Being a bridesmaid is a total honour and the chance to make life-long memories with your closest girl. Whether you’ve been chosen by your BFF, sister or female relative, you’re going to be crucial in forming a support network for the bride and helping her to plan her big day.
That said, not all bridesmaid duties are glamorous, and bridesmaids aren’t actual maids. Brides can sometimes forget that. With that in mind, it’s best you get clued up on all the crucial bridesmaid duties that you’d better not forget. We’ve also thrown in some top tips for being the best bridesmaid ever for good measure. Let’s get started…
READ MORE: The 17 Emotional Stages of Being a Bridesmaid
Before the Wedding
Go Bridesmaid Dress Shopping
Image: Suzi Photography
You’ll be expected to go bridesmaid dress shopping with the bride – and let’s face it, this is probably the part you’re most excited for. What colour will your dress be? What style will the bride choose? It’s all so much fun!
The maid of honour’s duties include helping to arrange a day where everyone can get together to try dresses on, so try and be flexible, particularly if there’s a large group to organise.
Offer positive feedback and remember it can be difficult to dress and coordinate everyone, so if you have concerns, address them calmly with the bride as soon as possible. Help the bride try and achieve her vision, and remember she always has the final say.
What’s more, you should make sure you establish with the bride who will pay for the dresses from the offset. Make sure you consider any extras such as accessories and hair and makeup, too.
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.
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Help with Wedding Planning Tasks
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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 DIY wedding favours, whilst those with a knack for design might assist with the stationery. You might also be asked to sort through RSVPs, categorise menu choices or offer your opinions on wedding suppliers.
Be prepared to help with any wedmin – and do so with a smile. It’s all part of the role of bridesmaid!
Help to Plan the Hen Party
Image: Jacqui McSweeney
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.
READ MORE: The Best Hen Party Decorations for a Stylish Celebration
Prepare for the Big Day
Image: Emma Kenny
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.
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!
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. Oh, and most importantly, be available for a phone call 24/7. Hour-long chats about whether wedding welcome boxes are necessary really are a thing.
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Help Set Up
The bridesmaids might be asked to help set the venue up the day before the wedding – the more people who help, the quicker it gets done.
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On the Wedding Day
Get Ready with the Bride
Image: Suzi Photography
If you’re not already with the bride on the morning of the wedding, head over to her hotel to help her get ready… and for those beautiful getting ready photos. The bridesmaids should 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.
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Walk Down the Aisle
Image: Sacha Miller
During the ceremony, it depends which style of entrance the bride has chosen as to when you’ll enter to walk down the aisle.
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.
Give a Reading
Image: The Wild Bride
You might be asked to give a reading during the ceremony, or to be a witness for the signing of the register.
If it’s a reading you’ve been asked to give, the couple will probably choose it for you. However, if they give you free reign, take a look at our pick of the most romantic non-religious wedding readings about love. There’s sure to be one they’ll appreciate.
After the ceremony is over, you should leave after the couple and the maid of honour and the best man.
Host Guests During the Wedding Breakfast
Image: Matt Guest
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. Have you friendliest, most cheerful face on and chat to all of the wedding guests on your table. Being a bridesmaid makes you a bit of a wedding celebrity, after all!
As well as hosting tables, bridesmaids were traditionally expected to hand out slices of wedding cake to guests. Most people now help themselves or it is served up after the wedding breakfast, so this probably won’t be something you’ll need to worry about.
READ MORE: How to Put Together the Ultimate Bride Squad
Assist the Bride
Image: Elijah & Susannah
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!
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.
Be the Life and Soul of the Party
Image: Ross Hurley
Last but not least (and arguably the most important role of them all) is to be the life and soul of the party. Make sure guests are having a good time, be the first on the dance floor (no one else wants to be, so that’s down to you) and party all night long.
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After the Wedding
Return Any Hired Clothing
Image: Twig & Vine
You may be asked to help take down any decorations after the wedding, or to return any hired clothing or accessories.
No matter how fuzzy your head is feeling, stick on a playlist and round up the other bridesmaids to get to work. After all, team work makes a dream work, and both the couple and the venue will really appreciate you helping with the tidying up.
Oh, and even though it’s one of the best man’s duties to safely store the wedding gifts if the couple decide to honeymoon right away, a bridesmaid might be asked to help with this also.
Top Tips for the Bridesmaids
Image: Diana V Photography & Film
- Be excited about everything. You might feel like you’ve been a bridesmaid more times than you can count, but it’s still a big deal for the bride who has asked you to share in her special day.
- Make sure you’re 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!
- Go above and beyond! 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, because everyone needs a break sometimes. Be around for trips to the cinema or for coffee where the W word is banned.
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Now you know how to be the best bridesmaid ever, you might want to start brainstorming for the hen do. Take a look at our round-up of the 29 most unusual hen party ideas around, for brides who want something a little different.