Bridesmaids – we love them. They help glue invites together, they tell us when that dress we like look horrific, and stay up till the wee hours listening to our laments about the world ending because the napkins don’t match the gift boxes. With alternative weddings, the couple tends to make use of the creative talents of those around them. Friends pitch in, uncles operate cameras, mums bake cakes, etc. The bridal party – normally relatives or long time bestest-of-the-best friends – bear the brunt of this wedding labour, and they’re happy to do so. They put up with all of our bridey, weddingey bollocks. So how do we say thank you?
Most Wedding Industry sites tell you to buy them all a present. This is normally accompanied by a long list of expensive items you could choose and have ‘personalized’ with name tags, embroidery, or silly allusions to “best bridesmaid” or “Groomsmen of the Year”.
I know that your alternative friends wouldn’t be caught dead in a “Bridesmaid” t-shirt, and are probably not going to be that keen on personalised salt and pepper shakers. Here are a few alternative ideas to thank your wonderful bridesmaids (or bridesmen) for all their amazing help:
– at your invitation/decoration/favor making night, shout them all pizza and ice cream.
– write them an email just to say how wonderful they are.
– reward them (and yourself) by spending time hanging out with them – and DON’T talk about the wedding. Go out for coffee and vegan cupcakes, swim in the river, have a picnic in the cemetery. For a few hours, forget about your venue and decorations, and just chill. Your bridesmaids need to chill too.
– make plans to hang out after you get back from the honeymoon. Friends always worry their married friends will regress into a den of sin and won’t emerge for several years. Show them you still intend to make them an important part of your life.
– headbang together.
– give them fun outfits to wear. Most girls LOVE dressing up in pretty dresses and how so few opportunities to go all out. Choose a flattering dress for each girl – or better yet, let them choose one themself! Add some funky accessories they could wear with other things in their wardrobe – and let them keep everything after the wedding.
– buy them some beautiful candles and holders, or some elegant soaps and lotions.
– After the formalness is over, let them sit wherever they want. They’ve been hanging out with you all day – they might want to go eat with their husband, who’s sitting by himself at the ‘misc. relatives’ table.
– say thank you, and mean it every time.
– add a note on their facebook page saying how amazing they are. That way, everyone else gets to know too!
– bring them leftover wedding cake
– Make wedding events fun. At our garage rehearsal my husband had all our groomsman doing the Egyptian dance and objecting during the vows and making inappropriate remarks about the bridesmaid’s womanly curves. It probably took us twice as long as it should have to rehearse the ceremony, but damn, was it fun!
– dance with them
– let them go when they’re tired, or need a break. Worn down, stressed-out friends do not a pleasent wedding experience make. Don’t force them all to stay up till three in the morning tying bows to ceremony programs – let it go.
– Give them free reign with your hen’s night – you won’t regret it! Okay, maybe you will, but that’s the point
– write them an IOU.
– treat them to a concert, or a beer at the local pub.
Readers, do you have any other ideas to add?
You’ll find plenty more ideas for bridesmaids gifts and gothic wedding fashion in the Gothic Wedding Planner.