Photographer: Brandon Elliot
Venue: Lily Mae's
Sarah's Dress (long gown): Frocks Modern Bridesmaid
Bride's Dress (fringed dress): Rent Frock Repeat
Stationery: Modern Invitations
Decor: Reel Silks
Photobooth Props: The Prop Market
Event Planner: Lua Events

It’s always exciting being asked to be a bridesmaid. Your friend puts complete faith and trust to have you stand by her side when she says, “I do.” You will wear any dress she tells you to, calm her down in times of panic, and plan the perfect stagette. This can be a daunting task. More than daunting, in fact.

A great stagette should be a night (or weekend) of fun, friendship and celebrating your best friend. Here are my tips for making sure it goes perfectly (or not so perfectly depending on the night you are hoping to have):

Pick a Theme You might think it’s corny, but in the long run, setting a theme makes things easy. It gives you focus. Theme determines the mood, the location and the activities. When working with several strong female opinions, a theme also makes decisions far simpler to make.

I recently threw my friend a Midnight in Paris-inspired stagette. I chose this theme partly because The Great Gatsby movie was being released. Partly because the couple is getting married in Paris. And most importantly, because the bride is a sparkly, glamorous girl and this theme would reflect that.

When the guests arrived, they were invited to accessorize themselves. Each girl was given long pearls to wear and feather headpieces made by the bridesmaids.

Some people feel pressure when a theme is involved. You can ease that pressure by sourcing accessories to create your desired look. Pearls and feathers make any outfit flapper-ready!

Good Eats Remember, there will most likely be a few alcoholic beverages consumed — so you need food! It’s also a great way to begin the night. (Before things get crazy.) For a group of women who may not know each other very well, a nice dinner allows for bond over food and drinks.

In our Midnight in Paris theme, we enjoyed a private dinner at Lily Mae’s in Vancouver’s Gastown. The space itself lends perfectly to a 1920s theme, with its exposed brick, white tables and chairs, dangling chandeliers.

Armand, the owner, was a delight to work with. He and his team created a three-course menu that worked with our budget. They started the evening off with Kir Royales for all the glammed-up ladies and ended with chocolate fondue so good we were licking our plates clean.

Research your area and contact a few restaurants to see if private dining and prix-fixe menus are available. You’d be surprised at how many restaurants will be happy to host your party in a private area and offer you special perks. An added bonus: when it comes to paying the bill, prix fixe makes things very simple.

Activity Time This could be a game, a magician, a wine tasting — it’s up to you. Activities give a large group direction and, as simple as this sounds, something to do.

We chose a photobooth. The incredible Brandon Elliot from Brand One Photography set up this gorgeous backdrop. I had signs made from The Prop Market on Etsy with flapper sayings like “Bee’s Knees” and “Cat’s Meow” plus some good old-fashioned moustaches and an Eiffel Tower. The bridesmaids then gathered 1920s props like a cigarette holder (pink and sparkly), boas, and strands and strands of pearls.

Not only did the girls have fun posing like perfect flappers, but the bride now also has incredible photos to document her fabulous night.

Fitting Décor You can have lots of fun with décor. It doesn’t have to be elaborate — just enough to touch on the theme and transport your party to another place.

Reel Silks provided the perfect final touches. My favourite was the magnificent feather centrepiece that made us feel as if we were stepping into 1920s Paris. It also helps to have a wedding planner, like Brenda from Lua Events, giving you a hand and making things are pretty.

Details, Details I’ve always been a detail person and truly appreciate small touches. Again, it doesn’t have to be elaborate, just something to make the night truly memorable.

For example, I thought it would be cute for all the girls to have a flapper dictionary so they could really get into the mood. To make it personal, I defined each word using the bride as an example. Modern Invitations took that to a whole new level by adding in the Paris touch. Other fun and simple details included sparklers, candy-bag favours, drink stirrers with flapper sayings and a playlist from the 1920s.

Our theme that night led us to The Modern Bartender for a private Prohibition Night (which includes needing a password to get in and three cocktails from the era) and then to Clough Club and plenty of champagne.

It’s amazing what I discovered by choosing that particular theme. So many ideas and activities seemed to come from everywhere.

If you feel overwhelmed at the thought of throwing such a big event, just remember why you’re doing it. It’s for a girl you love and who has been your best friend for years. In the end, all that matters is that everyone is together. Oh, and it also helps if the champagne is flowing!