How to Be a Good Bridesmaid

According to this Wikipedia entry, historically bridesmaids were a status symbol. The more money you had, the more bridesmaids you had. They have always typically consisted of sisters or good friends. The bride’s family used to always pay for every expense a bridesmaid had, it just recently changed to bridesmaid paying for most (if not all) of their own expenses and the bride giving them a gift of gratitude. Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses is obviously overboard, so what do you need to do to be a great bridesmaid?

3 women in white floral dress holding bouquet of flowers

Bottom line is that a bridesmaid is an essential helper before, during and after a wedding. There are the obvious things like helping the bride go to the bathroom at the wedding, attending all the showers and bachelorette parties, making sure she eats the day of the wedding, but here are some overlooked pointers that in my mind are ABSOLUTE MUSTS:

  1. Opinions: Before you get into the knitty-gritty of wedding details take a minute to ask the bride how she wants your opinions. Here are some possible ways to approach this: Does she want you to tell her every thought that comes to your mind when she shows you her dream wedding dress? Does she want you to read her expressions and generally agree with whatever she seems to be liking (this was what I wanted, basically just a confidence boost)? Does she want honest opinions no matter what? This step can really help avoid pre-wedding fights or extra stress on the bride.
  2. Money: Before you accept the bride’s request to be one of her bridesmaids ask her how much she thinks you’ll be spending. If she’s not sure about the bridesmaid budget, and you don’t have $500 to spend on everything, let her know from the beginning. With the economy as terrible as it is right now you need to approach this gracefully and efficiently. If you are in serious money trouble, you need to tell the bride. If you accept and don’t tell her it can seriously cause unnecessary stress later on when you can’t afford the dress she loves or the Vegas weekend she has her eye on for the bachelorette party. No matter how much you love this bride, it’s not fair to you to spend money you don’t have and it’s not fair to the bride to commit to spending money you don’t have.
  3. Speak up: When there is something you aren’t comfortable with. I recently ran into this issue with my good friend Meggan (shout out to double G getting married on 7/16/2010). She picked out a really cute dress from David’s Bridal that I’m excited to wear, but then she chose the shoes. They are beautiful gold heels, but they are 4 inch heels. I don’t do heels, I just can’t. I’ve tried, I have terrible balance, and if I fall at her wedding I will die! I felt terrible about this. Meggan is super cute and such a great friend that I was just afraid to bring it up because I didn’t want to upset her. Unfortunately I waited too long and all the other bridesmaids bought the shoes. Once I talked to her she couldn’t change the shoes obviously, so she decided I could just wear the heels in pictures and really similar flat sandals for the ceremony and the rest of the day. Thanks Megg! :)
  4. Don’t talk about yourself too much: This is the brides one and only wedding (hopefully). She wants your opinions on HER wedding, not what you want for your own wedding. I don’t care if you’re getting married two days after her. Here’s a perfect example of what NOT to do. Bride: “I really want a dress that is ivory and covered in lace.” Bridesmaid: “Oh me too, I love lace, I can’t wait to get married.” Here’s an example of what you SHOULD do: Bride: “I really want a dress that is ivory and covered in lace.” Bridesmaid: “Oh that is so you, it will be perfect!”
  5. Go to the maid of honor whenever possible: If you have questions that you think the MOH can answer, go to her if possible. It is awesome if the bride keeps everyone up to the minute with information, but if not ask the MOH because most likely if you have a question the other Bridesmaids do too.
  6. Go above and beyond! Your job is to make the bride’s day extra special. One area where you can lend a helping hand is with the bride’s shoes. Throughout the wedding day, make it a priority to assist her with her shoe changes. From helping her slip into those elegant heels for the ceremony to swapping them out for more comfortable dancing shoes at the reception, your support will be greatly appreciated. Keep a handy emergency kit nearby with essentials like heel inserts, blister cushions, and extra heel protectors, just in case. Being there for the bride’s shoe moments not only ensures her comfort but also adds an extra touch of love and care to her wedding day. So bridesmaids, let’s step up and make sure the bride’s shoe game is on point from start to finish!women in white dress shirt smiling

So in general you really need to communicate with the bride in the beginning, ask her how you can help, what she needs from you and be honest about what you can do up front. I hope this helps bridesmaids and brides as they prepare for the big day! Don’t worry all you amazing bridesmaids out there who are thinking “Yeah I would totally love to help if my friend weren’t such a crazy bridezilla!” I’m going to start working on a “How to Be a Good Bride” post soon so keep checking back for that.


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