I've been a bride and I've been a bridesmaid. I was blessed to have an awesome group of ladies standing by my side on the big day. On both sides, I've experienced the highs and the lows, including my own personal moments where I let the stress of it all get the best of me.
As a bridesmaid, it is our responsibility to be there for the bride, help her in whatever way we can and make sure she has an enjoyable experience throughout the entire process. So, before she says “I do" and before you say “I will" to being a bridesmaid, make sure you take note of these 10 tips.
1. Let the bride have her moment and her time to shine.
Yes, you will slay and look beautiful on that day. Your face will be beat (great make-up) and you, too, may walk down the very aisle the bride will walk down, but don't forget…it's not about you. It's the bride's day and her time to shine. Keep this in mind in everything you do and you will remember to put her bridal needs before your bridesmaid needs.
2. Embrace your title as the “bride's maid."
Try to be proactive and ask the bride if there's anything you can do to help. Strive to be willing to lend a helping hand. Even if you live in another state, there are things you can do as it relates to helping plan the bachelorette party, the bridal shower or even the wedding. When one of my friends was getting married and I lived in another state, I still helped research decorative items and pricing for her online. If you can't do as much leading up to the wedding, at least commit to doing what what you can on the day of the wedding, like offering to get food for her, running last-minute errands or helping with the setup or clean-up for the wedding.
3. Only offer up your opinions to the bride if and when solicited.
For those of us who are married or for those of us who just might be a little bossy, it's easy for us to try and tell future brides what they should or shouldn't do, but our opinions should only be offered when solicited. Maybe you prefer a more intimate wedding, a larger wedding or even a destination wedding. That's totally fine and you can do all of that when it's your turn, but for now, let the bride do what she wants to do. Remember, she's planning the wedding of her dreams, not yours.
4. Try to limit the amount of questions you ask the bride.
“Where is the wedding? What time is the rehearsal? What kind of shoes should I wear? What time is the wedding?" While these questions are important and relevant, it can be overwhelming to ask all at once. As a bride, one can only imagine the number of questions that come from all sides – parents, family, friends, wedding planners, etc. Hopefully the bride has a website or will send friendly text or email reminders, but even if she doesn't, consider directing your questions to the maid/matron of honor or the wedding coordinator. Most times, they are the main point of contact, and one less question for the bride could mean one less thing she has to worry about.
5. Help shield the bride from unnecessary personal and behind-the-scenes drama.
There will be enough small fires the bride will have to put out or deal with before and during the actual day. Help her stay calm and relaxed by shielding her from disruptions and distractions. The less stress the bride has to be consumed with, the better it will be for everyone.
6. Take on the role of "Positive Pam" for the bride and everyone else.
Do your best to be the one who is always on time, never complaining, or who always shows up with a positive attitude. There may be situations where you will have to interact with people who you aren't as cool or close with, but try to keep it positive and be as cordial as possible for what will only last a short season. At the end of the day, you want to be the one who makes it easy for the bride and the rest of the wedding party.
7. Be honest from the beginning if you're not certain you can fulfill your obligations.
One thing I know for certain is no matter the role (bride or bridesmaid), each one requires a unique set of sacrifices as it relates to time, resources and especially finances. Whether it's due to financial or timing issues, be honest upfront even if that means you may have to decline the request (depending on the length or closeness of the friendship/sisterhood of course). Life happens and sometimes we have to adjust. I had someone tell me they couldn't be a bridesmaid for some of the same reasons mentioned above and even for circumstances beyond her control. The same thing happened to my husband and one of his groomsman. Ultimately, my husband and I had to make some changes, but at the end of the day the wedding still went on without a hitch and it didn't have a huge affect on anything.
8. If possible, try to order your dress at least six months in advance.
This is one of the best ways you can stay on the bride's good side and eliminate unnecessary stress. It's likely that the bride will be checking online or calling the store to check and see who has or hasn't ordered their dress. By ordering your dress on time, she will see that you care and are excited to be a part of the her special day. It will also allow time for your dress to arrive and for you to get alterations completed in time for the wedding.
9. Prepare your memorable reception toast or speech beforehand.
If you've been friends or close long enough, then this is your time to shine! It's your time to share with everyone why the bride means so much to you. So, unless you're totally awesome at speaking from memory, off the cuff or in front of large crowds, save yourself the embarrassment of stumbling over words or saying things that could be inappropriate or humiliating for the bride and everyone else including yourself. A little preparation can make your speech that much more memorable.
10. Be patient with the bride.
Managing life can be busy enough all by itself, and planning a wedding on top of everything else adds even more stress. I can own up and say that even though I wasn't a “bridezilla" per se, I definitely had stressful moments where unfortunately I took my frustrations out on others. So, there may be times when you might have to put up with a bridezilla and utilize a little more patience than usual. The bride will appreciate you that much more knowing that her girlfriends where right by her side helping her keep it altogether.
Featured image by Getty Images.