These days, it’s just as exciting being the bridesmaid as it is to being the bride. But with all the excitement, sometimes it’s hard and a little intimidating with trying to understand your role as a bridesmaid. For every first-time bridesmaid, this is usually the case, because different bridesmaids will have a different perception on what you have to do. Sometimes even the bride may have a different perception to your role as a bridesmaid than what your role actually is. And when you look at it, it’s not at all difficult to understand, nor does it have to be frustrating and time consuming with a little planning and organizing.
Things can be pretty hectic, and chaotic for the bride, so as the bridesmaid it’s important to simply be there for certain things that she may need help doing. Some brides may feel like they can do things alone, but planning a wedding can be a very tedious process, and if the bride has not hired a wedding planner, she’s going to need a little help. That’s where you, as the bridesmaid comes in. Here are some of the things that you should do, followed by some things that you should never do.
General Support – Do’s and Don’ts:
The main thing that every bride needs is support. Whether it be financial support, or emotional support, you being there can make all the difference in the world. Planning a wedding can have every bride on their toes, going through a wide range of emotions, and even cold feet. She’s going to need someone to sit there and be a good listener, especially when there are others that don’t support who she’s about to marry. I find that being a good listener is the best support that you can give a bride. It helps them keep things in better perspective. Be there to give her advice if needed. This could be a very confusing time, so make sure you help her keep her mind focused and on the right track.
Don’t ignore her or ridicule her when she’s expressing what she feels during the process of wedding planning. That’ll make her feel like she made a mistake in choosing you as one of her bridesmaids, and may even make her more nervous and unsure than what she already was.
The Maid of Honor or Matron of Honor – Do’s and Don’ts:
If you’re the maid or matron of honor, first off, it’s important to know the difference between the two, as some bridesmaids truly don’t know or are unsure. A maid of honor is one of the bridesmaids chosen to be second in command, so to speak, but she is also unmarried. A matron of honor is the bride’s second in command who is married. A maid/matron of honor may have a more important role to play as opposed to a regular bridesmaid. When the bride chooses who this person is, be supportive of that person and congratulate them. I’ve seen many times the tension that has erupted simply because one or more of the bridesmaids felt that they should have been chosen. Remember, the bride chose this person for a reason, and even if you don’t agree with the decision, continue being the best bridesmaid you can be with your own set of duties.
Make sure you do not start any arguments over who was chosen as a maid/matron of honor because that can lead to your dismissal from the wedding party and pretty much ruin all the fun you can have being apart of it. No one wants that.
Getting the Dress/Dresses – Do’s and Don’ts:
A bride will have a ton of errands to run leading up to her big day. One of those errands is the most important; the wedding dress. She will most likely need you there to help her figure out which dress to pick out, which one accentuates her body the best, and one that is the right shade of white for her.
Choosing a dress can be very time consuming and frustrating for the bride because she’s going to want to look her best and feel as if she has chosen the right dress. Helping her with this task is usually the job of the maid/matron of honor, however, there have been occasions that I have been a witness to where this duty went to the bridesmaid(s) especially if no maid/matron of honor was chosen. So be prepared.
While a bride is trying on a variety of dresses, don’t sound insensitive to any of the dresses that she’ll be trying on because it may make the decision harder for her. And when it comes time for the bride to choose an actual dress, the same rule applies. Don’t laugh, make insensitive jokes, or talk behind her back. That will make the bride feel self conscious about how she looks and no bride wants that. Keep your opinions to yourself.
It’ll be just as tedious for you and the rest of the bridesmaids when it comes time to picking out your dress, and it’s important to wear one that compliments the bride, not overshadow her. So when she chooses the bridesmaid dresses, don’t refuse to wear it or call it ugly. Wear it with pride and have fun on that day. Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about the bride and what she wants.
Running Errands – Do’s and Don’ts:
The bride is going to need a lot of help when it comes to running errands because there’s so much that has to be done such as planning the reception, and getting the decor and party favors, and she’s going to need all the time in the world to do it. So being there for her and helping her run those errands will help lessen the stress that comes with that, not to mention the exhaustion. Make suggestions for her on what she can do about the party favors and remind her that getting them is not necessarily mandatory.
If you make a promise to do a certain errand for her, or simply ride along with her, try not to back out at the last minute, unless it’s an emergency. Real life happens, so be organized and just as prepared as the bride has to be. Keep the lines of communication open.
Planning a Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party – Do’s and Don’ts:
This is perhaps one of the most fun aspects of wedding planning and yet another role that usually goes to the maid/matron of honor. Again, sometimes the bridesmaid has to step up and do this so helping the bride plan the bridal shower will take a load off her mind. Going over the guest list, location, and catering are the most important aspects of the bridal shower. If planned carefully, it should be easy. Don’t promise to help her on this if you don’t really plan on it, and then show up and take all of the credit.
When it comes to the bachelorette party keep this in mind; NOT EVERY BRIDE WANTS A DANCER. I know that may be the highlight of a bachelorette party but there are some brides who may not appreciate it or feel comfortable with it, as I’ve seen in the past. On one occasion, the bride specifically stated she did not want a dancer only to have one show up anyway, making the bride resort to tears because she was uncomfortable with a strange man dancing all over her. If you want to a have stripper, make sure the bride won’t mind. If you’re unsure, perhaps it’s best not to do it.
Financial Tips – Do’s and Don’ts:
Not everyone is rich and can afford everything, however, if the bride comes to you for a little financial assistance, it’s okay if you don’t have it. Don’t feel bad about that. Simply explain why you’re unable to help and give her advice on what she can do get the financial help that she needs. Also remember that you can give her tips on how to downgrade some things and still be able to have the wedding that she wants.
Don’t be insensitive if the bride seems to be going overboard with her finances. All you can do is give her advice and guide her. Ultimately, it is the bride’s decision.
General Assistance – Do’s and Don’ts:
As with putting together party favors, setting up the reception hall, reserving catering and a bunch of other things, remember, the bride can’t do it all alone, even if you’re dealing with a bride who think she can. So be there and give her a hand. Don’t complain or do anything that’ll stress her out. You may get stressed too, so it helps to work together, not against each other.
On the Wedding Day – Do’s and Don’ts:
Help the bride with her dress, unless there’s a maid/matron of honor doing that herself, and be ready for any possibility that something may go wrong. If it does do not go to the bride and tell her that. See what you can do about resolving it. This day is supposed to go off without a hitch but that does not mean reality won’t get in the way. Shielding the bride from as much chaos as you can will make you the ultimate bridesmaid.
Don’t try to put yourself in the center of attention. This day is not about you. The role of any bridesmaid is to compliment the bride, not overshadow her. Don’t cause unnecessary drama and ruin her day. And most importantly, make sure you show up on time.
No matter what aspects pertain to your specific role as a bridesmaid, try to be organized and rise to the occasion. It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. This is a time everyone should enjoy, even if there will be times where frustrations and tensions may reach an all time high. Take the time you need to keep yourself stress free while assisting the bride. Have fun doing, and make it as unique an experience as possible, And one day when it’s your turn to be the bride, you’ll have a bridesmaid that can assist you just as good as you assisted your bride. And you’ll also have enough resources to tell your bride what it is that you want her to do, if she happens to be a new bridesmaid herself.