Bridesmaids vs. Bridal Squad: How to mix up things up but still have the girls by your side
Growing up I always dreamed of having tons of bridesmaids by my side at my wedding. Maybe it was because I had been a flower girl and junior bridesmaid in so many giant Italian weddings that that’s all I knew was normal. Each time I move to a new city and made a new friend I would mentally add her to the list of girls that would one day be dressed all the same with flowers in their hands at my wedding. As I started being a bridesmaid in my close friends’ weddings something about my outlook on the “bridesmaid” changed. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being a bridesmaid and really experiencing the wedding alongside the bride, but living so far away made my experience a little more stressful than with others.
That’s why when I got engaged I knew I didn’t want to have traditional “bridesmaids”. When you have friends all over the world who are never all in the same city it’s hard to organize things and eventually somehow will feel left out, no matter what you plan. How stressful would it have been to try and find the same dress for each girl in Italy, England and Canada? Not the mention that the best part of having bridesmaids is the experience of doing all these things together.
Realistically that just wouldn’t happen for me…so that’s when I decided to create my Bridal Squad. I love my friends SO much and each of them has grown alongside me at very important times in my life. That’s why I knew I wanted them by my side on my wedding day(s) but in a new modern way.
No matchy-matchy dresses: This would have been the biggest stress so I threw the idea out the window. Instead I went to a fabric store and found swatches of two complimentary colours that I loved that would go well for the Italian wedding as well as the Canadian one. I gave these swatches to each of the girls with a small note when I asked each of them to be part of my Squad. From there they were able to pick whatever dress they wanted within those two colour families. Long, short, pants, jumpsuit…whatever! This way they invest in a dress that they actually LOVE and can wear again for another event.
No bouquets: Although I love flowers I also know that at the wedding I would much prefer having my phone in my hand to take selfies than a bouquet of flowers. In my case, because it was a destination wedding in Italy, all the girls were also flying back to their homes the next day, so the flowers would have been tossed. Rather than bouquets I had fun accessories planned for us to use for photos such as personalized fans. Plus with our free hands we were always able to hold a drink…priorities!
Bridesmaid’s Gifts: I wanted to still thank each of my friends personally for being a part of the wedding, but I didn’t want to gift them something standard that they will never use again. That’s why I thought of something silly and something useful. I surprised the girls with personalized t-shirts (so easy to have made at any T-Shirt shop), a bar of luxurious soap from Hermes and the first Facebook photo of each of us that exists. The shirts were great because they all wore them together while getting ready in the morning and the soap was just small enough to fit in their luggage but doubled as a perfume for all their clothes because smelled so good!
Embracing personal style: I think that each of us are happiest when we feel like ourselves. That’s why I didn’t place rules surrounding hair, make up or accessories for the wedding. Each of my friend’s decided on their hair and makeup, playing up on their best traits and enhancing their natural beauty! On that day we were all happy because we all felt amazing, nothing faked or forced!
It’s all about the budget: Each person has their own personal budget that they feel comfortable spending towards a wedding. Not having any imposed elements for the girls made it completely up to them how much to spend for their dress, shoes, accessories. If you want to make things even easier give your friends the option to get their hair, makeup and nails done with you but let me know it’s not “here or nothing”. Letting your friends choose where to do their hair or if to do it themselves will make them feel more comfortable and essentially more like themselves on the big day!
Whatever happens, happens: Throughout the whole wedding processed I lived by this moto with the girls. I didn’t want anyone to feel forced to live by the “Bridesmaid’s Guidebook” and organize something because they felt they needed to. I love that we were each able to spend time together spontaneously and without labelling it as a certain event. Not having anything to live up to took the stress off of everyone and we just made sure that on the days where we were able to come together we made the most of it!
Now don’t get me wrong, for anyone out there with all their friends in the same city where you can really experience all the wedding plans together I say, why not? My case was different and so I found solutions and took steps to still make it fun and enjoyable for everyone involved. As in every aspect of a wedding, each situation is different and there is no wrong choice. What’s ultimately important is that you are able to feel the love from your friends on your wedding day, no matter what they are wearing or if they all have flowers in their hair or not.
Sending all my love to my Squad who continued to send me their love from around the world throughout wedding planning and both the weddings:
Gabrielle de Cointet