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Bridesmaid Duties: 20 Tasks for Your Bridesmaids

Whether you're a bridesmaid, bridesmate or bridesman, these are the important bridesmaid duties you'll need to have on your checklist ahead of the big day...

A bride wearing a beaded v-neck wedding dress standing with her bridesmaid who is dressed in a shiny green bridesmaid dress and gold block heels outside the wedding venue

Being a bridesmaid is a total honour and the chance to make life-long memories with your closest friend as they get married – but what are the actual duties for bridesmaids?

The role of a bridesmaid or maid of honour, and the bridesmaid responsibilities that come with it, are crucial to the day – you are a very important piece of your friend's wedding puzzle and we're here to help you ensure you don't forget a thing.

The duties of a bridesmaid in the UK tend to differ from those around the world – we have a number of wedding role traditions that date way back to when weddings first began, but that doesn't mean you need to stick to all of them. Your bridesmaid role will very much depend on the couple and what their approach to wedding planning is like. 

They might decide to give you a list of bridesmaid duties that are all super traditional, or they might decide to go off-book and have a bridesman or bridesmate who's just there to enjoy the ride. Whatever they choose, one thing's for certain, there are some bridesmaid jobs that you definitely need to know about. 

Bridesmaid Role Explained: What is the Role of a Bridesmaid?

This exciting role is one of the most important you'll ever have – and there are plenty of fun and exciting bridesmaid duties to undertake along the way.

That said, not all bridesmaid duties are glamorous, and bridesmaids aren’t actual maids. Couples 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…

What Are a Bridesmaid's Duties? 

If you're wondering 'what does a bridesmaid do?', it's a whole host of things. From helping to plan the hen party and shop for wedding attire, to emotionally supporting the bride throughout the planning process and organising and participating on the big day itself, there's a lot for bridesmaids to take on both before and during the wedding day.

As we mentioned before, when it comes to what a bridesmaid does, not every bridesmaid will have the same list of duties on their bridesmaid job checklist, but some that you can almost guarantee to have on your list are getting ready with the nearlywed on the morning of the wedding, walking down the aisle and, potentially, giving some sort of toast or wedding reading. We go into a lot more detail below.

What is the Role of a Chief Bridesmaid?

Not every wedding has a chief bridesmaid - also known as a maid of honour - but if you do, the role of a chief bridesmaid involves taking the lead when it comes to organising the bridesmaids and planning the hen do. 

"Nowadays, being a bridesmaid for your bestie is a real team effort," says Zoe Burke, wedding expert and Editor of Hitched. "But it's helpful to designate one person as the chief bridesmaid (or maid or matron of honour - although I must admit I prefer the title of chief bridesmaid!), so there is a person who can take the lead in making decisions, particularly around things you won't be involved in, like the hen do.

"When choosing a chief bridesmaid, it's important to think about the person you're asking - the role can require a lot of planning, navigating different group dynamics, and sometimes unpleasant tasks like chasing people for hen party payments etc. Is that something they can do and would feel comfortable doing?"

What Does a Bridesmaid Do? The Bridesmaid Role Broken Down

We've broken down all the lists of bridesmaid responsibilities below, but here's a TL:DR snapshot for those in a hurry to understand the role of a bridesmaid in the UK:

  • Emotional support for the nearlyweds during the planning process
  • Assisting the chief bridesmaid (if there is one!) in the pre-wedding celebration plans (such as the hen do, and a bridal shower if you're having one!)
  • Helping with any wedding tasks such as DIY or collecting various items
  • Set up at the venue, if required
  • Supporting the nearlyweds on the wedding day itself
  • Giving a speech or toast, if asked to

Bridesmaid Duties and Jobs Before the Wedding

1. Celebrate the Engagement

Whether it's helping to plan the engagement party, or arranging some celebratory drinks with the maid of honour, other bridesmaids and the soon-to-be-wed couple, celebrating the upcoming wedding and the fact that the couple have officially chosen their 'I do crew' is an absolute must. This is also your chance to establish with the couple just how hands-on you're willing to be when it comes to planning. 

2. Establish the Finances

Before you begin tasks such as shopping for bridesmaid outfits and booking hair and makeup, you should make sure you establish with the bride who is expected to pay for what. Approach the conversation with an open mind – while it is tradition for the couple to pay for wedding party outfits, this isn't always the case and it will very much depend on their wedding budget.

Make sure you consider any extras such as accessories and hair and makeup, too. This is important to establish before any purchases are made, as it may affect yours or their choices.

3. Go Bridesmaid Dress Shopping

Bridesmaids in green mix and match bridesmaid dresses linking arms with the bride
Unsplash / Taylor Gray

You’ll be expected to go bridesmaid dress shopping with the nearlywed and the rest of the crew – and let’s face it, this is probably the part you’re most excited for. What colour will your bridesmaid dress be? What style will everyone choose? It’s all so much fun!

The chief bridesmaid or maid of honour 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 couple as soon as possible. Help the couple try and achieve their vision, and most importantly, be open minded. Wearing a bridesmaid dress is very different to any other outfit, so styles you don't usually go for may be worth a try on just to see. 

4. Help with Wedding Planning Tasks

The bridesmaids can help the couple with various parts of wedding planning, and may be asked to help with specific tasks depending on each of your individual interests, skills and talents.

If you’re good at crafts, the couple might ask you to help with DIY wedding favours, while those with a knack for design might assist with the wedding 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 the wedmin – it's all about finding the balance between being super helpful and positive, without becoming too involved. Let the couple take the lead with how much involvement they want from you. 

5. Help to Plan the Hen Party

A bride and her bridesmaids at a hen party wearing mis-matching satin short pyjamas
Pexels / Antoni Shkraba

Planning 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 or weekend away, and think about what tasks you can do to assist with planning the hen do.

One bridesmaid could round up some hen party dares for everyone to do, while another could contact the partner to get the answers for the Mr and Mrs Quiz (our template has variations for Mrs and Mrs and Mr and Mr too!). If there’s a big group of bridesmaids and friends of the nearlywed, consider some bridal shower games to break the ice.

Another bridesmaid role in the hen party planning could include putting together the party bags – we have the best hen party bag fillers to inspire you if this job falls to you.

6. Prepare for the Big Day

As the wedding date approaches, make sure you know what time you need to arrive – most nearlyweds 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 wedding day emergency kit to give to the couple on the day of the wedding, and if you’re staying overnight have a think about sleepover essentials – chocolates, romantic movies and bottles of bubbly are all essential!

Ahead of the actual wedding, you'll want to make sure you and the other bridesmaids are super clear on the smaller organisational details such as your travel (if you're having to arrange it yourself) and your hair and makeup (if you aren't having it professionally done).

Other details like last minute nail salon trips and ensuring you are fully equipped with all the accessories you need are also important. Rushing around on the day itself because you aren't organised will only cause unnecessary stress for everyone else. Organisation is key. 

7. Know Your Wedding Day Jobs

It's important that ahead of the wedding day itself, you know exactly what your bridesmaid duties are. It may be that the couple have asked you to deliver a wedding reading in the ceremony or make a toast to the happy couple or keep an eye on an elderly wedding guest. Whatever it is they need you to do, make yourself aware of it with plenty of notice so you can prepare. 

8. Check in With the Maid of Honour

In the days leading up to the wedding, t's likely that the couple will be inundated with last-minute wedding tasks, so maybe check in with the maid of honour – if there is one – and see if there are any tasks you can help out with ahead of the big day. 

9. Help Set Up the Venue

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. Alternatively, you may be asked to set up the wedding suite where you are all getting ready. 

Bridesmaid Duties and Jobs On the Wedding Day

10. Get Ready Together

a bridesmaid with rollers in her hair helping the bride get ready on the morning of her wedding

If you’re not already together on the morning of the wedding, head over to her house or hotel to help her get ready and capture those beautiful getting ready photos. The bridesmaids should be able to help any younger bridesmaids and flower girls, while the maid of honour tends to the star of the show.

Traditionally, the bridesmaids travel to the wedding ceremony with the maid of honour and the mother of the bride, leaving the bride to travel with her dad, but this isn't the case for all weddings as not all weddings have a bride and/or both parents! So it's something you'll want to check beforehand. The bridesmaids should arrive at the ceremony 10 minutes before the bride, so they can see her arrive.

11. Walk Down the Aisle

A beautiful bridesmaid walking down the aisle wearing a midi length glistening green bridesmaid dress and holding a rustic botanical bridesmaid bouquet

The order in which you walk down the aisle during the ceremony will depend on which style of entrance the couple have chosen.

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 and rest of the wedding party first and the bride last. This might be different if there isn't a bride or if the couple have another idea for how they want to enter their ceremony. 

12. Give a Reading

It's common for bridesmaids to be asked to play a bigger role in the wedding ceremony, either making a toast or being a witness as the couple do 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 rein, 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.

13. Exit With the Wedding Party

Bridesmaids facing the bride in her wedding dress
Unsplash / Vanessa

After the ceremony is over, you should leave after the couple and the maid of honour and the best man. Again, the exact order of when you leave the ceremony will depend on the couples' wishes.

14. Join the Receiving Line

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.

15. Help Seat Guests at the Wedding Breakfast

Along with the ushers, the duties of a bridesmaid often include helping to guide guests to their seats during the wedding breakfast. Bridesmaids aren't usually invited to sit on the top table so they are free to carry out this task.

16. Host Your Table

Bridesmaids are typically not included on the top table, but distributed across the table plan to 'host' the guests. Have your 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 celebrity wedding guest, 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.

17. Be On-Hand for the Couple

The bridesmaids and maid of honour 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.

Keep an eye out to make sure the couple always has something to drink (including regular hydrating drinks of water!) 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.

18. Fill the Dance Floor

Last but not least (and arguably the most important role of them all) a bridesmaid's role 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.

Bridesmaid Duties and Jobs After the Wedding

19. Return Any Hired Clothing

You may be asked to help to return any hired clothing or accessories, as well as taking bridesmaid dresses and possibly even the couples' outfits to be dry cleaned the next morning.

20. Help Clean Up

As well as that, you may also be needed to help take down any decorations after the wedding, or collect anything that the couple will need such as their wedding cake leftovers, centrepieces and floral arrangements.

No matter how fuzzy your head is feeling, stick on a wedding 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.

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 most unusual hen party ideas around, for those who want something a little different.