Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honour and most of us are only too pleased to take part in our loved one’s special day, but there’s more to the role than slipping on a pretty dress and following the bride up the aisle.
Here are 10 things every bridesmaid should know how to do – and when to do them:
Be supportive ALL the time
Yes, this is a big ask, but it’s crucial that you are supportive of your bride at all times. Why? Because, no matter how much you adore planning a party, there will come a time when you cannot bear yet another discussion about wedding flower colours or whether the napkins should match the chair sashes or weather the bride’s nail polish should be Carnation Pink or Cameo Pink. And the bride has chosen you to help her with all these decisions. Learning to nod, smile, and, where necessary, share your opinions, is an important skill for a bridesmaid. It’s not about being disingenuous or sycophantic, it’s about being supportive and, well, a little diplomatic – as long as you both shall live. Or at least as long as you’re her bridesmaid!
Arrange an awesome hen’s party
Throwing the hen’s party usually falls to the bridesmaids, and it’s one of the most fun parts of the role. Come up with something that you know the bride will enjoy, and take care with the guest list to ensure the right people attend. During the hen’s night itself, it’s up to the bridesmaid to keep the party going and that the bride has a fabulous time. Be prepared to dance the night away, but stay sober enough to get the bride home safely.
Help ‘make’ things happen…
Whether you’re crafty or not, expect to help out on all sorts of manual jobs, be it writing addresses on envelopes or helping bake hen’s night cupcakes. Of course, if you’re truly crafty, you’ll probably enjoy painting wedding signs or making paper pom pom garlands, but even if you’re not, be prepared to be a little crafty and creative. Spending an evening or two making things or stapling things, or bundling things or arranging things with the bride can be a great excuse for some personal time before the wedding.
Be prepared for wedding emergencies
Being prepared – for anything – is an essential skill for any bridesmaid. On the day, the bride will be relying on you to have tissues for mopping up those tears of joy, lipstick and powder for re-touching her makeup, hair pins or spray to keep her up-do in place etc. You just don’t know what your bride will need on her big day but you can bet she’ll turn to you for a solution, so do your research – and be prepared!
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Remember the names of the guests
As a bridesmaid, you’re responsible, along with the best man and ushers, for introducing guests to each other and making sure everyone knows where they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to be doing. Bridesmaids should familiarise themselves with the guest list and, as far as is possible, they should know how guests relate to each other, as well as being aware of any family feuds or tensions that might cause a problem.
Fasten and unfasten a bridal gown
Every wedding dress is different and most brides need some help getting in and out of their gown. Ideally you should have a trial run with the bride and learn how to fasten and unfasten her dress. Don’t forget that bridesmaids may also need to accompany the bride when she goes to the bathroom to help them with the gown.
Know when to bite your tongue
As a bridesmaid, it’s fine to have an opinion, and the bride will probably appreciate some gentle input in the early stages of wedding planning, however, there are times when it’s better to bite your tongue. Of course, honest is always the best policy, but there probably isn’t any need to mention the typo in the wedding invitations after they’ve all been sent or that you’re a fan of her wedding gown. Of course, how far you take your diplomacy will vary depending on how close you are with the bride but, as a general rule, if she loves something (that isn’t going to end in disaster), then you do too!
Lend a supportive shoulder
Planning a wedding is a stressful time, and there are bound to be occasions when the bride will need a shoulder to cry on. Bridesmaids need to be good listeners and lend support whilst also staying positive. Don’t be tempted to join her in complaining about her fiance or criticising her future mother-in-law; you’re bound to regret it once she’s cheered up. Just listen and lend support where needed.
Keep the other bridesmaids happy
A happy bunch of bridesmaids will make for a happy bride, so the chief bridesmaid or maid of honour should be able to get along with the other bridesmaids and soothe over any minor disputes that may occur between them. Aim to dissolve any tensions and dissolve any stress amongst the bridal party.
Dance a mean waltz (or at least try to!)
It’s not just the hen’s night where the bridesmaid is expected to strut her stuff. Tradition dictates that she should dance with a groomsman at the wedding reception, too. The bride will probably want you to join her and her new spouse on the dance floor after their first dance, so make sure you’ve done your best to put on a great show, whether you have two left feet or not!
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