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The Bridesmaid's Survival Guide

Updated on November 16, 2014

The Bridesmaid's Survival Guide

Eventually, it will happen to every woman... you get a call, or you meet your friend at a restaurant, she excitedly pulls out her hand to reveal the good news - she's engaged! As you reach in to hug her or express your excitement over the phone, you hear those five little words every woman is bound to hear at some point - "Will you be my bridesmaid?"

Being a bridesmaid can be fun, enjoyable and a special time in your friendship... or it can be expensive, unpleasant, and leave you considering throwing your perfectly dyed shoe at the bride's head! Often, it's a little a both, so the Bridesmaid's Survival Guide is here to help you!

Image: Elwood W. McKay III /


Before You Accept - Should You Say Yes To Being A Bridesmaid?

Can you accept the duties of being a bridesmaid?

Before you get caught up in the excitement of being a bridesmaid, you should first consider whether you will be able to fulfill the duties of a bridesmaid. It is better to decline the honor than to be unable to fulfill your role. So, what are the duties a bridesmaid usually takes on?

Generally speaking, bridesmaids are expected to -

- attend all wedding related events, including engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsals, wedding ceremony and reception, and any other events (for example, a post-wedding afterparty or brunch the next day)

- assist in planning of the bridal shower and bachelorette party, and contribute some share of money towards them

- purchase and wear an outfit of the bride's choosing, and have the bridesmaid dress measured, fitted, altered as necessary. The outfit may also include accessories such as matching shoes, gloves or jewelry. You may also be requested to get your hair, nails or makeup done with the bridal party, and pay for that.

- assist the bride with wedding planning duties as necessary and requested, for example helping address invitations or make favors

- provide emotional support by keeping in close contact with the bride during her engagement

- arrange for and pay for your own travel to the wedding, including flights, hotel and car rental

- be available to the bride on the day of the wedding by arriving early to assist her with dressing, deliver messages to family members that day, make sure she has something to eat or drink, carry gifts to the car at the end of the reception

- buy the bride a bridal shower gift, and buy the couple a wedding gift

This list can vary greatly depending on your friend's wants and needs. The best way to determine what is expected of you is to be upfront and ask the bride. As you can see, the bridesmaid duties may take up a considerable amount of time and money. If you are unable to commit yourself to fulfilling the duties, it is best to thank the bride for the honor but explain that you are unable to be a bridesmaid, although you would of course like to be a guest at the wedding.

If you are ready to accept, read on for Bridesmaid Survival guidance!


You've Accepted, and Now You're A Bridesmaid!

Congratulations! Despite the work and cost involved, being a bridesmaid is at the heart of the matter, an honor. The bride must value your friendship and advice, and so your next step is to continue to be a great friend. Go through the bridesmaid duties above. Be there for your friend. And most importantly, have fun!

The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties and Being Fabulous - Don't be a bridesmaid without this book!

They don't call them maids for nothing. Being a fabulous bridesmaid calls for much more than throwing on the dress and throwing back a few drinks. Enter The Bridesmaid Guide-a hip and informative book on being the best best woman a woman can be. With good humor and plenty of tips, author Kate Chynoweth covers everything the bridesmaids and maid of honor need to know. Whether the dilemma is how to throw a perfectly pitched bridal shower, wear the bridesmaid's dress with panache, wow the crowd with a speech, or support the bride on her big day, here are solutions a-plenty. This illustrated guide is the perfect sourcebook for a girl's best friend.

The Bridesmaid Guide: Modern Advice on Etiquette, Parties, and Being Fabulous
The Bridesmaid Guide: Modern Advice on Etiquette, Parties, and Being Fabulous

This page is just a start - study up on how you can be the best bridesmaid, stay on budget, and have fun with this wonderful and well written book by Kate Chynoweth.


Tip: Make a Bridesmaid Survival Budget

Smart Bridesmaids Save!

One of the most obvious burdens on a bridesmaid is the financial burden of participating in the bridal party. As you can see from the list of bridesmaid duties above, you will be expected to pay for or contribute towards many things throughout the couple's engagement. The best way to lessen this burden on you is to start saving up your money immediately! You do NOT want to go into debt for someone else's wedding, so start saving your money now so that you can pay in cash for things like the bridesmaid dress and wedding gift when the time comes. The easiest way to start saving is to open a separate dedicated high interest savings account at an online bank like ING, and have a portion of your paycheck transferred to that account every pay period. Before you know it, you'll already have saved enough money to cover your bridesmaid dress!

Stock up: Bridesmaid Survival Kit!

It is inevitable that something will happen on the wedding day that needs your attention as a bridesmaid. It's best to pack a bag with some essentials for those "just in case" situations. Here are some tips to get you started on your bridesmaid survival kit!

Cathy's Concepts Bridesmaid Clutch with Survival Kit, Black
Cathy's Concepts Bridesmaid Clutch with Survival Kit, Black

Let your favorite girls prepare for the worst while looking their best with our super chic Bridesmaid Clutch with Survival Kit. With its over the top trend appeal and ultra functional nature, this is one wedding day detail your bridesmaids won't want to go without. Equipped with all the right survival accessories - from band aids and bobby pins to sewing kits and breath mints - and designed in plush matte satin, it's no wonder why this unique gift is such a well anticipated product! Fashioned in matte satin and featuring zip and snap closures, each sleek mini purse may also be personalized free of any extra cost to you. Bridesmaid clutch includes the following survival kit items: 2 band aids, 4 bobby pins, towelette, matchbox styled sewing kit, breath mint and travel size Kleenex pack.


What are your best bridsmaid survival tips?

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    • suzy-t profile image

      suzy-t 5 years ago

      Great tips...Especially about the budget...

    • LyricalVenus profile image

      LyricalVenus 6 years ago

      Awesome, very practical tips! Another bridesmaid movie I love is 27 dresses!

    • shellys-space profile image

      Shelly Sellers 6 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Great ideas for surviving a Wedding!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 6 years ago

      @ChemKnitsBlog2: Stopping back to bless this lens!

    • ChemKnitsBlog2 profile image

      ChemKnitsBlog2 7 years ago

      I should pass this on to my bridesmaids ;)

    • trotter2099 lm profile image

      trotter2099 lm 7 years ago

      This is a fantastic topic. I recently got married, had I known about this lens then I would have shown it to my wife and her bridesmaids. lol.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      @LouiseKirkpatrick: Oh how lucky you are with the UK tradition when it comes to who pays! Thanks for the blessing!

    • LouiseKirkpatrick profile image

      LouiseKirkpatrick 7 years ago from Berkshire, United Kingdom

      I've been a bridesmaid twice, but both times were when I was a little girl! I'm from the UK and over here, it's the bride and groom who bear all the costs of the wedding and associated events - so bridesmaids get all the fun aspects but none of the costs! Blessed by a SquidAngel :)