers?) Of course, boys can be bridesmaids, too, but I've always thought that bride's butler is super cute and that's just what I'm calling him! I didn't do a personalized card for him, but I'm finding special ways to incorporate him into my day.
Anyway, I had so much fun shopping over a few days and finding cute things that each girl would love. Here's a picture of a few of them:
Once I had all the gifts, I picked a handful of items to put in each care package, and I slipped the personalized cards in too. In each card I wrote a letter talking about all that their friendship meant to me, and why I wanted them to stand beside me in my bridal party. I also included a penny in each envelope so they could scratch off the message and not have to hunt for pocket change!
I bought some boxes and bubble wrap and assembled everything myself. Then Grace sweetly helped me carry it all into the post office to send around the country. I was honestly expecting to spend easily $200 on shipping all of this, but I was very pleasantly surprised that the total for all the care packages--going to Oregon, DC, New York, North and South Carolina, etc.--was only $62. I used the most basic option at USPS and they all arrived within about a week. I also did give a couple of the care packages in person to my in-town friends.
Next came the best part: waiting patiently for the boxes to arrive so I could get excited texts and phone calls from everyone! That was my favorite part of the whole process. I am happy to say that it's been so fun planning with everyone. I have the best friends in the world, and they've all been amazing with picking out bridesmaid's dresses and just generally being SO supportive.
One last note about choosing who to ask to be in my bridal party: that was really tough. Grace and I both struggled to narrow down our groups (we could have easily gone to 15+ each . . .) but ultimately we thought about various phases in our lives and chose significant people from those. For me, I asked: my 2 siblings, my 2 oldest best friends from growing up (who I've known even longer than my own sister), 2 best friends that I lived with in college and 2 other best friends from college (both of whom played a role in me and Grace starting to date), and 2 LA-based friends from Elon as well. I decided to keep the group to people I had met through Elon or earlier. So even though I have amazing friends from law school, working, and other aspects of my life, I kept it to those groups of people in order to keep the size reasonably manageable. I know some people just do their sister and one best friend, and that's awesome too! And many people choose not to have a wedding party, which is another option. One thing I've learned from wedding planning is just to scrap any traditions that you don't particularly care for. For me, though, asking my best friends to be part of my wedding was one of the things I was most looking forward to about being engaged. If you're in the same boat, I hope this post provides some inspiration for how you can ask them in a special way! More to come soon on wedding stuff.