Being a bridesmaid at the wedding of a friend, sister or relative is a lovely honor. Depending on the size of the wedding and the bride’s expectations, you may have a lot of pre-wedding and day-of responsibilities, or just a handful of parties to attend (lucky you~). It’s important to be informed before you dive into the role of bridesmaid. Let’s have a head-up about the basics of being a bridesmaid.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:Jaime & Dennis Viera 

1. Find out how many other bridesmaids are going to form the bridesmaid contingent in the wedding. This will depend on the size of the wedding and the bride’s desired style. If you don’t know any of the other bridesmaids, be sure to ask to meet or call them before the wedding.

2. Find out a to-do list with the bride. Be prepared to help out both leading up to the wedding and during the wedding ceremony. Your main duty is to help in the lead-up to the wedding; it’s not just about wearing a lovely dress and looking pretty! There are lots of little things you can do, including running errands, addressing the envelopes for invitations, helping out with DIY floral or decor projects, etc. Choose the things that you’re good at doing––don’t ask her 10 questions every few minutes!

  • If you’re good at event organizing, lend a hand in researching options for receptions if the bride hasn’t a good idea yet.
  • Things like assembling favors and writing place cards can be an easy but extremely helpful task
  • Take a note in the to-dos with delegation details
  • Remind the bride of to-dos

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:JeZa

3. Buying a dress and accessories. While the bride will typically pay for your bouquet and, in some cases, your hair and makeup, you’ll be expected to buy your own bridesmaid dress. Ditto for accessories and shoes. Some brides pay for the dress as a way of thanking their bridesmaids; in this case, accept graciously.

  • If the bride wants something unrealistic in terms of expense, such as a very expensive fabric or handwork done to the dress, then it is reasonable to expect the bride to cover the additional cost.
  • It is commonplace nowadays for the bride to choose the color and a general style (long, short) and then to leave the individual styling arrangements to the bridesmaids. It all depends on how “hands-on” the bride is about the precise styling.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer: Lamb+Lark

4. Planning and attending the bridal shower and bachelorette party. They doesn’t always fall on the shoulders of a bridesmaid – a mom, sister, cousin, aunt, or non-bridesmaid friend might take the lead – but don’t be surprised if this task lands on your plate. You’ll also be expected to attend, but if you can’t make it (a situation that is highly likely if your friend lives in a different city), that’s OK.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:Christophe Genty

5. Attending the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. If you’re an out-of-towner, plan to arrive early enough the day before the wedding so that you can be at the rehearsal. You’ll also likely be expected to attend other events (think: day-after brunch, engagement party), but the rehearsal is the most important.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:Emily Ku

6. On the day of the wedding, be available for the bride;Usually this will be at her home initially, then ceremony and reception. Help her dress, if requested. If not, she may simply like your company as she is getting ready for the ceremony.

  • Find out if the bride is having pre-wedding photos. If so, it is customary for bridesmaids to be included. You may be photographed at any time in the lead-up to the wedding, for the bride’s recollection afterward, so be on your best behaviour.
  • Keep the bride calm, cool, and collected. On her wedding day, the bride may be stressed out or panicky. The bridesmaids typically help keep her calm by liaising with the wedding planner, vendors, family, and guests, and taking care of anything else she might need. (Pre-wedding mimosas, anyone?)

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:Natalie Franke

7. Assisting the bride at the ceremony. The maid of honor or bridesmaids are often asked to help the flower girl or ring bearer down the aisle, witness the signing of the marriage certificate, hold one or both of the wedding rings, and hold the bride’s bouquet.

  • When the ceremony is completed, bridesmaids should wait until the bride and groom have left and follow behind either as a group or accompanied by the groomsmen.

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8. Be prepared to help receive guests at the wedding reception. This is also up to the bride and groom but if you’re wanted in the receiving line, then be prepared. Another alternative is to have you circulating the room as guests arrive.

  • You may be asked to help display the gifts at the reception, including arranging them to show them at their best.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:Jaime & Dennis Viera 

9. Making a speech. Not every bridesmaid will be asked to make a speech, but if you’re particularly close to the bride, you might ask if you can say a few words about your friendship; she’ll be touched.

10. Helping the bride use the bathroom on her wedding day. Most wedding gowns are long and heavy – meaning it’s difficult to use the bathroom on your own. Be prepared to help the bride bustle and un-bustle her gown, and hold it up while she uses the restroom.

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Photo by Fotavo Photographer:James Tsui

Whether you’re the bride or a potential bridesmaid, if you’re all on the same page about responsibilities and expectations, wedding planning will be much easier for everyone. Enjoy the planning with Lady Marry!

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