How to Effectively Plan A Wedding Half A World Away
Your best friend asks you to be in their wedding. Hooray! A bridesmaid role is one you are ready for and you’re excited to help plan a wedding for your friend. So what if the wedding you are planning is halfway around the world? Just ask wedding blogger Michelle of Weddings on a Sixpence for her tips!
Maid of Honour Role
I was Maid of Honour to my best friend, Robyn. She had two bridesmaids, one was my sister, Amy. The other was a mutual friend, Dee. We’ve been by Robyn’s side for a large portion of her relationship leading up to her engagement. It’s fair to say that we are a close-knit group of friends.
As Maid of Honour, I was heavily involved in helping the bride plan the day. We were both based in the UK, with her wedding taking place in South Africa. Most of the time I was there for emotional support as it can be quite stressful planning across the world. First I helped in sourcing the bridesmaid dresses, choosing wedding day hair and make-up, and planning the Bridal Shower. Then on the wedding day, all the bridesmaids made sure the wedding went as smoothly as possible.
Challenges When You Plan A Wedding
I thought I was ready for the role but I was wrong. The bride and I had been planning her wedding for years before she became officially engaged. She also had a relatively long engagement. When the date was set, I felt relaxed and ready for anything. We had been dreaming of the day for so long, it did not occur to me it might be overwhelming.
Now as the day drew closer and closer, anxiety began to set it. Robyn is more like a sister to me, therefore I wanted so badly to make all her dreams come true. It suddenly occurred to me that I was in a position to potentially seriously disappoint someone I love very much. Thankfully I feel in the end, I was able to help plan a wedding that was lovely.
Communication Is Key
A lot of emphases is placed on the bride’s nerves and fears, which is exactly right. It is often overlooked that the bridesmaids might be feeling some anxiety too. I don’t think it is something that brides should worry about. The bridesmaids need to check-in with one another throughout the planning. Make sure your fellow crew members are okay and not in the need of some extra emotional support.
If I could do it all over again, I would have more regular check-ins with the bridesmaids. Having open communication between all parties is key. The bride and I spoke every day but I think we could have spoken about her expectations more. Ask questions! You can’t go back and do it again so don’t be afraid to communicate for clarity.
Bridal Party Numbers
In South Africa, the average number of bridesmaids is four. Some people have less and some have a few more. I have never seen a wedding with as many 10 plus ladies like there are in the US.
Financially speaking, there is no set standard of what the bridesmaids pay for. Each bride is different and it depends on the budget of the wedding. If a bride is financially able, she will pay for everything except the bridal shower or bachelorette. Otherwise, the bride will let the bridesmaids know what is expected.
As a basic guideline, the bride will pay for the bridesmaid’s dresses and wedding day hair and makeup. It is normal, but not expected, for the bride to give the bridesmaids a small gift. It is a way of saying thank you for their help and support.
Kitchen Tea Tradition
In South Africa, Bridal Showers are common and are mostly called ‘Kitchen Teas’. Quite literally, all the ladies close to the bride get together to have tea and gift her homeware, kitchenware, and lingerie. The bride usually does not have a gift registry for her Kitchen Tea. The bridesmaids will advise guests on what the bride would like or need.
At the tea, games are sometimes played. Anything from guests making toilet paper wedding dresses to playing bridal bingo-type games. Sometimes the games and activities can become quite risque. It depends on who is in attendance.
Bachelorette / Hen Party
The tea is usually on the same day as a bachelorette and the younger ladies go out afterward. The bachelorette usually consists of going to a nightclub or bar. Sometimes the group will dress up in fun party outfits! It’s all very similar to the US.
In the UK, Bridal Showers are not common. Most British people do not know what they are or understand why you would have one! In the UK, the bride’s close friends and younger family have a Hen Night. These nights can range from going out locally for one night or a whole weekend away! A Hen Do is usually extremely high spirited with a lot of emphasis on dressing up and drinking games. The Hen Nights do not typically include the bride’s mother or mother-in-law.
I’m Michelle van den Houten. I love planning weddings, talking about weddings, being in weddings, anything related to weddings really. In life, I love a bargain and helping my friends and family plan events. It’s no surprise that I fell in love with wedding hacks when I was planning my own wedding. Now, I blog about weddings and dedicate my spare time to helping brides and their tribes plan their dream days, no matter their budget.
What do you think of Michelle’s tips to plan a wedding? Share with us in the comments.