Will your wedding party be bringing together women from different areas of your life? Weddings are nearly always sources of worlds colliding, with you and your beloved as the common thread between your guests.
My husband’s groomsmen consisted of his two brothers and three lifelong friends, nearly all of whom had known each other since their toddler years. No introductions or new friendships necessary. On the other hand, my bridesmaids were my sister, two sisters-in-law, cousins, and college roommate. It felt like a significant responsibility to introduce these women to each other, and in my head, like an obligation that they spend time together and, ideally, become friends. Looking back, I now understand putting that pressure on myself wasn’t necessary, but I do know that hope for your closest sisters to feel close to each other is a natural and good inclination.
If you have the same desire on your heart, to invite your friends and family members into each other’s lives as they help you prepare for marriage, consider these steps a starting point, and let relationships develop naturally--or not, which is alright--from there.
Make the first move.
After officially asking your maids to stand by you on your wedding day, introduce them with a group email or text. Start a conversation by inviting them to share their contact information, which enables these ladies to greet each other even if they’re scattered across different cities or states. While you’re at it…
...Invite your bridesmaids to join you in wedding-related tasks.
Having a clear purpose in mind can be helpful when hanging out with someone new for the first time. When you’re browsing for dresses, mailing Save-the-Dates, or assembling favors, invite your bridesmaids to join you--spending time on a project or to-do list item can be a bonding experience for everyone involved. To avoid a sense of overwhelm or obligation, I recommend framing these invitations casually rather than as major events; you can simply tell your bridesmaids, via text, what your plans are and let them know they’re welcome to accompany you if they like.
When you and your bridesmaids share a life of faith, it can be beautiful to spend time together on a short retreat, at a holy hour, or a young adult event in your diocese. But what if that’s not the case? I’ve tasted the pain of division when someone close to you doesn’t share in your spirituality, or worse, is hostile to it.
If you’re experiencing this struggle, turn to Christ: pray for a spirit of peace about your wedding party and wedding day. Moreover, pray for littleness. Ask the Lord to help you get out of your own way. Ask him to let your love for your husband-to-be and the graces of your nuptial Mass speak for themselves. It’s always an exercise in prudence when deciding whether to speak overtly about matters of Catholic teaching, or whether to lead by example--in all things, make an appeal to the heart.
As joyful an occasion as your marriage is--a foretaste of heaven--the earthside reality is that weddings sometimes stir up past wounds and brokenness. Strive for sensitivity in these matters, particularly with bridesmaids or close family members, and find comfort placing them in the hands of the Father. It hurts knowing something that brings you happiness might be bringing sadness upon someone you love. But redemptive suffering is real, and so is selfless love. Your humble witness of love, simply by virtue of who you are, can be an instrument of consolation and encouragement and can be offered up for the good of your guests. No matter where your wedding party members are in their lives and spiritual journeys, Fr. Leo Patalinghug writes, “Having a prominent place in the ceremony, so close to the couple, these people will no doubt remember that image of two people very much in love with each other.”
Like much in the Christian life, the relational aspect of wedding planning can feel rife with paradox, specifically, the mingling of your joy with empathy for others' struggles. We love hearing from you on matters like these--be sure to share ways you've developed relationships between your bridesmaids in the comments and on our social media. And if you're looking for bridesmaids gift ideas, use our picks to inspire your selections.