I think I'm very lucky because Dan's extended family really respects his judgment so I assume a lot of it is that they're confident that things would never get too crazy because Dan wouldn't stand for that, which is true. But, that alone isn't enough to explain the other nice things that have happened, like his aunt digging out a red dress with a full skirt that she wore to her graduation from her attic to give to me, just with the thought that it might be useful as I work on making my own red dress. This was the same aunt that took charge of pumping me for wedding planning info at the Easter family gathering this year because Dan had not been sufficiently forthcoming, and then all the (women in the) family reacted with exactly the kind of support that you'd want.
The main reasons I was hesitant for so long were that I didn't want them to feel like they had to be bridesmaids at their brother's wedding, I wanted them to be able to just be family and guests since that might be easier on them, and I also just assumed that more people involved = more potential for drama. With just my sister, I know that I would be able to boss her around and it'd be fine (isn't it fun how younger siblings always stay younger?) but I wasn't as sure about it with Dan's sisters. We've always been on friendly terms and I figured they've just seen me hanging around their house for so long that I just kind of fade into the scenery but we'd never really hung out outside of when I'm with Dan.
Plus, I kept asking Dan whether he thought they would care one way or another and he kept insisting it wouldn't really matter to them, that the only thing they would care about is that there's enough food that they can eat and that there isn't anything too weird at the wedding overall. Mama G said to definitely include them, it would be a really good bonding experience.
So, what did I end up doing? When Dan's older sister Cara and her boyfriend came over to our apartment in August for dinner, I cornered her and asked her to please, please be honest with me and tell me if they really wanted to be bridesmaids or if they really didn't want to be bridesmaids so I could make sure I didn't impose on them in either direction. Her answer really surprised me, something along the lines of, "whatever you want to do, we're totally cool with!" Is there anything sweeter to hear when you're trying to make everyone happy?
And then, when I asked his two younger sisters, Katie and Emmy, to accompany me to the mall to get my makeup done before the fauxgagement shoot, they were so sweet and complimentary and supportive the whole time that I was like, this is awesome! Having these girls around me on the day of the wedding would be great!
So after checking with my sister that she was ok with the bridal party getting quadrupled (she was totally fine with it, of course, and I wonder how much was due to this meaning an automatic promotion for her from the one bridesmaid to maid of honor instead, haha), I kept trying to get them all in one place to ask them in person but it kept not working out. I ended up just sending them a group email that included the following:
All that you need to do to be my bridesmaids is: 1, not roll your eyes if I'm going on for too long about the wedding plans (check), 2, accompany me on wedding errands if you're free and I'd like some company (check), and 3, stand up with me when we say our vows (TBD).And they all responded with excitement and their mom was thrilled as well. TOLD YOU DAN, that girls really do care about being bridesmaids. TOLD YOU. He admits now that when he said they wouldn't care, what he really meant was that he didn't care.
There is no: bridal shower or bachelorette party planning (Miss Manners says bridal showers can't be given by family anyway), no required matching dresses, and no other tasks other than the ones outlined above. You can wear whatever you want, really. Something cute and comfortable, which I imagine you were planning on doing already anyway.
If you don't want to be involved either, that's totally fine as well. No reason needed.
Last week, we all got together to go bridesmaids dress shopping, including his mom and grandma who'd been driven down by his aunt especially for this dress shopping event. I brought over my sister's dress for them to check out the color and try it on for size, as Katie came up with the great idea of potentially getting summer dresses in different styles from J.Crew but in the same color. We still went to the mall just to see what was out there (answer: nothing appropriate for summer weddings anymore) and go to the J.Crew store there to try on what dresses they might have for size. They only had sack-like dresses in the store, so that was disappointing, but we got an approximate idea (I asked if I could use their names in my blog and they said that was fine but I didn't ask about sharing sizes, so suffice it to say: they are tiny).
After all the mall-ing, Dan's mom treated us to lunch at a local diner where the food was pretty good but the room smelled of spray paint fumes and the service was atrocious. We had a good time making fun of how much our waitress obviously didn't care about her job at all. When we wanted to get the check, Dan's mom had to wave back and forth for some time, like she was trying to hail a cab or something, until a manager noticed her and brought it to our waitress' attention. I put it all into the "so bad it's funny" category, though of couse that may have just been my impaired judgment after brain cells were killed dead by the paint fumes.
When we got back to their house, we browsed through the entire J.Crew website looking for what was available in that "fresh mint" color that's like a light green-y Tiffany blue and it ended up that the only style that was still available in all their sizes was this cotton cady Madeleine dress that Katie had been eyeing from the start.
The plan is for all the girls, including my sister, to find red accessories that'll inject their own personal style onto these dresses as canvases.
At the start of the day, when they were asking me what my vision was and what I wanted for bridesmaids dresses, I told them that this was what I wanted:
- That they would under no circumstances agree to a dress that they didn't like the style or felt was unflattering on them, just because I said I liked it.
- That they would solemnly swear to wear these dresses again.
I thought about having them put their right hand across their heart and repeat after me, but then I decided that was going into the creating my own cult territory.
But here's the best part of the story: we got these dresses for $40 each. $40! Where the original price on this style was $195! And we found a code for free shipping! They were final sale, so they can't be returned, but they just got delivered today and seem to fit just a little big but nothing that a tailor can't tackle. I figure, though, I've had dresses I've bought for more than $40 that I only wore once and so even if KWu's two rules for bridesmaids dresses are broken, at least it didn't cost them too much. I am so far winning at my own "being a cool bride" contest.