1 There’s a decent amount of time and money involved in being a bridesmaid. Say thanks by seeking out gifts you know your girls will love. Bonus points if it’s a treat that will make them feel great on W-day too – perhaps minimalist earrings, or a pretty robe that they will happily wear again.
2 It’s rare to find a group of ’maids who are identical in shape and colouring, so it’s equally unlikely that you’ll find one dress the whole group is thrilled with. The good news? Mismatched bridesmaid dresses are easy to find, with more mainstream fashion stores offering similar styles in the same hues for this very reason. Keep things cohesive by opting for a few consistent components, such as the type of fabric weight and dress length.
3 Think a faux-fur stole is the only stylish way to keep shoulders warm in winter? Newcomers are cosy pashminas, glitzy bomber jackets and chic blazers, all of which offer on-trend ways to stay toasty while still looking elegant.
4 Consider the type of terrain the ladies will be traversing on the day. Sand? Soft grass? Polished wooden floors with a no-stiletto policy? Guide their footwear choice accordingly.
5 Get the guys fitted for suits no less than six weeks out from the big day to allow plenty of time for alterations. Ideally, the groom’s party should try their full suits on a few days before the wedding – including accessories – to be sure all the sizings are correct and nothing is missing.
Tips if you’re hiring suits for the guys:
6 Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount if you’re purchasing or hiring a large number of suits. Some stores and hire companies are happy to offer a reduced price or throw in the odd freebie to sweeten the deal. Don’t ask, don’t get.
7 Be sure to check out the condition of the suits you are hiring and ask questions about how many times they will have been worn previously.
8 Enlist your best man to ensure all the suits are returned in good condition and on time.
9 Your groom’s party might already own suits that roughly match, so there’s no need to spend more cash. In this situation, bring their style together with a pop of colour across the accessories.
10 Help him step into his role as ‘man of the moment’ by differentiating his attire from that of his groomsmen. Try a white bow tie if the other lads are wearing black, or a classic neck tie if the boys are wearing bows.
11 If you know the day is going to be a scorcher, it’s wise to avoid suiting. Boys will be more comfy in a shirt, chinos and smart slip-ons. They are also destined to get dirty – so it’s a good idea to ask parents to dress them as close to the start of the ceremony as possible.
12 Organise a little goodie bag or emergency kit with a few snacks, water or light coloured juice, a colouring book and pencils to keep your flower girl occupied if she gets hungry or restless later in the ceremony or reception. Let her feel important and creative by gifting her a disposable camera, and then make an album with the shots later for her to enjoy.
13 As with page boys, it’s best to get her dressed and ready as close to the ceremony as possible. Try to get all the potentially messy things out of the way beforehand, such as eating and drinking. Flower girl hair styling is generally less complicated than that of you or your bridal party, so could be done by her mother or other grown-up. But if your hair stylist does have a spare minute, then letting the little one get her hair done just like the big girls will make her feel extra special.
14 Adding a hair accessory, such as a fresh floral crown, is an easy way to take your flower girl’s ensemble to the next level, but if she’s prone to a bit of rough and tumble, consider alternatives such as a sequined headband or hair piece that is less likely to get crushed.
15 If possible, let your flower girl help choose her ensemble. This will (hopefully) ensure she’s happy to wear her outfit when the big day rolls round.