Jul 13th, 2012
She’s been a coordinator, bridesmaid, and even maid of honor. You can definitely say Kristen knows a thing or two about weddings. She has had so much experience in weddings that we asked her to share her expertise on being tightly woven in the wedding scene.
BT: We know you have been in MANY weddings, but break it down for us!
Kristen: I have participated in 8 weddings total: 3 as MOH, 4 as bridesmaid, 1 as wedding coordinator. I was first a bridesmaid for my mom’s second marriage, and the remaining 7 have been since 2009.
BT: How do the duties of being a bridesmaid or a maid of honor differ?
Kristen: The difference between being a bridesmaid and a MOH depends on high the bride’s expectations are. No matter what the expectations are, I believe the title MOH carries an added pressure on the wedding day to be aware of logistics; as a bridesmaid you are more along for the ride. If you are asked to be a MOH just expect to throw the bridal shower without being asked. Most likely the bride wants you to do it, but doesn’t want to verbally ask. Since most of the weddings I’ve been in, have been in a different state, I will throw a “lingerie party” the night before the wedding to keep costs down for the bridal party but provide a fun girls night. On the topic of girls-night, make sure to have one! Having fun with the girls and feeling like you spent quality time with your bridesmaids is essential, otherwise you leave feeling guilty that everyone traveled so far and you didn’t have much time. Don’t expect the day of the wedding to be quality time with your girlfriends, it is more focused on other guests and family. Overall, as the MOH try to take on the stress of the bride, this might mean filtering only important questions to her, delegating tasks to other bridesmaids, holding the ring (on your thumb) during the ceremony, holding her dress in the bathroom, bringing her water out to the dance floor, and the list goes on! As a bridesmaid the best thing to do is to let the MOH boss you around. The last thing the bride needs is drama or jealousy on the days leading up to her wedding. Just keep her best interest in mind and everything will go smoothly.
BT: What are some of your favorite shower or bachelorette ideas?
Kristen: We had a really fun Alice in Wonderland theme lingerie party for one of my friends, but I think my favorite shower was when we held a typical bridal shower at our house, then kidnapped the bride and drove her to a state park with just the bridesmaids and stayed over night camping. She cherishes the memory to this day! In general you don’t need caterers, expensive decorations, or high price gifts. As long as you spend quality time together the memory will last longer than any of the former things do.
BT: What’s a funny moment where you had to jump in and improvise?
Kristen: The wedding I coordinated earlier this summer was my first experience as coordinator. I learned how essential the role is! One of my responsibilities was to light the unity candle, but with all of the other tasks I forgot about it, only to remember after getting the bride down the aisle on time. I almost ran down the aisle in front of everyone with a lighter, but my friend calmed me down, and looked at the program to find a prayer. At that time I was able to get behind the pulpit from the back door, and waited until everyone had their heads bowed to light it!
Another time when I had to improvise was during that same wedding. When we were all entering the reception one of the groomsmen disappeared. So to keep from causing problems with the line-up I just walked out with one of the bridesmaids with my hands up in the air. Everyone laughed and that major problem was averted!
BT: What are some of your best suggestions or tips for the brides or bridesmaids?
Kristen: For the Bride:
- Have a wedding coordinator. Even if it’s just one of your friends, you need someone to be the bad-guy and keep track of time throughout the day (especially at the reception).
- Make your own playlist rather than hire a DJ. For some weddings the DJ was a great addition, especially if your guests will need encouragement to dance. In general, I’ve found that it’s just better to pick the songs in the order you think best and have the freedom to skip to a certain song if the moment is right. This will also help to cut costs!
- If you are doing photos after the ceremony, make sure your guests have entertainment or food while they wait.
- Don’t let there be drama. That is the worst thing you can do for the bride, it is her day. Try your best to see the positive in all situations and keep from complaining.
- Don’t expect the MOH to carry all the costs of the shower/bachelorette/etc. Just offer to help out financially before asked.
- Make the groomsmen do the heavy-lifting, early morning tasks, and outdoor stuff. Girls just wanna’ have fun after all and it’s more important for the Bride and Bridesmaids to be relaxed and feel refreshed.
- Take care of making sure your own nails are painted and hair is done before helping anyone with theirs. Inevitably if this doesn’t happen you will be the one everyone is waiting for.
For the MOH:
- ALWAYS prepare a speech. Even if the bride says there won’t be toasts, inevitably someone will start toasting, and as the MOH you will most definitely be expected to have a knock-em-dead speech. The worst thing you can do is let the Best Man have a better speech.
- Hold the ring on your thumb rather than in your bra, pocket, etc. This will keep there from being any chance of getting lost!
- Think about little fun things to bring to the wedding, one time I bought $2 heart shaped sunglasses and they added awesome pictures. At another wedding I bought cute socks for the bride to wear while she got ready, and the photos were also adorable. At another wedding I bought all the bridesmaids matching underwear, which were a hit!
- Don’t worry about being the bad-guy if the situation requires it. The bride doesn’t want to have to boss people around. So if you notice things are getting unorganized just take control.
- Practice bustling the bride’s dress prior to the reception. You don’t want the guests waiting any longer for the grand enterance.
BT: What do you think is the most important role a bridesmaid serves?
Kristen: I think it is making sure the bride has a good time. You’re her closest friend so don’t worry so much about the typical roles of being a MOH/bridesmaid, think about what you all have fun doing and the wedding will go down in history as a blast!
Thanks for chatting with us Kristen! We hope you bring your positive attitude and talented bridesmaid skills to weddings in the future!