How to Be a Bridesmaid

Being a bridesmaid at the wedding of a friend, sister or relative is a lovely honour. As well as having certain responsibilities, it's important to enjoy the occasion and to help ensure that the bride has the best possible experience too. It's not hard but you do need to be attentive!


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    Find out how many other bridesmaids are going to form the bridesmaid contingent in the wedding. This will depend on the size of the wedding and the bride's desired style. If you don't know any of the other bridesmaids, be sure to ask to meet them well before the wedding.
    • A wedding can have as few as one bridesmaid and as many as the bride can fit into the ceremony, such as a dozen or even more!
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    Be prepared to help out both leading up to the wedding and during the wedding ceremony. Your main duty is to help in the lead-up to the wedding; it's not just about wearing a lovely dress and looking pretty! There are lots of little things you can do, including running errands, addressing the envelopes for invitations, helping to ring up catering venues, etc. Choose to do the things that you're good at doing––the bride doesn't need someone asking her 101 questions every few minutes!
    • If you're good at event organizing, lend a hand in researching options for receptions if the bride hasn't a good idea yet.
    • Things like assembling favors and writing place cards can be an easy but extremely helpful task for you to do as bridesmaid.
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    Plan the hen's party or bachelorette party. You don't have to do this but it's helpful for the bride. It's best if you plan it with the help of the other bridesmaids, as many hands make for light work.
    • This may also be known as the wedding shower or a wedding shower might be in addition to the hen's party. Find out what the bride's preferences are.
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    Offer to pay for your bridesmaid's dress. The etiquette of this may vary from region to region but since you're going to be wearing, altering and keeping the dress, assume you should also pay for it, within reason. In some cases, the bride may insist on covering the cost of the dress but don't expect this as a matter of course. Some brides pay for the dress as a way of thanking their bridesmaids; in this case, accept graciously.
    • If the bride wants something unrealistic in terms of expense, such as a very expensive fabric or handwork done to the dress, then it is reasonable to expect the bride to cover the additional cost.
    • Junior bridesmaid's dresses are usually paid for by their parents.
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    Avoid being truly difficult about your dress. By all means explain to the bride what your preferences are and that you won't be caught dead in anything strapless or shoulder-revealing or whatever your religious, moral or personal preferences require. However, do not lecture the bride about how the color looks terrible on you, or how the dresses are frumpy, etc. There are always ways around the bride's choice, such as different, more flattering shades of the hue she wants and slight style changes that flatter your figure better and none of these things should be cause for argument with the bride.
    • It is commonplace nowadays for the bride to choose the color and a general style (long, short) and then to leave the individual styling arrangements to the bridesmaids. It all depends on how "hands-on" the bride is about the precise styling.
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    Find out what floral arrangements you will be carrying and which floral arrangements you are responsible for at the wedding. You might be given the role of collecting the bouquets from the florist on the day of the wedding if they're not being directly delivered.
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    On the day of the wedding, be available for the bride. Usually this will be at her home initially, then at the wedding venue and reception venue. Help her dress, put on makeup, do her hair, etc. if requested. If not, she may simply like your company as she is getting ready for the ceremony.
    • Find out if the bride is having pre-wedding photos. If so, it is customary for bridesmaids to be included. You may be photographed at any time in the lead-up to the wedding, for the bride's recollection afterward, so be on your best behaviour.
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    Know the entrance and placement requirements at the wedding. Usually the bridesmaids enter before the bride and then are arranged at the bride's side during the ceremony. There may be alterations to this depending on the space and the bride's preferences.
    • When the ceremony is completed, bridesmaids should wait until the bride and groom have left and follow behind either as a group or accompanied by the groomsmen.
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    Attend any rehearsal dinner or ceremony the bride has. It is important that everyone supporting the bride and groom attend the rehearsals and know what it is expected of them.
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    Be prepared to help receive guests at the wedding reception. This is also up to the bride and groom but if you're wanted in the receiving line, then be prepared. Another alternative is to have you circulating the room as guests arrive.
    • You may be asked to help display the gifts at the reception, including arranging them to show them at their best.
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    Expect to be seated at the head table unless there are specific reasons not to be. In some cases, there may be insufficient room or you may be considered too junior in the line-up to share the head table space. Whatever happens, keep in the spirit of the event and appreciate the chance to be a bridesmaid.
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    Find out if you have any responsibilities post the wedding reception. With the bride usually going on a honeymoon, you might be asked to get the wedding dress dry cleaned and safely returned to her (new) home and to take care of the wedding gifts. You may be sharing such tasks with other bridesmaids or family members, depending on the preferences of the bride. Offer your help all the same.


  • You could make the bride and groom a small, hand-made gift if you like; it's not essential but it is a nice gesture.


  • Avoid badgering any bride-to-be to be her bridesmaid. It is entirely her choice and if you're not chosen, don't assume the worst; there are many reasons that go into choosing a bridesmaid.

Things You'll Need

  • Dress
  • Hairstylist or do your own hair immaculately
  • Flowers
  • Shoes

Article Info

Categories: Weddings