Being a good bridesmaid is more than just showing up, looking pretty and walking down the aisle. Yes, there are certain responsibilities you agreed to when you said "yes" to being a bridesmaid...
Start offering your assistance early on. Once your friend has officially asked you to be her bridesmaid, set things off on the right foot and proactively ask her how you can help. She may not be ready or have any tasks for you at this point, but continue to make an effort and make sure she knows you are available whenever she needs you! If you know there is a day or time coming up that you are not free, let her know in advance. Don't expect you to put your life on hold to plan her wedding, but be courteous and give her upfront notice about your other plans.
This is a biggy, especially when you're in a large bridal party. It's extremely important to remember this is not your wedding, so try on the bridesmaid dresses the bride likes and keep your negative opinion to yourself. Let's be honest, a good friend is not going to put you in something hideous so take a deep breath and let the bride choose. If she asks for your opinion (stressing the "if she asks") then offer up your advise, keeping in mind the brides taste and theme for her wedding. Lastly, unless the bride tells you otherwise you can expect to pay for the bridesmaid dress, shoes and accessories she picks out.
Depending on how it works in the bride's family, the bridesmaids involvement in the bridal shower may vary. You will need to ask the bride if her family will be planning her shower. If so, contact this person and find out how you can help. Don't ask the bride, she doesn't know! If her family is not planning the bridal shower then as her bridesmaid you need to take the initiative and do this for her. Find out from the bride who she wants to invite and what day/time works best for her. Beyond this it's up to you (and the rest of the bridesmaids) to work your magic and throw her the best bridal shower ever!
You can assume the bride's family is not planning this one! However, she may want to invite her mom and future mother in law to a portion of her bachelorette party...schedule activities accordingly. As you are planning the bachelorette party keep in mind the person you are planning it for. If your friend doesn't drink, well then don't plan on renting a party bus. Consider other girly outings such as an afternoon at the spa followed by a slumber party where you eat popcorn and watch Clueless.
It is not your responsibility as a bridesmaid to plan any part of this (unless for some reason the bride asked you to), but you are expected to be available for both of these events. At the rehearsal pay attention...what you go over will directly affect how smoothly things run on the wedding day. Remember, the bride is going to be nervous (anxious, however you look at it) on her wedding day, it is your bridesmaid duty to keep her calm, on time and on task.
At the rehearsal dinner the bride and groom generally hand out their bridal party gifts. You may even be introduced to their families. Simply be present and respectful. Don't be that girl, drinking too much or being too loud. Also, make sure the bride doesn't drink too much...she'll thank you later! Remember, at this point the wedding is 1-2 days away and no one needs to be bloated and hungover quite yet. The best is yet to come!
Finally, you're almost free from your bridesmaid duties! Just don't go running for the hills quite yet...you're assistance is still needed, at least until the wedding reception. On the wedding day wake up early. Your most important job today is to keep the bride stress free and on schedule. You will not only need to get yourself ready, but expect to assist the bride as she gets into her dress and shoes. Handle any last minute projects that come up, don't ask the bride if she wants you to do it, just do it! Also, keep an eye on the clock making sure everyone is fed, dressed and where they need to be on time. Good news, if the bride has a wedding planner she will take care these things and if she doesn't...well, your responsibilities are almost over!
Being a bridesmaid doesn't have to be stressful especially when you follow these tips. Your friend asked you to be in her wedding because YOU are important to her. Be a good friend... go with the flow, smile and make beautiful memories!
Want more wedding style advice delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up now...