The bridesmaids are usually made up from close friends or female relatives of the bride and groom. Particularly young relatives might be better off with a flower girl role as there is less involvement in the planning of the wedding. Bridesmaids form a support network for the bride, headed up by the maid of honour, and help her to plan her big day.
If you’re yet to ask your best girls, make sure you catch up on our best ways to ask ‘will you be my bridesmaid?’
Wedding Planning Duties
The bridesmaids can help the bride with various parts of the wedding planning, and may be asked to help with specific tasks depending on their individual skills and talents. If you’re good at crafts, the bride might ask you to help with assembling the centrepieces, whilst those with a knack for design might assist with the stationery.
You will also be expected to go bridesmaid dress shopping with the bride. The maid of honour’s duties include helping to arrange a day where everyone can get together to try dresses on. Try and be flexible, particularly if there’s a large group to organise, to make it a stress free experience. Offer positive feedback and remember, it can be difficult to dress and coordinate a large group, so if you have concerns, address them calmly with the bride as soon as possible.
Make sure you establish with the bride too who will pay for the dresses, and any extras such as accessories and hair and makeup. Traditionally the bride pays for what she wants the bridesmaids to have, but this isn’t always the case so make sure everyone’s on the same page to avoid any awkwardness.
Be prepared to help with any wedding planning tasks – and do so with a smile, as it’s all part of the role of bridesmaid. This can include sorting RSVPs and categorising menu choices once the invitations have been sent out.
Image credit: Tim Whiting Photography
The Hen Party
Organising the hen party typically falls to the maid of honour, but you may be given tasks to assist her. Be prepared with ideas to help the maid of honour plan the perfect day, and think about what task you can do to assist with planning the hen do.
One bridesmaid could round up some hen party dares for everyone to do, whilst another could contact the groom to get the answers for the Mr and Mrs Quiz – every hen party needs this! If there’s a big group of bridesmaids and female friends of the bride, consider some bridal shower games to break the ice. Another bridesmaid task could include putting together the hen party bags – we have the best hen party bag fillers to inspire you if this job falls to you.
The Run Up to the Wedding
As the wedding date gets nearer, make sure you know what time you need to arrive – most brides like to have their bridesmaids get ready with them, so find out if you need to sort overnight accommodation or if you can turn up in the morning. Also, double check to find out if there’s anything you need to bring with you.
Image credit: Dominika Miechowska Photography
Talk to the maid of honour and the other bridesmaids about putting together a bridal emergency kit to give to the bride on the day of the wedding, and if you’re staying overnight have a think about sleepover essentials – chocolates, girly movies and bottles of bubbly are all essential!
The Day Before the Wedding
Pick up any hired items you’ll be using for the wedding, including any outfits and accessories. It’s also a good time to get your nails done and have any last minute beauty appointments – if the bride and bridesmaids are all together, it can be a fun pre-wedding activity.
The bridesmaids might also be asked to help set the venue up the day before the wedding – the more people who help, the quicker it gets done. If you’re staying overnight with the bride and the maid of honour, now is the time to get out those sleepover essentials.
Image credit: Rebecca Joseph Events
If you’re not already with the bride on the morning of the wedding, head over to help her get ready and for those beautiful getting ready photos. The bridesmaids should also be able to help any younger bridesmaids and flower girls, whilst the maid of honour tends to the bride.
The bridesmaids traditionally travel to the wedding ceremony with the maid of honour and the mother of the bride, leaving the bride to travel with her dad. The bridesmaids should arrive at the ceremony ten minutes before the bride, so they can see her arrive.
During the ceremony, it depends which style of entrance the bride has chosen as to when you’ll enter. The traditional English style sees the bride and her father go first, followed by the bridesmaids, but it’s becoming increasingly popular to do it the American way, with the bridesmaids first and the bride last.
You might be asked to give a reading during the ceremony, or to be a witness for the signing of the register. After the ceremony is over, you should leave after the bride and groom and the maid of honour and the best man.
If the newlyweds choose to have a receiving line at the reception, you may be required to stand in it and greet guests as a key member of the wedding party. Bridesmaids are typically not included on the top table, but distributed across the table plan to host the guests. You were traditionally expected to hand out slices of wedding cake to guests, but now most people help themselves or it is served up after the wedding breakfast.
The bridesmaids should be available during the wedding reception to assist the bride – she might need makeup touch-ups, or help going to the bathroom if she has a particularly cumbersome dress. Be prepared!
Image credit: Rachel Neate Freelance Makeup & Hair Artist
Keep an eye out to make sure the bride has something to drink and has had some food as the evening goes on – it can be tricky for the newlyweds to find the time to grab a bite to eat, so if you can help out there it will be appreciated.
After the Wedding
You may be asked to help take down any decorations after the wedding, or to return any hired clothing or accessories. The best man’s duties involve safely storing the wedding gifts if the couple decide to honeymoon right away, but as a bridesmaid you might be asked to help with this.
Top Tips to be the Best Bridesmaid Ever
Be excited – you might feel like you’ve been a bridesmaid more times than you’ve had wedding breakfasts now, but it’s still a big deal for the bride who has asked you to share in her special day, so try and be excited for her.
Be helpful – don’t agree to be a bridesmaid if you’re not willing to pitch in and help out. Quite often the bride is happy to just have her girls there to share in her day, but sometimes you might be asked to do some DIY or assist with the planning – help out with a smile where you can!
Think about the extras – it’s not enough to just turn up at the hen party and wear a sash – think about what you can do to go the extra mile to make the hen party extra special, whether that’s researching cocktail games or putting together a book of heartfelt messages from the other bridesmaids.
Be a team player – even if you don’t know the other bridesmaids, throw yourself into working with them. This is an opportunity to help your bestie and make some new friends!
Be available for non-wedding tasks – sometimes everyone needs a break, so be around for trips to the cinema or for coffee where the W word is banned.
If you have the perfect bridesmaids, make sure you browse our guide to thank you gifts for bridesmaids.