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1. Ask Them In A Unique Way

Being selected to stand beside a friend on her wedding day is a huge honor and the way you ask them should reflect that. (Read: no texting! No Facebook!) If she lives far away, consider making the trip to ask her in person. She will feel so honored to know you travelled just for her to ask the question. If that’s just not possible, create a crafty surprise to send to her with the “Will you be my bridesmaid?” message. My best friend took me out to a casual lunch and then ordered the best bottle of champagne in the house to ask if I would be her maid-of-honor. It was one of the happiest surprises I can remember.

2. Keep Their Interest In Mind

These are your best girls and you want them to know that you are thinking of them. For example, keep in mind their unique body shapes: you don’t want any of them to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious on a day that should be full of fun. And before you get your heart set on a designer dress for your bridesmaids, ask them early on what they think they can afford. Being a bridesmaid can get extremely expensive, especially if it’s a destination wedding in which they must travel. You don’t want any of your girls to harbor bitterness on how much they have spent to celebrate your love.

3. Throw A Mini-Fête In Their Honor

Especially if not all of your bridesmaids know each other, it’s a great idea to throw them a little party early on to get to get acquainted. Most likely, they will need to coordinate with each other during the wedding-planning process, so it helps to have a gathering for everyone to mingle & exchange contact information. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy: think about hosting a wine and cheese party, an at-home spa day, or even a wedding brainstorming session (with cocktails, of course). You will love seeing all of your favorite females in one room, enjoying each other’s company and getting excited for your big day.

4. Arrange For Bridesmaid Portraits On Your Wedding Day

Consult with your wedding photographer about allowing a few extra minutes for your bridesmaids to get a few of their own portraits on your wedding day. Again, they have spent a lot of time and money to look incredible, so why not make it truly memorable by allowing them to get a few professional photos with their family, their significant other, or just with you? They would love to have their own personalized token of their day. This is truly a thoughtful gift &, in my opinion, totally worth the extra cost.

5. Offer Them A Bed

Traditionally, it is the couple’s responsibility to cover the wedding party’s accommodations. Especially for a destination wedding, in which the wedding party had to drive or fly a long way, it is important to take this burden off their shoulders. If hotel rooms are too expensive, try asking friends or family in the area to host them. Or, consider renting a house near the venue where all the bridesmaids, and you, can stay—it will be such a party!

6. Treat Them To Their Manicures & Pedicures

There is no doubt, especially for a spring or summer wedding, that your bridesmaids are going to want their nails looking pristine for the Big Day, so arrange a mani/pedi party & treat them to it. This will be a fun way for all the bridesmaids to get acquainted/see each other again right before the wedding, and, treating them to this gives you the power to make sure their nails match your wedding color scheme! (Otherwise, dictating their nail colors is a no-no!) Your bridesmaids will be so grateful for even this little bit of financial help. Keep in mind that many Charlottesville salons offer some sort of bridal party discount to make this more affordable.

7. Give Them Unique Bridesmaid Gifts

Rather than giving them a cheesy gift they’ll never use again, or something that is totally unrepresentative of their personalities, put some thought into what your give your best girls & keep in mind that the possibilities are endless. Consider giving each girl a framed photograph of the two of you, or a silver-plated engraved compact for touch-ups on the wedding day. Personalized hangers make an adorable gift & are remarkably easy to create, not to mention the adorable photo opportunity it presents on the wedding day. If you want to give them something they can wear or use on the wedding day, consider a locket with a picture of the two of you or ditty bags, made in Charlottesville, VA, by a local wedding planner (get them here) for the girls to carry. You don’t have to give each bridesmaid the same thing, so mix it up and make it personal.

8. Present Them Each With A Personalized Letter

On the wedding day, give each of your bridesmaids a “thank you” card with a heartfelt letter. Explain how much each of them means to you and why you wanted them, specifically, to stand beside you on the most important day of your life. This is something that is sure to produce some tears and will be kept forever.

9. Do Something Extra-Special For Your Maid-Of-Honor

This woman has been there for you not just for your wedding day, but probably many, many times throughout your life. The two of you have a special bond, and it is important that you thank her for everything she has done. Treat her to a day at the spa with just the two of you, or, since she has probably been involved in every step of the wedding planning process, give her the kind of gift that keeps on giving: send her chocolates, flowers, or her favorite bottle of wine every month for a year.

10. Thank Them—Over And Over

During every step of the planning process, after every barked order, and most especially, on your wedding day. Consider making a short toast to them on your big day, and thank them after the wedding. Being a good bridesmaid is no small feat and takes a lot of patience, time, and money. Make sure they know how grateful you are & lucky you feel to have them stand beside you.