I sometimes feel like I may be at a slight disadvantage to the other women running this blog as I have never been married! I have never planned a wedding but at the beginning of May I was the maid of honour for my cousin.
So after experiencing a couple of meltdowns, a few complications with suppliers, and being there for the whole of the big day (and the night before!) I’d like to share with you some hints and tips if you’re playing the role of right hand woman, or man, in the run up to their big day.
It is not traditional for a maid of honour, or any female in fact, to give a speech at a wedding, but I’m not a traditional person! I wrote most of my speech… then I bottled it! I still wish I had said at least a few words! The day before I felt so stressed I just thought, no! Even with the practice I had had at the launch party for The Liverpool Wedding Blog (check out the video on our Facebook…)
When the fabulous staff at Anfield football club were organising the order of the speeches I thought I’ll say a few words if I’m asked…then I wasn’t asked, phew! But after listening to the four blokes (an uncle and brother in place of the bride’s father; the best man and the groom), and after the big day itself I had a few regrets. I would always rather regret something I’ve done rather than something I haven’t done!
So even if you haven’t been asked, prepare a few words – a funny story about the bride that most won’t know, the story of when you first met the groom and what you really thought of him, and of course thank them both for the honour; then you might just feel up to it after a few glasses of bucks fizz!
Are you planning on getting the bride and groom a ‘normal’ wedding present, or cash if that’s what they’ve requested, or something from their list?
If not, think about your role as maid of honour and what you can do to help in the run up to the big day. Being a seamstress and dressmaker I immediately offered to alter the bridesmaids dresses, and ended up shortening three pairs of trousers and making four cravats too! If your bride has kids do they need looking after when she’s busy shopping for shoes or wedding favours? You could make a book of vouchers for babysitting, cooked meals – that way you’re giving the gift of time and skills. Or maybe you want to take her for a spa day to help her relax a week or so before the wedding.
I decided to put together a kit for my bride for her big day.
I thought about what would I really like to have with me at a massive all day party that was all about me (and my man, of course…) so I gathered up a load of cute bits and bobs and made a label for each one. For example, a packet of paracetamol “for the morning after”, some flip flops “so you can dance the night away”, some tissues “for the tears of joy” and some lip balm and mints “for that first kiss”.
She loved looking at every single thing the night before and made sure she packed her essentials in her handbag, and I carried the rest for her.
The night before
Is your bride staying in a hotel or at home? Has anyone planned to stay with her? If not, make sure you’re there for her. Tick off the last minute lists, make sure she’s eating well, and not drinking too much – nobody wants to get married with a hangover! Check over the dress for stains and creases, if there are any then do not tell the bride!! Just deal with them as best you can – hanging the dress up in the bathroom while a hot shower runs may get ride of some creases, or you can use an iron like a steamer.
Make sure someone stays with the bride the night before!
The night before the wedding I stayed over at my bride’s house, as otherwise she would have been getting up with her three kids (all under seven by the way!) alone. We had a little drink to calm the nerves, and put on some face masks and she had a ‘foot mask’ as well (though I’d never heard of those before), we got an early night and I think she eventually slept! We had three boisterous alarm clocks the next morning so were up fairly early. I sorted their breakfast whilst the bride relaxed in the bath, then cooked up us adults a healthy wholesome breakfast, yum!
The other bridesmaids soon arrived, along with the makeup artist, hairdressers and the flowers! The house was soon full and the buzz was so exciting! The photographer arrived and started snapping away whilst we were still getting ready. It took two of us to get the bride into her dress (we lost a bridesmaid under the many layers of tulle for a short while), and she looked stunning!
But the car only went and got blocked in by another one didn’t it! I told the reverend and the groom that there was going to be a delay, and rang the bride’s brother (who was giving her away) making sure to say for him to not panic the bride! The culprit was soon found so we were back on track.
Keep the bride calm and if something doesn’t go to plan make sure people don’t panic!
I directed all the guests into the church after they’d photographed the bride’s arrival, then lined everybody up in the order we were going in – flower girl then the three bridesmaids each holding a page boy’s hand. I fixed the bride’s dress then we were ready to walk! But I couldn’t hear any music (provided by my brother and his acoustic guitar from the pulpit!). Luckily there was an usher in the form of a nephew near the back of the church that I could hiss to about giving the signal!
And then we were walking, smiling, trying not to trip over in heels, ushering the kids into a pew. I waited for the bride so I could take her bouquet then I was finally relaxing in a pew myself. I could not believe the moment had finally come.