When I was a young girl, the one thing I wanted most in the world was to be in someone’s wedding. I thought being a flower girl was the most exciting thing in the world, and seeing the bridesmaids walking down the petal-scattered aisle, all in beautiful and elegant order, was a thing of beauty to behold.
Fast forward a few years later and, while I still think having a bridal entourage adds that extra special detail to your wedding, I’m a little more ambivalent about wanting to be a bridesmaid. Helping to plan someone else’s big day – especially if that someone else is a close friend of yours – is no picnic in the park.
It’s a highly pressurised job where the duties you’re expected to perform often mean putting the needs and wants of the bride-to-be’s above your own.
But, if you’re committed to helping your friend to have the best wedding possible, or if it’s your first time being a bridesmaid and you have no clue what to do, then take note, because we’ve got the ultimate guide to being the best bridesmaid you could possibly be.
Before you agree to being a bridesmaid, consider the following questions:
Are you willing to give up a good portion of your time for your friend? How much are you willing to spend (remember, you’re not only going to have to spend money on only a bridesmaid dress)? And most importantly, will you be able to cope when disaster strikes and tempers flare?
If you’ve answered yes to all of the above questions, then you’re already halfway there to being the best bridesmaid you could be.
So now that you’ve agreed to take on the role of helping your friend achieve the best day of her life, here’s a list of duties your job will entail.
Shopping and expenses
As bridesmaid, you’ll be expected to accompany the bride on dress shopping and fitting trips. You’ll also have to pay for your own dress, shoes and any accessories that the bride may require you to wear on her big day.
Have to travel to get to her wedding destination? Make sure you have enough saved as you’ll not only need to cover your transportation costs, but you’ll also have to fork out for your accommodation.
Speaking of costs, you’ll also need to have set aside enough money for the bride’s gift.
Planning the bachelorette and kitchen tea parties
Arguably one of the most important duties of being a bridesmaid, is helping the maid of honour to plan, arrange and organise the bride-to-be’s parties. From issuing the invitations, to helping with the party theme, catering and decorations, as part of the bridal entourage, it’s your responsibility to make sure that everything runs smoothly.
Remember, you know the bride-to-be’s wants, likes and needs best, so it’s up to you and the rest of the bridal party to ensure that you’re all on the same page when it comes to arranging a day or night that’s meant to celebrate the bride’s final few days of being single.
Offering your time and emotional support
As bridesmaid you’ll not only be responsible for assisting the maid of honour with her duties, you’ll also be expected to be available at a moment’s notice.
The bride-to-be will need you to be on hand for (sometimes impromptu) shopping trips, rehearsal dinners and any organisational help relating to decorations, invitations and entertainment-related arrangements.
Most importantly, you are the bride-to-be’s friend above all else, so the best kind of support you can give is one that defines most friendships: emotional support. While planning the wedding is exciting for all involved, it can also be a very stressful time if (and when) things go wrong.
Be there as a sounding board, listen and offer advice when needed and try not to take it too personally if the bride does go off the rails for a little bit.
Honesty is key
An article on Offbeat bride points out that it’s not only brides-to-be that face the pressure when it comes to weddings. Bridesmaids are expected to uphold a certain standard in order to achieve Pinterest-wedding perfection.
Be honest when you’re unable to meet a specific requirement. If she expects you to buy that R20 000 pair of shoes in order to meet a certain aesthetic without any consideration for your budget constraints, speak up and let it be known.
Remember the bride to be is your friend before she is the bride. If she’s unable to compromise on even the little details, then perhaps she should find herself a new bridesmaid.