I really wanted to title this post “What Being In Three Weddings In a Year Taught Me About Being a Bridesmaid,” but then I realized that was wayyy too long. So, I had to rejigger. That being said, I haveeee learned a lot about being a bridesmaid, over the last year or so - and I needed to pass it on. Because if you’re anything like me, and a little too type A to handle, you’ve probably considered quite a few of the same things I have and you need to relax. It will all be okay.
Understand that you weren’t asked, just to show up
Please, pleaseeee understand that being asked to be a bridesmaid doesn’t mean you just need to show up and be sober. I don’t know where people got the impression that bridesmaid-ing didn’t involve work. Of courseeeee you’re not slaves to the soon-to-be-Mrs. (and she should know that too), but you don’t score good friend points just for throwing on a dress and making sure you’re not the hot mess in the mix. You have a job, and it’s to support the woman who asked you to be such a big part in her special day. You owe her that. So, yes, show up, but show up with bridal magazines for research parties, champagne for particularly stressful conversations (budget discussions - or prep for “babe, I don’t like my engagement ring” rationalizations) or celebratory occasions, recommendations for x, y, and z vendors if her favorite one isn’t available on her day, etc.
Recognize where you can and can’t help
One of the worst things you can do as a bridesmaid is make promises you can’t keep. Confirming you’ll be available to go dress shopping on such and such weekend, and then bailing a few days in advance. Offering to pick up cute decor for the engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette, etc. and then showing up empty handed the day of. Promising you’ll help the bride address her save-the-dates (because she hates her handwriting), and then never responding when she gives you dates to consider. This is all bad! That’s why you should know your limits, consider your availabilities, acknowledge your strengths, and be able to offer yourself when you can! Your bride is a human, she gets that things come up, but not being transparent with her or over-promising and then under-delivering is not cool.
Also not cool, making ridiculous requests. Don’t. Just don’t.
Find your place in the party
I’ve been struggling for the last few weeks, worrying that I haven’t been a good bridesmaid to one of my best friends - who will be getting married at the end of September. Aside from going to order my bridesmaid dress, and picking up a few things for her upcoming shower, I haven’t done all that much. Maybe it’s because I’ve been doing crazy amounts as my sister’s Matron of Honor (setting up bridal appointments , bachelorette planning, vendor vetting, you name it, etc.), so I just want to feel as valuable to my bestie. But she already has her Maid and Matron of Honor handling all the hard stuff, so I’ve tried to let go of all that pressure, if I can. Basic rule of thumb: don’t treat bridesmaid-ship the same for every bridal party you’re part of. Especially if you’re in a couple weddings at the same time. Find your place among the rest of the group, and ease into your role. Everyone has one.
Be the check-in queen
This is one thing we can’t stress enough. Whether you’re the ve ry present or pseudo absent bridesmaid, make sure you do your best to check in and follow up with the bride. You have your bad days, and she has hers + the craziness of wedding planning to complicate it even more. So, it doesn’t hurt to call her up, send a text, old-school e-card a howdy, or Uber Eats her some of her favorite snacks just to say “how are youuuu?” or “I saw that amped up Facebook status of yours freaking out about X, Y, and Z, can I do something to help??” That might be all she needs to take a breath and relax a little. Sure, she might vent a bit, but you can deal. Even if that means delaying for a few days, inviting her over for a Bachelorette binge-fest and pouring lots and lots of wine to pacify both of your pain points.
Make an effort to befriend the girls
Literally, the last thing a bride wants to deal with is drama between bridesmaids. So, try and make nice. It’s not that hard, especially when every occasion you’ll be getting together will probably involve booze. You can still subscribe to a #nonewfriends kind of life - if the girls aren’t exactly your cup of tea - but at least make an effort to get to know them, while you’re colleaguing this bridesmaid thing. You know how you are with your work wives? You go through some of the worst stuff together, so you bond. Kind of like a wedding, right? The bride might be a little bach-shit crazy once and awhile, but you handle it because you have each other to lean on. We’re all about that!!
Suggest a dress that slays
Okay, let’s be honest, a good bridesmaid dress is absolutely everything. 1) Bridesmaids cringe at the thought of having to wear something God awful (something that they know they’ll hate, but inevitably have to spend $$$$ on just to take up space in their already shrinking closet) and 2) The bride cares about what the bridal party wears, but about her dress a lot more. So, if you can come in like a rockstar early on, making dress suggestions - in the bride’s taste - that
work for the whole bridal party
. You’ll earn yourself those 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 real quick.
Dessy dresses out RN. They can help with that last point ☝️, we promiseeeee!