Long gone are the days of matching dresses and minimal commitment.
Bridesmaids nowadays have more say in their wedding day attire and with that comes more responsibilities. It’s not hard to understand this increase in duties, as weddings are more elaborate than ever. Even if the bride has a wedding planner and isn’t relying solely on bridesmaid help, it’s important to know what is required in this role. The last thing you want to do is be a problem for the couple. Instead, you should be striving to be the best dang bridesmaid ever! Lucky for you I’m sharing the 10 things you must know to rock your bridesmaid duties.
10 Things You MUST Know To Rock Your Bridesmaid Duties
Know What You’re Committing To
Today’s bridesmaids are used to being proposed to with fancy gifts and cards that say “Will you be my bridesmaid?” And although that is sweet, it sometimes clouds your judgement, putting pressure on you to say yes immediately. It’s important to know all the duties you will be expected to perform and the events you’ll need to attend.
Have a conversation with your bride about her expectations for her bridesmaids. If she tells you she expects a bachelorette party in Vegas, and you have no vacation days left, let her know. Your bride will be thankful you were honest with her. In fact she’ll probably say it’s no problem at all and she’s honored to have you by her side.
On the other hand, bailing at the last minute for her bachelorette party because you were afraid to tell her will cause problems. The majority of issues I see within bridal parties revolves around poor communication. It often leads to some horror stories and can sometimes ruin the wedding day.
Remember, you are in your role to assist with wedding duties, not cause drama. Be transparent at all times with the bride and the other bridesmaids to keep things running smoothly. The bride will be happy, and it will make your bridesmaid experience that much more enjoyable.
Be Ready For The Financial Burden
Estimates vary, but the average cost of being a bridesmaid is between $1,000 and $1,500. If you’ve never been a bridesmaid before that might be hard to imagine. Here is a rundown of some costs you can expect:
Of course, not all weddings are created equal. Some brides will let you choose your own dress, shoes, and accessories which can help cut costs. Others might say you can do your own hair and makeup if you prefer. Personally, I highly recommend saving in other areas so you can splurge on a professional MUA and hairstylist. Just check out my awesome before and after pictures at my best friend’s wedding. It was worth every penny to feel like a million bucks.
Go Dress Shopping Early
Finding a dress for the wedding can be tricky. If the bride wants everyone to have the same dress, you will have to arrange a shopping day that works for everyone. If the bride picks the dresses and asks you to order it, get on that right away.
You should be looking for or ordering your bridesmaid dress at least six months in advance. This is because dress shops order your size based on your measurements. The average time for custom ordered dresses to arrive is 4 to 6 weeks. In some cases it can take up to 12 weeks. Even though the dress has been custom ordered, you will most likely need alterations.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and wait until the last minute to find a seamstress. I had 4 weeks before my sister’s wedding and it took me a week of calling around to find someone. I had to go to her house after hours to make sure it was done in time. Thankfully it all worked out in the end.
Prepare For The Bridal Shower 3 Months In Advance
It’s no surprise that bridal showers are my thing. I live for them! So I can tell you first hand that you want to start working on the bridal shower at least 3 months in advance.
3 Months Out
At 3 months out you want to decide on the date and where you are hosting the event. If it is at a venue, you will need to sign contracts to secure your spot. At this time you’ll want to ask about catering and if they have a liquor license or you can BYOB. If it’s at someone’s house, you’ll need to decide on catering or if you will make all the food and drinks.
2 Months Out
At 2 months out you should create and order your invitations to make sure they arrive on time. You will also want to have a theme worked out by this point so you can start creating decor and favors. If you are having cake made or a dessert table, you need to taste test and secure a baker. Some bridesmaids are even starting to hire professional photographers to attend the shower. I did this with my sister’s shower and it made the day so much more enjoyable knowing I wouldn’t miss a moment.
1 Month Out
At 1 month out you should mail the invitations and create the bridal shower games. Don’t forget to have a few fun prizes. This is also about the time you should gather props and buy a polaroid camera if you decide to do a photo booth. You might want to buy the bride a sash or a hat.
1 Week Out
A week before is around this time you should tie up loose ends. Make sure you have a final headcount to give to the venue or the host of the shower. Get all of your decor, games, prizes, favors, etc. rounded up in one place. This will make the day of the shower go smoothly.
Lost and need help, or just don’t have the time? I help bridesmaids plan bridal showers and bachelorettes. That’s my job! Check out a full service list, here.
Make Sure To Include the MOB and MOG
A big thing that bridesmaids forget to do is include the mother-of-the-bride (MOB) and the mother-of-the-groom (MOG). This sometimes leads to issues that you didn’t mean to create in the first place. Check in with the MOB and MOG to see how they’d like to help. That could be hosting the shower at their house, buying the favors, sending out the invites, or any other list of things. Remember, some MOBs and MOGs will be more hands on, while others might prefer to show support through financing parts of the shower.
Listen To The Bride’s Wishes For The Bachelorette
I’ve been and planned my fair share of bachelorette parties and I’ve loved them all! From an Atlantic City old hollywood style suite party, to a beach party at the Jersey Shore, to a weekend cabin retreat in the middle of West Virginia. The one thing all these showers had in common is I made sure the bride was at the center of it all.
That’s right, I made sure to ask the bride what she wanted for her bachelorette party. Surprises can be fun, but the last thing you want to do is have a raging party when all the bride wanted was a quiet weekend away. Make sure the bride has a say in where the bachelorette party will be held and the tone of it. Then you can surprise her with the games you play, the decorations, and certain activities. Just don’t hire a stripper if you know she doesn’t want one!
Make a Checklist of Items You Need For The Wedding
It’s important to have a checklist of things you need for the wedding so you don’t forget anything. This would be especially tragic if you are traveling a far distance and can’t run home to get your missing items. Of course the most important things on the list are your dress, shoes, and accessories. Just don’t forget to add any items the bride may have asked you to bring. Oh, and always make sure your list includes some bubbly. It is a celebration after all.
Write a Speech Ahead of Time
If you are asked to write a speech, you want to make sure you are prepared. Some of the worst speeches I’ve seen happen when a bridesmaid or groomsman is unprepared, slightly intoxicated, and then decides to ramble on. You never know what you’re going to get when that happens, and it isn’t always pretty.
Take the time to write out a thoughtful tribute to the couple. Use your personality to guide the flow of the speech. If you’re a funny person go for it. If you’re more thoughtful play that up. Just don’t tell any stories that might embarrass the couple. The intention of your toast should always be to celebrate the love of the couple. Need help? Contact me and I’ll help you write an amazing speech.
Be Where You Are Suppose To On The Wedding Day
Be where you are supposed to be on time or early on the wedding day. This tip is given by so many photographers, wedding planners, and basically every other wedding vendor. For this reason, it amazes me that I still hear so many stories of bridesmaids showing up late.
It’s as simple as this, make sure you have a full rundown of the day’s events. If you have hair and makeup at 10am but pictures aren’t until 2pm, don’t wander off. You never know if the bride will need your assistance with something. Not to mention the photographer might show up early and decide to get started. If you are missing you may be the cause of messing up the timeline for the entire day. Please don’t be that bridesmaid!
Prepare For Things To Go Wrong and Stay Calm!
I have yet to attend a wedding where everything has been 100% on schedule. No matter how much planning goes into it, things will go wrong. You as a bridesmaid need to stay calm. The worst thing you can do is have a meltdown and upset the bride. Remember, she’s got a million things on her mind and probably a tiny bit of jitters. Remaining calm no matter what happens stops the bride from stressing out. Your mantra at all times should be, “It’s the bride’s day. What can I do to help her?”
Theresa Bailey is the self-proclaimed Head Bridesmaid in Charge at Bridesmaids Confession. Her favorite things about bridal showers and bachelorette parties are decorating, hanging with friends, creating memories, and popping the bubbly! You can follow along with her at: