Maid of Honour & Bridesmaids
Brides have to exercise enormous tact and good taste to ensure they make the best of their bridesmaids - whatever their size or age.
The groom stood up to make his speech at the reception and smiled reassuringly at the three bridesmaids, all friends of the bride, and, it has to be said, a tad on the plump side.
The assembled guests, relaxed and happy, waited for his conventional words of praise for the loveliness of the trio, only to be told by the groom: "We choose the three bridesmaids for their size. We thought they'd be handy as a windbreak outside the church."
Tact was never his strong point.
It's a sad fact of most marriage ceremonies that one bridesmaid is a size 18, and the other is a size eight. The contrast in their sizes is glaringly obvious to all, but is never mentioned.
Brides want to have their best friends as bridesmaids, but have to exercise good taste to make the little and the large both look their best.
One way round this is to choose a colour which will suit both bridesmaids and let them each choose a dress shape which best flatters them.
For older brides whose friends feel a bridesmaid's dress would look silly on them, why not make them your matron of honour or - to use a more up-to-date title: best woman.
She can then wear a stunning suit and stylish hat and look more like Andie Macdowell in Four Weddings And A Funeral than a milkmaid past her sell-by-date.
Whoever said you should never work with children and animals had probably been to a few weddings where tiny bridesmaids in tears had disrupted the ceremony and mad dogs run off with the bride's bouquet.
However, I once went to a wedding where the groom's pet dog was decked out with a large white bow and sat just inside the church porch throughout the ceremony as an honorary best man, and he was quite charming.
Be wary of inviting small girls and boys to be bridesmaids and page boys. You will want to reassure yourself that they can behave, and that they will enjoy the day and not find it an ordeal.
For young bridesmaids, and I would include teenagers in this, why not sit them with their family at the reception rather than on the top table, which can make them feel very isolated.
If you're getting married and you have children already, get them involved in the planning of the day and ask them what special role they would like to play.
Perhaps a teenage son could give his mother away, while a daughter could act as a flower girl or bridesmaid.
Toddlers and babes in arms should be handed over to a loving granny or aunt for the day so the happy couple can make their commitment to each other uninterrupted.
But don't banish little ones altogether - they'll never forgive you if they think they weren't invited to Mum's big day.
It is traditional to give the bridesmaids a gift for carrying out their duties. This is usually a piece of jewellery, such as a silver necklace or a bracelet - it will help them feel they have been a vital part of the occasion.
Remember that although the bride is the centre of attention, the bridesmaids also want to look their best too.
With some attention to detail they can not only feel special on your big day, but also make you, the bride, feel proud and happy too.
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