Friday, January 27, 2012

On BEing a Bridesmaid

There is absolutely NO context to this post... It is just something I've been thinking about since I was in my new sister-in-law's wedding back in October and am just now getting around to writing it.  Go figure. I can't really compete with 27 Dresses, but I have been in quite a few weddings over the last six years (7 to be exact), so I feel "qualified" to share a little advice for bridesmaids. :)   

Before I start, you should probably know that being a bridesmaid is a job I take very seriously... I'm not kidding.

At this point in my life, I can think of no higher honor than being asked to be a part of the day someone I love commits the REST OF HER LIFE to her husband.  My bridesmaids (pictured above on June 30th, 2007) are some of the most important people in the world to me.  They are committed to my marriage too - through prayer, sound advice, and encouragement. Marriage is hard work (even if you do have an awesome husband); and the truth is, some days you need an army.  I'm thankful for my little team; and I try hard to be that for the brides I've had the priviledge of standing beside on their wedding day.  Basically, I think being a bridesmaid is HUGE (and really fun)!

*Also, just for the record, I should clarify that I am NOT talking from personal experience here.  My bridesmaids and most of the bridesmaids in the weddings I've participated in, have been nothing but WONDERFUL... So, dont' read too into this.  Probably 95% of brides are NOT bridezillas, so they won't make crazy demands of you or boss you around.  Heck, they probably won't even tell you what they really want from you...

So, that's where I come in.  Ha!

My tips on BEing a Bridesmaid:

BE there. I don't think you have to be at every single shower or event - especially (maybe only) if you live out of town - BUT, I do think your "job" starts as soon as you are asked to be in a wedding.  You should be a part of the entire celebration as much as you can.  I do think it's absolutely VITAL that you participate in the rehearsal and attend the rehearsal dinner.  Yes, even if it means you have to take off work or pay for an extra night in a hotel.  I'll be the first to admit that being in a wedding isn't always convenient, but... it really isn't about you. Sorry.

BE the bride's maid. I'm not saying you have to run around cleaning her house or anything (although, that would be nice and - I'm sure - very appreciated); but, you should HELP the bride whenever she needs it.  This relates a little to the first point... You can't just show up at 5PM for a 5:30 wedding.  You should participate as much as she wants you to in the planning; and then, basically, just be at her beckon call on the wedding day.  Need someone to pick up your cousin at the airport?  I'm your girl.  Need me to be ready at 9AM when the wedding doesn't start until 6? No problem. Want me to button 1000 teeny tiny buttons on your dress?  You got it!  See where I'm going here?

*Edited to Add: I've also found that having one of the bridesmaids (preferably one that has been at least partially involved in the planning and knows her way around the town) keep the bride's cell phone for the day.  You'd be surprised how many people will call her on her wedding day - vendors, guests, etc. - and it can be really stressful.  The designated "secretary" can just handle the basic things and defer to the bride only when absolutely necessary.

BE in the background. For the love, don't upstage the bride.  This is HER day.  Look pretty - but not too pretty.  :)  DON'T look scandalous.  Geez.

BE up for anything. If she says "jump," JUST DO IT.  (And this happens more often than you'd think these days with the latest photo trends.) All brides have different expectations for the wedding day; really, you should just be along for the ride.  Wear a silly hat.  Sing karaoke.  Stay up late.  It's ONE day people; and, I promise, you will look more dumb if you are the lame bridesmaid just sitting at a table.

BE happy. Of course, it's ok if you cry when she walks down the aisle or you give a toast about the last 25 years... But, just smile.  A lot.  It is a HAPPY day - even if your life/love is currently a mess.

BE a "Dancing Queen." I really believe that one of the primary jobs of the bridesmaids after the vows have been said is to keep the party alive.  Be the first on the dance floor and the last to leave.  Pull the bride's great-uncle or next door neighbor's son out there with you. (I admit, I'm not always the best at this.)  Most brides envision their reception as a huge dance party, but it usually needs a little "umph" to get it started.  YOU, pretty little things in matching dresses, are the "umph". :)

BE a chameleon. The bride's style might be different from yours.  So what - ROCK it!  Anyways, it's a fun excuse to be different for the day!  Please don't complain about the dress (or anything else for that matter).  Thanks.

BE in for the long haul. Remember, your "bridesmaidal responsibilities" go on long after "I do."  You have a responsibility as one of the official "witnesses" to those vows.  Take it seriously.  Commit to loving this bride (and her new husband) through MANY different stages of their lives.  Be on Team Marriage.  Pray for them.  In five years when she just had a baby and her husband travels a lot - ask her about her marriage.  This is the most important.

And, just for fun... A few things NOT to do:

1. Stand on the bride's gown.
2. Get a terrible spray tan the day before.
3. Sweat like a pig while dancing before giving your toast.

(I may or may not have done all of these things... in the same wedding.  Sorry Amanda!)

What would you add to this list?


  1. I'd also add:
    1. Refrain from getting a major haircut days before the wedding. Your bride needs to know how you're going to look on her big day.
    2. Wait on getting the new tattoo. Especially if it's on your collarbone. (yes, this really happened to a family member.)

  2. the "do nots" are hilarious. I was in a wedding once where one of the bm's changed out of her dress half way through the reception....oy.

    I was just talking with some other friends who were married in the last few years about bridesmaiding. I think as the bride, you also have to realize, no one will care about your wedding (or take it as seriously) as you do, and that's ok! You just have to remember that (occasionally anyway! maybe designate a bridesmaid to remind you...;))and then surround yourself with people who love and care about you and that you can count on to be there for you.

  3. I agree with ALL of your points, but a few stand out.

    Be happy - I had a bridesmaid who wouldn't smile. Seriously?? All of our pictures show this!

    Dance - I completely agree with this. Sometimes its hard to get the dance really hopping and I think most brides and/or grooms are nervous about this anyways. My wedding party ROCKED at this and our dance was way more fun than I ever could have expected!

    Great post. :)

  4. maybe I'm not the best bridesmaid, in retrospect. Oops!! In other news, in the 5th picture (dancing, light pink bridesmaid dresses), the back of the bride's gown is basically the most fantastic thing ever and it makes me want to get married again so that I can wear a dress like that. It is BEAUTIFUL! Overall, I really like this post-- if I'm a bridesmaid again, I think I can pick it up a few notches!!

  5. I love this! Also don't plan to show up from really far out of town 15 minutes before the ceremony. The bride will freak out and probably just call and tell you to forget about it because that is too stressful. (sadly this happened to me a day before our wedding with our scripture reader)

  6. I absolutely love this & completely agree. I was in ohhhh... 7 or 8 weddings? Something like that. And i think they all went wonderfully & I didn't have to be in any bridezilla's weddings (my sister had her moments, but other than that...). :)

    I am very easygoing & my wedding was no different but i had one awful bridesmaid. I don't know if she just didn't realize what was expected or what. She felt so honored when i asked her to be a part of it, but then she wouldn't return calls/texts, she didn't show up for my big shower (w/o telling me or anyone), wouldn't agree to come have her hair & makeup done w/ the rest of us (which my mom was paying for). More than that, and it was hurtful. My other bridesmaids (who didn't know her before) were horrified & couldn't understand why i asked her to be in it in the first place & I had to convince them that she was a nice person & a GOOD FRIEND...until i got engaged! Idk what happened to her. She did show up for the rehearsal, rehearsal dinner & wedding (which was questionable at one point), but after i got home from the honeymoon, i had two different wedding guests ask me who the "prima donna bridesmaid" was!

    Wow, that was long. Sorry! I love all of these pics & this post!

  7. I love this. I think I'm going to link it on my facebook page. I love my bridesmaids dearly and they were wonderful leading up to the wedding and are still great friends, but they definitely lacked umph on my wedding day. You're right, it's just one day. Play it up and have fun, even if you're tired or preoccupied. I was so stressed and overwhelmed and we paid a lot of money for that party, I wish they would have gotten on the dance floor and had fun, so everyone else would have been inclined to also.

    One more to add...the groomsmen might be goofy and annoying, but they're special to the bride's husband, so suck it up and have a good time with them, no one is expecting you to marry one.

  8. Great post! Lots of bridesmaids & brides are sure to find this helpful. I nominated you for the Versatile blog award!!

  9. I really like the notion of being "on Team Marriage." I think most people forget about the marriage part of the wedding. Love this post!


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