In a world of wedding gowns, planning lists and budgets, sometimes a new perspective on the walk down the aisle is necessary. Fortunately for us — and our wedding planning sanity — that's precisely where author Eimear Lynch comes in. Her book, The Bridesmaids, shares the true stories of brides and their best friends in a colorful, heartfelt and honest collection that makes for perfect wedding reading material whether you're the one in the long white dress or the woman in chiffon beside her. We had the opportunity to chat with Eimear about her own experience and what she learned from speaking with 80 bridesmaids (and bridesmen). Here's what she had to say.
What prompted you to write The Bridesmaids?
I was a bridesmaid three times in a summer, and as I spoke to my fellow ‘maids I realized that weddings are a high-stress, high-emotion time—even for the bridesmaids. I thought that combination of feelings would make for great stories, from sweet to almost insane.
What has your experience as a bridesmaid been? Positive? Negative? Why?
I've been a bridesmaid five times, and it's always been positive. Of course I’ve complained about the dresses and the time and money involved, but every bridesmaid does that. As I wrote the book I was a bridesmaid for my sister, and doing the two things at the same time made me feel much more sentimental and thoughtful about my maid of honor duties.
After all of your interviews with bridesmaids, what would you consider to be key components of a healthy bride and bridesmaid relationship?
Honesty, candor and thoughtfulness. If both people continually remind themselves why they’re there—and what's important and what's trivial—they'll enjoy it.
Of the different stories you’ve heard since beginning research for The Bridesmaids, which story is your favorite?
It’s impossible to say! But I did love The Prison Bridesmaid since it gets to the real reason for having bridesmaids—to support and celebrate the bride and this new phase in her life. The story is so sweet and shows that bridesmaiding can be even more special in a stripped-down, simple ceremony under difficult circumstances.
What advice do you have for brides who truly want their bridesmaids to have a great experience?
Be upfront about your expectations—and don’t set them unrealistically high. Don’t micromanage and don’t ask a crazy amount from your bridesmaids; they’re supporters, not assistants.
What advice do you have for bridesmaids?
So much: Don’t ever text the bride something disappointing or annoying (call instead), don’t get wasted at the reception, try on your dress many times before the big day to make sure it fits, always agree with the bride, and above all enjoy it! Bridesmaiding is a great time to make new friends—be they bridesmaids, groomsmen, or wedding guests—and it's your only chance to go all out to celebrate a dear friend.
Find your own copy of The Bridesmaids here, and keep an eye on what Eimear is up to. Now, for all of you brides-to-be and bridesmaids out there — what advice do you have for brides and bridesmaids going through this wedding planning experience? You can also find answers to all your wedding party questions in mywedding The Magazine.
Book cover design by Jessica Hische & LeeAnn Falciani