April 20, 2019
You just got the call, “I SAID YES!!!”. You scream your high-pitched, most excited scream. You tell her congratulations. You tell her you love her. You tell her you’re so happy/excited/proud, and you make sure she sends you a picture of the ring before it goes up on Instagram. After all, you’re best friends. You should see it before her ex does.
After he proposes to her, it won’t take long for her to propose to you. Let’s be honest here, you’re the most important person for her to have at the wedding!…Okay, maybe second most important. With all of the excitement and hype around “bridesmaid proposals” these days, it can get pretty exciting! “Will you be my bridesmaid?” can be like music to the ears of a best friend or sister (especially if it comes with a mini-bottle of wine or champagne).
So, now that she has said, “Yes!” to him, and you have said, “Yes!” to her…what’s next?
Unless you’re the maid (or matron) of honor, most of your duties won’t begin until much closer to the wedding date. However, you will have responsibilities.
Congratulate the bride-to-be
This should go without saying, but common sense isn’t as common as it used to be. Congratulate the bride! Tell her you’re happy for her! Wish her well!
Offer your help
Brides have enough on their plates as it is. If you’re available to help with anything, offer up your services (even if it’s only for an hour).
Go wedding dress shopping
For the love, please go with your girl. Overbearing mom’s and mom’s-in-love and pushy salespeople do not just live on reality TV. As someone who spent years working at David’s Bridal, I will tell you, it’s all too real. Go with your girl. GO. WITH. YOUR. GIRL. Be her advocate! Don’t let her get bullied by family or salespeople into getting a dress that she doesn’t absolutely love. (Pro-tip: Skype and FaceTime are incredible tools for bridesmaids who are far away.)
Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut. (Unless, you know with 100% certainty that she actually hates it too)
Go bridesmaid dress shopping
Truly, I am telling you, this is for YOUR benefit, as much as it is for hers. Most shops will let you schedule bridesmaid dress shopping the same day as wedding dress shopping, but be prepared to go to multiple shops, possibly on multiple days. You won’t always find the perfect bridesmaid’s dress at the same store she buys her gown from. This is important: You might get to have an opinion on the dress, or your might not. That choice is not up to you. If the bride-to-be picks a dress/color that you hate or is not flattering on you, you need to suck it up, QUIETLY. I have seen far too many bridesmaids that think they should get to have the final say on the bridesmaid’s dresses, or who think that they should get to veto the bride’s top pick because it’s not flattering on their body type or skin tone.
Get your dress altered
I feel like this should be a no-brainer, but truth-be-told, many bridesmaids don’t think they will need to have their dress altered, then spend the entire wedding hiking up their strapless dress or tripping over the extra length. Just get yourself on the alterations schedule, and if your dress fits perfectly when it arrives, cancel the appointment. (Pro-tip: When your dress arrives, it will most likely not fit EXACTLY like the dress you tried on in the store, because the one in the store has likely been tried on many times, but yours has never been worn.)
Offer to help the MOH
The maid (or matron) of honor has way more responsibility than you. It takes more time, and even finances to be a good MOH. Consider offering to help the MOH with planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Offer to bake cupcakes, or pick up donuts, or bring ingredients for mimosas to the shower. Offer help setting up the party. Offer to help pay for the party. The options are limitless! For the bachelorette party, offer to help brainstorm ideas that aren’t just bar hopping (unless the bride-to-be is super into that sort of thing), offer to help pay, offer to make the invites. Again, the options are limitless!
Attend the bridal shower
Yes, you need to go. Yes, you need to bring a gift. For me, my bridal shower was almost embarrassing. I didn’t like all of the attention, and I just felt a little too “in the spotlight”. Having you there will help to ease the pressure the bride feels at her shower. Yeah, the games are usually cheesy, but who knows, you might just walk away with a brand new candle or spatula.
Attend the bachelorette party (and participate)
Even if you can’t stay for the entire party (I’m not a ‘go to the bar’ kind of girl, so I tend to skip that part of the evening), make sure you still go. Again, the games are sometimes cheesy/inappropriate (who doesn’t love a rousing game of Dirty Pictionary?!). Just go and have fun!
Be at the rehearsal
Another “Duh!” responsibility of a bridesmaid, but worth mentioning. Make sure you’re at the rehearsal, and not just there, but you’re truly present! Pay attention to who you’re walking down the aisle with, how to hold your flowers, timing for walking down the aisle (you know the groomsman isn’t paying attention to the details, so you’re in charge of reigning him in!), and where you’ll be standing for the ceremony.
As a bridesmaid, throughout the entire engagement, a big part of your responsibility is emotional support. Be there for your girl, just like she’ll be there for you on your big day. You’re important to her, make sure she knows she’s important to you too. Wipe away her tears (and minimal makeup) when she cries. Hugs are required.
Be ready to go based on the timeline
Get your butt out of bed and be ready on time. Simple as that.
Take lots of pictures
Yes, I know that someone else is getting paid to do that already, but brides love to see the bridesmaid’s pictures from throughout their wedding day. It’s special, because they know you. (Pro-Tip: If you’re only taking selfies, you’re doing it wrong.)
Plan a thoughtful toast
Bridesmaids are not always required to give a toast at the reception, but have one prepared anyway. Even if you don’t have a chance to give your toast publicly, write it out and send it to her. Trust me, it will mean everything to her to hear or read what you have to say.
Hold her dress while she goes to the bathroom
Yep, even if she’s going number 2. And yep, depending on the dress, you may need to help her wipe too. It’s not all glitz and glamour at weddings. This is real life, ya’ll. Just do it.
This day is NOT. ABOUT. YOU.
Save the drama, the gossip, the worries for another day. This day is about your girl and her guy, not about you. Don’t spread gossip today. Don’t get in a fight with another bridesmaid. Don’t stress out about your meal plan for next week. It’s not about you. Focus on her, and you’ll find you don’t have time to focus on yourself.
Finally, What the bride says, goes
She wants everyone’s shoes to match? Match your shoes. She wants everyone to have matching jewelry? Match your jewelry. She wants to take more pictures before the wedding? Smile! She wants to pray before the wedding? Pray. She wants you to have fun with the grand entrance at the reception? Get creative! Whatever the bride says, goes.
Well, there you have it, bridesmaids. Preparation prevents poor performance, so congratulations! You just took the first step to being a prepared bridesmaid. Don’t forget, you are literally the bride’s maid.
Did I miss anything? Comment below to let us know what other responsibilities a bridesmaid should have.