Publish 28 April 2022
Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride
Hurray! Another friend is getting married. Today, I received my fifth invitation to be a bridesmaid. Familiar with the routine, I get to wear what is historically the worst attire in the wedding party—to highlight the bride. But I am optimistic that some handsome groomsman will see past the seafoam green dress, and a romance will blossom. Regardless of that fantasy outcome, I need to focus on what Evelyn is asking me to do as a bridesmaid.
With good planning and assistance of other bridesmaids, I shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. There is some effort and financial commitment required for anybody in a wedding party. To show up as the best possible bridesmaid, I need to be well-informed of responsibilities. The work of a bridesmaid begins long before the wedding day.
Bridesmaid Pre-Wedding Responsibilities
Be Emotionally Responsive
Wedding preparation is both thrilling and stressful. First and foremost, it is critical to be accessible for the bride through difficult times. That doesn’t mean that I have to be at her beck and call. Evelyn has been a good friend over the years. So it’s great for her to know that her bridesmaids are her closest friends and best supporters. If the roles were reversed, I’m sure that she would have my back.
Participate In Planning (and Paying)
The Maid or Matron of Honor (MOH) is usually in charge of organizing pre-wedding celebrations to honor the bride. Still, as a bridesmaid, I should be there to help with logistics and finances. We shouldn’t delegate all of the preparations to the MOH!
Obtain Bridesmaid’s Dress
This is critical. Let me check my savings account balance. It looks like there’s enough to purchase my bridesmaid dress and accessories. Unfortunately, the style and color of the gown is up to the bride or the MOH. Evelyn has good taste. Perhaps this will be the time I get to wear something halfway decent or, dare I say, pretty.
Attend Bachelorette Bash
A privilege I look forward to is assisting other bridesmaids to plan and, in many cases, pay for the bachelorette party. Attendance is mandatory! Like having backstage passes to a concert, this pre-wedding celebration usually includes the bride and her wedding party. While some bachelorette parties last just one night, others continue all weekend. I will need to find out Evelyn’s preference ahead of time.
With the champagne flowing and adult entertainment, things can get wild. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Other times it leads to regrets. I’ll check with the other bridesmaids to see how far they want to go.
Plan Bridal Shower
A special pre-wedding event for closest friends and family of the bride is the bridal shower. As a bridesmaid, I must be there to encourage Evelyn. I will find out if she wants the bridesmaids to plan and host the bridal shower. Knowing where it takes place and how much the venue costs will help me to budget accordingly. Even if I’m not hosting, I should be there to deliver a wedding present with a personalized note.
Bridesmaid Wedding-Day Role
Attend Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
To minimize the stress of the soon-to-be-weds and their parents, I must clear my calendar for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Usually, this is at the wedding location on the night before the event. The rehearsal provides the opportunity to practice the processional sequence and memorize the ceremony stages. I prefer wearing my wedding shoes to this event to practice walking down the aisle in them.
After that, it’s on to the rehearsal dinner. There isn’t much I need to do here except observe the required dress code, listen to the speakers, and enjoy the dinner with proper etiquette. Let me think, chilled salad forks, soup spoons, small bites—I know the routine.
Show Up To The Wedding
This one is obvious. Unless someone in my close family dies or I go into labor, my butt should be at the ceremony and reception, and I can’t be a wallflower. A passive audience often needs a few “sympathy dancers” to start the celebration. Fortunately, I was born to dance. But I will be selective on the tempo to keep from perspiring too much. This is something to work out with others in the wedding party.
Be The Bride's Personal Mirror
The bride will be meeting and welcoming many people on her wedding day. With her preoccupation, she may forget to check her hair and makeup. At Evelyn’s side, she can flash her smile at me. I will let her know if she has food in her teeth or if a trip to the powder room is necessary. The MOH and other bridesmaids share the task of making the bride look her best.
Here’s were my bridesmaid experience is helpful. Sometimes the wedding party does not pose for pictures with the happy couple before the ceremony. Then, these group shots are taken shortly after the ceremony, at the start of the cocktail hour. Instead of scattering into the crowd, I can remind other bridesmaids to remain together and be ready to follow the photographer's directions.
Bridesmaid Post-Wedding Duties
Assist With Returns
Things like gift boxes and rentals accumulate during the festivities. With permission, transporting them to the hotel or other locations is an important role of a bridesmaid.
Plan Wedding After-Party or Post-Wedding Brunch
My fellow bridesmaids and I must keep the celebration going by assisting our friend. I can ensure that everyone arrives at the after-party and receives their late-night food (if a meal is offered). Throughout the evening, I should continue checking to be certain that Evelyn is hydrated and satisfied.
Even if the newlyweds shuttle off to their honeymoon, most of the wedding party will be in hotels. A post-wedding brunch requires planning. It’s difficult getting out of bed after a late night, but that is why smartphones have multiple alarms.
It might take anywhere from four to eight weeks for the photographer to finalize the professional album. In the meantime, I can compile a digital collection of any photos and videos shot by the wedding party. The couple can reminisce about these moments while they wait.
Have a Good Time
After lining up for bridal photos in what has traditionally been hideous attire, the smiles of the newlyweds make it all seem worthwhile. The list of groomsmen includes a Prince Charming with whom I look forward to sharing the dance floor.
The new friendships that I form will be invaluable ones that may someday assist with my own wedding. Despite all the work, I will have much fun partying with a close friend during the happiest occasion of her life. Evelyn, I accept your invitation!
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Co-author Faiza Khan Niazi writes about pregnancy and parenting.