7 top tips on how to ace it as a bridesmaid
Last week our Matt gave us a masterclass on how to be the bestest best man. This week, I’m doing it for all you bridesmaids out there.
Having had the honour to be a bridesmaid three times over the past two years, I’ve got a pretty good insight into what it takes to be a good one. So girls, if you’ve just been asked to be part of the bridal party, here are seven top tips on how to be the best bridesmaid ever. (And this goes out to the Maids of Honour too because, let’s face it, you can’t do it alone.)
First of all, high five. It is such a privilege to be asked to be someone’s bridesmaid. You have the qualities that your best friend/sister/childhood friend/French exchange pen pal wants at her wedding. And that is a huge puff of air to your ego. But remember, this isn’t about you. It’s about the bride, and don’t you forget it.
Get the preparation off to a cracking start…
1. Arrange a get-together and divvy up the to-do list
Once you’ve got over the initial squeals, tears of happiness and general excitement of being asked to be a bridesmaid, you’ll probably be thinking ‘Okay, what now?’ Well, arrange a get-together with the bride and the rest of the bridesmaids.
Sometimes the bridal party might consist of just you. (If that’s the case, you better be super organised and a bloody great multi-tasker because you’ve got your work cut out.) Other times there might be a whole bunch of you. However big (or small) the group is, make sure you all get together as soon as possible. And schedule in regular catch-ups, whether it’s in-person, via Skype or on a group call.
The main objective of your first meet-up is to hear what the bride wants her wedding day to be. Some girls have a really clear idea, some don’t have the foggiest. Others are particular and want to do a lot of the preparation themselves. Others are just too busy to fit it all in.
Depending on what your bride’s like, make sure you use this meet-up to get a clear vision of where her head’s at. When you’ve got that, it’ll be easy to draw up a list of jobs and start assigning them to different bridesmaids.
2. Put yourself forward for the things you’re good at
If your bride is happy to allocate jobs, she’ll want to feel reassured that things are in safe hands. So make sure you put yourself forward for the things you can do easily.
If you’re good at organising events, volunteer to help out with finding venues, caterers and drawing up table plans. If you’re a crafty cat, offer to make place names, favours and decorations. If you don’t feel confident in helping out with logistical or craft-based jobs, be the bridal party admin guru.
Draw up and send a full contacts list to the other bridesmaids. It’s also worth setting up a spreadsheet or Google Doc which everyone can access. Make sure you include a full list of the jobs that need doing and who’s going to do them. It’s also handy to have separate tabs which outline a timeline of events, important dates, like dress fittings and the engagement party, and wedding-related expenses – so you can budget accordingly. If everyone knows the bigger picture and their role in it, stress-levels will go down and things are less likely to go wrong.
3. Be a team player
Traditionally, the Maid of Honour is the bride’s right-hand gal. But, to be honest, what use is hierarchy nowadays anyway?Bridesmaids still play a key role in helping the bride be the best she can be before, during and after the wedding. So get tight with all the other bridesmaids and don’t mistake being part of the wedding for running it.
Disagreements between bridesmaids are bound to happen, especially if you’re spending a lot of time together. But this isn’t a who’s-the-best-bridesmaid competition. You’re a team. So be proactive and not overbearing. Help the bride by getting along with everyone and by being cooperative. And if you find yourself at a loose end, check in with the bride and/or the Maid of Honour to see what you can do to help.
4. Don’t bring any Dress Drama
One of the bonds you make as a bridesmaid is to wear the dress the bride picks for you. It might be one you absolutely love and end up wearing time and time again. Or it might be an unflattering sack you can’t wait to get off. If you’re not a happy bunny, don’t bring any Dress Drama.
You only have to wear it for a few hours. And on the who-pays-for-it front, it depends on your bride. Some budget for the bridesmaid dresses, in which case, don’t forget to accept graciously. Others outline a general style and colour and then leave the shoes and accessories up to the individual. It just depends on how hands-on and precise the bride is.
…So you can ace it on the big day
5. Know the plan down to the tiniest detail
Come the big day, vendors are going to be asking the bride where she wants things and when. So make sure you and the rest of the bridesmaids have a super-clear running order of the entire day printed out. Popup Weddings co-founder, Kerry kept her schedule down the front of her dress on her big day.
When you know how the day is supposed to flow, you can really ace it as a bridesmaid by stepping in and deflecting some of the stress from the bride. If it helps, divide the jobs up between people.
And if something goes wrong, don’t bug the bride. Be self-sufficient and deal with it yourself. If you need a second opinion, ask one of your fellow bridesmaids. Here’s to being a team player.
6. Have the bride’s back
Despite thinking of her as a wedding planner over the past few months, don’t forget the bride’s got to be a bride on her wedding day. She’s going to be overwhelmed, she’s going to need reassurance and she’s going to need someone to fasten and unfasten her dress when she needs to pee!
It’s also likely that she’ll be so busy playing host, she’ll forget to drink water and eat properly. Try to alleviate her from lengthy chats with Grandma and her long-lost Uncle that travelled all the way from Timbuktu, so she can catch her breath.
7. Check if you have any responsibilities after the guests have gone home
After everyone’s danced their socks off, it’s home time. But not quite if you’re a bridesmaid. You still need to gather gifts and pick up any stray jackets and handbags.
It’s also likely that you’ll need to help pack up the venue. Think decorations, the cake and any extra food and drink. So make sure you don’t have too many glasses of champers.
Also, because the bride usually goes on honeymoon straight after the ceremony or within a few days of it, you’re still needed as a bridesmaid. Offer to get the wedding dress dry cleaned, take care of the wedding gifts, or put your hand up to house-sit/feed Dorothy the cat/water the plants. Even if the bride’s already taken care of it, it’s worth offering all the same.
If you’ve aced it as a bridesmaid, let us know your one big top tip for all our soon-to-be bridesmaids out there. Or if you’ve got one big word of warning when it comes to bridesmaiding, tell us in the comments box below.
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