How to be a brilliant bridesmaid?
You’ve said yes. You’re going to be a bridesmaid. Whether you’ve wanted to be one for years, or have secretly been dreading being asked, now is your time to truly shine.
Having been to a few weddings over the years we’ve seen some amazing bridesmaids (and a few slightly less amazing but that’s another blog post..! 😉)
Read on for our 5 top tips on how to be the best bridesmaid – ever …
The assumption is if you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid then you are a close personal friend or relation of the bride. From the outset you need to think about what your bride would want. Think about the kind of support she will want. Will she want you to be on the end of the phone 24/7? Will she expect spreadsheet discipline from you, or will she be so chilled you may need to step in with organisational know-how?
It’s actually also ok to ask the question – how best can I support you in the planning? Very okay. And keep asking this question to make sure she knows you there throughout planning. Also worth thinking about when she wants to chat all things wedding and when she wants a complete diversion. Sometimes your job will be to talk non-wedding. That will definitely get you brownie points as a brilliant bridesmaid.
Being a bridesmaid is going to cost you. Fact. Early on you need to give some thought to budgeting. From the shopping trips to the fizzy lunches (compulsory), through to the hen-do and of course the wedding. It’s likely there will be a party before, after and some form of overnight accommodation.
For most people this is all good as fits perfectly in line with friendship, or family goals for the year.
For others this is going to be painful and a stretch. Be honest about your finances and be realistic.
This also goes if you’re part of a team of bridesmaids as there could well be differing budgets between you so you should be respectful of this.
Worth saying at this point that you can say no to being a bridesmaid (particularly if like one bridesmaid we knew you’ve been booked 3 times in one year!) Saying no is a hard decision and one not to be taken lightly, but if you’re in doubt you need to have this conversation.
You also need to budget time for being a brilliant bridesmaid. There will be more phone calls/WhatsApps, catch-ups. All of that is part of the game and you will need to create some space in your diary for it. And remember this should be a whole heap of fun, not a chore.
Whether you’re solo bridesmaid, or part of a bridesmaid squad you will have other friends and family to negotiate. Sometimes you could be called on to help the mother of the bride, or give a gentle nudge to the bestman. However frustrating it can feel remember you’re part of a team.
Which also means you can call on others for help. At this point remember the end goal: for the couple to have the wedding they’ve dreamed of and for you to play your part. It may not be the kind of wedding you’d dream of for yourself, but that’s ok – it’s their day.
Team is important when it comes to everything from picking the bridesmaids’ dress to planning logistics. As the saying goes in our family teamwork makes the dreamwork.
The good news is when it comes to bridesmaids’ dress shopping there are more options than ever. Gone are the days of compulsory matchy-matchy in the one particular shade of crushed grape (unless that’s the theme!) Now styling can vary to suit differing bridesmaid shapes, sizes and personal style.
As with all things be open to suggestions and be open to suggesting.
Remember it’s one day. If your bride is super-insistent on you wearing the full length shiny dress that you hate, bear with her. Sometimes the fight isn’t worth it and your bride’s vision may not be the same as yours.
This is when you and the other bridesmaids really get to celebrate your bride. Remember tip 1? Know your bride. Never more will this apply that when it comes to planning the hen do (or Hennie as they are wonderfully called in Aberdeen).
If your bride loves a noisy boisterous night out coasting a few sheets to the wind then you know that party has to come top of the list, but if she is more at home with a girls night, watching a favourite movie then maybe you should be aiming for something more sedate.
Another question early on is to decide who is coming to the hen party – mum and granny, school friends, work friends? Is it one hen do, or two? And then jump back to tip 2 – consider budget and be realistic with all attendees from the outset.
A 3 day overseas luxury spa weekend may sound incredible, but if it’s out of budget for most of the attendees that’s not going to work well for your bride. If you’re looking for suggestions of hen dos to have then here’s a few suggestions:
– Book a house big enough for all. Keep it within the country for ease of travel (especially if organising over the next few months)
– If planning a local hen-do, consider an afternoon tea for Mum and Granny, followed by a night-out for the girls you know will last the pace
– Think of your bride’s favourite pastime and build it around that (e.g. cocktail drinking, cooking, outdoor activities)
This when it all really counts. All of your months or years of hard bridesmaid draft is going to come to fruition. Your job on the wedding day is to look after the bride, celebrate her and party hard (but not too hard).
Be there for prep. If your bride has planned a schedule go with it. If she hasn’t maybe you should think about creating one. Be prepared to be a contact for wedding suppliers.
Keep your bride calm. Again you know her. Why not create a wedding morning playlist? Some of my favourite wedding mornings have included a trip down memoruy lane with old school classics, remembering school discos and holidays with the girls.
Keep your bride hydrated. Yes fizz is important, but so is water and as a bridesmaid you can help stave off the headaches. See our wedding day essentials blog post for other things that are worth having up your sleeve. Imagine all the brownie points you’ll get if you’ve created the kit… #JustSaying
Keep smiling, If panic, or nerves set in you need to keep smiling, If you’re wetting yourself about your own aisle walk breathe deep and get on with it.
And if there’s singing at the ceremony? Sing loudly. Others will follow.
Be there for photos. As photographers we love a bridesmaid who cares enough to check-in with us, as well as the bride and groom. Can I do anything to help? Do you need me to find someone? Bonus points galore.
Whether you do a speech or not may be up for debate, but all we’d say is we love it when someone from Team Bride takes the mike.
And as for dancing, to be honest your number 1 duty as bridesmaid should be “hit the dancefloor… all night”
So our best advice on being a brilliant bridesmaid can almost perfectly be wrapped up in think of the bride first. Bring a bridesmaid is amazing fun but it’s almost even better when you put your bestie at the heart of everything you do.
If you’ve any other gems of advice or pearls of wisdom to share, we’d love to hear them!