Friday, April 10, 2009

Jackie's Wedding Planning Journey - Choosing Bridesmaids

Once Matt proposed, I knew the toughest decision I would have to make was deciding who my Bridesmaids would be. I have a large group of friends from college, along with friends from high school and new friends here in Savannah. At first, I wanted to have everyone be a bridesmaid - a la 27 dresses. In total that would have been 9 Bridesmaids, 2 Junior Bridesmaids and a Flower Girl - 12 girls total! I know friends who have had up to 12 in their wedding party and I am not turned off by the big number. Alas, a bridal party of 12 was just something that my budget could not handle. 12 bouquets, 12 gifts, wedding day transportation for starts to add up.

I read magazine after magazine trying to figure out how to handle the situation - methods for narrowing down, scripts for breaking the bad news, etc. No outside answer seemed to satisfy me. But after thinking it through on my own, and discussing it with close friends, I finally came up with a plan:

My Maid of Honor was always a given, Jessica, my best friend and sorority sister from college. My best friend here in Savannah just happened to get married last year making it easy for me to make her my Matron of Honor. My best friend from High School, Kristin, and another sorority sister, Courtney, are the girls that I would consider my two closest college friends. With them as bridesmaids I had narrowed it down to 4 maids (plus the little gals).

From there things got tricky. I still had 5 close sorority sisters/high school friends left that I felt I could not choose between, so I decided not to choose at all - leave it at 4 and be done with it. Problem solved, right?...Wrong! The guilt set in about 2 months after I had bought the bridesmaids' dresses. They were not giving me any grief, of course, but I was not happy to be leaving them as pure guests on my wedding day. They are my closest friends, whether there are two or five of them. Still knowing that I could not afford to have that many bridesmaids, I had to figure out some way to recognize them at the wedding and let them know how much they meant to me.

I decided to forget tradition that says "you're a bridesmaid or not a bridesmaid" and created "The Honorary Bridesmaid." It may even be a cooler position than bridesmaid because you get to pick your own dress and shoes and you get to sit for most of the ceremony! Each of my Honorary Bridesmaids will process down the aisle before the wedding party, carrying a single flower, be listed in the program, and sit in the front of the church with my immediate family. It may seem a small part to play, but it means a lot to me to recognize each girl that has meant that much to me.

I'd love to hear about the difficulties that you've had choosing your wedding party and how you chose to overcome them. Is there a whole army of Honorary Bridesmaids out there that I don't know about?

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