In the years, months, weeks and days leading up to the wedding, it is the bridemaids’ responsibility to be there for the bride to lean on when the stress of planning a wedding just becomes too much – one day, perhaps, she’ll return the favour and serve as a bridesmaid-cum-support system for you!
Before the Wedding
Some of the bridesmaids’ responsibilities may include:
Making yourself available for bridesmaid dress fittings.
Paying for your bridesmaid’s dress in the event that it is not a gift from the bride – sometimes the bride may ask you to wear a specific dress, which she will then pay for, other times brides will allow their bridesmaids to wear a dress they already own so long as it is a particular colour and length.
In the event that the bride isn’t paying for the dress, you do have the right to take her aside and let her know your budget (politely!) but if you are incapable of purchasing a dress at all, it is your responsibility to let the bride know this before accepting her invitation to be in the bridal party.
It is NOT the bride’s responsibility to pay for your bridesmaid dress – if she offers, well and good, consider it a gift; but it is your responsibility to make sure you can afford the dress and still make ends meet!
Help the bride make decisions about the bridesmaids’ dresses. If you’ve ever taken an improve class, the same rules apply – never say no!
Well, rather, the rule is this: don’t focus on bombarding the bride with “won’ts” (e.g. I won’t wear spaghetti straps, or I won’t wear pink), instead, try focusing on positives and compromising.
Instead of telling the bride you won’t wear a strapless dress, for example, try telling her you’d feel uncomfortable in a strapless dress but if she falls in love with a strapless dress you wouldn’t mind adding straps to it at your own cost so that she can have the dresses she loves while you can be comfortable.
Help the bride choose her wedding dress! You don’t necessarily have to traipse with her to all 20 local bridal boutiques, especially if her mother or the MOH will also be in attendance, but going to her first appointment, a fitting, or helping her pick between two gowns comes with the territory – don’t complain about it, you signed up for this!
Helping the bride compile/make/arrange any DIY elements of the wedding – this may mean showing up for craft night, helping save empty wine bottles in the months leading up to the wedding, or may require you to become very good friends with the manager of a local PNA, stat! Nothing helps you save on DIY elements like a good staff discount!
Helping the Maid of Honour & Mother of the Bride plan the Kitchen Tea and Bachelorette parties – this can mean brainstorming, pitching ideas, setting up the budget, setting up and decorating the venue, breaking down and cleaning up after the party, and doing it all with a smile on your face and a song in your heart because, and say it with me, you love the bride!
Chipping in to cover the costs of the Bachelorette and the Kitchen Tea – while the Mother of the Bride, or even the Mother of the Groom may chip in some funds toward either party this is an exception to the rule and it would be bad etiquette to solicit anyone besides your fellow bridesmaids and the Maid of Honour for financial contributions to either shindig.
Attend the Bachelorette party and the Kitchen Tea! Unless there are extenuating circumstances, it is your responsibility to attend the “pre-game”, so to speak, and to be there to support and celebrate the bride at the functions and parties that are hosted before the actual wedding.
If the Bachelorette party is going to be particularly raunchy or go particularly late you do, however, get an “out” if you are pregnant or have a newborn at home – nobody can fault you for putting family first.
Bonus Round: You may even find yourself having to help the groom and groomsmen with the honeymoon travel arrangements if the boys just can’t manage to stay on top of the admin themselves! You could even save your bestie from ending up on a honeymoon to the bushveld when she was hoping to relax and unwind on a tropical island.
Consider the above your mini bridesmaids’ duties checklist for the lead up to the big day.
On the Day of the Wedding
As a bridesmaid, your “on the day of” responsibilities aren’t massive, essentially you just need to stand there and look pretty, and make sure the bride looks even prettier! However, there are still one or two things you want to be sure to do:
Have your hair and makeup done like the bride would like you to. Also, pay for this yourself unless it is the bride’s gift to you.
If the bride wants you to have a full face of makeup and an updo, it is not unreasonable of her to request it, but it is also not unreasonable of you to ask her if you might be able to do it yourself or have a friend do it instead of the professionals because money is tight.
Help ensure the flower girl and ring bearer make it down the aisle in an orderly fashion. Sometimes little children do get stage fright; offer to walk them down yourself, or just pull a funny face and wipe away tears so that the little ‘uns can get down the aisle on time!
Help the bride look extra glam all the time – whether this means carrying her bouquet around between photos, carrying her train or her favourite lipstick for touch-ups – you are now the glamour squad and your number one priority is keeping her looking and feeling fantastic!
Get out on the dance floor and bust a move! Especially if the party is a slow starter, it is your job to dance. Enthusiastically.