Wedding season is approaching fast, and as each year passes we are inevitably entering into bridesmaid territory and being honored by our very best friends and sisters. I have been in countless weddings (Professional Bridesmaid here) and I am now LD’s resident bride-to-be. I’m here to help you be the best bridesmaid you can be, from both the bride’s perspective and as a seasoned wedding party veteran; count on me to be your go-to for all things wedding.
Most of us knew who our bridesmaids would be before we even received an engagement ring. Many girls think about their friends and sort through who they wants by their side on their wedding day. The wedding party can vary in size from very intimate with only a Maid of Honor and a bridesmaid or two, to the bigger wedding in which the bride has ten (or more) girls standing to her left. While the number may vary, the one thing that doesn’t is the value of your relationship. The world of weddings is stressful for the bride and she has chosen you to be her support system leading up to the Big Day. It’s an absolute honor to be given this title, so treat it as such and don’t make the bride regret her decision.
Every wedding is different, and every bride will expect different things from her girls. However, there is typically a guideline the maids should follow and it is easily adaptable to the bride’s needs.
- Host a bridal shower:
The Maid of Honor may take the reins on this one, but offer to help her. Financial help, decor, finding a location, and putting together the guests’ attendance gifts are all ways to alleviate the overwhelming nature of being the only hostess. She may want nothing more than just someone to bounce ideas off of, but just make sure she knows you’re available for whatever kind of help she needs. Another idea may be to get the entire group together and host together. Chances are you’ve been with the bride during different seasons of life, so everyone’s input will help make the shower the best it can be. If you prefer to take the modern route, get together with the groomsmen too and co-host a couple’s shower with drinks, lawn games (cornhole!), and a chill barbeque or an oyster roast. (Bonus: this is also a great way to create platonic chemistry between the entire wedding party and will definitely add a fun element to the wedding day if both sides are already friends!)
- Bachelorette party anyone?:
Ladies, as a bridesmaid, this is potentially the most fun you will have. Get together as a group and plan, plan, plan! Find a fun city, get the bride’s input for must-haves, and then go crazy. If the wedding party is on the smaller side, the bride may have some A-list wedding goers that aren’t maids and they should definitely get an invite. Just because she’s not in the wedding party doesn’t mean the bride doesn’t want to share the party with her. Just ask the bride if she has anyone specific that should be invited and she will gladly tell you. Some brides will prefer a low-key girls weekend while others will want to see party central with glam galore. A fun way to add to the Bachelorette Party is to couple it with a lingerie shower. You don’t have to go lingerie crazy, or theme the party with it, but this is a great opportunity to add a little gift giving and help her fill that special drawer in her dresser that will easily be her and her new husband’s favorite. If you go with the bachelorette party/lingerie shower pairing, include the bride’s sizes on the invitation and make sure the invitees know what to expect. You can leave it to the imagination, or if your bride is more particular with her selections just have her create a wish list at Victoria’s Secret.
- Be available:
I cannot stress this enough. Don’t glue yourself to her hip, but just be available via text, phone call, or a girls dinner. If she needs you to go with her when she’s wedding dress shopping, go! She may know the style of dress but she wants your input on which one is the most flattering. Does it wash her out? Tell her. Is the neckline too revealing? Suggest a better alternative. The slightest opinion here can make a huge difference in her wedding day confidence. The groom’s opinion matters the most but he isn’t able to see the dress before the big reveal, so her best gals must stand-in for him. The same goes for the bridesmaids dresses. She may know exactly what she wants her girls to wear, but if she doesn’t see one of her girls try it on, it could end in disaster (for both you and her!). While she knows her vision for how her wedding will look, if a few of the maids get together to go with her to pick out the dress, she will be able to figure out what style compliments the group as a whole. You will definitely thank her later for including you, trust me!
- Miscellaneous duties:
Hear this: a lot of tedious things go into making a wedding happen. Organizing the guest list, running errands, seating arrangements, escort cards, centerpieces, addressing save-the-dates and invitations, wedding favors, decorations, and depending on the location, welcome bags for out-of-town guests. Any and all extra hands on deck for this is a huge deal. I recently addressed 100+ save-the-dates. The envelope stuffing was monotonous, and at the end of the day my hand was cramping, my vision was blurry, and I was sick of seeing zip codes and writing “Mr. and Mrs.” If it weren’t for my future mother-in-law and my fiancé’s cousin, I would have pulled my hair out! No matter how small the guest list may be, the bride will be thankful for your help. Making it an evening in with takeout, wine, and just simple girls time will make the task seem easier and you’ll be bonding in the process.
Wedding Day Duties
Most likely, your best friend will be nervous. She’s only thinking about one thing: not tripping down the aisle. Your job is to get her down to the altar and through the ceremony in one piece so she can enjoy her reception that she’s spent months planning. Make a “wedding day emergency kit”*. Make sure she takes time to eat lunch and drink plenty of water. Make sure she doesn’t accidentally leave any undergarments at the hotel or house. Help decorate the venue if she needs it. Make a “wedding day playlist” to break up the silence and steady the nerves in the bridal suite. Take a lot of pictures. Designate one girl to deliver the Groom’s gift to his suite, and in return deliver the gift from the Groom to the Bride. Help her get dressed. A wedding dress has so many confusing elements, make sure no button is missed, all layers of the dress are smooth and seamless, and don’t forget to make sure the garter is in place.
It’s go time! Give her a pep-talk. Everything will be fine because she has her besties by her side. Smile as you walk down the aisle, you’ll learn in the rehearsal to not walk too fast or too slow. Pay attention to your cues, listen to the wedding coordinator. Hold your bouquet in the right position, stand up straight, and don’t forget to watch the groom too when she walks down the aisle (that is my absolute favorite part). Don’t disappear after the ceremony. See if the photographer needs help getting everyone together for pictures, and ask the bride if there are any “must have” photos. Quirky, silly, serious, etc. The wedding is going to fly by and be a whirlwind for her, so help make sure prime photo ops aren’t missed!
It’s time to party! Lining up in the order the DJ will be announcing you is an absolute must. Keep chaos to a minimum. Find your groomsman, link those arms, and get ready for the grand entrance. Once announced, make your way to the designated wedding party table and remain standing until the Bride and Groom enter. If the Bride and Groom are having a receiving line, it may or may not be customary for the Maid of Honor to stand with her. If you’re a single maid, participate in the bouquet toss. Hype it up and make every single lady in the room want to join. Dance! I cannot stress this enough. After the father/daughter dance and the mother/son dance, your place is on the dance floor. Nothing makes a reception flop more than a wedding party that doesn’t dance. If the guests see the main guys and gals getting silly and having fun, they will most likely join in. Have an all girl dance, dance with the groom, and suggest a wedding party dance (choreograph it ahead of time if everyone is up for it.) If the Bride and Groom are too busy socializing with their wedding guests, keep an eye out on their glasses and make sure their drinks don’t run dry. Celebrate your ass off, and make her wedding day the best day of her life and she will return the favor when it’s your turn to say “I Do.”
- The Aftermath
After you send the bride and groom off, get together with the family and the other members of the wedding party. Do a final sweep of the venue. Make sure nothing is left behind. Load up the gifts from the gift table, pack to-go boxes of leftover cake (don’t forget the cake topper!), grab everything that was left in the bridal suite and get it back to their house. Arrange for someone to collect the wedding dress and take it to the cleaners. Appoint someone to collect the groom’s tux and return it to the rental store (that is a serious charge you don’t want them to incur!). Find out if they need travel arrangements for honeymoon departure and/or if they need airport pickup when they get back.
Congratulations! You did it! You were the best bridesmaid the bride could have asked for! Remember, it’s not your wedding, so be as hands-on or as hands-off as the bride wants you to be. Don’t be selfish, don’t get angry, and just be there for your friend. Sometimes being a bridezilla is inevitable for certain people, but there isn’t much you can do with that. Do what you can however you can, and things will be ok. The single, most important thing is to make sure she’s married by the end of the day, as long as that happens then all the time spent planning is well worth it!
*wedding day emergency kit:
hem tape, iron/steamer, makeup kit (backup makeup, makeup remover, cotton balls, q-tips), nail kit (polish remover, nail polish, clear coat, nail clippers, nail file), sewing kit (in the bride and bridesmaid’s dress colors), scissors, first aid kit (eye drops, bandaids, tylenol, pepto, antihistamine, antacid), tweezers, dental kit (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, breath mints, gum), tissues, hair kit (hairspray, brunch, comb, bobby pins, straightener, curling iron), deodorant, lotion, razor, static cling spray, extra buttons, extra earring backs, feminine hygiene products, safety pins, prescription meds if needed, extra phone chargers, super glue, back up perfume, bluetooth speaker
Do you have any bridesmaid horror stories? How do you make sure you’re the best bridesmaid you can be? Did I leave any pertinent info out?
Tweet @litdarling or comment below!