The Bridesmaid Entourage….Coordinating Your Group of Gals by Kristi Richardson – Bloomed to Last

What a difference a year makes. Even though there is much argument over the state of the economy, one trend is quite clear to me….the growth of the bridal party or as I like to say, the Entourage. Last year the average bridal party had 3 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen. Not this year. That number has doubled! I have even had bridal parties with 8 or more bridesmaids and groomsmen. That’s 16 or more attendees. WOW!

Don’t get me wrong, from a business perspective I’m not complaining. I think it’s great that you want ALL of your dear family & friends stand up with you. Really! But, what I think happens is that couples don’t really understand that having a larger bridal party also means more headaches, greater coordination, and larger budgets.

Is it worth it? Absolutely…as long as you understand this going in. Trying to coordinate 6 attendees on either side can be difficult; especially when it comes to selecting a gown that works with your theme, in your bridesmaids’ budgets, and will be flattering on each of their body types.

Groomsmen, on the other hand, are notorious for procrastinating to have their fittings done… especially when they live out of town. And have you ever tried setting a meeting with 6-12 attendees where everyone could make it? HA!

Don’t forget, then comes selecting accessories, setting up hair appointments, picking out matching shoes, finding transportation to get everyone to and from, and creating timelines/checklists/task etc. Get the picture?

The bigger the Bridesmaid Entourage the bigger your flower budget will need to be, specifically for bouquets. Don’t expect to have custom made bouquets created for less than half the cost of what you spend for your bouquet. (Not going to happen.) It’s not to say that there are not more cost effective alternatives, (which I am going to share with you next), but honestly, be realistic about the cost.

I pride myself and my business on always providing options to my clients. It’s my responsibility as an Event Designer, Décor Diva, and Floral Artist to help them create this stunning look. Most of the bridesmaids’ bouquets I design or create are simpler, slightly different, or smaller than the bridal bouquet. (No one outshines the Bride)

So what can you do when flower bouquets are not an option or you are looking for something totally unique? That’s easy…..there are tons of other non-flower options that can create amazing drama. For example, colorful parasols are stunning, totally stylish, and really cost effective.

Another great option is candles or lanterns. These are especially perfect for beach, seaside and fall weddings. The also add additional ambience to evening and winter ceremonies. Lanterns and candles come in so many styles, your possibilities are endless. You can dress them up or dress them down. You can add flowers, ribbons, or bows. And don’t forget to reuse them at the reception to light things up. (Gotta love create once and use twice designs.)

Fans are delightful non-floral bouquet options. They are wonderful for summer, Asian, Vintage or other themed weddings (like Peacock) They come is a variety of colors, sizes, and materials; ranging widely in cost.

I can’t tell you how many pomanders I have made in my career. These spherical bouquets can be made from a variety of materials. Grapevine or twig balls are really popular. But I have created ones using ribbon, shells, buttons, lace, berries, rhinestones, etc. What’s great about this style is that can be converted into centerpieces or be hung above the dance floor for a secondary use. There cost will depend on the materials you choose and the overall size.

No matter if you are having 2 bridesmaids or 8, it’s important to understand what it takes to keep your Entourage in style, on budget, and on track to be your amazing supporting cast. I would love to know, “How many attendees are you having in your Bridal Party Entourage?” (Tell me in the comments below)

**If you are struggling trying to keep everyone in line contact me for help at 304-260-6446. Don’t worry, I will have them back on track in no time, you’ll stay on budget, get an amazing look, and have less wedding planning stress.**

Panhandle WV, Shenandoah Valley & Northern Event Planner & Designer, Kristi Richardson, publishes the “Bloomed to Last Secrets” blog filled with secrets, tips and WOWs for planning your fabulous event. Get your exclusive inspiration, tips and tricks at http://www.BloomedToLast.com. Bloomed To Last is an event planning and design company based in the Panhandle of WV, Shenandoah Valley & Northern region of VA, also serving Frederick MD, the District of Columbia and select destination locations.

Happy Planning!
~Kristi

Bloomed to Last
sales@bloomedtolast.com

Photo Credits: Pink Bridesmaids / Teal Bridesmaids / Bridesmaids with Parasols / Bridesmaids with Pomanders

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