My wedding planning journey: My bridesmaids
29 Jan 2020
Bride-to-be Ashleigh Tuttle tells us her who her eight bridesmaids are and why she picked them for the very important role
It was exactly 3 minutes and 49 seconds after getting engaged that I started the frantic messaging my friends and family to tell them John had finally popped the question.
I rang one of my best friends, Katie; Facebook messaged my two other best friends, Rebekah and Emma; texted my sisters, Gemma and Carley; Whatsapped my cousin Erin and my brother’s girlfriend Kayleigh, and jumped around excitedly with my fiancé’s sister Lucy when she got off the Splash Mountain ride. But before contacting any of these amazing people, I Facetimed my mum.
My mum has always been my biggest cheerleader, always right there on the sidelines whenever anything major or minor happened in my life. As the photographer snapped pictures of our proposal, the first words out of my mouth (after "yes, of course") were: "I need to call my mum".
Above: My mum is my best friend
I mentioned in my previous blog post that we stared at each other with hands over our mouths crying. Once we got off the phone, my mum was straight into planning mode: "We need to start looking at venues as soon as you get back", "You’re doing it in Norfolk, right?", "What sort of dress do you want?", "Who will your bridesmaids be?".
The final question was pretty easy. Those I was first to contact were my obvious choices.
Katie, I’ve known since we were 11-years-old, and she’s been my best friend since I sat next to her in Maths all those years ago. She has been there for me from the beginning, and even has a contract somewhere where I declared I would never get married (or I’d owe her a tenner… come to think of it I need to cough up the cash).
Above: Katie and I
Rebekah and I met when we were both covering quite a gruesome story, as she works for a local newspaper while I worked at the local radio station. When we should have been rivals, we formed a fantastic bond over prosecco and have even modelled in a bridal catwalk show together. She’s been to most of my dress appointments, has seen my venue and has been an absolute star.
Above: Rebekah and I
I met Emma on my first day when I moved to Nottingham for university. We were flatmates throughout my time there and even though we were very alike from the outset, we became even more similar as the time went on, often turning up in the same outfits and downing the same shots of vodka. People have even commented that we look related and she often feels like an extra sister. She lives in Manchester now, quite a trek from me but I couldn’t imagine saying ‘I do’ without her.
Above: Emma and I
My sisters, Gemma and Carley, both had me as their bridesmaids for their weddings, and of course I wanted to repay the favour. Gemma is also wedding-mad so I know she will be a brilliant go-to for anything I’m stressing about, and Carley is incredible for any light relief, adding an element of fun to everything.
Above: My sisters and I
My brother’s girlfriend Kayleigh, my cousin Erin and John’s sister Lucy were also easy choices. We actually got engaged on Kayleigh’s birthday so it felt like a perfect present to ask her to be bridesmaid on the day. Erin was probably the most excited, dancing round the room when I asked her with a big smile on her face. And I knew I would need Lucy’s sound advice, even if it was just to give me pointers on how to deal with her brother for the rest of my life.
Above: Kayleigh and I
Above: Erin and I
Above: Lucy and I
So eight bridesmaids in total, which was more than I had originally planned but I wouldn’t be without any of them. But there was one important person missing…
So far my mum has been to every appointment, every wedding fair, every venue viewing, often sending me suggestions of different aspects we could be missing out on. Whether it be watching a magician stick a Sharpie through her £10 note or trying out every shower in our venue accommodation, she has never got sick of any of my wedding talk or crazy ideas. "No Ashleigh, you probably don’t need a horse-drawn pumpkin carriage to take you 10 feet down a grass path", "Well, we can at least take a look at these bridesmaids' dresses that are three times your original budget", "Do you really need a pony to carry petals down the aisle?".
She’s stuck with me, and she’s often said she doesn’t feel that as the mother of the bride she gets to do a lot on the day, except hope that everything goes as it should. So I have decided to ask her to do a special reading at our wedding, although even she’s unsure she’ll get through it without crying. To be honest, I already know I’m going to be balling like a baby.
Above: My mum has been my side throughout the wedding planning process so far
So while she won’t be wearing the hunter green bridesmaids' dress I've chosen, carrying a bouquet and being escorted down the aisle by one of our groomsmen, she is my unofficial maid of honour, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, she’s the best I could ask for.