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How to Be a Bridesmaid Extraordinaire
Having the opportunity to be a bridesmaid is a lot of fun and depending on the size of the bridal party can be a lot of work! While the weddings I’ve participated in have gone pretty smoothly I’ve certainly met a lot of women who haven’t been as lucky. We’ve all heard tales of wedding squabbles and hurt feelings between bridesmaids that have ended in disaster. In this article I’ve attempted to address a few of the most common concerns by compiling a list of do’s and don’ts that will apply to bridesmaids as well as Maids or Matrons of Honor. We may as well get the unpleasant stuff out of the way first and start with the don’ts!

DON’T accept the invitation to be a bridesmaid (or MOH) and then disappear. This is frustrating and hurtful to the bride who has valued your relationship enough to ask you to stand with her on the most important day of her life. Remember that agreeing to be part of the bridal party is a major time commitment and will more than likely require you to make some schedule changes. If you don’t feel you can commit to this it’s best to politely decline such a large responsibility and ask the bride if you can show your support by participating in another way such as manning the guest registry or helping to address invitations.

DON’T be picky. In my experience it’s a rare occasion when every bridesmaid in the bridal party gets the dress that she loves or feels is the most flattering. If you’re asked for your opinion on a bridesmaid dress try to offer it considerately (you may hate it but someone else in the party may think it’s perfect) and then be willing to accept whatever the bride ultimately decides. Usually you just have to suck it up and figure you can brave the chartreuse ruffles and oversized hat for just one day. Yes the pictures will last forever but so will the memories that come from participating in this special event.

DON’T be selfish. Remember this isn’t your wedding and that you need to work as part of the bridal party team. That may mean that your idea for the bachelorette party gets voted down in favor of someone else’s or that you end up hanging streamers when you really wanted to be icing the cupcakes. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re here to make this as special for your bride as possible and let all the little frustrations go. DON’T be drama. There’s a good possibility that you’ll end up playing bridesmaid with another girl you may not get along with and there is nothing worse for a bride than dealing with the incessant misery caused by a bridal party that is always fighting. Remember that your bride chose this particular group of attendants because each one of you is special to her and she wanted to include you all in her big day. This is no time to argue over who is the favorite or force the bride into the unhappy situation of having to referee her own bridesmaids. When you find someone is rubbing you the wrong way just remember that after the wedding is over you won’t have to worry about sitting next to her while you tie ribbons on all those party favors. Now let’s have some do’s!

DO be on time with all appointments and payments. If the bridal party has scheduled fittings make sure that you arrive at the appointed time and that you’ve made the necessary payment arrangements by their due dates. If your bride has asked you to accompany her to reception sites or cake tastings then go the extra mile and show up a little early. Your thoughtfulness and consideration won’t be overlooked! DO be ready to offer your time and services. Whether that’s in setting up and taking down the tables and chairs for her shower or counting out 5 little almonds for each place setting, be prepared to help in any way you can. One of the biggest responsibilities of a bridesmaid is to keep the stresses of the wedding from piling up on the bride. Sometimes that means sitting in traffic to pick up the bride’s shoes while she’s getting a massage. Just remember it comes with the territory and is appreciated!

DO be proactive. If you see something that needs to be done get out there and do it without waiting to be asked. Your bride will be pleasantly surprised when she mentions that all the place cards have to have holes punched in them and you say you’ve already done it. Who knows, you may be taking care of something that the bride has completely forgotten and saving her from a mess when she finally discovers her mistake! With so many things on her mind she depends on her bridesmaids to help her cover all the bases.

DO take a page out of the Boy Scout’s manual and be prepared! Carry a wedding emergency kit with you on the big day that contains all the things your bride may require for a quick repair. Safety pins, Band-Aids, a small mirror, and tissues, are just a few suggestions. Thoughtful preparations will be needed during the planning stages of the wedding too. Make a list of all the things that need to be completed and carry it with you on wedding-related activities. Your bride will be able to relax if she knows that someone besides herself is watching out for everything that needs to be accomplished! Of course every wedding and every bride is different and what your bride will need only you know best. By tailoring the tips above to fit your situation and doing all that you can to remain agreeable, helpful, and calm you’ll have no problems earning the title of Bridesmaid Extraordinaire!

- Kelsey Gonzalez

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