The hours you'll spend getting ready on your wedding day will be epic, memorable, and very intimate. Getting your hair and makeup done, and finally putting on your wedding dress will be fun and lighthearted, intense, and emotional.
Now, who do you want to share this moment with? The most important thing to consider is the type of vibe you want. If you want a calming, Zen experience before you walk down the aisle, it's OK to do this solo, or with just one or two friends or family members. Your hotel suite needn't be Grand Central Station. But if quiet is not your thing, there's no reason you shouldn't party it up! Have your suite be like a sorority house getting ready for a Saturday night out, all of you sharing mascara and mirrors.
Who you invite into your suite will make a world of difference in your experience and the emotional tone of the room. So pick wisely.
What every bride does need is someone to run interference. A best friend — not a family member — who can really read your emotional state, who knows your history, and all the wacky and difficult members of your family. (Come on, we all have 'em...especially under the stress of a wedding.)
A few weeks before your wedding, ask this bridesmaid or BFF if she's willing to play this role. Her job: to keep an eye on your emotional state and to act as buffer from all the crazy that will be coming your way that day. For example, is your stepmom on the critical side? Invite her to pop her head into your suite, then have your "buffer friend" politely show her the door after five minutes. Is the wedding planner pestering you with inane questions? Give your "buffer friend" a signal that you need some space and quiet.
Is your hyperactive, anxious sister expelling her stress all over the bridal suite? Ask your "buffer friend" to deal with her, so her prickliness doesn't really affect you on your wedding day.
There are no "shoulds" for whom you include in your getting-dressed experience. But a BFF acting as a buffer between you and all the wedding crazy will help you have the getting-ready experience you want.
Allison Moir-Smith is a bridal counselor, expert in cold feet and engagement anxiety.