The Bridesmaid Handbook

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The ultimate guide to being a great bridesmaid, helping you focus on what you need to do, when to do it, and how to be both economical and fulfill the bride's wishes at the same time.

This comprehensive handbook includes:

?What needs to be on your To-Do List: the responsibilities of bridesmaids
?Guidelines ...

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Bridesmaid Handbook

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The ultimate guide to being a great bridesmaid, helping you focus on what you need to do, when to do it, and how to be both economical and fulfill the bride's wishes at the same time.

This comprehensive handbook includes:

—What needs to be on your To-Do List: the responsibilities of bridesmaids
—Guidelines on how much time and money you can expect to spend
—How to look fabulous on the wedding day
—Influencing the choice of bridesmaids' dresses
—What to do about bridal showers, engagement parties, bachelorette bashes and other parties
—Ceremony etiquette, what to give the bride & groom, the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
—Running interference and otherwise saving the bride's day

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Naylor, a respected wedding book author (The Complete Outdoor Wedding Planner), helps a bridesmaid understand her role and responsibilities by describing the time and financial commitments involved. She details social obligations and proper etiquette regarding wedding-related events like selecting venues for bridal showers, addressing invitations, catering, organizing appropriate activities, running interference, creating special moments, and following up after the big event. Practical beauty hints are accompanied by suggestions for dealing with such sticky situations as tattoos. Useful for the first timer or the old hand who needs a quick refresher course. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402203565
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/2005
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Naylor is the author of 23 wedding planning books. She is the wedding Q&A specialist at and a regular contributor to the top bridal magazines, including Bridal Guide, Bride Again, and Bride's. She is also a wedding content contributor to Bed Bath & Beyond. Sharon has written for Shape, Health, Self, Woman's Day, Cosmopolitan and dozens of additional national magazines. She is a member of the highly prestigious International Special Events Society, The Association of Bridal Consultants, and The American Society of Journalists and Authors, and she has won top honor awards from Writer's Digest magazine and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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Read an Excerpt

Part 3. Bridal Showers, Engagement Parties, Bachelorette Bashes and Other Parties
Use the information and tips in this section for all of the parties you'll help plan throughout the course of the planning process.

...from Chapter 6. Planning a Party That's Her
It's all about the bride.
Any party or get-together you plan must reflect her from style to theme to décor. Anyone can vacuum their living room and order five items off a caterer's list. You're going to do so much better than that. The more personalized you make it, the better. The more original, the better. The bride will forever remember the effort you put in to making her party a great one.
So think about who she is and her specific style. Is she very cosmopolitan and city-chic? Then you might plan a martini party at a trendy club's private room. Is she old-style romantic? Then plan a tea at an historic home or in a garden. Is she most comfortable in a cozy, casual atmosphere? Then plan a great buffet at your place (or hers).
The most successful party captures elements of her personality and favorite things, even stepping outside the box to unique themes way outside traditional at-home parties that everyone else has had in the past:
o Wine tasting at a winery or in restaurant's private wine cellar room o Picnic at a botanical garden o Lunch at a marina overlooking the yachts o Elegant brunch at a five-star hotel

...from Chapter 7. The Details
Here are the main details you'll need to arrange for any party:
Setting the Date
Choose the best date for the party so that everyone can attend. In this hurry-up world, you might have to actually let the bride know the date of her shower. A surprise is great, but sometimes it's just too difficult to match days to the bride's schedule. Often, it's a wise move to let the bride in on the plans and give her something to look forward to.
o Engagement parties are often thrown by parents right away, but friends may also hold their own engagement parties and dinners as soon after the actual engagement as possible.
o Bridal showers take place most often 1-2 months before the wedding, but it's fine to hold this party 3-4 months before the wedding to suit everyone's schedules.
o The bachelorette's party is held most often 1-2 months before the wedding, never the night before, and sometimes only 1-2 weeks before the wedding. Choose a date when important guests like mothers and grandmothers and siblings can make it, and give plenty of advance notice to all guests. Especially if the event will take place during the summer, around holiday times, or during spring breaks and other busy times, the more advance notice you give, the more likely all the bride's favorite people will attend.

The Guest List
The absolute, non-breakable rule here is that you never invite someone to a bridal shower who isn't invited to the wedding. Period. If different people will hold showers in different states and invite different groups of friends, that's terrific. It's going to take some checking and organizing on the Maid of Honor's part to make sure the shower you all plan includes the right guests. Most often, you'll check with the mother of the bride (or the bride herself, if she's in on it) for your guest list, avoiding the dilemma of leaving someone important off the list. Flower girls are invited, along with their moms, as is anyone who's involved with the wedding.

What Happens When Mom Goes Guest-List Crazy?
I hear this one all the time. The Maid of Honor and bridesmaids are planning and paying for the shower, and Mom calls in with 80 guests she not only wants at the shower, but has already verbally invited. What to do? Maid of Honor, this one's on you. Call the Mother of the Bride and share with her your shower plans, plus the fact that your budget allows only for a smaller group. Mom is then welcome to help pay for the guests she's invited, otherwise-and this is where you have some bargaining power-you're going to have to plan a much less formal, casual party instead of the lovelier, more formal one you have in mind. Mom should offer to help out.
For the bachelorette's party, ask the bride who she wants to come along. The guest list will most often include all of the bridesmaids, the bride's close friends, perhaps co-workers and cousins. Even some Moms and aunts have joined in for the earlier stages of the party. If the bride makes up her list, you don't have to worry about leaving someone important out.

Find a great place with a private room (very important!), great atmosphere, and perhaps even a unique a restaurant overlooking the beach, or a garden terrace for dining al fresco. If the party will be held at a private home, make sure you all pitch in to help clean and set it up (that means cleanup duty as well), and-most importantly-that there is more than enough seating for everyone and space to move around. Jamming 50 people into a tiny apartment where they're sitting on the floor during two hours of gift-opening makes your party a disaster. When scouting for locations, check with the other bridesmaids or family friends to see if anyone is a member of a private club or country club, an alumni club, or association with a clubhouse where you might gain access to a great setting for a discount.

Registry Etiquette
How do you let guests know where the bride is registered when etiquette states you're not allowed to mention anything about gifts on any invitations? Well, today's grasp on etiquette is loosening a little bit, and many bridesmaids choose to forego the old propriety rules and just write down the bride's registry information on shower invitations. The guests, after all, want to know, and it's just easier. Very often, and for those who do wish to follow etiquette, the solution is to provide the bride and groom's personalized wedding website, telling guests that all registry and wedding information can be found at www.____. Problem solved, and you've still led everyone right to their registry link. Otherwise, the couple's registry details are shared word-of-mouth.

There's no need to order expensive professional invitations or spend hours hand-writing those fill-in-the-blanks invitations from the card store. It's much easier and more efficient to get blank invitation cards or decorative paper from an office supply store (see Resources) and create your own invitations with colored print, playful fonts and even graphics from your own digital camera.
Choose a theme design that fits the event and the bride's personality, and get creative with it. You might even copy formal wedding invitation styles by punching a hole at the top of the invitation card and tying it with a color-coordinated ribbon bow. Or use a theme shaped hole punch (very inexpensive from the craft store) to pop some hearts, cherubs or shooting stars into colored invitation card stock for the only decoration you'll need. Some bridesmaids pull out their rubber stamps and colored ink, embossing powders, even wax seals to make their invitations look professionally-done, but for far less.
E-mailed invitations (such as through are fine for informal get-togethers like bridal brunches and for the bachelorette's party-you can keep easy track of RSVPs through those online services-but for the shower, stick with printed and mailed invitations. Some guests might not have access to e-mail, as has been reported by many grandmothers and great-aunts in the past few years. Set an early RSVP date with your phone number and e-mail, and keep careful track of your responses so you can plan your party perfectly.

Who Is This Party For?
I've received bridal shower and bachelorette party invitations and had no idea who they were for. They just said "Jennifer's Bridal Shower." I know about twelve Jennifers, four of whom were planning weddings that season. Keep this is mind: people on your guest list may be from the groom's side, or they too might have a dozen Jennifers getting married soon. So always put the bride's full name (and the groom's, if it's a co-ed party) on your invitations just to be safe.

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Table of Contents

Part 1: The First Steps
Chapter 1: What's on Your To-Do List: The Responsibilities of Bridesmaids
Chapter 2: A Matter of Time and Money
Chapter 3: Long-Distance Bridesmaids and Other Special Circumstances
Part 2: Looking Fabulous on the Wedding Day
Chapter 4: Your Dress
Chapter 5: Looking Gorgeous: Hair and Makeup
Part 3: Bridal Showers, Engagement Parties, Bachelorette Bashes and other Parties
Chapter 6: Planning a Party That's Her
Chapter 7: The Details
Chapter 8: Bachelorette Party Specials
Chapter 9: Bridal Brunches, Coffees and Meetings for Martinis
Part 4: About the Wedding Ceremony
Chapter 10: Ceremony Etiquette
Chapter 11: The Best Wedding Gift
Chapter 12: The Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
Chapter 13: The Wedding Morning
Chapter 14: After the Ceremony
Part 5: Get the Party Started: The Reception
Chapter 15: The Life of the Party
Chapter 16: Special Reception Moments
Chapter 17: Your Checklist of Must-Have Pictures from the Reception
Part 6: After the Reception
Chapter 18: Closing Down the Party
Chapter 19: The After-Party
Chapter 20: While the Bride and Groom Are Away
Note From the Author

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2007


    That lady sounds angry. I thought the book was useful.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2007

    This is really bad!!

    O.K., I understand that planning 'The Big Day' is extremely important to a bride, but come on!! Do we really need a book telling us how to be a good bridesmaid? My goodness, how did bridesmaids manage before this book? Wow, I am really glad that I am getting married now, so that I can make my bridesmaids sick with a book filled with ridiculous 'hints'. Oh please, helpful hints like covering up a tatoo!! Wow, thank goodness---a book to help my bridesmaids handle 'interference'. Is this for real? Ms. Naylor, the 'self-proclaimed wedding expert' provides no value in this book. I am sorry, this book is just another poor excuse for an 'author' (I use that term LIGHTLY when referring to this kind of writing) to make some easy money...Don't let it be yours!!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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