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Photo courtesy PaperFreckles
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Photo courtesy Alicia Petty
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Photo courtesy Jennifer Ling
You've got your groom and you've chosen the date. Now you need your gal pals to help you celebrate and finalize all the plans for your wedding day. Asking someone to be a bridesmaid is a distinctive request. The way you ask should show your chosen maids what they mean to you.
For a more economical option, give each friend a card with a handwritten note detailing why she is important in your life and inviting her to be in the wedding. Local stationery company PaperFreckles offers "Be My Bridesmaid" cards, as well as options for groomsmen, in a variety of styles. A more traditional card features rainbow ombre watercolor with script based on owner and designer Joe Aker's hand calligraphy ($16 for eight cards or $4 each, paperfreckles.com ). For the tongue-in-cheek bride, there's a card featuring an image of a mustache that reads "I mustache you a question" on the front. "We try to cater to a range of brides, from those getting married at The Jefferson to more offbeat couples who want to do things differently," co-owner Coleen Akers says.
Libations and Snacks
When Alicia Petty chose King Family Vineyards as her reception venue, she opted for wine as the theme for inviting her bridesmaids. She found Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based LilShopofLabels on Etsy and worked with owner Rachel Mendez to design custom wine labels that read: "I've got my guy, but need my girls. Be my bridesmaid?" ($28 for six custom labels).
"It was an inexpensive, fun project," Petty says of the bottles she re-labeled with her custom creations and then decorated with ribbon. "I knew I wanted to do something out of the box. Who doesn't love a nice bottle of wine?"
For bridesmaids with a taste for sweets, Kara Buntin of A Cake to Remember ( acaketoremember.com ) bakes cookies to look like bridesmaid dresses. Buntin designed a simple sugar cookie that was decorated to look like a dress. She then packaged them in individual bags with ribbons and "Will you be my bridesmaid?" tags. The bride took them to a brunch and passed them out at the end.
When Jennifer Ling got married, she created special boxes to give each of her bridesmaids. "I wanted to give them a feel for what they were getting into," she says of her rustic elegance-themed wedding. Ling purchased small wooden crates from A.C. Moore and filled each with a little bird nest, a candle and a bar of peony-scented soap. She then wrapped the boxes in burlap. "They smelled amazing," Ling says. The professional photographer also included a custom-designed scroll that read, "Picture this, I want you to be my bridesmaid." Ling wrapped the scrolls in a roll of burlap, lace and pink string to showcase her wedding colors and included a handwritten note. She distributed some in person and left some in obvious places for friends to find. While she thought this was a great way to start her event, Ling warns that the creation of boxes like this can get pricey.
Personalized gifts to use at the wedding
A fun way to get your girlfriends into the wedding spirit is to give them a gift they can use on the big day. Cabell Johnson, event assistant stylist at Fête Studio, suggests a floral silk robe — a recent trend in wedding prep. "Getting ready with your maids is such a fun part of the experience," Johnson says. "A robe is great because you don't have to pull it over your head and mess up your hair and makeup." Plus, it makes for fun photos. Johnson suggests Plum Pretty Sugar ( store.plumprettysugar.com ) robes. You can also have them monogrammed with your new initials. Local monogram shop Atlantic Embroidery Works ( atlanticembroideryworks.com ) has created a variety of be-my-bridesmaid gifts over the years. Along with robes, they do monogrammed long-sleeve button-downs — another makeup-friendly trend for getting ready before the wedding — that can be given out on personalized hangers that say "bridesmaid" or "maid." They also sell handkerchiefs with custom messages, embroidered fabrics to go inside wedding survival kits, picture frames and koozies.