One of the most important parts of wedding planning is choosing who will be in your wedding party and how you will partner everyone up. You have all of your friends from your different circles and different areas of life to choose from. Most of the time your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be familiar with one another, but there are some instances where the members of your bridal party will meet their partners for the first time at the rehearsal dinner.
From my own personal experience, it is important to try and get everyone together to meet before the rehearsal dinner. In my life, I have been a part of three weddings with completely different dynamics. The first was my sister’s wedding where prior, most of the bridesmaids and groomsmen had never met one another; the second was my best friends wedding where everyone in the party had been best friends for years. The third wedding was a sorority sister’s wedding. This was a wedding where the bridal party was not introduced prior to the rehearsal dinner or wedding day.
Let me tell you a little about the awkwardness of this wedding.
Aside from being in her hometown in a different state, where I had never been before, I was paired up with her husband’s cousin from Columbia, who, I’m pretty sure didn’t even speak English. Not only was I forced to walk down the aisle with him, I had to sit in a limo with him all day, pose for pictures on the beach with him (which the photographer made me sit on his lap, hold his hand and made him put his arm around me). Then I had to slow dance with him and eat a meal next to him. I’m sure he was a nice guy but having only met him 24 hours before, it was very uncomfortable for me and I’m sure for him as well. It didn’t help that I was also never introduced to his girlfriend, who appeared to be glaring at us the whole night. Had I met him and her prior to this, I’m sure the day would have been less awkward for the both of us and also his girlfriend.
To minimize these awkward moments and last minute “getting to know you’s”, put together a mandatory night where you can get your entire wedding party together, even the out-of-towners. Make it fun so it doesn’t seem textbook mandatory, but something that everyone from both sides will definitely attend.
You might be questioning how you can get everyone together for a meet and greet. Well, here are some ideas:
1. Host an “Ask Dinner”
The minute you get engaged, your besties are already waiting for you to ask them to be in your party. Host a combined “Ask Dinner”…or breakfast…or brunch…or whatever kind of hangout you prefer. They will all secretly be expecting you to ask them that night anyway, which actually benefits you because they are less likely to cancel and more likely to push off anything else that will come up that day.
2. Combined Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties
This is what my sister and brother-in-law did and it was a huge hit. During the day, the girls went to the spa and the boys went paintballing. That night, everyone got together for dinner and drinks. Both parties were able to meet their wedding partner and got to know each other, especially after a few drinks. Everyone is more likely to do what it takes to make it to the bachelor/bachelorette parties, so you’ll have everyone present already, if you combine. This also eliminates having to ask your entire bridal party to get together on two separate occasions, which may be difficult to do.
3. BBQ/ Dinner Party
Depending on the season, host a BBQ or throw a dinner party at either your place or a friend or family member’s home. It will be a fun night together and it will give your friends something to reminisce about on your special day. Encourage them to add each other on social media to tag pictures and be connected with one another, instead asking what someone’s Insta name is the day of the wedding. Who knows, your Cousin Bethy from the South could really come out of her shell that night.
4. Bride or Groom’s Birthday
When it’s the bride or groom’s birthday, use that as an excuse to get the whole gang together. Since your wedding party already consists of your closest friends, they will want to celebrate your birthdays with you anyway. Everyone will get a chance to get to know one another while sparking up their own conversations, rather than just wedding-related stuff.
If you’re looking to have a fun, cohesive wedding party, I highly suggest you do whatever it takes to get the bridesmaids and groomsmen together before your big day. It will create new friendships and memories for them to share, while eliminating the weirdness.
Endless Wave Blogger