wedding diaries: asking my girls

one of the first real wedding projects i decided to work on was asking my girls to be in our wedding.

ben and i went back and forth about even having a "wedding party" because of the number of people it'd include, how are we supposed to pick our favorite people, etc., but these girls have stood by my side through every part of my life: of course i'd want them standing by my side when i make one of the most important promises of my life.

there are 10 of them, total.
i know that 10 girls is a heck of a lot of bridesmaids, but all of these girls are so important to me.
you'll never remember them, or even understand who they all are probably, but for those of you who care, here's my lovely line up:
jessa= my maid of honor= my sweet little sister and best friend
jenn= my brother's girlfriend
alicia= my step sister
meg= another step sister
bethany= ben's big sister
rachel= ben's other big sister
max= my best friend from high school
lacey= my best friend here at school and also my roommate
 [you might know her from the proposal story]
miranda= awesome college friend
chelsea= another awesome college friend

 i wanted to make their "invitations" special, so this is what i did: 
paperdoll chains
letter [telling them what they mean to me, explaining details of the wedding, and officially asking them] 
paint chips to show them the options of colors for their dresses.

i failed to get a final picture, but i bundled them all up in manilla envelopes, drew their name and a big heart, and handed them over [or mailed them when necessary].

and please, let it be know that without jenn [see list above], this project would not have been completed.
it takes a lot of time and a lot of patience to make a 10 girl paperdoll chain for 10 bridesmaids.
[that's 100 dumb little dolls, in case you were too lazy to do the math]

so, there they are!
if you just came to see the pretty pictures and have no interest in making such dolls, stop reading now.
i'm warning you: it's long and not that interesting if irrelevant to your life.
but for those of you who wish to do something like this for your girls,
here is a quick little how-to!

you'll need:
-12x12 scrapbooking [or other such sturdy] paper
-a pencil with a good eraser
-scissors that are sturdy enough to cut through layers of said sturdy paper
-a gluestick or hot glue gun, if you're fancy
-colored pencils or crayons in the shades of your bridesmaid dresses and their hair
-a small bridal party or a whole day, a whole lot of sedatives and some helping hands

how to do it:
1) i failed at getting a picture of this step, but you have to determine how many girls you want to fit on one sheet. i used white 12"x12" scrapbook paper for this project, cut in half horizontally, so on a 12x6 sheet of paper, we could fit 5 girls. you determine this by folding the paper like an accordion 4 times, in chunks big enough to fit a normal-looking doll. *i'm sure that i'm not describing this step well enough, so if you want to make these and have a question, please feel free to e-mail me. 

2) next, draw an outline of a doll on the top accordion sheet, using pencil, making sure that her arms extend all the way to the sides of the paper. *PLEASE see step 6 before you move on*. then while the paper is still folded accordion style, cut those little dolls out! be careful to not ever cut down the sides of the papers, or else your dolls will all end up unattached. this is what they should end up looking like:

5 dolls, all attached, looking all pretty [except for a stump arm on the one end]

3) you now need to repeat this step for as many paper dolls as you need. this is the [first] tedious part. we traced the outline of the first girl on every subsequent sheet of accordion-folded paper, so that all of the girls would end up looking the same. for us, we had to make a set of 10 dolls for 10 girls. but since the paper would only make 5 girls, we needed 2 sets for each girl. that meant 20 times folding, tracing, and cutting, if i'm not mistaken [so much math!]. this is what my living room looked like with all of that crafting going on, and that was our final pile of naked girls:

4) because i have 10 bridesmaids, i needed to put the 2 sets of 5 together to make one long chain of paperdolls. this is where the gluestick comes in:  grab 2 sets of dolls, line them up so they're even, and glue one end of each set together. *if this step doesn't make complete sense, you'll understand in the next step's picture.

5) next, you need to color in your bridesmaid dresses. i'm choosing to let the girls wear whichever dress they wish in any of those above shades of coral. it's an outdoor summer wedding, so we're shooting for short sundresses in varying styles, but we'll see what we end up with. pick the correct colored pencil/crayon and have at it. color in the dresses in whichever color and style you're going to have your bridesmaids wear. i varied between 2 shades of pink, just for simplicity's sake, but i was still drawing a different style dress on each girl. so yes, i colored 100 different dresses. and yes, i was ready to shoot myself. this is what they should look like, all colored with their pretty dresses:

if war came, i was ready with a paperdoll army.

6) next, the hair! this step caused some confusion for us, also frustration, and maybe some swear words. we realized that bald dolls were not the prettiest, so we had to go through and make 100 hairs for each girl. hindsight is 20/20: draw the hair onto the girls in step 2. you'll still have to go through and color the hair separately, but at least you won't have to cut, color and glue all the hairs. make sense? so... jenn drew an outline of hair [on computer paper this time], traced 100 hairs and cut them all out. she's such a sweetheart.

7) color all the little hairs. i decided to do it according to my bridesmaid's hair color, so i have all brunettes except 1 blonde [who happens to be jenn]. this step is a pain in the patooshka. but if you want your girls to not look like little old sickos, it's necessary. suck it up and color the hairs. this is what they will look like in the end:

they look like weird little blobs now, but it will all make sense in a minute.

 8) glue said hairs to the back of each girl's head. make sure you center the hair so it doesn't look too crazy or too big [unless you're into that sort of thing]. we decided to just glue first and then decide who was who later. my only exception was to just make sure that the first girl was brunette, for my brunette sister maid of honor. this is what the almost-completed girls will look like:
my little bridesmaids

9) lastly, i wrote everyone's names on the bottom of their dresses. i wanted everyone to know who everyone was, so that's what i did- jessa was first, jenn was the blonde, and everyone else just kind of fell into place. this was the final product! 

like i said, it took a lot of time.
jenn and i were ready to cut the dolls up into little tiny pieces by the time we were too far into the project to go back.
it's tedious.
but i totally think it was worth it.
i love how they turned out.
the girls all said they loved them too.
and in their letters, i told them if they threw these dolls away anytime soon, i would kill them.
and i was serious.
for any of my bm's reading this, i expect to see these on your fridge next time i come over.

then during football the next afternoon, i wrote each of my girls a letter, tucked it into their packages with the dolls and the paint chips, and off they went.

that is the story of how i asked each of my friends to be a bridesmaid in our wedding.
they each said yes, in case you were wondering.
all ben did was say "hey, wanna be in our wedding?" and they all said yes too.
dumb boys.


Sarah Von said...

Cute! I'm sure they're thrilled to be part of your big day!

M Jacks said...

Woah girl. TIME CONSUMING! But so thoughtful. And you're right...dumb boys.

Charlotte said...

What an adorable way of asking them to be your bridesmaids.. I'd love to receive something like this. last time I was a bridesmaid all I got was 'oh and you're my bridesmaid, by the way' - this puts that to shame haha

the lovebirds said...

wow! this is adorable. And I can't believe you made so many- that must have been time consuming. But, it certainly paid off. You're friends ending up with an adorable "invite". xoxo

Jenni@Story of My Life said...

hahaha... men are a bit different from us, no? This is so cute. And I cannot believe you'll have TEN bridesmaids!!! Holy mackerel that's a big wedding party! It really IS gonna be a party!! :)

Hooks said...

Jacks they were SO adorable. I'm glad you blogged about it so you'll always have the [frustrating yet satisfying] memory of this part of your wedding journey. :)