One of my friends lovingly nicknamed me “27 Dresses,” because I’ve been in about that many weddings. I have a closet full of colorful bridesmaids dresses, bins full of bachelorette party decor and can plan a bridal/couples/lingerie shower in under an hour. Since having my son two years ago, I’ve been a Matron of Honor three times, and a bridesmaid twice. I’m a self-proclaimed expert on being a bridesmaid as a mom at this point.
Before I became a mom, being a bridesmaid was a breeze. I had all the free time in the world to tag along for floral or dress appointments, attend planning lunches, contribute to group Pinterest boards and respond to e-mails, texts, calls from the bride. Helen from “Bridesmaids” and I were basically kindred spirits.
As we all well know, once baby comes into the picture, that free time dwindles down to about zero. With no free time, I had to relearn what being a rockstar bridesmaid really meant.
Tips I learned along the way about being a bridesmaid as a mom:
- Give yourself grace – This was the hardest one for me to embrace in the beginning. These were the biggest days of my very best friends’ lives. I had a lot of guilt along the way that I wasn’t doing “enough” for them. The rare moments when I felt I was doing “enough” for them, that guilt that I wasn’t doing “enough” as a mom or a wife or a colleague popped-up. The best part is, your friend asked you to be a part of their big day because they love you! Most likely, showing-up, standing by their side and loving them along the way is more than “enough.”
- Ask for help – whether it’s help planning a party for the happy couple before the big day, ordering your dress, watching your kiddo while you go get said dress altered (see tip 4), you have to ask for it! Tap into your family, friends, fellow bridesmaids, bride’s family, neighbors or caregivers to cruise through that to-do list. Dividing and conquering with others who have more time than you (aka more than none) is essential.
- Stick with your gut – as with anything parenting-related, you’ll get a lot of opinions. I heard countless “had to”s” along the way. From I “had to attend this shower” or “had to let my four week old baby attend the wedding ceremony” or “had to smile every step of the way” — there were a lot of opinions. When you go with your gut in making decisions about what’s best for you and your baby and your bride and start ignoring others opinions, you may just enjoy yourself on the big day!
- Order your dress a size bigger than you think – especially you nursing mamas! I had to order two bridesmaids dresses while I was still pregnant. My measurements at 7 months pregnant were obviously not what they were going to be on the actual day of each wedding. I figured having more fabric to work with was a better problem than having too little. And safety pins, double-sided tape and extra-absorbent breast pads are life savers. Oh, and lots of under eye concealer, too.
What other tips for being a bridesmaid as a new mama would you add?