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14 Things I Learned as a Bridesmaid | Friday Chatter

April 17, 2019

I’m getting a little teary as I start writing today’s post… I can’t believe Megan and Turner’s wedding has already come and gone! We were just prepping for their rehearsal dinner this time last week! They’re MARRIED y’all! I’m not going to lie… today’s post was a tough one to write!

You see… Megan is basically my sister. I grew up with her as my older sister’s best friend, and in typical younger sister fashion, I tagged along with them all the time. Soon, Megan became one of my best friends too. It was such an honor to be asked to be in her wedding party, and to celebrate this sweet and exciting season with her and her brand new HUSBAND Turner.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to share a post from the wedding, mostly because I still have all the feels & HOW do I put such an amazing weekend into words?! I had a lot of people ask me about the weekend though, and I set a goal a long time ago to try my hardest to document big life events here on the blog! So… I tried my hardest and actually really love what came out of it!

I wanted to get a little creative with this post because, after working in the industry for a few years, I got to experience a wedding like I never have before! I had so many people ask me things: How was it? What was it like being on the other side of things? What was your favorite part of being a bridesmaid?

Megan looked stunning, the wedding design was impeccable, the day went off without a hitch, but most importantly, SO many of Megan & Turner’s friends and family gathered to celebrate these two and this brand new chapter in their lives. It was so amazing to see how well these two love each other, and how they are loved so well by their friends and family.

You may or may not have been able to tell from the title of the blog post, but instead of doing a weekend recap, I’m taking a slightly different approach! I got to experience this wedding in a way that I’ve never gotten to before, and it was so much better than I could have imagined! Shall we get started? Instead of sharing a full recap, we’re diving into 14 (oops… that’s a lot!!) things I learned from being a bridesmaid! I hope you find them helpful as you plan your own wedding or prep to be a bridesmaid!

Arrival and Rehearsal

  • The stress is in the transitions
    • Ok… that right up there? It is our trunk just before we left. I know my dad is probably cringing at our packing job 🙈I think we even tossed something else on top of all of the bags and dresses just before we put the hatch down. Can we talk about how much stuff we brought for four people for just under two days?!
    • Personally, I think I found the MOST stressful time of the weekend to be right as we were leaving to drive downtown. My sister, her boyfriend, our friend & I had so much stuff to pack and were on limited time. We got everything done though, and once we were on the road, things were far less tense.
    • For the rest of the weekend, I found stressful transitions be a small theme, mostly thanks to a spontaneous rainstorm that lasted for exactly the amount of time that it took for us girls to get from the lobby of the hotel into the bridal room at the church! (Thankfully, there was nothing but sun after that!)Prepare well for the transitions on, before & after a wedding day… and maybe bring an umbrella and an extra large tote bag, just in case!
  • A professional blowout was the move for the rehearsal dinner
    • I’ve gotten my hair cut by one woman only for the last… 15+ years. She does such a great job, and I literally see her every time I’m back in Texas.
    • For the rehearsal dinner, my mom, sister & I all got our hair cut and styled on Friday morning. It took a little extra planning to get us all to the salon, but it was so nice to only have to worry about getting my makeup and dress on once we got to the hotel!
    • We were a little tight on time after getting to the hotel and parking. Getting ready took no time at all because my hair was already done. It was such a huge relief! If you can manage to get a blowout or professional style earlier in the day for the rehearsal dinner, do it!
  • Bonus tip: the world’s best shoes
      • Ok… this isn’t an official tip, but I couldn’t publish this post without giving a shoutout to my new favorite shoes. I wore a pair of Tom’s Poppy Sandals for the rehearsal, and they are THE best. Not only are they super comfy with the perfect heel height, but you can dress them up and you can dress them down! They’re definitely going to be my official summer brunch shoe! I found mine on sale at DSW!

Wedding Day Getting Ready

  • If your stylist team recommends having a larger team, do it!
    • I don’t think I can say enough GOOD things about Megan’s hair and makeup team. They were efficient, kind and did an amazing job! (Houston gals… we worked with Adorne Artistry!) We had quite a few women getting their hair done (Close to 15!), and we had a team of four women working with us from about 8:30-1:45. It was a full day!
    • Even with cranking us through, we were just about on time when we finished with hair and makeup. I am so thankful that Megan opted to have quite a few hair and makeup artists on hand because, without all of them, we would have definitely fallen behind on time.
    • If your hair and makeup crew recommends having multiple stylists for the morning of your wedding, I want to encourage you to please listen to them!
  • Bridesmaids first looks are definitely worth doing
    • I’ve photographed quite a few of these, but this was my first time participating in one!
    • A first look with your bridesmaids is exactly as it sounds… the bride gets ready in one room with her MOH and mom or whoever she would like help from, and then she surprises her girls with her final look! This was one of my many “OMG THIS IS REALLY HAPPENING” moments and was so, so special. There were definitely quite a few tears from our crew!
    • As a bonus, before the first look with her bridesmaids, the bride gets to spend a little alone time with the people that mean so much to her. She also has a moment of peace and quiet after the hustle of hair and makeup and before the craziness of getting married officially begins. The super special reveal moment with her girls is where everyone can exclaim about how stunning she looks— it is just the best!
    • The bridesmaids first look is such a sweet moment that I highly recommend for all brides. (Just make sure you allocate 4 or 5 minutes to get everything set up!)
  • Space is key
    • Y’all I wish I had a full picture of the suite that we had… it was GORGEOUS, but in addition to being gorgeous, it was also gigantic! The reason that space was so key? At any given moment in the morning, we had: 12 bridesmaids, two flower girls, one bride, two moms, four hair and makeup artists, one photographer, one wedding planner, and a few other family members either passing through or hanging out. That is A LOT of people!
    • If we were in a standard sized hotel room or suite, it would have gotten really tight and overwhelming really fast! Fortunately, we had more than enough space for everyone. In addition to having a significant amount of space, we also had two bathrooms, a full closet for the bridesmaids’ dresses, and a designated area for food and snacks. The additional bathroom helped to ensure that everyone was comfortable all morning, and the separate spaces for gear and food really helped keep down some of the clutter in important areas— like hair and makeup and where Megan was going to get dressed.
    • If you think you may need more space to get ready on your wedding day morning, this is my encouragement to you: go for the additional space!

Ceremony

  • Walking down the aisle made me nervous
    • I’ve told many, many groups of bridesmaids: “you’ll probably feel a little nervous or uncomfortable, so be sure to take a second to smile, relax your arms and drop your bouquet down to your belly button while walking down the aisle.” I’ve never actually done a walk down the aisle myself (unless you count testing light before the ceremony 😂), and what I told other groups of bridesmaids was just based on what previous girls have told me! So… this experience was totally new for me, and it turns out, what I was telling them was definitely true!
    • I was really surprised by how weird it felt. Yes, there was the exciting “OMG Megan is really getting married!!!” feeling, but there was also the “OMG help there are quite a few eyes looking at me… please don’t trip… just get to the alter… oh wait I’m walking way too fast… wait am I smiling? I can’t tell…” thought too!
    • I don’t have much advice here, but long story short… it is normal to feel a little awkward. Try to slow your sprint to a stroll and smile a little bit. The bride is just around the corner, so no offense, no one is really looking at you as much as you think!
  • Make sure your shoes are comfortable
    • I wore a pair of shoes from Target that were pretty much like walking in slippers all day long. They had a little heel, but it was chunky and not too high.
    • If you are standing up front for the length of the ceremony, definitely ensure you opt for shoes that are comfortable to stand still in for an extended period of time. (and that won’t make you lock out your knees!) Megan & Turner got married in a church, which meant that we didn’t have to worry about heels sinking into the ground, as they may during an outside ceremony. We were standing on marble though, so my toes did hurt a little bit by the end of the ceremony. This was the only time of day where my feet were a little sore though… thank goodness!
    • Comfy shoes are key y’all!

Reception

  • The time will fly by
    • Wedding time is a THING, y’all!
    • I say it to my couples all the time: once your day starts, it will be time for exits before you know it! Wedding time is a real thing when you’re a vendor, and it is definitely a thing when you are in the wedding party too. This was the first time though that I felt like the day really did fly by in a literal blink of an eye— I didn’t want it to be over!
    • From the time from when I sat down in hair and makeup to when the band played the last song at the reception, felt like I blinked and it was time to go. It all went so FAST and was so much fun! The reception definitely flew by fastest for me!
  • I’ve always underestimated the FUN that photobooths are
    • We spent a lot of time in the photobooth (clearly…!). I think I’ve stepped into maybe two wedding photobooths in my time in the industry (receptions coverage can get crazy, y’all!), and I definitely underestimated how much fun it would be to grab your favorite people, some props & silly poses.
    • Best of all, Megan & Turner will have access to all of these photos after their wedding! How fun is it to have silly photos of each of your guests after the fact?! I think it’s great to be able to see how much fun your guests had!!
    • If you are considering a photo booth for your wedding and weren’t sure if you wanted to have one or not, DO IT! As a guest, it was so much fun to take the photos & was nice to have a little printout to take home. I’m sure it is just as fun to flip through the silly frames as a couple after your day!

Overall

  • The BEST part, hands down, was seeing such an amazing friend so beyond happy
    • When I got home on Monday night, the first thing my roommate asked me was: “What was the best part of being a bridesmaid?!” I hesitated at first because my answer was so cheesy… honestly?
    • The best part of being a bridesmaid really was seeing one of my oldest friends marry the man of her dreams!
    • She was so happy all day long, and that made me so happy. Like I mentioned before, Megan is my older sister’s best friend and is basically my older sister too. We all used to spend days making up weird dance routines, practicing high kicks in our playroom for drill team, and blasting Taylor Swift on our way to and from high school. On Megan’s wedding day? Taylor Swift was still blasting and the weird dance moves were definitely there… it was just like old times! (Only minus the high kicks!)
    • The entire day was one giant celebration… it was joyful and exciting and absolutely beautiful. It made me so happy to know that Megan and Turner were so happy, and it was such an honor to be able to stand by their side as they said their I Do’s.
  • Wedding planners are a life saver
    • Quick shoutout to our girl Mallory at Two Be Wed! She hustled all day long to keep everything in order and happening on time. She somehow seemed to be in 3 places all at once and kept a rather large wedding party in order.
    • At the end of the weekend, my sister said: “I don’t know how people do it without a wedding planner!” Honestly? That statement really is true! Without a wedding planner, the stressful in between tasks fall on the wedding party, friends, family and other wedding vendors (like your photographer!). There’s also a chance that the stressful tasks could fall into the hands of the bride or groom too, and no one wants that on their wedding day!
  • Budget accordingly
    • This isn’t necessarily a note about the wedding day, but it is a note for overall! Being a bridesmaid does come with a financial commitment… from the dress to the bachelorette, shower gifts, travel and other expenses, keep an eye on how you are spending. Of course, there is no monetary value that I could ever place on having the chance to stand by one of my oldest friends as she marries the man of her dreams, but I did have to be realistic with myself.
    • As a self-employed wedding photographer and part-time fitness instructor, I’m a girl on a major budget. Were there any places I could reduce cost?
    • Personally, our group opted to share a hotel room 4 ways for the weekend and also parked in a parking garage that was about a quarter of the cost of valet at the hotel! I used Southwest points to travel to the bachelorette, and I bought dresses on sale or reused dresses that I already had for the rehearsal dinner and farewell brunch. These are just a few examples.
    • Things may have required a little extra planning, but the peace of mind in knowing that I could celebrate guilt and debt free was worth the extra steps!
  • Every wedding photographer has their own style of working, and it is so much fun to learn from them
    • I loved watching Megan’s wedding photographer work! (Quick shoutout to Philip Thomas for Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio brides!) He has an amazing way of documenting the day in “fly on the wall” fashion. He is a really incredible documentary style wedding photographer and was so pleasant to work with when he was directing our group! (Plus his British accent is so much fun to listen to!)
    • For most of the day, he let us do our own thing and photographed the day as it unfolded which made everything feel really relaxed. I can’t wait to see his photos from the day!
    • He inspired me to look deeper into the way I approach certain parts of the wedding day which makes me so excited for this upcoming wedding season.
  • I have a deeper love for my job
    • I’m getting a little teary as I write this one, but it is so true. This weekend really made me fall that much more in love with my job.
    • I’m not going to lie… off-season was hard on me. I fell prey to a lot of comparison traps, and I wondered if I would ever get to do my job again! On the daily at my job at Flywheel, I work with doctors and nurses that save lives, people that write policies that change our country, teachers that educate America’s future, people that cut big checks that fund crucial research… you get the idea. Sometimes it can feel like I’m “just” a wedding photographer amongst people doing such big things.
    • Deep down, I know this is a major lie, but sometimes you can’t see the truth until you feel it for yourself. (Wow I’m getting really cheesy and real up in here.) I know the photos from Megan & Turner’s wedding day are images that they will cherish for a lifetime and that I and the entire wedding party and their families will love to look through too for years and years to come. I never really realized how much these photos can mean though!
    • Sometimes it takes an extra personal reminder to encourage you to keep doing what you love. I may not be saving lives with my camera, but I do have the ability to preserve incredibly sweet memories that are so important to so many people.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like:

MY PARENTS’ WEDDING STORY

MEGAN’S CHARLESTON BACHELORETTE RECAP

2018 WEDDING SEASON: BEHIND THE SCENES!

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