Archive for the ‘Bridesmen’ Category

You Can Dance If You Want To (But You Shouldn’t Have To)

Friday, September 10th, 2010

On this, the final day of bridesmaids week – hey, it was a five-day business week – I wanted to address a tradition that I know for a fact makes at least some people a little uncomfortable. I know this because I am one of those people. Specifically, I am talking about the tradition of having all of the wedding attendants, bridesmaids and groomsmen, bridesmen and groomsmaids, dance with one another at some point during the whole first dance, father-daughter dance, mother-son dance string of scheduled formal dancing. It’s actually considered a tad passé to ask the attendants to have a go on the dance floor, but you still see it occasionally at some wedding receptions.

Since this tradition seems to be dying out anyway, there’s really no need for me to put it down, I suppose. But just in case there are any otherwise happy bridesmaids out there reading this who are dreading the thought of slow dancing with some friend of the groom they have never seen or sniffed, I thought I’d share my three reasons for not particularly liking the attendants’ dance. As I see it, this old tradition is…

1. Awkward: While I actually wish that there were more opportunities for social dancing that included switching partners in a platonic, fun way, I still think that having to cut a rug with someone you may find icky while 75+ people look on is just plain weird. It’s one thing to dance with an unfamiliar partner – one who may never have heard of Arthur Murray or mouthwash – and quite another to do it on demand while a photographer circles the dance floor. And if you’re a young junior bridesmaid, it’s even weirder.

2. Boring: So now the wedding guests have sat through the first dance, the father-daughter dance, and the mother-son dance, and perhaps the bride and groom also invited their grandparents up for a waltz. Even if you edited your chosen songs down, you’re still potentially talking about a good quarter of an hour’s worth of dancing on display that the guests have to sit through while they wait for the refreshments.

3. Ineffective: If the bride or groom’s goal is to get people to shake their booties, there are easier ways to do it, like hiring a good DJ or leading by example and shaking it themselves. Because, really, I think that wedding guests can sense the awkwardness of the attendants’ dance, and I don’t know anyone particularly inspired by embarrassment.

I’d recommend that any bridesmaids like myself who aren’t keen on dancing with a random groomsman and suspect that the bride is considering an attendants’ dance at the reception suggest letting all of the enrelationshipped attendants dance with their SOs and then, halfway through the dance, inviting other couples to join them for a special slow dance. Or better yet, suggest that the marrying couple not force their wedding guests to sit through one more spotlit dance.

Now I have to ask: Bridesmaids and former bridesmaids, have you ever found yourself on the parquet in the arms of someone just awful because you were obliged to participate in an attendants’ dance?

(Image via BeDazzled Photography)

LOVE/HATE: The ‘Mustachioed Mamas’ Edition

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Two years ago, Offbeat Bride declared that mustaches were hot. That may have been, but the fervor either hasn’t cooled or the trend has come around again or mustaches are just now making their way into the mainstream. Because you know what? I am seeing more and more mustache wedding gear, from the recently posted mustache wedding stationery set to wedding pictures that feature everyone from the bride and groom right on down the line wearing fake ‘staches.

Being that it’s bridesmaids week here at Manolo for the Brides, I had to, of course, find a snap of bridesmaids sporting the mustache look. (And now, of course, I can’t find the photo source so if anyone happens to know, speak up.) I personally am pretty cool when it comes to being silly – act my shoe size? No prob! – and I love the idea of asking people to participate in zany reception activities. But I know plenty of people out there endeavor to be way more dignified in their daily lives than yours truly. So I want to hear from bridesmaids: Should brides and grooms take those folks into account when they ask their attendants to play dress up in the wedding pics? Or since bridesmaids and groomsmen technically have the right to say nay, is it okay to require that props be used in the photos?

How Much Is Too Much to Ask?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Brides can ask a lot from their bridesmaids. Not all brides, of course, but some do expect their bridesmaids to enthusiastically assemble favor boxes, address envelopes, fly to Vegas, and so forth. And most brides do expect their bridesmaids to at least buy matching or coordinating dresses, though there are a unique few who ask for nothing more than a LBD, preferably one that’s already in the bridesmaids’ closets. So what I’m wondering today, on this, the third day of bridesmaids’ week, is how much is too much when it comes to brides asking bridesmaids to put time, effort, and money into their wedding day ensemble? Is it okay, for example, for brides to:

Ask their bridesmaids to buy matching shoes?

How about adding the expense of matching jewelry on top of the dress and the shoes?


Should Bridesmaids Voice an Opinion?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

OMG bridesmaids week!

Solids still rule the school when it comes to bridesmaids dresses, but I know there are plenty of bridesmaids out there who look their best in patterns. In fact, I know at least a few gals – can’t speak for the guys – who feel like they’re presenting as a wall of color when they wear, say, all green or all pink. Let’s for a moment, bridesmaids, imagine that you’re one of them. Are you dreading having to wear something that someone with entirely different ideas about what looks good has picked out on your behalf? It is indeed a fearsome prospect.

You’re secretly dreaming of something like this:

Or like this:

But you suspect that the bride is dreaming of something a lot more like this. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!) The question, of course, is what do you do? It’s easy to say, oh, wear whatever you’re told to wear unless the bride specifically asks for your input. But as it turns out, there’s a whole secret world of maids-of-honor and bridesmaids collaborating and gently steering the bride toward dress choices that will flatter, if not everyone, more than a few of the female attendants.

How’s that work, you ask? Whether you’re a patterns-over-solids kind of chick or an I-don’t-do-backless kind of chick or something else, you can take a few steps to try to influence the bride’s choices. I’m not saying anything you and your sister ‘maids do will work – especially if the bride happens to adore huge bows and pouf sleeves – but you could try:

  • Getting together with the other bridesmaids or at least those with a strong opinion. Figure out what you like and don’t like. Maybe no strapless, no backless, no scratchy poly stuff, no gold, whatever. Make sure you’re all on the same page or at least close to it, and then approach the bride with your concerns.
  • Going dress shopping with the bride and gush over the dresses you like. If you can’t do that, email her links to lots of suggestions that just happen to reflect both her color choices and your preferences with regard to silhouette, style, and yes, patterns. There’s no guarantee she’ll choose a dress you like, but you def increase your chances of being happy with her choices.
  • Suggesting something close to what the bride wants if you truly cannot stand what she’s chosen. You might say “I love love loooove the color and the cut overall is fab, but do you think you could go for something with sleeves/a contrasting sash/a lower hemline/etc.” You come off as supportive of her preferences instead of bossy or pushy.
  • Really selling the whole bridesmaids choose their own dresses thing. It’s not, as I mentioned, the most popular choice, but considering that bridesmaids come in all shapes and sizes, I think it’s a good one.
  • Displaying some serious enthusiasm whenever the bride happens to show you a potential bridesmaids’ dress that doesn’t make your eyes bleed. Lay on the praise thickly and the bride will get the gist of what you’re trying to say. Whether she wants to give you the dress you want as opposed to the dress she wants… I guess you’ll find out.

Note that I am NOT suggesting that any bridesmaid try to subvert the bride’s choices when she has something she truly loves in mind or that any bridesmaid make a nuisance of herself by rejecting every dress the bride suggests. But I don’t necessarily think that bridesmaids should absolutely never voice their opinions. What do you think?

(Images via Our Labor of Love Photography and Green Wedding Shoes)

Welcome to Bridesmaids Week!

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Bridesmaids can get the shaft here are Manolo for the Brides on occasion, simply because there are so many other things to talk about, from the wedding dress (of course) to the linens to wedding favors, aisle runners, whether or not to have a reception photo booth, and so on. But we love our bridesmaidy readers as much as we love our brides! Sure, we may direct a lot of what we say to the bride herself, but only because she is usually the one with the final say when it comes to bridesmaids dresses and accessories. Easygoing brides may let their ladies loose on the shops with a color in mind or wear something they already own, but that style of wedding planning isn’t the norm. With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to, for one week only, speak directly to bridesmaids. Welcome to Bridesmaids Week!

The first topic I wanted to address is the true re-wearability of bridesmaids’ dresses. To start, I created a little poll because I know that a lot of you out there, while not bridesmaids at the moment, have been bridesmaids in the past and may take on that role again in the future. In my case, I’ve had two bridesmaids’ dresses that I’ve worn again. One was a blue satin number created for me when I was just a girl by my grandmother, and I sure did have fun finding opportunities to put it on after the wedding, even if I was just wearing it to dance around my house. The second was a purple dress that I still own chosen by yours truly to wear in the wedding of one of those aforementioned easygoing brides. It’s a great dress, and it looked boss in the photos (maybe I can find one to scan). Now it’s your turn:

When it came time for me to direct my own bridesmaids toward dress choices, I tried to be a semi-easygoing bride by asking them to simply choose any non-strapless brown, mocha, chocolate, or espresso dress from Aria because I thought that would give them the best chance of being able to wear their dresses again. You know, because they’d like their choices. *sigh* In the end, one got something from David’s and one bought something from who knows where that looked more like a prom dress than something for a bridesmaid. I have no idea if either of them has re-worn her dress, and I really don’t want to know. Moving on…

What does re-wearability really mean when it comes to bridesmaids dresses? Since so many of the bargain frocks are made from bleah materials that are almost always only appropriate for weddings, does it mean wearing the dress in another wedding? To a fancy event? And how many of us honestly can say that we have somewhere to wear a full-length silk shantung column gown? Because I certainly don’t! What I’d love to hear about is bridesmaids dress hacks – have any of you shortened or dyed old bridesmaids dresses? Or used them as costumes? That could be one way to re-wear a bridesmaids dress!

Quickie Tip: Choose Bridesmaids You Trust

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Your bridesmaids may or may not help you fold wedding programs, assemble favors, address your wedding invitations, shop for your wedding gown, and let you call them at 3 a.m. when you’re thinking of calling off the wedding because you simply cannot stand the way your intended chews. (Seriously, who eats that loudly? *Barf!*)

Some brides-to-be expect the world from their attendants. Others don’t. But no matter which camp you fall into, it pays to choose bridesmaids you trust.

choose bridesmaids you trust

After all, it would do to have bridesmaids who, say, steals all the gift cards at your bridal shower, drinks and dashes at your bachelorette party, “loses” your wedding bands just before the ceremony, or tries to convince your new spouse to get busy in a closet at the reception!

Image via Jerry Yoon Photography (which is freakin’ awesome)

Attendant Orientation: More Choices Than You Think!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Most couples I know – including me and The Beard – have made at least some kind of effort to end up with a balanced bridal party or symmetrical bridal party. That might mean six bridesmaids and six groomsmen or, less commonly, six bridesmaids and four groomsmen (or groomsmaids and bridesmen) who divide themselves evenly among the “bride’s side” and the “groom’s side” of the altar. Even less commonly you’ll see a mixed bag of gentlemen and ladies arranged on either side of the happy couple, in no set male-female order, but still with the same number of people on either side.

What can we learn from this? First, I think we can safely assume that the trend toward balance and symmetry has more to do with wedding photography than it does with family or friends. Just because the bride has ten best girlfriends doesn’t mean the groom has ten best buds (or brothers or even close cousins or coworkers). And then there’s gender – I still see the same sex-segregated wedding parties even in now when us chicks have plenty of dude friends (and vice versa). Second, “tradition” plays a big part in this, with brides and grooms never considering that they might have a mixed, uneven, or alternative wedding party because no one suggested they could.

So this is me suggesting it. Before you rack your brains to find another friend you like enough to complete your half of the wedding party, think about why you’re even thinking in terms of halves. Once you’ve wrapped your mind around the idea that your wedding photos can still look awesome without having equal numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s time to start thinking outside of the box when it comes to wedding attendant orientation. See, the reason balance and symmetry work so well is that bridesmaids and groomsmen (and groomsmaids and bridesmen) usually stand lined up on either side of the bride and groom. And that, ladies and gents, is that I want to talk about!

pink-bridesmaid-dressespink bridesmaids dresses