Hooray, You’re a Bridesmaid! Now What?

So you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid, yay you! Someone out there loves you enough to want you to play an important role on their biggest of days. This is truly an honor and we bet you’re feeling pretty darn stoked about yourself right about now… What’s that? You’ve never been a bridesmaid and are not sure what to expect?

No worries! Let’s dive in together. Below we breakdown the role and responsibilities of a bridesmaid. What you should do before, during, and after the wedding. Consider this your very own bridesmaid cheat sheet!

(image credit: The Knot)

The Pre-Show

She asked, you said yes… let the planning begin! At this phase of bridesmaid duties, you are expected to be excited, helpful, and supportive. The future bride-to-be will be in full blown planning mode. In terms of emotional duties, you are there to bounce ideas off of, to make suggestions, and to be excited and/or supportive as needed. In terms of an actual “to do” list, there are plenty…

As a bridesmaid, your pre-wedding duties will likely include some manual labor. Expect to help the bride stuff invitations, make favors, and maintain lists. There are also some fun events to help prepare for and attend. These include a bridal shower, bachelorette party (both of which are traditionally planned by the Maid Of Honor, while bridesmaids are expected to contribute money and time), registering for gifts, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, dress fittings (you and the bride), engagement party, and possibly more depending on the preference of the bride.

You can see that there is much work and time that needs to be invested before the actual event even occurs. Besides time and effort though, also prepare to drop some dough. Being a bridesmaid can be expensive but this doesn’t mean that the costs have to sneak up on you. Prepare yourself by budgeting for the following: bridesmaid dress (and any matching accessories), bridal shower, bachelorette party, associated gifts, and travel and hotel costs. A little bit of financial planning here will take you a long way.

Game Day

Today is the day! It’s finally here! Your duties today will vary depending on the needs of the bride. But traditionally, expect to run last-minute errands, help the bride dress (and use the restroom if asked), play hostess/bartender for her and her guests, stand up there beside her, introduce guests to one another, direct guests to the guest book/reception/bar/gift table/etc.

If you’re the Maid Of Honor, your duties include: holding the bouquet during the ceremony, giving a meaningful toast during the reception, dress duties (adjusting the bustle for the dance floor, holding the train, undoing for the restroom), and anything else she may need from her best friend on her big day.

Regardless of your bridesmaid “position” however, just know that today you are on high alert! Anything can happen so do your best to be emotionally and physically supportive. Maybe watch “The Wedding Planner” a few times to get yourself into game mode.

The After Party

You made it… the bride and groom are happily on their way towards the rest of their lives. So what does this mean for you and the rest of the bridesmaid team? It means you’re almost in the clear!  Just a few last minute details and you’ll be on your way too.

At this time, bridesmaids might stick around after the reception to make sure things are cleaned up, and that the guest book and presents are secured. If asked by the bride, you may also be responsible to dry clean and safely return the wedding dress. Beyond that, anything that a bride may ask from her bridesmaids will very much depend on the bride. Typically, a bride and groom will finish the thank you cards on their own. But they may solicit your help to stuff, address, or mail the cards.

That’s All Folks!

You’ve reached the end of bridesmaid boot-camp! We hope you’re feeling prepared and excited about your upcoming role. No matter what happens on your bridesmaid journey, just remember to smile, smile, smile. There are going to be a lot of pictures and a bridesmaid’s gotta look her best!