Dear Friend: Let Me Help With Your Wedding

by Carolyn

Dear D,

I wanted to take a second to connect after last night’s epic four-hour all-bridal-party video chat. I feel like we bridesmaids managed to leave you, our beloved bride, looking a bit shell-shocked by the end. The emotional and logistic enormity of a wedding will do that to anyone. It’s all leading up to next week, and you’re totally ready. I know it feels like a lot of plates spinning (and it is!), but you have things under control and are doing well even from several states away! Please believe that we’re not asking you ten thousand picky detail-type questions to stress you out, but to hopefully help you avoid the mistakes we all made. (You see, by having had exactly one wedding I consider myself a world-renowned expert.) And although you’re doing an awesome job, remember you’re just one person. Even though you will—spoiler alert!—have a few more moments when you feel blindsided and unprepared, you have to trust at this point that we’re all here to make this wedding happen.

Please keep asking for help. Your partner wants to help. Your mom wants to help. We, your best friends, want to help. Because nothing will make us happier than seeing you be able to step back next Saturday, stop worrying about the stuff, and letting yourself soak up the love coming at you full-force from all sides. It is the best. Really. You are completely surrounded by people who love the shit out of both of you. I promise that will not change one bit even if it rains, the cake collapses, the flowers die, or the sheep escape from their pasture and knock over all the tables, and we have to eat standing up. Fuck, if that happens, it’ll be memorable at least.

Remember, the end—and the beginning—are in sight. (See what I did there?!) You love each other; the rest will sort itself out.

Your loving bridesmaid,



This post left us inspired to write our own notes to friends who are planning weddings, so we decided to make it an open thread to do just that. If you have a friend who is planning a wedding, leave a note of your own for him or her in the comments. Maybe the person will see it, and maybe not, but your letter is sure to give someone in the APW community a much-needed reminder that our friends are on our side when we’re planning our weddings. 

Photo: Gabriel Harber

Featured Sponsored Content

  • Moe

    Dear Future Mrs. D,

    It wasn’t so long ago that two of us sat at a crowded bar as single girls. We commiserated over cheap drinks that there were no more good men left in the world. Look at us now, me married and you planning a wedding to man that loves you immensely.

    I’ve already given you lots of practical advice on planning this wedding. The most important things are not things. The dress, the flowers, the rings will all come together somehow. (Seriously though, did you put together a budget on a spreadsheet yet?) More than anything I want you to know that I wish you happiness.

    My hope for you is that you find joy in this process. Don’t worry about things going wrong, they will and yet it’s still going to be ok. This day in November will be blessed because you have chosen to make a family with someone who loves you. After all the heart break and disappointment you survived, you have been granted a second chance at love. That is a miracle! It’s a wonderful occasion worthy of celebration.

    So even though you do not have your “official” proposal and ring yet, in my eyes you are very much a bride. Enjoy this special time and all that it brings you.

    Your Friend,

    • Future Mrs. D.

      THIS is one of the many reasons I love you. You always know just the right things to say (except when you say you “don’t know what to say”- I hate that). This is why you are the angel and devil on my shoulders.

      Crying, but not in a punk type of way,

      Future Mrs. D.

      • Moe

        Awwwww!!! Don’t cry, we’re even drinking wine yet!!! Love you too, punk.

  • Anon

    Dear Future Ms. B,

    I want you to know that while I don’t know if I think marriage will ever be right for me, and I definitely would never ever want a wedding, please know that I am here for you every step of the way.

    I want to sit with you on your porch with wine looking at trashy bridal magazines. I want to go dress shopping with you and help run interference with your crazy-ass mother. I will remind you every day that there are no wrong decisions to be made and that if other people are telling you that there are, then those people are NOT your friends. I hope to be the shining light in your WIC world. I will not let my depression and anxiety stop me from particpating fully in all your wedding activities. And if you really want me to, I will stand up there with you in a dress of your choosing and there will be no other place I will want to be in the world but right there at your side.

    I have only known you for 5 years, but I can see how happy Mr. B makes you. I want to do whatever it takes so that you have a day full of happiness and love.

    Most importantly, I will be here for you even when the magic and glitter of that day wears off. I don’t know what I did before I had you in my life. Thank you for helping me believe in friendships again.


  • Anonforthis

    Dear Friend:

    I’m so happy for you I could burst – I’m so touched and honored to be a part of your wedding day. I know that the planning process can be overwhelming and stressful – and not even in the most obvious ways. You can be going along and – BAM! – something happens that seems all the more important when viewed through the wedding-day-lenses. Every fight, every choice, every opinion. It’s a lot and it adds up, I know.

    But the one thing that I would tell you right now, in this moment, is to let other people show that they love you. You don’t have to feel like you have to do everything yourself. Even though it would probably turn out better and more efficient and just the way you want it – let someone else do some of this stuff for you, not just the peripheral stuff. Let your mom bake the cake. Have that bridesmaid that drives you nuts make a wedding day playlist for you. Ask your friends to pick-up an extra gluegun and go to town on the pew decorations.

    My point is this – your wedding is not an imposition and neither is you asking us to do stuff. In fact, I WANT you to ask for help!!! I want to do more than just buy you a knife set and stand there in a pretty dress. I want to show how much I love and admire you. Let us take one or two of those balls you keep juggling around and, even if it doesn’t turn out just the way you wanted, you’ll at least have a free hand to drink with ;-)

    Love – Your Friend

  • Bubbles

    Not gonna lie, I totally want to have some rogue sheep at my wedding now. That would be HYSTERICAL.

  • Anon For This


    Sorry I threw up during your reception and couldn’t give my maid of honor speech.

    Thank you for saying, “It wouldn’t have been my wedding if you hadn’t thrown up at it.”

    Ride or die,

  • Karen

    Dear M&M,

    Your wedding will be beautiful because you’re there. And we can’t wait to be there with our dancing shoes on!

    KM & MG

  • May

    Not one of my bridesmaids read APW so I’m just gonna go ahead and pretend that all these messages are for me. Aww thanks guys I feel better already!!

    • Jessica B


    • Loving Bridesmaid Carolyn

      I mean, the messages kind of are for you. We’re all rooting for you May!

  • Megan

    Oh you guys, this, today! THANK YOU!

    This week has been rough. As my beautiful, thoughtful fiancé keeps reminding me – this was always the plan. Where ‘this’ means these last two weeks zooming to the wedding, with all the last minute details that have to happen, alongside me needing to work 12 hours a day finishing up a paper to submit to peer-review and generally experiencing brain-melting stress at work in an attempt to ‘earn’ a three-week vacation for the wedding + honeymoon.

    I’m a bit of mess, and not holding it together all that well, and my fiancé and dearest girlfriend are just stepping up left and right and being patient and awesome. And last night I spilled wine. On. My. Wedding. Dress.

    It’s not actually a disaster. I jumped back almost in time. There are only a few small spots right at the bottom of the skirt, and we can probably get them out. But as I dissolved into tears for being so f-ing stupid, fiancé and girlfriend blotted the skirt, stepped me out of it, steered me to a chair, insisted I have more wine and food, assured me it was not a disaster, while also affirming that I was allowed to be as upset about this as I wanted to be.

    Which is basically to say, I’m a very lucky girl, and I’m working hard to focus on that instead of ‘things,’ and this thread is brilliant and making me cry here at my desk at the office.

  • Dear A,

    I’m beyond thrilled to be your maid of honor. At first I felt scared because we hadn’t spent all that much time together in a few years, and I didn’t know if I would do a good enough job for you. I’m so very happy that you asked me; it’s rekindled our friendship in such a wonderful way. I had forgotten how much we could laugh together, and how you are sentimental in such a private, secret way. And all those childhood memories are even brighter now, connected to the memories we’re making now.

    Last weekend was your shower. Your mom was graceful as always, and I was a frazzled mess, as always. You were so totally yourself, so at easy. That was the best part, how happy you seemed, because I know you had been nervous, and we all just really wanted you to have fun.

    You and J are going to have such a fun and happy life together. You’ve overcome such crazy obstacles in your life, and you do so with the biting sarcasm I so appreciate and a real softness, that you share with a special few. I wish for all obstacles to be behind you, and only joy and peace in your future. I love, love, love you.

  • Beth

    Just to kind of turn this on its head a little…

    Dear Friends,

    I was that bride who didn’t want to be an imposition. You asked how you could help and I didn’t know what tasks to give you, so I just said I was sure I’d find something for you to do as it got closer to the wedding day.

    But here’s the thing – you took my indecisiveness, my hemming and hawing, my total lack of preparation for the actual venue setup (the one part of the whole thing that I didn’t make a list for), and you blew my mind. So thank you, friends. Thank you for keeping me company when I had last minute dress drama and for doing my hair and makeup like a pro. Thank you for designing our invitations. Thank you for going with the flow when I said you could pick your own dresses (and you all looked amazing together anyway!), thank you for moving tables and chairs and plants and cases of alcohol. Thank you for cleaning the bathroom (I mean…!), and mopping the stage, and setting up the sound system and being the day-of stage manager, and feeding me when I didn’t even know I needed to eat (but totally did). Thank you for telling me to breath and getting me water and letting me know if I had lipstick on my teeth. Thank you for hugging me and telling me how excited you were for me and my husband. So many people and vendors came up to us and told us what a great group of friends we had, and they’re right! Because of you, our wedding was more amazing than we ever expected.

    I didn’t know what to do with the help that was offered to me, but you did.


  • Moe

    To All the Brides I Stood For (1992-2011),

    You were my first friend, a friend when I needed one badly, a friend because we once had a mutual friend, and one who became my friend because I first knew your groom. You were my friend when my dad died. I was your friend when you learned you were pregnant (a big scary unplanned surprise). I was your friend when your first marriage ended in divorce. I was your friend when you had a big health scare. Jobs won and lost, moves, graduations, surgeries, break-ups, vacations, happy hours, and birthdays.

    I helped plan your bachelorette. I deleted the pictures I took at your bachelorette. I scooped out potato salad served at your bridal shower. I made paper pom-poms and sealed invitations in envelopes. We went dress shopping at David’s Bridal and warned you that the salespeople were relentless. I went shopping for Spanx with you.

    I wore the color dress you selected. I was measured, fitted, hemmed and steamed to perfection. I glued on fake eyelashes on your big day, then I glued them on you. I ran interference between you and your crazy mother. I kept the alcohol coming. I talked to your groom the morning of the wedding when he was freaked out and needed to calm down. I caught your bouquet. One you cleverly handed me the bouquet instead of tossing it.

    Some of you I have not heard from in years. I hear your sons have graduated high school already (I was there when they were born!). You bought a house, you sold a house, you moved away. You just had a baby. You were in my life for a reason and for that I will always be thankful. Three of you were my bridesmaids not too long ago and you looked lovely in pink. Thank you for returning the favor and supporting me. I never thought that time and circumstance would separate some of us but it did. It does not diminish the gift that you were to me.

    Thank you for showing me what friendship is all about, I wish you the best wherever life may take you.

    Moe, (8-time bridesmaid veteran)

    • Aaaaaaaaand Moe, you win the award for “what makes Sarah happy cry today.”

    • Kats

      This is so beautiful.

  • KC

    Dear Now-Mrs. P,

    I’m so glad your wedding came together well despite my utter lack of talent at all things MOH-related (aside from wishing you the best, showing up on time, and making sure you had water and a source of blood sugar). Speeches, showers, makeup, and shoes are not in my natural skill-set, and while I did my best, I don’t feel like “my part” came out adequately reflecting how I feel about you and about your marriage. It’s kind of like comparing an oil portrait (competent MOH) to a crayon stick-figure drawing (except that I can do really good palm trees in crayon; unfortunately, this does not seem to be a skill relevant to being MOH in most weddings). The lack of MOH-duty competence truly did not reflect a lack of effort or will or support or love or respect or wish for your wedding to go well, but it might have looked that way (good intentions do not necessarily result in successful outcomes…). But I hope my love for you and support for your marriage and my flailing attempts at doing the right things came through with enough. And I think you squinted at my efforts through the lens of charity rather than judgment, and I appreciate that.

    And congratulations, and you are awesome. :-)

  • C

    Dear K and M,
    I know you’re already married (twice! and for legals now!) and I’m the one planning my own wedding. Thank you so much for all the love and support you’ve shown through the process so far. (M, I think you were as excited as I was the week J and I got engaged!) I also wanted to thank you for including me in going to city hall to sign the paperwork to make your marriage legally recognized this weekend. I know it sounds silly, but seriously, it meant the world to me that I could be involved (even if just by being there to hug and cheer you and take pics of I. signing the marriage license (The legal marriage license!)). It meant the world to be there for both your weddings and I had no clue we’d become close friends when you invited me to your first wedding.
    Anyways, I’m blathering, but I just wanted to say how I just can’t get over how joyful and happy for you I feel. I’ve been riding Saturday’s high for a few days now. I know there’s a lot of work to be done in the world (hello, all the stupid states that don’t recognize your marriage), but it meant the world to stand with you as our state AND the federal gov’t finally got with the picture, and legally recognized your marriage which has been such a model marriage for me for several years now.
    So much love,

  • To My Dearest, Closest Friends, of Whom, None Have Ever Asked Me to be a Bridesmaid,

    I get it, don’t worry. I’m not offended, and no matter how damn good I look in that color, I’m A-Okay with not having to buy the dress. And alter the dress. And go find shoes (unless I can wear the fuschia glitter peep-toe pumps I already have? No?). I will still be there.

    I know we could draw diagrams about being best friends or BESTbest friends, but that’s a little too high-schoolish for me. I realize that some of you are not yet married or partnered, and may not ever be, and that’s A-Okay with me, too, because here is the promise I give you:

    No matter what my “title” is at your wedding, no matter what dress I’m wearing, I will be there. If I cannot physically attend your bachelorette or wedding shower, I will send a suitably inappropriate gift, hopefully with a dirty poem on the card. If I am able to attend your bachelorette or wedding shower, I will forego the penis-shaped whatevers and just write suggestive things on the card for you to read aloud in front of your aunts and little cousins. You will love me for it, as my dirty poems are as good as any swig of that mimosa for relieving stress. I will be That Girl, so any clucking hens in attendance will have something to cluck about instead of your registry choices.

    I will answer the phone, or at the very least call you back and leave a really long voicemail for you (even though I hate receiving voicemail, I love leaving them). No matter when we talk, I will not hold either of us accountable for the length of time since we last spoke. I will pick up where we left off, and keep on going. Our lives are full ones, that’s what makes us such awesome people. If it also keeps us from connecting as often as we should, oh well. Next lifetime I’ll choose less fabulous friends (not!).

    At your wedding, I will fulfill any last minute needs you have. Timing the bridesmaids down the aisle? Sure. Review your dance steps quick before the reception? Gotcha. Emergency bobby-pin situation? I am all over that shit. I do not need a matching dress to get down at your wedding. That’s why you invited me, right? I will represent on the dance floor, I will stay there all night, pausing only to run and find my partner with the glass of water I left him holding. I would love to get shitfaced with you like we usually do, but unless you move the bar closer to the dance floor, my priorities remain. I will help with whatever is needed at the end of the night. I will try to stay awake through the after party (sorry for getting old so fast), and I will get laid that night and tell you about it later.

    I don’t need a title to know I’m a good friend. I don’t need a toast to tell you what you mean to me. I will be there anyways. And you better fucking believe I’ll be wearing the fuschia glitter peep-toe pumps.


    • anon

      This is exactly what I want to say.

  • Esther

    A variation on the theme:

    To my two best friends who served as my maid of honor and bridesmaids,

    Thank you for being you. Thank you for being my friend since kindergarten, teasing boys with me on the playground. Thank you for being my friend since college, holding my hand when I thought my heart was broken by guys that weren’t ever worth it, and for telling me with just a look, that after meeting M, you knew why I was crazy about him.

    Thank you for loving me even when I was stressed out about our wedding and about my relationship with my future in-laws. Thank you for being my enforcers when I had issues with my own family. Thank you for sharing all the really exciting moments with me and for giving me sage advice when I needed it – even (or most often) when that advice was “hey…this is not worth getting worked up over!”

    But most importantly, thank you for spending the night before my wedding with me, the three of us cuddled up in bed in my hotel suite, holding hands and giggling, and just being together like when we were kids.

  • What I should have said (and totally still can!) to my maid of honor, whose wedding I was in as maid of honor several years ago

    Dear A (before your wedding in 2005):

    Thank you for asking if I am ok. I am glad you took the time to notice. It IS a little sad to be in your wedding while in the midst my own breakup. I will be in tears for your entire wedding. Most of them will be happy tears, but a few will be sad. Thank you for understanding, and for asking if I was still up to it. Thanks for being a good friend, always.

    But don’t worry about me! I’m just so, so happy to be in your wedding! I will throw you a shower, a bachelorette party, stand next to you as you say your vows, give a speech, dance with you, and plop down beside you after we clean up the reception hall and tell you how beautiful you are. Those will be the only kind of memories I have from that day. I will only remember how happy we were. When I look back on that day, I will barely remember what I was going through at the time. None of it mattered. It was your day, and it was wonderful. I am honored to have been a part of it.

    Three years later, when the marriage ends, I will still only have happy memories from that day. I will remember how beautiful you were. I will remember how happy your family was. I will remember how in love you both were. I will be so happy that I was there, and I will be by your side as you navigate the divorce. As your best friend and maid of honor, I would never leave your side at the wedding, and I will not leave your side as the marriage ends.

    Six years later, when your mom passes away, I will still be standing next to you, supporting you. While the sad tears will outweigh the happy tears that day, I will still be grateful and glad I could be by your side.

    When you stand next to me in my wedding, it will be a reminder that, no matter what, we’ll be there for each other. It was an honor to be your MOH and I’m honored to have you as mine.

  • Emily

    To All The Stressed Out Brides and Grooms,

    Your wedding is definitely NOT an imposition. I LOVE weddings. I love going to them. I love crying at them. I love eating at them. I love dancing at them. I have never been to a wedding where I thought, “Ugh, THIS again?” or “Blech, I can’t believe I spent all this money to come here.”

    If you invited me to your wedding and I have chosen to come, it’s because I am PUMPED to be there, and I’m PUMPED to celebrate the day with you. I am not judging your choice of shoes/cake/tent. I’m just excited to “ooh” over your shoes, eat your cake, and dance under your tent, because it’s all in celebration of you.

  • Kat

    Dear Friend,
    I know we haven’t been friends that long, and we’re not bestest buddies, but I am super-stoked to be invited to your wedding. I am thrilled you are getting married and very excited for you and future-husband. I’m looking forward to tearing up during your ceremony and getting down on the dance floor.
    I know you didn’t plan on having any children at your wedding, and were quitely pleased the people you were inviting didn’t have any that you might have to consider inviting. I know when I told you I was pregnant and would have a 5 month old at the time of your wedding I made your wedding planning a bit more complicated.
    Here’s the thing – if you decide not to invite children we probably won’t come. I’ll (hopefully) be breastfeeding, we have to travel to your wedding, and we don’t have any family or friends living close by that we could leave the baby with (and let’s be honest, I probably won’t want to leave the baby). I want you to know that if you decide not to invite children that’s OK. I won’t be offended or complain to people. On your side, please don’t think I don’t care enough to come to your wedding or didn’t want to make the effort. I really want to come. It’s just logistics.

  • Sam A

    Dear Miss R,

    We used my grandmothers’ fly netting as veils when we were 5 years old. We paraded around the garden like we knew what being a bride, a wife and a women really meant (it was all about the veil, obvs). And, many, many years later, as you prepare to don that veil for real, know this:

    I know you.
    I know you’re nervous about scaring off your slightly skittish groom. I know you want to make sure everyone in your large, loud, so close it hurts family is happy. I know you want to, nay will, do certain things your way, no matter what. And, i know that as hard as you try to be all grown-up and ‘fine’ with things, and not bothered by the details or worried about the flowers, somewhere in there, is a 5 year old girl SQUEALING with excitement.

    So, know this. On your wedding day, when we return to that weird-ass little town we grew up in, I will be there, to do whatever you need me to, including keeping my mouth shut and smiling. I will carry your train, help with those pesky flowers, and keep a safety pin handy. I will be there for all the good, grown-up reasons you want friends at your wedding…

    But, mostly, i will be there for her. Your inner 5 year old. To hold her hand, to squeal with her in excitement when she puts on that dress… And to reassure her that it will be ok, because, just like back then she is much loved.

    Happy soon to be wedding day,
    My oldest friend.

    • Karen

      This was beautiful. Thanks for writing this.

  • Stalking Sarah

    Dear friend:

    You are doing this so incredibly well. Your graciousness and genuine warmth and all the other things that make you amazing remain present as you and your SO plan this wedding. Thanks for being such an amazing person; it truly is an honor to be part of your wedding.


  • H

    Dear Friend,

    I’m so excited for you to get married this weekend and can’t believe how much you’ve accomplished in planning this shindig in less than a month. With your fiance out of town for most of it. I know that sometimes you’re worried about everything coming together, but it’s going to be great and you’re going to be stunning in the dress that you and I helped build together- I’m pretty sure at this point we could say that we’ve sewn a dress, since none of the original fabric is actually showing. I’m sorry that I bled on your wedding dress, and love that you were able to competently take charge of fixing it (thank god for Crest optic white) when I was freaking out. I love you for being so supportive, even though I’m supposed to be there to support you! Please don’t think any of my critical-ness and nervousness comes from not wanting to help you- I’m just nervous about my abilities to make a schwanky dress and take photos that do you and your soon to be husband justice. Don’t be too nice, but also don’t worry about being too nice either- and these are the qualities that draw people to you and we genuinely want to help you and help make everything as smooth as possible. And, in a moment of selfishness, knowing how I feel in helping you will make it so much easier to accept your help and others when it gets closer to next fall and I get to go through the whole process myself. Most of all, I want you to relax and enjoy yourself. You’ve done so much, now let everyone else take care of you.
    Love, your friend

  • Dear L,

    As my ‘best person’, you came through for me in so many ways I never even knew I needed. I threw every wedding-related question I could think of at you during the planning process and your answers were always practical, wise, and full of mischief when I really needed it. I can’t count how many times you saved me during the week of the wedding – finding tunes that I wanted for a playlist and figuring out how to format them for me, lugging foliage from my Dad’s farm for my bouquet on the train across the country, making button-holes and the bouquet with me, and hustling all of my guests into their seats at the ceremony and reception to make sure things ran on time.

    All this even though when I first asked you to be my best person I told you that there would be NO JOBS involved and that all you had to do was pass me the brandy and keep me calm. You are amazing – and I’m so glad we sat next to each other on our first day of college. I promise to be there for whatever big life events you have in store – graduating, travelling, moving house, wedding, tiny humans, you name it.

    Much love,


  • manuscriptgeek

    Dear E,

    You know how I feel about bridesmaiding. You’ve heard all my complaints about the dresses I didn’t choose and the bachelorette parties I didn’t want to attend and the drama about dyeing shoes exactly the right color and the brides using us bridesmaids as props for their decorating schemes.

    So you came to me and said, “Would you be a chuppah-bearer for me instead of a bridesmaid? You’re just as important to me as all of the bridesmaids, and I want you in my wedding, but I want you in the part of the wedding where you’d feel comfortable.”

    That’s why you’re so important to me. You understand me. You understand when it’s right to honor traditions and when it’s right to go around traditions in order to best honor your friendships. I will be there, bearing that chuppah in style, in a dress I already own.


  • Pingback: Open Thread: Dear Friend, « A Practical Wedding: Ideas for Unique … | Wedding Budget Help()