How my husband and I handled an international bridal party
Updated: Jun 10, 2019
So I feel like this is probably the challenge of almost every modern bride, because lets be honest, who really has all their closest friends down the road from them any more? Perhaps this works well when you get married straight out of school or university and I bet it worked really well back when marriage first came about and no one left their hometowns, but with globalisation and travel the way it is today, and couples getting married later in life, I can’t help but feel that weddings aren’t designed for modern day living.
Regardless, my husband and I had to make things work with our international bride and groom squad which totaled 3 continents, 5 international provinces.
So lets start with the Bridesmaids.
Challenge 1: Communication
This was done basically exclusively on WhatsApp. We had a group and did a lot of our chatting there. My three bridesmaids also made a group to discuss details which I was not privy to and they managed to pull this off flawlessly.
Challenge 2: Bridesmaid dresses
Of my three bridesmaids, one was in another country, one was in another province and one was fairly close to me. This made wedding planning a logistical nightmare, probably more so than I can even imagine! They managed to pull off their roles perfectly from all over the place with no complaint – I picked a good team.
When it came to their dresses I knew it would be almost impossible to try order dresses online that fit each of them comfortably without alteration, or go to a store and find exactly what I was looking for. I was incredibly specific about the look and colour I wanted for them and we would be hunting for months before I would be happy. Coincidentally the one from another country happened to be visiting family early in my wedding planning so I was able to call in the one from another province and we managed to go shopping together but this meant we had a limited time to get this done so we had one day and we had to get this sorted.
Due to these challenges, I found the easiest way of dealing with all this was to buy fabric for each of them and send them off to their various locations to have the dresses made by different seamstresses. Yes that sounds straight up wild! When I repeat it now I'm not sure what I was thinking but we were doing this so far in advance , a year to be exact, that I was not too worried at the time. I guess I had A LOT of trust in them as well.
To cover for the fact that there was basically no way the dresses would match design wise, I allowed them to each choose their own style for the top of the dress and was very specific about certain things ie length, location of waist line, and so on. All top styles were approved by me and each bridesmaid was issued with a very detailed description to guide their seamstress. I then had to just hope for the best.
This did end up a little concerning. One of my bridesmaids had a few issues with the fit of her dress, asked me some terrifying questions very late in the process and I didn’t end up actually seeing a photo of the final dress until the week before the wedding – you know who you are! 😉 I wasn’t sure the dress even existed which I did not enjoy, but that close to the wedding I simply could not worry about that. I have a sense of humour about this now but if I get the pleasure of being a bridesmaid for her, I’ll consider returning the favour! Haha
As for my international bridesmaid, she was bringing her bridal outfit from another country on a plane. She decided to pack her dress and shoes in her hand luggage, which was an absolute relief because HER BAG WAS MISPLACED AT THE AIRPORT. Really, you can’t make this stuff up. She got her bag back which was great but seriously if your bridesmaids are travelling, make sure they keep their essentials within sight at all times.
Nevertheless the dresses came out perfectly. They looked gorgeous together and you would have to have a good eye for apparel detail to notice that they were made by different people. The matching fabric is what made this achievable and I was thrilled with the result. Thank you ladies!
Challenge 3: Hens party and bachelorette party
Well naturally if I wanted my ladies to attend, I certainly couldn’t ask my international traveler to come twice. This meant pushing my hens party and kitchen tea to the weekend before the wedding, so that she could come down a week early. This didn’t leave her with much time to adjust to the 11 hour time difference but she managed this like a trooper and WAY better than I probably could have!
Now lets talk about the groomsmen
For this mix we had the best man and two grooms men. The best man and a grooms men were in each in a different provinces and neither in the same province as my husband and I. The other groomsman was in a different country. So again, cue logistical nightmare.
Challenge 1: Communication
Similar to my situation the men chatted mostly via whatsapp.
Challenge 2: Suit Rental
Firstly lets talk the two in the same country as us. We found a suit rental company which had branches in our province (the province of our wedding), and the two others. So how this worked is each of them went to their local branch and had their measurements done. These measurements were then sent to the branch in the province my husband and I lived in.
Next lets talk the international traveler. He had his measurements taken in the country he lived in and my husband sent this to our local branch. He then flew to us a few days before the wedding to have his measurements checked and ensure the suit was a correct fit. On a side note, if you are renting suits, check that the suits have all their buttons when you collect them. One of my husbands groomsman's suits was missing the front top button which we luckily realized when we got home from fetching them. This was quickly rectified by the hiring company, but could have been a disaster if we only realized on the day..
Challenge 3: Bachelor Party
To make my husbands bachelors, both the grooms men in other provinces flew in for the weekend of the bachelor party and then back again the following week. Unfortunately the international traveler was unable to make the bachelors but made his way in the following week for the wedding.
Having an international wedding squad isn't the easiest and certainly has some cons. The biggest pro however is that you have your favorite people around you and that's one of the best things about having a wedding!