1.) Check Your Budget
It's a lovely thing to be asked to share someone's wedding day with them. However, a Bridesmaid to be should know that participation in a bridal party is potentially expensive. The average wedding guest will spend money on airfare, hotel, gift, and even shower gift, but for Bridesmaids, add to that the cost of a dress, extra expenses (like getting your nails done or maybe purchasing new shoes), plus potential hostessing (often shared with other members of bridal party) of a shower/bachelorette party. The first time I was asked to be a Bridesmaid, I was totally broke during graduate school, and I couldn't accept the invitation. It's really better to be honest upfront, and your friend will understand. If you have budgeting concerns, discuss them with the bride, but before you say "yes," know what you're getting into and make sure you feel okay taking on the financial aspects.
2.) Help the Bride
Help the bride by working with the maid(s) of honor in order to plan events like a shower or bachelorette party. You may also need to attend an engagement party. If it all seems like a lot to you, you're right, but remember, all of this stuff only happens once in your friend's life, and accepting the Bridesmaid position is about signing up for it, so consider that in advance if your schedule is super crazy!
3.) What About Gifts?
As a Bridesmaid, you should still send a shower gift (if invited or hosting) and a wedding gift. If you are invited to multiple showers, you don't need to send multiple gifts, your friend is just saying, "hey, I want so and so included in all celebrations because she is a part of my bridal party," she isn't asking for multiple shower gifts. If you're invited to an engagement party, that isn't typically a time a present is expected. You can't go wrong with a bottle of wine or champagne to share at the party, or simply a card of congratulations goes a long way.
4.) Who Pays For...?
The etiquete these days about who pays for what is tricky, so allow me to clear it up. Typically, you pay for your airfare (or transportation) to the site of the wedding. Sometimes (but not always) lodging is provided for the bridal party (sometimes at a hotel, sometimes at a friend/family member's house. If lodging isn't provided, room with other bridal party members to save money). Transportation from ceremony to reception for bridal party is provided. You will pay for your dress (and shoes if you are required to buy a certain pair). You'll likely end up paying for your own nails, though again sometimes that is provided. If the bride choses to use a professional for hair and make-up, she should pay for attendants. If the bride isn't willing to pay for the attendant's hair and make up, she should allow the bridal party to do their own hair and make up. Either way is fine.
5.) Rehearsal Dinner
The night before the wedding, you'll attend a rehearsal and dinner. Be ready to walk through the ceremony (practice walking in and out) several times. Be quiet during the rehearsal and listen to the wedding planner, or whoever is trying to organize the party. It seems easy to walk, but you don't want to be the one to screw up! The rehearsal dinner is a good time for non-maid(s) of honor to give a toast if it's okay with the bride. (The maid(s) of honor will do their toast(s) at the wedding).
6.) Day of Wedding
Your main role before the wedding is to help the bride dress, but you're also there to celebrate and help ease the pre-wedding jitters. If you can have a few "extras" on hand to make the bride's day easier, it's a good idea. Even if she doesn't end up needing the stuff, you might bring extra: lipstick, bottled water, breath mints, bobby pins, deodorant, concealer, toothbrush/paste, hand lotion, tissues, Advil...just those things that come in handy on a wedding day. Take pictures. Professional pictures can take months to get back, and the bride will enjoy seeing pictures sooner. There is often a bridesmaid luncheon the day of the wedding. Often, brides give small gifts as tokens of appreciation to their bridal party at the luncheon or rehearsal dinner. Like wedding favors, this isn't alway done.
7.) Actual Wedding
During the ceremony: bring tissues down the aisle with you! Smile at the photographer/videographer. You'll be introduced into the reception. It's fun! Maid(s) of honor give a toast at the reception. You'll all sit at the head table. Sometimes with your date (if you have one), sometimes without. During the actual wedding, bridesmaids just make sure everyone is having a good time, and keep the dance floor occupied, even if it means requesting the cha-cha slide or YMCA. Help keep the bride on track if she's losing track of time, but often there is a wedding planner to do this too. Make sure the bride is looking good! If you notice something in her teeth, fix it. She's going to be in about 1,000 pictures. Help get everyone ready for the bride and groom's exit. Have fun and look pretty in photos, that's pretty much it!
I hope these tips are helpful. Now for the photos of my bridesmaid debut :)
|My beautiful up-do (Thanks Kelsey!)|
|The beautiful Bride, Kelsey, getting ready. Isn't she so pretty?|
|The ceremony. Excuse the Blur. I'm 2nd to left.|
|Kelsey and Amir first dance. Best part of the day: seeing how happy your friend is :)|
|Cake cutting, so sweet :)|
|My date and me :) Love him!|
|I got to keep my lovely bouquet :)|
Here's to being a part of your friend's special day :) It's a good thing I have this all down, because I'm going to be a Bridesmaid again in my college friend Lauren's wedding on October 7th this year!
<3 S, B, L&Z (All home safe in Midland now and back to reality!)