Wedding season is well and truly here, and if you’re a bride-to-be tying the knot this year, you’re probably already fully immersed in wedmin and hen party plans.
Aside from the tears, tantrums and all other imaginable emotions that come with having a wedding on the horizon, there’s something about the milestone moments along the way that brings out the best (and sometimes worst) of your nearest and dearest.
Wedding ring specialist H.Samuel studied the relationship that exists between brides and their bridesmaids and found that, on average, brides know their bridesmaids for 20+ years before asking them to become part of their special day. That means there’s likely to be a substantial untapped resource of stellar advice from the bridal party just waiting to be passed down.
We asked eight brides and maids of honour their top pieces of advice that rung true to find out what people really need to know when planning a wedding.
Laura Smales, 30, account director (married November 2017)
Remember, it’s your special day, so do things your way and not necessarily how people think you should do them. Being engaged and due to wed was super exiting, but it was a really nervous and stressful time too. You hear how stressful planning a wedding is from married couples, but when you experience it for yourself, you realise how much you need all the people around you to help relieve the pressure. Make sure you take time out for yourself in the build up to the wedding, my bridesmaids were incredibly supportive and planned spa days to help me de-stress.
Alice Cheetham, 25, nurse (married March 2017)
Take a step back and remember to take it all in, it only happens once. Soak up the joy and cherish every moment – it’s really incredible to see everyone you love in one room. Know that you’ll feel beautiful on the day no matter what - I was really worried about being the perfect weight, and felt annoyed that I hadn’t reached my goal, but when the day actually comes, you feel amazing!
Emma Jacobs, 25, marketer (best friend got married July 2013)
When my best friend told me she was getting married and asked me to be her maid of honour, I couldn't say yes quick enough! It's tough planning any event let alone a wedding, so offering advice to the bride is one of the main roles as their maid of honour. My advice to my best friend was that it’s her special day, the only day that’s solely about you and your future husband, ignore other people’s negative opinions. Remember it's all about you two and nobody else.
Ellie Tordoff, 28, marketing exec (getting married August 2018)
My better half and I are super relaxed when it comes to wedding planning, but we find the constant questions from family and friends to be a little bit overwhelming. My best friends (my maids of honour) got married in the same week last year and they told me to keep it real – stay true to who you both are and the wedding will totally reflect you as individuals and a couple.
Carrie Webb, 32, senior writer (married October 2015)
Because the day flies by in an instant and it’s full of amazing moments you’ll never get back, try to remember to take a few seconds at different points to simply take it all in. My bridesmaid told me to make a conscious effort to commit the moment to memory. This was amazing advice, which I followed, and I’m so glad I did as she was right – it’s over in the blink of an eye, but savouring those moments and appreciating them meant they’ve stayed with me to this day, clear as anything in my memory.
Laura Holdsworth, 31, teacher (married December 2012)
Before we got married, I felt this overwhelming urge to make sure our guests would be entertained. When the wedding day came around, none of that matters, you’re overcome with emotion and your guests are too – they’re just happy to celebrate the day with you as newlyweds.
Clare Leighton, 36, market trader (married July 2007)
Marrying your best friend wearing a princess dress definitely warrants a few drinks, but my maid of honour warned me not to get too wasted on the day. It’s definitely a good tip for brides who like their drink. I had a few but didn’t go mad, that way I could still watch the day unfold semi-sober.
Annie Cooper, 35, actress (married in August 2016)
I got married in August 2016 and had 10 bridesmaids and my best friend and maid of honour made a wonderful speech. Each one of my bridesmaids gave me their own little bit of advice which I took on board and valued. Take a couple of moments to be alone to celebrate becoming husband and wife before the madness of your celebrations begin. After our ceremony my husband and I took a short horse and carriage ride alone with some bubbles to celebrate before greeting our guests. The day can be so busy you may find you won’t get any time to be alone before it’s all over, so it’s nice to have a couple of magical moments with just the two of you.