“Will you marry me?” isn’t the only wedding-related question that’s on the minds of many brides and grooms. Nowadays, proposing to members of the wedding party —think, “Will you be my bridesmaid?”— is also many couple’s to-do list.
While it may not be as common for guys, it’s a big thing for the ladies. And like nearly everything else that goes into a wedding, some gals make a big deal of it.
“In the last few years, the ‘bridesmaid proposal’ has emerged as a trend that is here to stay,” says Kylie Carlson, owner of the International Academy of Wedding & Event Planning.
“Choosing a wedding party is an important step for any bride, and they want to make it a memorable experience for their closest friends, she adds.
When should you pop the big question? Give your bridal party as much notice as possible so they have time to plan and save, advises James Berglie of Be Photography.
“Organizing your bridal party should be one of the first things you do after getting engaged. Ideally, this should be done about a year in advance,” he says.
A Personal Proposal
How should you ask? You don’t have to go with the same approach for each person.
“There’s no rule that every bridesmaid proposal has to be the same, so instead consider doing something unique for each gal,” suggests Audrey Isaac, a spokesperson for the candle retailer 100 Candles.
For your maid of honor with whom you may have shared many bottles of wine, offer up a personalized wine glass. Got a friend who loves the beach? Pop the question with personalized flip-flops. Or, give a set of necklace or earrings that the girl can wear on the big day. “Paired with a sweet card, your bridesmaids will be eager to say yes,” Isaac says.
Megan Velez, an executive with the Destination Weddings Travel Group, says that brides hosting a destination wedding can tie in that theme by creating a colorful passport cover that reads “Will you be my bridesmaid?” They can also include a card that notes the bride would be “lost without you.”
Speaking of distance, can you still ask if you’re not face to face? Of course, Isaac says.
“If proposing from far away, consider sending along a package of trinkets that speak to your relationships — reminders of favorite activities together, past trips and inside jokes,” she explains. “Then, in a note to them, include a small packet of confetti so they can celebrate in style even if you have to do so over Facetime!”
If She Says No
What happens if you get turned down? Try not to take it personally, Berglie says.
“Between the showers and the parties, the gifts and the dress, the hair and the make-up, being a bridesmaid is a huge financial responsibility, and it’s something that not everyone can afford,” he says.
Alexa PenaVega, the actress who starred in the Hallmark Channel movie, “Destination Wedding,” says brides and grooms need to be understanding if their friend or family member declines. “Not everyone is ready for that commitment or wants that commitment,” she says. “It may hurt your feelings, but having respect for their decision to be honest and upfront with you is so important.”
She says that brides and grooms should be sure to slow down and take their time when inviting someone to be a part of the big day. “Allow it to be a beautiful moment,” she adds.