When you get engaged – it seems that a billion questions pop up over night. Perhaps the most immediate of them all after the whole “Will you marry me” bit is this one: who will be my bridesmaids? This is a vexing one, especially if you’re fortunate to have many fabulous women in your life. This is the pickle I found myself in.
Most women know from being bridesmaids themselves that there are so many schools of thought on who you should include (or not include) in your own wedding party. We go through years and chapters of our lives where we keep an imaginary list. Barbie and Miss Piggy didn’t make the cut past 1st grade, and so and so forth. Then come the experience of actually being the bridesmaid. After being part of many different weddings, I’m not here to say there’s one right way to have bridesmaids. After all, everybody’s wedding is the telling of a special story in and of itself.
That said, I will tell you how I came to think about it for us and share with you the glorious solution that occured to me: Honorary Bridesmaids. If this is something you’d like to do or are thinking about- stay tuned. I’ve got the lowdown on how to do and a free printable based on the cards I created for our wedding.
It starts with our wedding philosophy…
Choosing our wedding party was one of the first decisions Gus and I made in keeping with our wedding philosophy. Yes, wedding philosophy – we’re weird like that. This is just my simple way to express that our wedding was not going to have a specific theme or color scheme and that we weren’t going to do any traditions solely for traditions sake. For our wedding to be meaningful to us, it had to reflect us in every nook and cranny. Everything we did needed to have a purpose or it wasn’t worth doing (no use for boutonnieres, forget about em! tossing the bouquet? let’s dedicate it instead, etc.). Our wedding was the beginning of the next chapter in our lives and we came to realize very early on in planning it that the key to telling this story was truly about celebrating and honoring the people who had brought us to this point, and who would continue to shape our life together as husband and wife in the years to come.
To this end, the people we chose for our wedding party are people that not only are a big part of our past, but those that we envision and hope will be a big part of our future. These are the people we fully intend to annoy and call at 4am in the morning, especially the one that’s a doctor. I was awed to know we are very blessed in having many friends and family that fit this bill.
On top of it, many of them were friends living far away from our wedding and some were family that had kiddos upon kiddos to contend with (including newborn twins!). I thought about the obvious route: let’s just have them all! However, when I hit double digits within a minute and tried to reconcile how unhappy everyone would be trying to be wrangled by a photographer as a 20+ person group, it was time to re-evaluate. I realized it would only make sense to have a handful of bridesmaids but this didn’t come close to capturing everyone that I felt should be a part of this tremendous day and experience. How could I do something to express how much their presence in my life meant to me and will mean to Gus and my’s marriage?
My solution: Honorary Bridesmaids Annie-style
I had heard of honorary bridesmaids before but wasn’t quite sure how it worked or how someone might feel to be an honorary versus a regular bridesmaid: would they feel left out? would they feel less important? In the spirit of our wedding philosophy and our desire to re-examine wedding tradition, I spent time thinking about my own experiences as a bridesmaid: was it possible to create a role that captured all the fun and little to none of the responsibility? Indeed, it was in my version of the honorary bridesmaid.
And so, six of my friends were not so lucky as they got saddled with the dress and the rigors of bridesmaid-dom (and they were awesome about it). And alas, I was able to also honor some incredible women in my life with a “Get out of bridesmaid duty” free card. After some research, I created these cards to achieve what I wanted: to show these women how much I love them and will lean on them in the road ahead and to invite them to be a part of the wedding festivities however they felt most comfortable.
I mailed the cards with a deep breath, hoping my message of love and of appreciation would come through. Hoping sincerely that none of my close friends and soon-to-be sisters would read the card with a sense of disappointment upon seeing the word “honorary.”
Sure enough, they not only saw the word honorary, they also saw “mimosa,” and “fun,” and “love always” and really got what I was trying to say.
By the time our wedding day came, each of them had contributed something incredibly valuable to me – whether it be craft advice, handing out programs at the wedding, or just offering the right words when I needed to hear them. I was blessed to have beautiful bridesmaids and just as beautiful honorary ones to celebrate with, which sounds like a pretty good happily ever after to me.
Ready to ask some honorary bridesmaids of your own? Now to your free printable version!
This template is a printable black and white PDF and is designed for anyone to use with #10 paper (found here at Paper-Source, 3 7/8″x9 1/4″). They fit beautifully into #10 envelopes (also available at Paper-Source in a multitude of colors).
The top of the card is left blank intentionally for you to leave a note of your choosing and/or to customize it for your honorary bridesmaid with her name. To do this, you can use a hole punch at the top of the card to attach a tag (shown above) with the name handwritten or printed in a pretty font and tied securely with baker’s twine.
How did you figure out your bridesmaids? If you had the choice, would you rather be a full-on bridesmaid or an honorary bridesmaid (matching dress optional)? I’m thinking I’d go flower girl cause you get to be adorable, but at my age, I’m pretty sure that train has sailed.