10 Tips for Being an Excellent Bridesmaid

Being asked to be a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding is a testament to the relationship that the couple has with you. I’ve been a bridesmaid, a maid of honor, a bride, a matron of honor and a bride’s matron (seems full circle!) as well as a wedding guest, videographer and photographer’s assistant. I’ve been honored with those roles and I’ve picked up a lot of advice to share with other bridesmaids.

My goofy girls – Joni Chatman Photography

1. Be a team player.

You don’t have to be friends with the other bridal attendants. You don’t even have to like them! But you do have to work with them. You’re on “team bride” together so put aside petty arguments and badmouthing and work with each other. Chances are you’re going to be planning a bridal shower and a bachelorette party together as well as working as a team to help the bride get ready, stay calm and enjoy her wedding day. After that if you’re all friends, great! If not, no problem.

2. Be organized.

Keep track of dates for everything you’re expected to attend. Put them on your calendar or in your phone. Keep your things together that you need for the day.

3. Don’t put aside your personal style in preparation for a wedding (but do think twice before cutting off most of your hair).

17-year-old Rachel’s first time in a wedding. – Photo by my dad

I kept my hair pretty short in high school and was a bridesmaid for the first time at 17. I had to take the ACT the morning of the wedding then rush to the church so short hair worked out. The next few weddings, including my own, I kept my hair long to have something able to be styled (I don’t have a lot of hair so the only thing I can control is length).

Two weeks before my mom’s wedding, I changed my hair and had to scramble to find ideas for short updos, finally leaving it in the hands of the stylist trusting that she was a professional and could handle it. I should not have. At first I kind of liked my hair but asked for one strand to be pulled out and curled to match the side and she refused because it would undo the rest. That should have been a warning that my hairstyle would not survive. Between the humid morning that threatened rain, little hands and running around, my hair took on a life of its own and by the end of the ceremony, I had some foreign helmet on my head. I should have waited to cut it.

4. Be available.

At my sister’s final fitting – photo by me

Brides need varying levels of help depending on their wedding style. Make sure your friend knows you’re willing to be available to help her out, whether it’s looking at dressing or tracking down vintage tea cups for centerpieces.

While you’re helping the bride, really be there, don’t bury your face in your phone or jabber about non-wedding related things. If you need to talk with your friend about something not wedding, talk with her about it before or after whatever you’re doing, have lunch or coffee together. Also, pay close attention if you’re being taught how to bustle a dress. Ask questions and practice a few times.

Fixing my friend’s dress – by J Bauer Productions

5. Don’t overwhelm.

Don’t send the bride photos after photo (or pin after pin) of wedding ideas unless you know she wants you to. In today’s digital world, it’s totally possible for a bride to get overwhelmed by all the possible themes, styles and projects for a wedding.

6. Accept the bride’s vision.

You may not like the dress that the bride picked for you or you might think the idea of a wedding cheesecake is cheesy, but keep in mind, it’s not your wedding. Try to grasp the vision that your friend has for her wedding and do what you can to help her achieve it. If she asks for input, be honest. Be kind, but be honest.

7. Don’t forget the groom.

Whether you’re friends with the groom or not, don’t forget that there’s a guy that your friend is meeting at the alter. He may or may not have opinions about the wedding. It’s his wedding too, so understand that he has more say in things than you do as a bridesmaid. That also means that on the wedding day, check on him here and there. For example, if you’re going to see about grabbing a drink for the bride, see if he’d like something from the bar too. And be willing to be a liaison between the ready rooms.

8. Know the key family members and the other wedding party members.

If you learn their names, you can be incredibly helpful. Wedding vendors look to bridesmaids for help when the happy couple isn’t available. If the photographer is looking for a set of parents, you can only help if you know who they are. If a wedding party member is missing, you can help track them down easier if you know his or her name.

Ready to send our mom down the aisle. – photo by Seth Engelhardt

9. Be resourceful.

Use safety pins, paper clips, tape and ribbon as needed when problems arise. I have helped fix many dresses with safety pins.

10. Be punctual.

Get places on time or early for all wedding events. Bridesmaids shouldn’t be the hold up for the wedding timeline. The bride or another attendant should never have to call you to find out where you are or when you’ll get where you need to be. If you can help things run on time, everyone will be less stressed.

Wedding Paper Divas Blog has these cool rant or rave posts that looks at the opinions of brides on topics from planning your own shower (as the bride) or unasking a bridesmaid (potentially for making the bride plan her own shower…) If you’re new to the whole bridesmaid thing and are interested in other bridesmaid issues, they have a handy blog and you can find their bridesmaid-related posts here.

What advice would you give to anyone who has accepted the honor of being a bridesmaid?

*I’m not being compensated in anyway by Wedding Paper Divas, but I was contacted and offered their blog as a resource for wedding-related blog posts.

All photos in this post have the photographer indicated in the caption.

You might also like to read:


Linking up:

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

Leave a Reply