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While friends Mayan Ruimy and Amanda were on a girls’ weekend in Austin, both were secretly in cahoots with the other’s boyfriend. Over happy-hour margaritas at Anthem restaurant in Austin, which the two were visiting for a Cinco De Mayo getaway way back in 2019, Mayan was asking Amanda whether she and her boyfriend were ring shopping and if she felt he was going to propose soon, pumping her for questions about her preferences. Amanda offered her hopes for a future proposal and, in turn, asked Mayan a similar question. Both women shared the other’s answers with her significant other via text, as both men on the other side planned proposals. Two weeks later, Amanda would be engaged, and three weeks later Mayan would be, too.
How to Plan Together
Once they started planning, they went dress shopping together and threw date and venue ideas back-and-forth. Being engaged at the same time made the experience more special, says Mayan. Even though she only had one week’s worth of engagement seniority over Amanda, Mayan shared her wisdom of dress shopping to support her friend: “I tried on too many. I visited a million different stores in a few different states and everything started blurring together. I ended up having to rush-order a sample dress because I took so long. So I told her that if you have a feeling about a dress, go for it. She ended up finding something at her first appointment, and got her dress without stressing.” While neither bride got to experience a shower or bachelorette due to COVID-19, they say the support they gave one another with dress-shopping and in participating in each other’s engagement story made them "feel a little bridal magic despite the current climate."
Danielle Quiat and her good friend Isha showed up for each other in a different way. Both women got engaged around the same time, and both had weddings postponed until later in 2021, along with six other women who are all to be each other’s bridesmaids. Ensuring that all seven friends felt special during pandemic postponements just meant making sure that everyone could attend each other’s new wedding dates.
When Isha’s cancelled wedding date for summer 2020 arrived, her friends rallied around her by surprising her and her fiancé with a custom brunch basket delivered from Knack to their home. “Isha had worked so hard to plan a 300-person wedding at Snowbird in Salt Lake City, so we thought we would find something to cheer her up," Danielle shares. "She's a big coffee person so we sent her a brunch-kit with a variety of coffees, fancy jams, and pancake mix, because they couldn't go anywhere during the shutdown, we thought it would be cute to have a fancy brunch together.” When Danielle’s original date came and went, Isha led the charge of their group of friends, surprising Danielle and her fiance with a bottle of Champagne and a gift card.
How to Make Your Engaged Friends Feel Special
Supporting friends right now is a different experience for brides, says Anne Chertoff, etiquette expert at Beaumont Etiquette. Until weddings and wedding-related events start feeling normal again, they are having to do so virtually. Over the past year, Chertoff says she's seen brides lift each other up during this time through unique virtual activities.
“A lot of companies have come up with great alternatives for their in-person services that can now be done online," she says. "Some of these include a virtual cocktail-making class with a mixologist, a wine tasting, baking or cooking class, and private performances with a musician, comedian, or singer.”
She continues that once more restrictions are lifted, in order to make each bride-to-be feel special, a group of soon-to-be-married friends should, “create a schedule that allows each person to be the guest of honor with a virtual activity that they would truly enjoy. Everyone can be mailed a box of supplies... you need for the activity, but can also include decorations, a bottle of champagne and a flute, even a bridal-themed crown or sash. Everyone should plan to get dressed up for the occasion even if they aren’t going further than their living room or kitchen.”
Communication is the most important detail, she says, especially during this time. She adds, "Whether by email, a group text, a phone call, or Zoom, it’s very important that everyone communicates what the new plans are so that they can change their own plans accordingly.
How to Make Your Non-Engaged Friends Feel Special, Too
Making all brides in a friend group feel special is one challenge, but what about the friends who aren’t engaged? How can you make them feel included while everyone around them is neck-deep in wedding planning?
Chertoff suggests that when getting together to celebrate or talk planning. “You may want to steer the conversation away from wedding planning for at least part of the evening so the single friends feel that they can comfortably participate in the conversation," she explains.
And as far as ensuring single friends feel comfortable at wedding events themselves, Chertoff says the offer of a plus one goes a long way. “If everyone in a group is a couple, engaged or not, and are invited as a couple to an event such as an engagement party or wedding, it is nice to invite the one or two singles in the group with a plus one," she says. "This gives them the choice of whether they want to enjoy the festivities with their friends or bring a date for the added company."