Being a Bridesmaid: Duties & Responsabilities

For the second installment the Bridesmaid Drama Series, we talk Duties & Responsibilities… this is after all a big job! If you missed Part 1, click here.


Aaron & Samantha Photography

When it comes to responsibilities… somewhere along the way bridesmaids racked up a long list of duties, everything from helping you go dress shopping (to all 15 bridal boutiques across the state) to paying all your expenses at the bachelorette party you wanted to have… in France.

Did you know that many moons ago Bridesmaids where part of the bridal court to ward off and confuse bride thieves?

Yes, back in the day when marriages were arranged for political reasons & power mergers, rival villages would stop the union of elite families by stealing the bride. Enter bridesmaids (or otherwise known as peasant women selected to essentially be sacrificial items). They would all be dressed in their best set of frocks (enter bridesmaid dresses) to look like the bride (who didn’t wear white back then) so that the rebel thieves could not tell the difference between the women and thus their plans to stop their future marginalization were thwarted by failing to identify & steal the correct bride.

While none of your girlfriends are going to be set out as bait for kidnappers. It is uncertain when it became commonplace for them to have a the responsibilities they do today, from the financial; dress, shoes, make-up, hair, fake tans, mani, pedis, bridal shower complete with hand-made favors from Bali, bachelorette party including first class transportation, increased data plan on their phones for the next nine months… to the emotional; forbidden to get pregnant, bringing a plus 1, cutting their hair, or expected to shed a few pounds.

Being a bridesmaid, especially in the current height of pintrest’s glamorization of what they are “supposed” to be and do is overwhelming.

This needs to be redefined… or actually, reclaimed to what it once was:

Bridesmaids are the women who stand next to you as you make eternal promises to your beloved, who will hold you accountable to those promises, and comfort you when the going gets rough. They are to be advisors, confidants, sources of wisdom, and your cheerleaders, more importantly they are your friends.

Whether she knows what it is like to be in your shoes or not, her agreement to be in your bridal party is based on the mutually loving and giving relationship you have. On a history of sharing some of your greatest moments in life together… Triumphs, laughs, adventures! And on the likelihood that you’ve made it out of tough situations together too. This wedding is another milestone in the story of your friendship, another opportunity to be overjoyed in a way only you, as friends, can celebrate… not angry or bitter because she didn’t manage to pull off the wine-tasting bachelorette party to France you hinted at all year.

The laundry list of assumed duties for bridesmaids is insane. I am sure you can list at least 10 things that you think they’re supposed to do right now as you read this (they are not responsible for the Bridal Shower by the way). But let me tell you, you cannot actually list out responsibilities in friendship, just like you can’t keep tabs of short comings and disappointments. It gets you nowhere but on the short bus ride to friendless-land. Bottom line, if she has agreed to be your bridesmaid, you have to discuss and compromise, all reasonable expectations need to be put out on the table (dresses and attendance are about the only requirements)… which can be tough when you have more than one in you party… But hey, let that be practice for the lesson you will carry on into marriage: Express wants, discuss needs, and decide together.

Then give her a bouquet of flowers to carry for good measure!

What are (or were) your expectations of your bridesmaids? How did you discuss and decide? Did you lose a friend while planning your wedding?





Image by Aaron & Samantha Photography

Being a Bridesmaid: Popping the Question

This multiple part blog post series is going to cover a few of the troubles a bride (sorry guys, this is all for the gals) faces during her planning and give you a little perspective to consider as you journey through your planning.


Allie Lindsey Photography

Having never seen the movie “Bridesmaids”- I have no idea what sort of glamorized drama Hollywood has put in your minds when it comes to this topic, but being alongside of hundreds of couples during the wedding planning… I have dried a lot of tears when hearing the stories, seen life-long friendships ruined, and even had to physically step in-between a bridesmaid and a mother of the bride once. Ridiculous.

I am sure you can all imagine the scandalous and humiliating scenarios surrounding a bunch of girls all being told only one of them is “the most” important for a duration of time. These women are sometimes inundated by passive aggressive emails and texts about their “duties and responsibilities” and often are being asked to cooperate with of a greater group of people who they may not know or otherwise befriend in their every day lives.

Some of the adjectives I have heard about Bridesmaids are: catty, defensive, uncooperative, ungrateful, and bitter. But last I checked, we have all been that at one point or another, bridesmaids aren’t the only ones who display these traits nor only when their friends get married (you know, because they are so jealous). Don’t get me wrong, some people are indeed jerks and near professionally unpleasant… but never the less, the relationship of the Bride and the Bridesmaid(s) depends on a complicated system of actions and responses.

The first action that sets the tone to this is the establishing of the wedding party. Without fluffy editorial, this is the bottom line;

DO: You ask your friend/relative if she would like to stand by your side as you make eternal promises to your beloved, then truly give her time to answer you.

DON’T: Tell her that because she is your best friend/sister/cousin, you’ve selected her to be a bridesmaid.

Who likes to just be told what to do with their lives, money, and free time? Nobody.

There might be a lot of things on her plate that could prevent her from taking part in your day and the months before. She might be in law school or flat broke, maybe she has  kids or plans to start a family, maybe she’s going to be traveling abroad or has a demanding job. Perhaps she doesn’t understand what the big deal is because she is only 17 or 22 or 35 and in a completely different stage of her life or she might have grown up in a different culture where weddings and bridal parties are not like what they are in the U.S. Maybe, just maybe she doesn’t want that kind of responsibility.  All of which is OKAY!

It doesn’t make her a bad person when she is not excited that you announced to everyone on facebook that she would be part of the wedding, or that she wasn’t instantly throwing confetti up in the air when you pulled her name out of the hat she didn’t even know had her name in it. Without actually talking to her first, you cannot assume she is going to be excited, happy, glad, honored, anything but taken by surprise. You also have to accept that it is okay if she rather be there to support you as a guest and not standing next to you, it doesn’t mean she isn’t happy for you, that she doesn’t love you, cherish your friendship, supports your decisions, or isn’t honored. There could be a myriad of things going on in her life (like maybe she has cancer and hasn’t told a soul yet… true story).

Just like your fiancé asked for you hand in marriage, you have to ask her to be part of your day.

How did you ask your bridesmaids to be part of your wedding? How did they respond? Would you change anything?





Image by Allie Lindsey Photography




Real Wedding Snapshots: Dancin’ Shoes!

We do everything in our power to make sure the weddings we help plan go as smooth as possible. Logistics and creativity are the driving force for us to accomplish a smooth & successful wedding… But the one thing we as planners can not plan for is the guests!  We have had the pleasure of meeting a vast array of energetic and incredible amount of people via being guests at said weddings, and they usually make their mark on the dance floor, whether the bride & groom lead the crazy fun or they do it on their own, it is always a really good time! What we love most is that every group is different, from dancin’ grannies to those who have super awesome sober moves… we love them all! They make the party sooo much more fun!



San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Studio 64 Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Sean Walker Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Bauman Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Bauman Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Bauman Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Bauman Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Blair Nicole Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Blair Nicole Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Blair Nicole Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Studio of Joseph Guidi

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Studio of Joseph Guidi

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Acqua Photography

San Diego Wedding Planner Swann Soirees

Image by: Acqua Photography

Wedding Registry 101

Wedding registries are a fun ‘must-do’ item on a couple’s planning check-list… we venture to say it ranks right up there with cake tastings & wedding ring shopping. But for some couples, registering for wedding gifts can be somewhat daunting if you have no clue what to register for or why you even need to (I mean, you already live together, you have eeeverything). Many of you even hope that by not registering you will just get cash for the honeymoon or that house you just bought (you know, the one with eeeeverything already in it  but needs a new stove or bathroom remodel).

Well let us tell ya… the chances of you getting cash when you don’t register are lower than the chances of the Chargers winning  (yeah, we went there). So while there is no written rule stating you have to register for gifts, you need to do everyone a favor (including yourselves) and at the very least have a humble registry. Most of your guests are likely going to bring you a gift and without any sort of guidance, you might end up with a variety of random items (home made flower vase, crafted by what can only be assumed was the cat), random restaurant gift cards, frames that don’t match your decor, or believe it, a re-gift. It has happened, we have seen it!

Please don’t misconstrue what we are saying, throwing a wedding isn’t about the gifts you are going to get, but undoubtedly you will receive some (that’s right, not everyone will bring you a gift, gasp!) and you need to make it easy on everyone who wants to give you something.

Now that you’ve decided to register, before you go scanner-happy, sit down together and assess what you have as a couple to figure out what voids need to be filled.

A-  If you’ve spent the past few years in bachelor/ette paradise of dorm-room bedding and mix-matched décor they’ve collected from college buddies and thrift shops, now it the time to donate all of that &  start with the basics.  A high quality bedding set (heard of Egyptian cotton?), quality pots & pans, a complete dishware set (you know that isn’t paper), or basic bathroom linens are all good.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the fun stuff either!  How about a grill?  Margarita maker? Lawnmower? Or that infamous Vitamix mixer!? Believe us, you WILL use it.

B- For those couples who are truly closer to having “everything,” consider an upgrade! Register for gorgeous china  or silver that can become your family heirloom or how about a gourmet knife set for those of you home-cooks. How about the honeymoon?  Sites like and can manage that for you. Lastly, you can have guests donate to a non-profit organization or charity instead, and are great sites to check out for this option, as well as your favorite charity directly of course!

We now have an idea of the what, so on to the where!  Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma are extremely popular choices for gift registry.  These stores are easy to find and also offer online shopping which makes it super easy for your guests to shop for you!  When choosing your stores, try to register  for items in every price range.  Think of your guest list, some guests may be financially well off while you may have a distant cousin funding their way through college.  Not everyone can get you the big-ticket items, so offer some choices to let them feel they are still getting you something you want for what they can afford.

Informing Guests:  First and foremost, do NOT talk about registries on your wedding invitation or place those oh-so-convenient yet incredibly tacky store inserts in there!  Traditional etiquette suggest to rely solely on word-of-mouth sharing of said information by your family and bridal party to the rest of your guest list, although in modern times, it is perfectly okay to put this info on your wedding website.  A

Remember to always send a “Thank You” to anyone who gives you a wedding gift at any point, send that note of gratefulness right away too! Don’t wait.  Do note that some guests may send your gift months before the wedding, some will bring it to the bridal shower, and others may send their gift months after.  Traditional etiquette gives guests a full year to send a wedding gift to you. So try not to panic if not every guest brings you a gift to the wedding and STILL send them a Thank You for coming to share the day with you.

Happy planning!


Brenda & Brittany


Image above by Kristy Huston

NOTE: Links on post are personal suggestions, they are not paid endorsements. Photograph above was originally seen on pintrest and we thought it was cute! It is not from one of our events sadly.

Year in Review Part II: San Diego Wedding Planner

As I am reminiscing over the last year, which quite frankly went by faster than the Shanghai Transrapid, I can’t help but have my mind pop in & out of the last nine years as well… While there is too much to recount since 2004, I will confess that exactly one year ago,  I was doing the final prep work for the wedding that would simultaneously send-off 2012 while kicking-off 2013, what I *thought* would be the last year of Swann Soirées.

They say that when you are ready to go out, you must not look back, and since I was convinced that I had been there, done that, and achieved all that needed to be achieved as a small town Wedding Planner, I let the fiery passion that fueled me to build my company in the first place become but a mere kindle. I imagine some people recognize that as being burned-out, but I saw it as “my life is capable of more adventure than this!” -Whatever it actually was put me in a place where my ego and work-ethic went head-to-head for an entire year, non-stop. In hindsight, it has probably been the only time I welcomed being so stubborn (“Oh you better believe I am gonna finish this, and I am gonna finish it WELL!”). It has been exhausting on all levels and that “adventure” I wanted… well I got it… maybe not in the climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro manner I still yearn for, but I got it alright.

I will spare you the hot mess situations that were the stress-inducing sleepless nights for my team and I (just turn on any wedding t.v. show for that crap), and instead, show you, via some of the photos from our events what the last 364 days have been filled with. You may not be able to see the same things I see; such as the character growth in each of my squad, achievements they made, the serious physical muscle it took at some points or patience for that matter, to function, the last minute craft projects, or the innovation of managing a suddenly shrunken budget ($8k for 200 guests! What??!). You also wont see the epiphanies we had,  skills that were utilized, gained, or refined, and not to mention shared with budding planners galore! Nor will you see the relationships we built, the 87-message email chain leading to a bridesmaid dress decision, the families we are now a part of, the individuals we encouraged, supported, advocated for, comforted, and who’s secrets we still keep… Lastly, that some of our efforts had nothing to do with the weddings at all…But what you will see is the LAUGHTER and the LOVE… which reignited Swann Soirées (read: ME) to stand proud & strong, with my little ol’ company and the little ol’ adventures, which amount to soo much more I ever credited them for.

Cheers to 2014 friends!!

Let the adventure continue yo!


Blair_Nicole_Photography_New Children's MuseumImage by Blair Nicole Photography

Studio 512 PhotographyImage by Studio 512

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Swann Soirees Instagram | Estancia La Jolla Wedding  Swann Soirees Instagram | Rancho Santa Fe Wedding

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Blair_Nicole_Photography_ New Children's Museum Wedding

Blair_Nicole_Photography_ New Children's Museum WeddingAbove Images by Blair Nicole Photography

Sean Walker Photography

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Bauman Photographers | Balboa Park Admin Building Wedding  Bauman PhotographersAbove images by Bauman Photographers

Sean Walker Photography

Sean Walker PhotographyAbove images by Sean Walker Photography

Swann Soirees Instagram | Tom Ham's Lighthouse Wedding

Studio 512 Photography

Studio 512 PhotographyAbove images by Studio 512

Allie Lindsey Photography

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Studio 64 PhotographyImage by Studio 64 Photography

  True Photography

True PhotographyAbove images by True Photography

Studio 64 Photography

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Swann Soirees Instagram | Thursday Club Wedding | White Bridesmaid Dresses

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Acqua Photo | Scripps Seaside Forum

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