How to Be a Bridesmaid
Being a bridesmaid is both an honor and a total nightmare. You are now completely obligated to help your friend on the journey to her big day, which includes much of the following...
Attending shower after shower in her honor. Oh I’m sorry did I say attending? Oh no, you will be working the party, keeping everyone happy, helping the hostess, and assisting the bride with her gifts and general mayhem.
You will also succumb to a colossal financial burden. There will be gifts upon gifts. I know that you are probably thinking," as a bridesmaid I’m the best gift of all!"
No, in fact, as a bridesmaid it is still considered rude not bring a gift.
There will also be the dress, shoes, accessories, and whatever else you are required to possess during the actual ceremony. Don’t forget about the bachelorette weekend trip when you budget for the year.
I know this all seems a little daunting and not much fun at all, but the great part of being a bridesmaid is being lucky enough to have a friend who thinks highly enough of you to have you with her during one of the most important stages of her life.
What could you have possibly done to deserve a spot like that? You probably listened to her during the good times and bad, and had the privilege of cleaning up after every messy breakup.
Another great perk of being a bridesmaid is a really good party. Who doesn’t love a free party with dancing, food, and booze? If you are lucking you will probably get some very thoughtful gifts and trinkets from the bride as a little thank for all the help you have given her.
I’m from the south, and most weddings around here take around a year or more to plan, eight months if you are especially lucky and speedy.
Here are some helpful tips to helping you survive that year of planning...
Step One: Positivity is key!
Please, please, please, have a positive attitude going in. If you kick off the festivities thinking everything is going to suck…than everything is indeed going to suck.
There’s no point in that, you agreed to take part in a wedding, have fun with it instead of thinking of your participation as a duty.
Step Two: No upstaging of any kind
For the love of god do not upstage the bride, but most importantly do not upstage the maid of honor. If you go against her in the planning of any aspect of her MOH duties for the bride, she will be pissed, and she will probably be out to get you.
Always try to lend a helping hand but don’t take over. Ask questions about certain details of the bachelorette party or lingerie shower, and only make suggestions when you can personally offer your help and services.
Step Three: Make some new friends
Make friends with the other girls in the wedding party if you don’t know them already. This will help you out in more ways than one. You don’t want to feel completely left out for a year or more, and you definitely don’t want to feel like an outsider at the actual wedding.
Try to get together with them outside of wedding duties like for coffee or a short lunch. This way if you need to skip out of an obligation later, the other girls will cover for you.
Step Four: Budget, budget, budget!
As I mentioned earlier, participating in a wedding can be very expensive. Usually the bride will try to cover part of the bridesmaids dress, shoes, or accessories as a sort of gift, but most of the time you are on your own.
If you can, try to get a little help from Mom and Dad with the dress. This is usually the most expensive part, and the hardest item to justify spending 200+ dollars on. You know that no matter what anyone says, you will never wear it again. After that you’ll need a budget for gifts to any showers you attend, as well as the wedding itself.
You do NOT have to get the biggest and best gift on their registry (and by the way, please stick to the registry). The bigger and better gifts are intended for family members, as well as family friends who are probably older and have a bit more money than you.
I always stick to around $25.00 for shower gifts, a nice gift card to a store on their registry and a card will do, and also $40-50 dollars for a nice wedding gift depending on whether or not I bring a guest (boyfriend, husband, date) to the wedding. If you do bring a guest, add a couple more dollars to the gift.
If you really can't afford a gift for the wedding, one of my favorite alternatives is taking all of the bride's invitations and framing them for her. That way she gets a thoughtful gift, and gets to display all of her invitations instead of keeping them in a book, and you only have to splurge on a frame.
The last item on the list is the bachelorette weekend. You will need not only money for yourself in addition to travel expenses, but also money for the bride as the entire wedding party usually chips in so that she gets a free and fun filled weekend.
If you are extremely concerned about financials when your friend asks you to be a bridesmaid you may need to seriously consider saying no or confiding in the bride early on your concerns. Being honest is the best way to avoid a sticky situation halfway through the planning process.
Step Five: Try to make every shower and party that you can
I know it may seem like a lot of events to have to go to, but it really does make a difference to the bride if you show up to be with her on these occasions. Bear in mind some of these may be thrown by neighbors and Mom and Dad’s work friends, and while the bride is obviously touched and extremely appreciative it helps to have some of her own friends by her side.
Of course if some of the parties are way out of town, or you yourself do not live close by, you obviously can’t travel back and forth every weekend. If this is the case, try to pick one shower with help of the bride to make a special effort to attend.
Always remember to have fun!
Last but not least try to remember, this time is not about you... but that doesn't mean you can't have fun with it!