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I’m A Bridesmaid!

Almost one year ago, I helped my best friend, Liz, walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams.

Today, I found out that another one of my dearest friends is going to take that special walk! Meghan, my next-door neighbor from freshman year, who ended up being my roommate for the last three years of college, is engaged!

Words cannot express how happy and excited I am for her. Meg is one of the greatest women I know. She has a kind, honest, loving heart and she deserves all the happiness in the world. I’m so excited she found it with Dwight, who we have both known since freshman year, and who she started dating sophomore year (shortly after Dustin and I got together!).

Meg called me while I was on the train riding home Friday night and it took everything in me not to start screaming like one of those girls in the movies. We’ve been talking about planning our weddings for the last four years, dreaming about what it would be like and all the different things we want to do someday. It’s so surreal to think that that time is actually here and we’ll be planning like crazy women before we know it. It’s crazy, but I really am at that age now where all of my friends are getting big-girl jobs, becoming engaged or even having children (that’s right – that best friend I mentioned earlier, Liz, is pregnant!). We’ve talked about it for so long, as if it was just this distant dream, and now it’s finally here. Insanity.

I have so many emotions right now; I can’t put them all into words. I’m just so happy for these two. Again, congratulations Meghan and Dwight! I’m so excited for both of you and love you to pieces ❤

Thank You from the Bride

For every wedding, the bride always says “thank you” in some way to her maid of honor and bridesmaids. Some plan an outing for everyone to go on together and others give gifts. Some wait until right before the wedding and others do it earlier. I received my thank you from Liz at the bridal shower and was instantly brought to tears.

Thanks a lot, Liz.

First, each of us received a thank you note that had a poem and hand-written note inside. I’m not going to share the note for privacy reasons, but here’s the beautiful poem she included.

When I walk down the aisle

On the day I say, “I do”

I’ll put my flowers in your hands

And I’ll be proud to stand next to you.

You’ll be the one who is by my side

On this very special day,

You’ll hold my strength in your heart

Because you stand for me in so many ways.

You have walked with me many times before,

And I am blessed to have you here now.

I treasure the honor of having you by my side

On the day that I say my vows.

Maid of Honor is not only a symbol

But a statement of loyalty and trust.

It gives new meaning to the bond

And the devotion we have between us.

So cute and heartwarming, right? I cried like a baby before I even got to the more personal stuff.

She also gave me cute little gifts that either matched my personality or would be necessary for the wedding day.

Swag.

  1. Kleenex — Because I’ve already proven that I’ll bawl like a baby at the wedding.
  2. Johnson’s body care “Melt Away Stress” Lavendar & Chamomile Lotion — Is she saying I have dry skin? I think it’s because she’s aware of how much stress I’ve been under lately.
  3. Mini Notebook — for the journalistic notes I’m always taking.
  4. Handmade blue makeup bag with my name embroidered on it — her mom made these for all of us! Super cute.

But the one that stole the show…

Shiny.

A high heel bottle opener! Shoes are my weakness and the same goes for Liz. She told me she saw the bottle opener and simply couldn’t leave the store without buying it. Obviously! Isn’t it adorable?

I'm going to be so fancy opening up bottles.

I'm in love.

If anyone could walk out of the store without this, I give them major props. It’s going to be put to good use once I’m officially moved into my new apartment 🙂

As a maid of honor, I just want to say that these gifts meant a lot to me. The actual presents were very nice and thoughtful, and I love that parts of it fit my personality rather than just a generic gift, but the note was the best part. It meant the world to me to have Liz recognize and actually thank me for the work that I’ve put into her special day. After all, weddings are a lot of work! Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved every minute of this process and I’m glad I’m so involved with everything, but it truly meant so much to have her thank me for my efforts. She not only thanked me for my work, but reminisced on all of the good times we’ve had and everything we’ve been through together. Sometimes a little recognition is the best gift.

I truly have the best friend in the world and I cannot wait to stand next to her while she marries such an amazing guy.

Are you in any weddings this summer? What are some of the best gifts you’ve gotten from a bride? 

Searching for Dresses

Hands down, this is one of my favorite parts of being the maid of honor (MOH). Then again, who doesn’t like finding the perfect dress? But today we’re not going to talk about finding the perfect wedding dress. You can find that on any bride’s blog, I’m sure. Instead, let’s talk about finding the perfect bridesmaid dress!

Looking for a needle in a haystack.

Go in with a game plan. 

Liz and I stepped into the first store with an open mind. We focused on style over color because Liz wasn’t set on a certain shade. Her colors are silver and an aqua-ish blue, but that’s as specific as it got. She wanted me to wear a darker shade than the other bridesmaids, but wanted the dress style to be the same. Therefore, our game plan turned into this:

  • Hunt for something that looks flattering on everyone.
  • Only look at dresses that hit at or slightly above the knee. No floor-length gowns except for the bride’s.
  • Search for a top that still looks cute when covered with a shrug (Liz is Russian Orthodox and the women’s shoulders must be fully covered while in the church).

Be willing to try on many, many dresses. 

We were lucky that we found the dress we wanted in the second store we looked at. Our first day was spent at Picker’s, a local dress boutique, and I tried on a ton of different dresses. Some of them looked good…

This one was a favorite, but didn't fit Liz's theme well.

A shoulders-covered option.

And some of them looked not so good…

Yuck.

This one made me want to cry.

When we left Picker’s, we thought we had decided on this style:

Not my best angle, but you get the idea.

Liz and I both really liked the top and we thought it would be flattering on every girl in the bridal party. Most of us have smaller chests, except for one, and we thought this top would reign in her “girls” nicely. The only thing we weren’t certain about is how good it would look with a shrug.

We didn’t like this store’s policies and charges (way over-priced because they tried to tell us it was a rush order and it definitely wasn’t), so we headed to David’s Bridal the next week, which brings me to my next point.

Browse online.

After we had an idea of what style Liz wanted, we jumped online and looked for similar styles in stock. Liz printed off those pages and made sure to bring them with her to our next appointment so the consultant knew what we had in mind. Once we were there, more dress-trying-on ensued.

Another from Picker's because that's all I have to show. Sorry!

Lime green and a big bow doesn't go with me.

Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. 

I am all for making this day exactly what Liz wants, but I’m also not one that’s going to sit idly by while someone tries to purposely make me look ugly. Liz is a beautiful woman in general, so I told her in the beginning there was no way I could ever possibly outshine her on her special day. So basically, I begged her not to put me in something horrendous.

At one point, there was a dress that she seemed to like, but I absolutely hated it. I told her immediately and that dress quickly dropped out of the running. I can only imagine what would have happened if I didn’t speak up.

*Quick tip to the bride: don’t bring your entire bridal party. 

It’s great to have multiple minds working, but too many voices can make things overwhelming. If you’re like Liz and want the style of each dress to be the same, bring the two girls that are on either end of the spectrum. In this case, that happens to be me and Kelly, one of the bridesmaids. I was going to tag along anyway because I’m the MOH, but bringing Kelly was extremely helpful because we could see what worked best on her body type as well. What looks good on me doesn’t necessarily look good on her, and vice versa.

Extremely blurry, but I wanted you to see the style.

P.S. I apologize for the low quality of these photos, but they are all cell phone pictures. I’m bringing my camera next time!

Plan for your budget. 

Tell the bride as soon as possible how much you can afford to pay for a dress. I’m a recent college grad who’s moving to New York City, which isn’t the cheapest place to live. So Liz knew upfront that I could not drop a ton of my savings on this dress. Liz later told me that information was extremely helpful in narrowing down dress options. If it was out of my budget, it was eliminated. What a great friend 🙂

Finally, we found a dress we’re all happy with! We bought a strapless top because it looks best with the shrug and it is the most flattering on each girl. My dress came in the other day and lucky for me, no alterations are needed! I found my shoes at Payless  and I’m wearing my own jewelry, so I’m all set!

Please excuse the crazy hair and awesome tan lines.

Other things to remember:

  1. Bring whatever type of shoes you’ll wear at the wedding. Liz wants me in flats at the wedding because I’m taller than her, so I wore flip flops each time.
  2. Bring accessories. I should have brought a shrug with me because I knew my shoulders needed to be covered. Don’t be afraid to wear the jewelry you think you might wear to the wedding either — you’ll see right away if it goes with the dress.

And there you have it! My tips for finding the right bridesmaid dress without yanking out your hair.

Have you ever shopped for a bridesmaid dress? What tips can you share?