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Trading Stories: An Island Wedding for an Island Girl

19 Jan

Julia’s childhood best friend asked her to be bridesmaid on New Years 2009. Both girls were back in their hometown on Martha’s Vineyard for the holiday and it was the first time Julia met her friend’s fiancé.

“She pulled me aside and told me they were getting married. After hugs and many congratulations, she asked if I would like to be in the bridal party. We have grown up so much and I was honored to be part of it.”

As a bridesmaid, it was hard to be heavily involved in the wedding planning because Julia lived in Atlanta, GA at the time. “I flew from GA to MA for the surprise bridal shower and a week before the wedding had rehearsal with the bride and groom for their first dance, which I choreographed for them.”

But the distance certainly didn’t take away from the special experience of being a bridesmaid. “Just being a part of the whole thing with the bride and our childhood friends—when we were little we would have pretend weddings on the playground and would talk about who we were going to end up with and it meant so much to me to be there for her on her actual wedding day.”

The bridal shower was a surprise for the bride which was held at an aunt and uncle’s house with all her closest friends and family. “We flew from all over: NY, PA, friends from college, me from GA. The look on her face when she walked in the door was priceless.”

The bachelorette party was another surprise and was held a couple nights before the wedding at a friend’s house, and, like most bachelorette parties thrown, the celebration made sure to focus around a certain—err—male body part.

As Julia recalls, “The maid of honor and I kidnapped her at the end of dinner with her family, blindfolded her, and drove all around so she lost her sense of direction.”

With the bridal shower and bachelorette party marked off as successes, it was on to the big day! The wedding was held at the old Agricultural Hall on the Vineyard, a quintisential upisland location surrounded by beautiful farm land.

“I have a couple best memories from the wedding: getting ready in the room we grew up in in her parents house, riding in the limo to the ceremony, standing up at the alter with the rest of the wedding party, and last but not least, watching the bride, groom, and his band of friends sing Love Shack towards the end of the reception.” With a musically talented couple and a skilled dancer for a bridesmaid, there was no shortage of entertainment as the happy couple tied the knot!

As for the bridesmaid dresses, the bride wanted something elegant, simple, and reasonably priced. As Julia puts it (and I think we can all agree!), “Hey not all of us college grads have 50k/yr jobs.” But cutting back the cost certainly didn’t mean a shortage of style—the light blue dresses and white shawls made for a gorgeous bridal party.

Bridesmaid Break Down:

Dress Style: Strapless knee length with sweetheart top and empire waist.

Dress Color: Light blue

Main Expenses: Dress and plane tickets (“But what does that matter when it’s your best friend’s wedding?!” Julia adds. And we agree!)

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Trading Stories: A Family Affair

29 Dec

When Jenny’s fiancé’s brother’s wife (and soon-to-be sister in law) asked her to be in her bridal party it was a casual occasion, and the answer was an obvious “yes”!

I think it was when she was visiting us for a weekend/holiday and we were just discussing bridesmaid things and she was listing her bridesmaids and had me in the list, and then just confirmed that I would…and because we are family, it was kind of expected that we would be in each others weddings—but I really wanted to be in it too!” With the bride’s mom taking on the majority of the planning, and Jenny living on Martha’s Vineyard while the bride was in Vermont, her bridesmaid responsibilities were limited, but Jenny still offered to do whatever was needed.

The wedding ceremony took place in June up in the mountains in Brattleboro, Vermont and the reception took place in Chester. While “getting all dolled up and feeling special to be a part of their big day” was Jenny’s favorite part of being a bridesmaid for her future brother and sister-in-law, her favorite memories from the wedding were the bridal entrance and not leaving the dance floor for hours.

“We had a pretty amazing bridal party entrance. We had a competition going on between the couples when they were introduced to the reception. They were all pretty hilarious and all so different! I was with their cousin, Jack, and he wound me up and I did the robot walk down the entrance.”

When it came to the outfit, getting the dress altered was Jenny’s main expense: “I got a size too big, but I didn’t try on a smaller size so I had to get it shortened and taken in.” And as a bride-to-be herself, Jenny knows all about the challenges to finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses.

“After starting my search for my own bridesmaids I have found that the dresses are NOT cheap. I think that [my fiancé’s sister-in-law] did a great job picking the dresses for her bridal party and keeping it as inexpensive, yet still stylish, as possible.”

For shoes, Jenny used black shoes that she already owned, and changed into flip-flops for the ceremony with the rest of the bridesmaids. And with hours of dancing ahead of them, the shoe swap was a smart decision—“one of the best ideas ever!”

Bridesmaid Break Down:

Dress Brand & Style: David’s Bridal floor length
Dress Color: Black with green sash
Main Expenses: Dress, sash, and getting the dress altered

Trading Stories: Married in Miami

22 Dec

Just as the temperature was beginning to drop up here in Boston this November, Sam was flying down to the warmth of Miami for her friend’s big day. It was months earlier, however, that Sam’s involvement as a bridesmaid started—back to when the college roommates and sorority sisters were still attending UNC: Chapel Hill.

“I helped try on dresses with the bride while we were both at school in North Carolina at some cute shops in Raleigh. We didn’t find anything that she loved that weekend, but she ended up going shopping with her sisters in Miami and found the dresses she wanted from Priscilla of Boston. She consulted us and got our opinion before ordering them, but I thought they were beautiful!” And the adorable deep purple knee length dresses that were chosen for the bridesmaids just might defy the old “you’ll never wear it again” stigma, as Sam said, given the right occasion, she’d definitely wear it again.

While the bride’s sisters, as Maids of Honor, took on the majority of planning and responsibility, Sam stayed very much up to date with the wedding process from beginning to end: “My favorite part was definitely getting to be super close to all the details throughout the whole process with the bride. Also, just getting to be part of her day—it was so special to get to stand at the altar with the other bridesmaids and see her walk down the aisle and to look at her (then) fiancé’s face.” And, as most all bridesmaids would agree, “it was also really fun to get to spend so much time with the bridal party—three of the other bridesmaids were very close friends of mine from school and I loved getting to be with them!”

For the bachelorette party, the girls spent a weekend in Miami. And as a fellow Bostonian, Sam understands the treat of being able to escape down south twice during these colder months! While the plane tickets ending up being one of the pricier expenses for her as a bridesmaid, the fun girls weekend spent at the Fountain Bleu in South Beach was well worth it. And the wedding shower took place that same weekend so that all those traveling from far away could be present for both.

“We got to spend all day Saturday at the pool and hanging out on the beach, then that night we went to a club there which was so fun! I’d say my best memory was definitely us all getting ready in the hotel rooms, pregaming with some drinks, and playing some fun games—we got the bride-to-be to share some good stories about boyfriends in her past!”

Two weekends later, Sam headed back down to Miami for the big day. The wedding ceremony and reception took place in a beautiful banquet room at the Westin Coral Cables.

“My best memory was definitely watching the bride walk down the aisle and seeing how happy she and her husband were. Also, the dancing during the reception—everyone was having a good time!”

Bridesmaid Break Down:

Dress Brand & Style: Priscilla of Boston sweetheart top, strapless knee length with bodice detailing

Dress Color: Deep Purple

Total Budget: $1,200

Main Expenses: Dress/shoes/accessories, gifts, hotels/flights

Money-Saving Tip: Book your flights in advance!