When your girlfriend asks you to be a bridesmaid, she is telling you that she loves you, that you are one of her closest friends and that she wants you beside her during her big day. It’s a very sweet gesture and shows a lot about your friendship, but the reality of being in a bridal party means months of commitment, thorough planning, spending a lot of time and a lot of money dedicated to making this time for her perfect. In truth, being a bridesmaid is not always a walk in the park… it’s important to know what it means to be a bridesmaid before you agree to do it. Being asked to be in the bridal party does not mean you have to say yes. If you are not very close to the bride or you simply do not have the time or extra cash, consider passing up the offer. However, if you are close with the bride and do have the time and money, this experience—though long and occasionally exhausting—will bring you two even closer together.
Photo Credit: Mustard Seed Photography
Find Out What the Bride Wants
Okay, so you decided to accept your role as a bridesmaid. Great! Now it’s time to start preparing for all of the planning ahead. As you and the other girls start organizing the perfect bachelorette party, bridal shower, wedding gifts and anything else, be sure you are actively listening to what the bride is telling you. Some women don’t want the conventional Vegas-style party or risqué theme. It is important that you are planning things the way she wants them, not necessarily the way you are used to seeing them.
Don’t Complain to the Bride
Planning a wedding, though exciting and emotional, is also stressful. No matter how many people are helping with arrangements or how far in advance the big day is, there is a lot of pressure that comes with organizing a wedding and sometimes even with the idea of being married. There are many common wedding day concerns that the bride will be dealing with, so as her bridesmaid and her friend, it is important that you don’t add any unnecessary pressure. If there’s something you aren’t happy with, such as the bridesmaid dress or some of the other bridal party members, find someone else to vent to. You can talk to other bridesmaids that you trust won’t spread the word or family and friends that aren’t related to the wedding, but do your bride a favor by keeping the drama away from her.
Photo Credit: Andrew J.R. Squires Photography
Spend Only As Much As You Can Afford to
Just like the bride and groom have to manage the wedding budget, you also need to manage yours. There are some things you aren’t going to be able to withhold buying (a dress, a nice wedding gift, etc.), so where you can, limit your spending. There are ways to limit the cost of being a bridesmaid that many people don’t consider. For instance, you may be able to rent your dress rather than buying it. When it comes to a bridal shower or bachelorette party gift, find a creative DIY option. This can be true for some decorations as well. It’s important to set your budget ahead of time and say no to things that are simply overkill. If the bachelorette party and wedding are both taking place in a location far away that you need to fly to, your bride should understand you not attending a cross-country bachelorette party. If your bride has beautiful bridal party hairstyles in mind but does not offer to pay for it, you can say no to that too. Don’t break your bank over this wedding.
Order Your Dress Ahead of Time
Your bride has spent a lot of time picking out the best bridesmaids dresses for her wedding. Whether or not you agree with her taste, you’re going to be wearing that dress on her big day, so make sure you order it far in advance. Some dresses may require alterations, which also can sometimes take a while. Avoid any time-crunch and stress by ordering the dress far in advance, trying it on, and seeing if any extra work needs to be done on it.
Photo Credit: Dave and Charlotte Photography
Giving a Toast
If you’ve been asked to give a toast at the wedding, your bride must truly treasure you. It can feel like a lot of pressure to write a toast, but her wanting you to speak shows how much she values your friendship. So do her (and the guests) a favor, by keeping it appropriate. Whether your speech is taking place during the rehearsal dinner or her reception, skip any stories about times she’s gotten too drunk, did something very embarrassing and especially any story about guys (or girls) she’s been with. Avoid sharing any memories you don’t think she would feel comfortable telling all the guests herself. While you can subtly and very vaguely address your crazy times together, be very sure your speech won’t end in her embarrassment. For an extra sweet touch, you can describe a memory you have of the couple together or include a romantic quote in your toast.
Photo Credit: True Photography Weddings
The Day Of
Although the majority of the bridesmaids’ works goes on before the wedding, the day of is just as important. Now is the time you have all been waiting for, especially the bride and groom. If your bride needs to have a quick freak out before the reception, be there for her. If you see one of her cousins drinking too much before the reception, nicely try to put a stop to it. Help her avoid any wedding day emergencies, whether she knows you’re her guardian angel or not. When it comes to celebrating and dancing, this is the time to let go and truly have a great time with your happy bride, groom and fellow bridesmaids. Word of caution: you may want to bring a pair of flats to keep you going through the night of partying and dancing.
Photo Credit: Barnet Photography
At the end of the big day, your bride will be so thankful she picked you as her bridesmaid to help make her wedding celebrations everything she wanted it to be. Just be sure you leave the festivities feeling good about all your hard work and also the amount you have left in your bank account.