Getting named as a bridesmaid is obviously a big deal. It means you’re one of the closest people in the bride’s life. It’s easy to get all kinds of excited. But if you’re the head bridesmaid/maid of honour, it’s more than just a reason to celebrate. It means you have some tasks coming your way, too. Your job is to make the wedding easier for the bride.
Paying your way
First thing to get out of the way: being a bridesmaid is rather expensive. Expect to pay your way for a lot of things. If you’re going to end up complaining about it, then maybe you shouldn’t expect the responsibility. If you are going to accept that responsibility, then the first thing you need to put together is your budget. Make this budget then stick to it as much as possible. Of course, it’s a good idea to set some money aside for emergency purchases, as well.
Making sure they don’t have to sweat every detail alone
The wedding is full of all kinds of choices that the bride is likely to make. Some women will be lucky enough to have a groom that’s going to pull his weight in organising the wedding. Most would prefer to do it themselves. But you can help. Help scout places she can use for services. Help her make the phone calls. If you spot some sweet vintage wedding invites, tell her. Go in wedding crazy mode for a while, just so she can relax from time to time.
Helping with the dresses
Naturally, you’re going to be there to help her choose her wedding dress. Usually, the role you play in this is as something of a backseat driver. You’re there to be helpful, not right. If she really likes something, you shouldn’t ruin it for her. If she’s undecided, then you can help weigh in a little more. You can be of a lot more help in choosing the bridesmaid dresses. Just make sure that whatever you think of compliments her style. In all cases, do keep in mind that the bride has the final say. Even if you hate your dress.
Planning a bachelorette party
Expect to take on the role of party planner. Bridal showers are easy enough to organise, but the bachelorette party is the real test of your skills. First, you need to set boundaries and moods. Don’t go overboard. Think of the bride, think of what she would be comfortable with. Ask her well in advance what she doesn’t want, then pick out the most fun you can outside of that. Set the date and the location three months in advance. Get together with the other maids and brainstorm some fun stunts. Most importantly, don’t get too complicated with it. Everyone’s there to have fun.
Rocking the toast
Bridesmaids don’t give toasts at every wedding, but if you’re asked to give one, don’t decline. It’s an honour to speak at the occasion, so treat it like one. As for the speech itself, it can be anything you want. Just make sure you avoid some of the most horrendous bridesmaid toast mistakes often made. For one, people are waiting for their dinner, so don’t make it too long. Most importantly, however, avoid anything that would make people overly uncomfortable. Usually we’re talking about too many inside jokes that people won’t get or overly embarrassing anecdotes. Keep it PG-13, whatever you do.
That’s right, you have to do all of that and still get her a gift. We did warn you that you’d be investing a lot of money as well as time in this. Don’t worry about how much is appropriate. If they have a registry, jump on it by all accounts. Otherwise, why not set them up with something special? Something like a photobook looking at some of their best bits could be just the heart-warming gift she would want from her best friend.
Taking care of your own extras
There’s a chance that the bride might hold a council for getting everyone prepared with their extras. This means shoes, hair and any accessories. You might very well be left to your own devices. You could get the bride’s ideas on what would look good in contrast to her, but be prepared to select and buy your own extras. If you’re already stretching your budget, however, consider keeping your hair simple but classy. You can also do your own make-up on the day with the right tips.