So it’s your first time as a bridesmaid? No sweat! Being a bridesmaid can be a lot of fun, a lot of work, a pain in the butt—or a little of all three. It’s really all about what you make of it. If you’re excited about being a bridesmaid and approach it with enthusiasm, you’ll end up having a blast and creating great lasting memories with your friend. If you approach it like a chore, you’ll find yourself constantly complaining about how much work there is to do and how much you just want to quit. Here are a few things to keep in mind to set you up for bridesmaid success.
1. Your #1 job is one you’re already doing: Be the best friend you can be to the bride.
2. Take on what you can handle. If you’re not Little Miss Planner, don’t offer to create the itinerary for a bachelorette weekend.
3. Offer to do what you’re best at. Are you a photographer? Snap some artful shots at the bridal shower. Great in the kitchen? Offer to cook breakfast during the bachelorette weekend. Music more your thing? Create a rocking playlist to blast while the girls are getting ready for a night out.
4. Just because something is traditional doesn’t make it mandatory. Modern brides are choosing the customs they like and leaving the others behind. Just follow the bride’s lead.
5. You are the bride’s support system on her wedding day. Emotions will be running high that day. The bride may be nervous about a thousand things. (Will the caterers remember to create a gluten-free dish for her cousin who has an allergy? Will Uncle William drink too much and start making inappropriate comments to her friends? Will she still fit perfectly into her dress after that extra glass of wine last night?) You are there to put her at ease, make her laugh, encourage her and tell Uncle William to freaking cool it.
Are you like, yeah, great advice, but what do I actually have to do? What are my bridesmaid duties? Allow me to help:
Bridal showers: Bridal showers are traditionally thrown by the bridesmaids or a relative of the bride (aunts, sisters, cousins, even your mother-in-law-to-be). Though thinking outside the box is always encouraged, here’s the basic idea behind a shower. Bridal showers are usually held in the morning or afternoon. The celebration is multi-generational, including female friends and relatives of the bride, from her childhood friends to her aunts and grandmother, as well any close family friends she might want to attend. Only guests who are invited to the wedding should be invited to the shower. Gifts are usually given (hence the showering part—you’re showering her with gifts). For a more in-depth description of every aspect of the bridal shower and answers to the most common FAQ, read our Bridal Shower 101.
Bachelorette party/weekend: Bachelorette parties are usually planned by the maid of honor with the help of the bridesmaids. Many brides now opt for destination bachelorette weekends—this is the best choice for brides who have friends scattered all over the country. The bachelorette should include things the bride loves to do, whether that be good food, shopping, beach time, hiking, a sporting event or a wild night out. It’s a time to bond with your best girlfriends. For more help on planning a destination bachelorette, click here.
Bridesmaid dresses: The bride generally selects the bridesmaid dress, though some brides will provide a color palette or selection of dresses and let their bridesmaids choose. Sticker shock can be a factor as some popular bridesmaid dress retailers can run $200 and up (especially for floor-length dresses). However, lower-priced options are available. If your bride asks for help in hunting down bridesmaid dresses, look outside of traditional bridesmaid dress retailers. Check your favorite stores to see if they’re carrying cute dresses in the bride’s chosen palette. Just remember that the bride does have the final say and be prepared to deal with that (even if it means a color or fabric you hate). For more of what to expect when shopping for a bridesmaid dress, click here.
Wedding day duties: On the day of the wedding, as mentioned, you are the bride’s support system. You’ll spend time getting ready with her, take pictures, stand with her during the ceremony and party the night away with her. The maid of honor has the important job of signing the marriage license and giving a toast at the reception. For more in-depth run-down of wedding-day duties, click here.
Still have questions? Check out our Bridesmaid Basics section or leave it in the comments!
Photos top to bottom: Sam Jasper Photography, Ducky Jessica Photography, Blue Barn Photography, Glass Jar Photography, Brooke Images Photography