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How to Be the Best Bridesmaid

081114-bridesmaids-01If you’ve been asked to be someone’s bridesmaid, it’s probably because the bride values your friendship and because you’ve been there for each other throughout the years. Want to be the best bridesmaid you can be? Here are four tips to help you make the bride’s life easier while she’s planning, and seven tasks you can help out with that you might not have thought of.

Be there

Bring a bridesmaid means being part of the bride’s entourage. Attend as many pre-wedding parties as you can: engagement party, shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, etc. Be social, and keep your alcohol consumption in check so you don’t embarrass the couple (or yourself!). Bridesmaids should also help the maid/matron of honor plan the shower and/or bachelorette party.

Be honest

Too many bridesmaids put on an ugly dress and then gripe about the bride behind her back. Tell the bride the truth — when appropriate, of course. You just might get a say in the dress, even if it’s a small one. If her choice makes you uncomfortable or isn’t flattering on you, tell her. Most brides pick a style and color they like and don’t realize it won’t work for everyone.

Give her a head’s up if you don’t think you can serve as her bridesmaid, for whatever reason (money, time, etc.). Tell her when she asks you and politely decline.

Lastly, there’s no reason for bridesmaids to be doormats or treated like slaves. While the wedding day is about the bride and groom, some couples take it too far. If you’re dealing with a bridezilla and you feel like you and the other attendants are being mistreated, speak up. As in all things, pick your battles – will speaking up destroy your friendship?

Listen

From wedding details to cold feet, a bride has a lot on her mind in the months before the wedding. Lend the bride an ear when she needs to vent, work through wedding details, or talk about her hopes and fears about marriage. If it seems like she needs to be distracted, plan an outing or activity to take her mind off things and give her a break from wedding madness.

Help out

One of the traditional bridesmaid roles is that of helper. Invitations need addressing? Bridesmaids typically pitch in. Favors need assembling? Call in the bridesmaids. As the bride’s right-hand women, expect to be called when she needs a hand. This role has lessened some as brides and bridesmaids often live far apart and see each other only for pre-wedding parties and the weekend of the wedding. Still, there are things you can do if you’re far away; see our list below.

At the shower and other parties, offer to keep track of the gift list so the bride has an organized list of who gave her what. This will make sending thank you cards a breeze. On the days leading up to the wedding (and the wedding day), be a gopher. There are lots of last-minute tasks and details that need to be taken care of!

Seven Tasks You Can Help With

  1. Assemble welcome packets/baskets/bags for guests. Offer to print out maps, collect brochures, and other fun goodies to go in guests’ hotel rooms. You can do this even if you’re out of town. Just arrange with the hotel to deliver them when you get to town.
  2. Learn how to bustle her dress. Attend one or two dress fittings with the bride and pay attention as her dress is bustled. If you’re unclear about something, ask the salesperson to show you. Then, there will be no questions on the big day.
  3. Gather the bride and groom’s things after the reception. When they make their grand exit, the couple will leave behind some keepsakes. Collect the toasting glasses, guest book, cake topper, etc. and make sure they get to the couple’s home safely.
  4. Collect disposable cameras after the reception and get them developed. The bride and groom will love looking through the photos when they return from their honeymoon!
  5. Make the reception a party! Act as a hostess and make sure everyone is having a good time. Help guests find the guest book, the bar, and the restrooms, and dance, dance, dance! Don’t be afraid to ask someone to dance!
  6. Offer to take her gown to be cleaned or preserved while she’s on her honeymoon. Lots of brides never get around to this, and their gowns are still hanging in their closets or attics years later. With your help, this task will be done!
  7. Offer to house sit while the couple is on their honeymoon. You can water plants, collect mail, and care for pets. You’ll also be there to receive any gifts that arrive while they’re gone. If you want to be extra helpful, organize their gifts for them and leave the kitchen full of food so they don’t have to grocery shop as soon as they get home.