Weddings & Life with Taylor Nicole, a podcast by Denver Wedding Photographer,
Taylor Nicole Photography
Intro: This one is for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, for the bride and groom determining who to ask to be in their bridal party. For the siblings in your bridal parties and for the maids/matrons of honor and the best men. The bridal party on a wedding day serves a unique role. Listen in on this episode to learn more about the roles of bridal party members at different points in the wedding day, what not to do as a bridesmaid/groomsmen, and more.
Welcome to the 15th podcast episode! Fun fact 15 is my favorite number. Do you remember in elementary school when they listed every student alphabetically and you were assigned a number, usually on your desk for seating charts and field trips ect. Well from kindergarten through 4th grade my number was almost always 15. I was bumped to 16 one year and then the kid ahead of me moved, and yes I was bitter about having a different number haha. This must have been when my detail oriented nature truly started showing itself. I still love numbers. Also another fun fact my birthday is tomorrow. I haven’t really been excited about my birthday since my teen years. I truthfully don’t want to be older haha but this will be 28 for me. I’ve had a hard time keeping track of how old I am, I went through all of 2020 thinking I was already 26 when I was really 25.. and then things have spiraled from there. But now that Austin and I are getting closer to the big 30 I think our eyes are open and we’re more regularly aware of how old we are. Nervous laugh here. I love birthdays as an opportunity to reflect on the last year, but that’s about it. I do wish we could slow down the whole aging thing. So thanks for joining me on what seems to be one of my biggest journeys so far this year, continuing to grow this podcast. I personally hope it takes a longgggg time to get to 29 haha!
So on to the episode topic for today. We are going to talk about everything bridal party. From asking bridal party, to typical roles of bridal party before the wedding, then moving to the wedding day and what to do and what not to do.
So first, asking the bridal party.
As the couple you need to decide on who you want in your wedding party. Yes I use bridal party and wedding party as the same term. Fun story- just a few weeks ago I was photographing a wedding and I had the couple and the whole wedding party lined up. I directed everyone and said ‘the whole bridal party will walk toward me when I say go’ so I said go, and after a few steps we all realized the groomsmen didn’t budge. They told me that the bridal party was just the bridesmaids haha! That was a first for me in my 7+ years of weddings. So I directed them by referring to them as the wedding party to the best of my ability.
Now back to the subject. So I loveeeee bridal party portraits as a wedding photographer. And I love feeding off of the energy of a large group. So if you’re a blessed person out there with 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen because you have all the friends you are welcome here haha. But deciding on your bridal party numbers is one of the first steps. Also just to add in a note here, don’t feel pressure to have a big or small wedding party because your friends or siblings did. I’ve seen weddings with groups of 20+ wedding party members and others just have a sibling stand up there with them. This is your day and you plan it as you like!
Also as a photographer I want to assure you that uneven numbers like 4 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen ect is not necessarily a bad thing! Some people will prefer even numbers but if you’re struggling to fill that extra space it can be alright. As a photographer I like to take one photo of the bride’s party on one side and the groom’s on the other, but after that I will intentionally mix them up, having two bridesmaids then a groomsmen then another bridesmaid ect. It mixes in the heights better and then you don’t notice if the numbers are even or not! that’s my opinion anyways.
So after choosing how many members to include in your bridal party Then comes actually asking them. I’ve seen people make cute gift boxes, others do this via text. It’s all up to you.
-So now for the first bridal party member don’t… Don’t say no when you’re asked. Can you say no to being a bridesmaid/groomsman? Technically yes, but I have a feeling there are few scenarios where you will remain in close friendship with that person after saying no. Unless you are like literally booked on flights out of the country or are deployed there’s not really an excuse there.
Next up in the roles of the bridal party will probably include all of the pre-wedding day celebrations. Examples like this would be the engagement party if it’s not just family. The bachelor and bachelorette parties and for bridesmaids being part of the bridal shower.
Purchasing the correct attire whether that’s bridesmaid dresses and shoes or being fitted for a rental tux or suit.
I personally hope that as a bridesmaid or groomsmen that you are a present member in their lives during the planning process offering support and help when you can. Wedding planning takes a team sometimes and trust me they could use a check in or your support.
Continuing to fast forward, the rehearsal dinner is a big role for bridal party members. That is your quick run through, whether you’re at the venue or you just have a talk through with the couple, planner, officiant ect. This will tell bridal party members where to be, who to walk with ect. Pro tip- don’t be late for the rehearsal dinner, they really do need you as a bridal party member there and it makes the couple feel better when everyone is present and can feel confident on when they enter ect.
Side note, I have been a bridesmaid all of three times in my life and isn’t it just a little stressful knowing where to walk/stand during the ceremony? Maybe there are some pros out there but I was nervous each time!
So now we are on to the wedding day, this is where the bulk of the episode exists for me. There are probably more things that go into this but having only been a bridesmaid three times I can’t say I’m the expert.
So from the point of getting ready all the way through the day to the end of the reception here are some do’s and don’ts for our bridesmaids and groomsmen
Do- be on time for getting ready, including bringing all of your attire and supplies with you
Don’t start day drinking too early in the day. Think a little bit in advance, if you are getting ready with the bride/groom at a different venue someone there will need to be able to drive you all to the next place. I’ve seen this become a problem before and I can say it’s any easy oversight but from my perspective save the heavy drinking for the reception where you are at your destination and can order an uber for a ride home.
Do help the bride/groom with anything they need. This could mean helping the groom gather suitcases to put in the get away car, helping deliver a wedding day letter from the groom to the bride, fetching the bride’s chapstick, drying off her bouquet or helping carry her train as you walk around the venue.
On a related note- bridesmaids- DO dry off the stems of your bouquets with paper towels or a towel before portraits and the ceremony. The bride’s bouquet is helpful too, but for you it’s actually even more important. The bride’s dress will hide water spots/marks but usually the bridesmaid dresses are a solid color and not drying your bouquet before picking it up will leave a wet spot on your lap. Yes it should dry quickly but it isn’t instant and it could even leave a water stain/mark. Yes I’ve had to edit out bridesmaid water marks in photos before, so yes this could be personal haha.
Don’t complain about the weather while you’re outside taking bridal party portraits. Actually let’s back up and mention that you just should’t complain. That is negative and it doesn’t help anyone on the wedding day, especially not the bride/groom. Okay back to the weather, here’s the thing there aren’t too many perfect 70 degree sunny days out there… at least not where I’ve photographed weddings. First remember before you complain that the bride or groom is literally experiencing this weather with you. Probably in a very similar attire as you are. And from the photographer’s perspective, yes you can take time to complain about how hot or cold it is, but if you chose to not complain I would finish the portraits all the faster. Bridal party portraits are usually 20-40 minutes, so buckle down and make it through with a positive attitude. No need to make the couple feel bad that you aren’t comfortable. They’re about to give you free appetizers, drinks and a meal. You can do it.
Do drink water during the wedding day. We don’t want you passing out for key moments, such as the ceremony, or any moment. We just don’t want you to pass out. Also Do remind the bride/groom to drink some water too. It makes everyone feel better.
Bridesmaids- Do help the bride when she needs to use the restroom. It’s an awkward task with most dresses. You can look into the bridal buddy, which is basically a trash bag or mesh bag that the bride actually wears under her dress and then can pull her dress into to use the restroom. This could work on fuller or flowing gowns, if the bride has a sleek form fitting gown my guess is that an extra layer would show. Don’t let this be the reason the bride stays dehydrated, let her know you’re here to help!
Siblings of the bride and groom who are in the wedding party, DO be prepared to be in a lot of photos. More photos than you’ve taken in a long while. You will need to be there through getting ready, the bridal party portraits and the family portraits. It’s a lot, but try not to disappear so we can get those taken as quickly as possible.
Do prepare your toast ahead of time if you’re a maid of honor or best man, or if the couple notifies you that they’d like you to give a toast. It doesn’t have to be long, just sincere and positive. Episode 12 was all about how to avoid giving a bad toast.
Don’t drink too much before your toast. It is totally nerve wracking but it can be quick and painless then you can get back to the party.
Don’t leave before the reception is over. I feel like the only exception to this rule is if you’re feeling sick or you have a small child. In general SO many wedding guests leave early, it’s like people hit a socially filled level and after dinner they begin to trickle out. If the bride and groom are excited to have a big dance party or are planning a grand exit at the end of the night they will need you there! Show them the best night and enjoy the whole party with them. It’s the friend thing to do.
Do write on their get away car. Well maybe this is a Taylor opinion thing, but I always think it’s cute to have the couple’s car decorated for when they leave. A good time to do this is at a down moment during the reception, whether that is a free moment during cocktail hour or after dinner or during open dancing. Make sure to pack some car markers, decals, or cans on a string to bring with you. I feel like this usually falls on the best man because he is usually the one making sure the bride and groom’s suitcases are in the car before the end of the night. But feel free to recruit others too. Also it might be good to hypothetically check with the bride/groom and just make sure they don’t hate the idea of having their car decorated. I definitely don’t want to give you any advice that would upset someone!
Finally, do have fun! You are a huge part of making this their best days yet. They are excited to have you by their sides and let the joy overflow throughout the day. Be encouragers and be fun!
I hope this episode has been insightful and fun. As a photographer I love bridal parties on the wedding day, it brings up the energy and joy for portraits and throughout the night! Thanks for listening to another episode. Also next week I am starting a series of episodes that will walk you through the whole wedding day. Giving more practical advice, timeline ideas and revealing it all. I hope you listen in starting next week too!