Dos and Don’ts for Bridesmaids

If you’ve recently been asked to become part of someone’s bridal party, you may be looking for some guidelines to help you through the process. Even if this is not your first time serving in this capacity, sometimes we all need a good reminder about our role and responsibility to the bride. Making careless comments or failing to prioritize the bride’s needs can create a dark cloud that hovers over an otherwise joyous occasion, and can fracture even the strongest of friendships. In the end, we all want to be the kind of person who supports our friend when she needs it most. If you’re considering the invitation, you may want to read this list of dos and don’ts before you accept.

DON’T accept if you’re not 100 percent committed. This seems like a no-brainer, but many bridesmaids get caught up in the fervor of the event before thinking things through. Sure, it’s exciting to be asked, and we all want to be part of our friend’s big day. But there are many things to consider including the expense associated with being part of the bridal party, as well as the amount of time you will expend on her behalf. If you have questions about costs related to wedding attire, travel, and pre-wedding events, be sure to seek clarification. It will be better in the long run for the bride to have you decline before wedding planning begins than for you to drop out of the wedding party once it has commenced.

DO discuss your responsibilities with the bride. All too often, we think we are on the same page with people regarding what our roles and responsibilities are. Be sure to have a conversation with the bride regarding what she expects from you. This is a good time to let her know if you have any concerns or questions regarding your availability for pre-wedding events, especially if your time is limited. You may want to offer to do something early in the planning process so that you don’t get stuck with some last-minute, more expensive obligations.

DON’T complain about the dress. Apart from standing with her at the ceremony and making it to the rehearsal, there is only one major duty of being to a bridesmaid — wearing the dress! Whether the bride has chosen a color you find less than flattering or you’d prefer a different style that accentuates your assets, you should plan on wearing it without comment. It can be a challenge to find a dress that looks perfect on several body types, but this is only one night of your life where you will have to wear what someone else wants. Approach it with optimism, and hope she finds a bridesmaid dress you will love and want to wear again; but if she doesn’t, keep it to yourself.

DO bond with the other bridesmaids. Getting along with the other girls will make the bride’s job easier, and if you want to stay sane throughout the process, forge a connection with the other bridesmaids. You may want to consider getting everyone’s email addresses, send out your ideas, ask for feedback, and then make decisions as a group. Being part of a wedding doesn’t mean that any one person runs the wedding, and if you’re going to spend a lot of time together, you don’t want to compete with one another. Be a team player, be willing to help the bride and the maid of honor, and be cooperative. You don’t want to be the bridesmaid that makes everything harder.

DON’T get wasted. Everyone wants to enjoy the pre-wedding and wedding festivities, but your role as bridesmaid includes being capable of assisting her, if necessary. You should let loose and have fun, but don’t drink to the point of being sloppy and incoherent, and this goes for the shower and the bachelorette party, too. Remember that an important role of the bridesmaid is to mingle with guests, encourage people to dance, and support the bride and groom in anything that may not go as planned.Your behavior is a reflection of the bride, so don’t do anything that might embarrass or hurt her or land you on the bridesmaids gone wild list!

DO remain present. Throughout the entire process, make sure you are both physically and emotionally present for the bride. If you are able, offer to go to dress fittings, cake tastings, or venue viewings, and support her when she needs a break. Her offer to have you as a bridesmaid means that she values you as a friend and believes you will be there to support her. Use your best attributes, whether it is your organization, humor, or optimism, to help her navigate one of the most exciting (and stressful!) parts of her life.

Do you have any other dos or don’ts for bridesmaids you can share? Feel free to comment here.