When you're choosing your bridesmaids, you're likely to be thinking about the ladies in your life who are closest to you, who you've grown up with or grown close to in various stages of your life. You make a selection of your dearest friends from throughout your life. What you're likely not thinking about is how well your bridesmaids will get along with each other, but of course, that is an important part of a peaceful and enjoyable wedding experience for you and everyone in your wedding party.
While we're not suggesting to choose your bridesmaids based on who will have the most in common, we are suggesting that once you choose them, you think about how to help your bridesmaids get to know each other and feel comfortable with each other before your wedding. Just a little thought and time spent on bridesmaid bonding ideas will save you from worrying about your bridesmaids getting along on your wedding day when you should be focusing on getting married!
When I got married, I had four bridesmaids who knew each other relatively well before our wedding day. One sister, one sister-in-law and two college friends. They got along swimmingly despite the fact that the four of them weren't together until the day before the wedding! But I've had two sisters-in-law get married with large and varied wedding parties of nine ladies each, so I know first hand what works and what doesn't!
1. Host an Ask Brunch
At your bridal shower, the focus will be on you and how well you know your future husband. So make an occasion that is about your bridesmaids and your relationship with them. Consider putting together a casual "Ask Brunch" to formally ask your bridesmaids to stand by your side. Use this opportunity to sip a few mimosas with your bridesmaids, and introduce them to each other. Some of them will likely know each other, but often there is a bridesmaid or two that doesn't know the group. Spend a little time making sure they know the rest of your friends; ahead of time, you can brainstorm what your bridesmaids might have in common (other than you!) that only you might know.
2. Enlist Their Help for a DIY Project
In the weeks and months leading up to your wedding day, you'll need lots of helping hands. A great way to get your bridesmaids chatting is to get them together around a table to help with a DIY project. Have lots of labels to stick on your jam favors? Create a little assembly line and put out an assortment of goodies for them to munch on as well. Each of your bridesmaids is going to want to help in some way, and this gives each an equal chance to do so. If your wedding party isn't very crafty - or if your wedding isn't the DIY type - you could invite them to a wine tasting evening where they can help choose the wine for your wedding meal. It will hardly seem like work!
3. Invite Them to an Activity
Sometimes it's nice to get together with your bridesmaids and strictly not talk weddings! There's a range of ideas for gatherings you can book with your bridesmaids that will allow them a chance to bond with each other and make memories they can all talk about together long after the wedding day.
We love the idea of a cooking class, or even a cocktail class where you learn to make your signature cocktail. Painting parties are becoming ever more popular, and a spa day will be such a treat for your hard-working bridesmaids. Keep a few things in mind, though, as you're planning this type of activity with your bridesmaids. First, not everyone has the same budget, so keep that in mind when you choose something for everyone to do together if you're not planning on footing the bill.
Second, remember that you might have a little work to do to get your bridesmaids chatting. Consider the suggestion above and brainstorm little things your bridesmaids might have in common before you arrive. You could also play a little quiz. Have each of your bridesmaids write down a memory or story they have with you. Pop them all into a hat and pull them out one by one, allowing your bridesmaids to guess which memory belongs to which bridesmaid. You'll all be in fits of laughter soon enough!
4. Consider a Combined Bachelor/Bachelorette Party
One of my sisters-in-law had this inspired idea and it was such a hit. With a large bridal party, and many guests traveling from thousands of miles away, she and her groom hosted a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. The groom's party spent the afternoon together playing football, and the girls had an Irish dancing lesson before the two parties met up for an evening of dinner, drinks and dancing. Come the wedding day, everyone had had ample time together to find common connections. If you had a smaller wedding party, this might be a good idea for you and your groom. Getting a slightly larger group together can often provide more conversation and overlapping between people.
We'd love to hear your ideas for helping your bridesmaids bond. We know lots of you have been bridesmaids and might have lots of advice from that point of view!
Emily Westbrooks is an American-born writer and blogger based in Dublin, Ireland. She is the Online Editor for Confetti Magazine, one of Ireland's top bridal magazines. She also writes her own lifestyle blog, From China Village, where she chronicles her adventures in Dublin, travels around Europe, DIY projects and Irish design. She shares her home with her husband, one cat, and four sassy chickens!