Wedding etiquette: Do I have to ask my friend to be a bridesmaid if I was in her bridal party?

Laura Nelson | Snippet & Ink

Laura Nelson Photography

QUESTION: Do I have to ask my friend to be a bridesmaid if I was in her bridal party?

GINA’S ANSWER: Absolutely not. If that was the case I’d have a giant wedding party that included people I rarely see anymore. Take stock of what kind of wedding party (if you want one at all) that you’d like and what you expect of the people in it. Base your decision on your life right now, not your life five or ten years ago.

JESS’ ANSWER: Definitely not! However, ask yourself what your reasoning is. Is it because you have too many sisters? Female cousins? You want to make sure you’re sister-in-law to be is part of the bridal party? These are all excuses that your friend will understand. No matter what your excuse, always discuss with the person openly.

ASHLEY’S ANSWER: Nope. Reciprocity is nice but not always realistic, therefore you can explain to them that they are important to you too, but it just is about the situation. For example, if you have more siblings/family that need to be in your wedding or vice versa, then it should not be expected to reciprocate. You can ask that person to do a reading at your ceremony or to give a toast at dinner if it really means that much to the them, so they are included. Feelings might get hurt, so I would recommend addressing this situation from day one and clearly explaining your reasons for your arrangements. Avoidance is never a good policy.


Need more wedding etiquette, advice and tips? See previous etiquette posts here.

Gina and Matt_web_175Gina Heideman is a bride-in-training from Boise, Idaho. When she’s not planning her navy/preppy/downtown wedding, she spends her time perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her fiance, and playing outside. She’s an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie. By day she works as Executive Director of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on meth use prevention. By night she’s a freelance graphic designer (


Jess Keys is a Journalism graduate of Indiana University, a Chicago transplant and Founder of The Golden Girl Blog. She was first bitten by the wedding bug at age 11, when she purchased her first Brides magazine in the Lexington, KY airport. She’s partial to red lipstick, French Bulldogs, and a lover of the written word. When she’s not writing for Wedding Party, you can often find her at the closest Dim Sum establishment, or exploring the Windy City with her camera in tow.


Ashley Smith is the wedding planner for Buzzworthy SF. She believes that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. Ashley is available for weddings in California and worldwide. Her expertise is in the Bay Area, but her heart is in Mexico, where she is certified by the board of tourism to plan and work. If she is not in San Francisco planning weddings and being social, you’ll find her on the beach at Playa Azul, Papaya Playa, or exploring the coast lines in Central America via bicycle.


DIY Vintage-Style Birdcage Veil for Brides

Tattooed Martha - DIY Vintage Style Birdcage Veil (10)

Photo by Corey Bruce Photography

Hello again beautiful brides! July was a busy month with our wedding and friends and family in town, but I’m back and ready to share some more DIY projects with you. Today I’m going to show you how easy it is to create your own vintage-style birdcage veil at a fraction of the cost that bridal stores will charge you for one!

A birdcage veil is great route to go for a no-fuss veil that you won’t have to worry about the wind blowing into your face while you say your vows or ruin your lipstick!

Tattooed Martha - DIY Vintage Style Birdcage Veil (1)


  • ½ yard French netting (available in most craft stores or look on Etsy for a custom color)
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread, matching the color of the netting
  • Thimble (this really helps with pushing the needle through the netting without also pushing it through your finger!)
  • Hair comb

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3 Crucial Details About Wedding Entertainment: DJs vs. Bands


Austin Gros

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said that music is the universal language. While some people profess not to know that language too well, there is no denying that, at the very least, music is either a huge mood-booster or mood-killer. You definitely want to get your guests cranking out a few steps on the dance floor, so hiring great musical entertainment should be of considerable importance when planning your reception.

Unless, you know, you’re okay with your older brother trying to impersonate Tupac and rap your first wedding-dance song. Badly.


Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Music sets the atmosphere and your guests will most likely judge your wedding based on three things: how touching and pretty your wedding was during the ceremony, the food, and whether or not they had a blast during the reception. As such, it’s imperative that you invest some time into making sure that you, your partner, and your guests are having a fun, stress-free time without having to worry whether or not your wedding’s a bore.

And that starts by researching your wedding entertainment.

Commence the Gnarly Guitar Solo

entertainment entertainment

Jonas Peterson

I personally love me some good live music. Not only is there room for improvisation and sexy guitar solos, but the music just seems so much more lively than mere bass-droppers in a seedy nightclub.

Plus, if they’re a reputable band, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be decent live. It’s like having your own mini-concert at your wedding! A great and professional band should also have a band leader who is reasonably experienced in MCing, so you won’t have to really worry about announcements there.


  • I mean, please — who doesn’t love live music?
  • It really adds a lot more personality and style to your wedding than a DJ would
  • Professional bands should be open to learning one or two songs for your wedding. Perfect if you want to hear one of your favorite songs played live
  • The band is probably best suited to those who love some classic rock sounds or softer acoustics


  • Live bands will not have as many songs on hand as the DJ
  • Maybe you don’t like covers — which limits their repertoire even more
  • Live bands generally tend to be more expensive than a DJ, depending on the size and reputation. You’ll most likely have to pay per piece (person). Prices range from $1k-$10k. Plus meals.
  • Live bands will need a break = less playing/dancing time
  • It’s harder to gauge the talent of a live band than that of a DJ. Hopefully your live band will be amazing. Hopefully.
  • Bands can take up quite a bit of space as well, so you’ll have to look at your venue to see where you can accommodate for their performance.

For live bands, I would suggest that you shop around. Gigmasters is a great resource to look for wedding bands around your local area. Additionally, if you aren’t too picky about making sure that your band is a “wedding” band, you might want to shop around at “pubs” or “bars” that have lots of live music. If they have bands performing that you really like, what’s the harm of asking them for their rates?

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A Simple DIY to Recycle Your Wedding Flowers


Ah, the wedding aftermath. Half-empty beer bottles line table tops, once-neat chairs lay in complete disarray, and rubble fills every crevice of the room.  You seriously contemplate whether or not a tornado hit once the lights turned out before you realize that, nope, the only natural disaster of the evening was your crazy Uncle Ron doing the splits on the dance floor. And while poor Ron’s dignity isn’t salvageable, there is one thing about your wedding night that is: flowers.


In the case of my wedding, where flowers were the main decor item of choice, there were so many leftover that our venue was quite literally overflowing with them. Every surface had a mason jar, vase or wine bottle filled with gorgeous stems, which would have been the perfect departing gift except for the minor detail that we needed to return all the holders to their owner. And so began our clean up, which consisted of pouring out the flowers and stacking the vases and jars on their lonesome.

It was tragic to look at the flowers on the table, gorgeous and colorful yet alone and without water. We were unprepared and without a plan B for saving them, until my dear friend Darlene held up a water jug and declared, “This will do!” Confused, we all watched as she cut off the top, filled it with water, and placed a large pile of flowers into the jug. Right after I loudly declared her a genius, the clean up crew followed suit, and soon we all held a simple DIY to recycle your wedding flowers that was nothing short of darling.

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