A few weeks ago we shared a post on how to be the best best man ever.
Photo by NavyBlur
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is a big deal, your friend is giving you the honour of being part of her inner circle on her wedding day.
And with great privilege, comes great responsibility.
No your bride can't expect you to be at the end of the phone for a 3am floral brainstorming session, splash out $400 for your own dress (that you'll never wear again), or ask you to cut your hair/tan your skin/lose or gain weight for her wedding day.
Still not sure what's expected of you as a bridesmaid? We've come up with 10 commandments for being your buddy's best lady in the lead up to her wedding.
1. Be Interested
Your friend is no doubt excited about her big day, and chances are she wants to talk about her plans. But with all the chatter of so-called “bridezillas” over the last few years, (we hate that word!) brides have been getting a bad rep. They often feel talking about their wedding could be selfish or boring, so will refrain from waxing lyrical about dress styles and catering options.
Encourage your friend to talk about her wedding, ask questions, and be interested. She'll feel so much better about explaining her inner conflict over stationery fonts.
2. But Talk About Other Things Too
Just as it's helpful to ask your friend about her wedding, it's also important to ask about her work/family/new shoes, and to chat about what's going on with you too.
She could be getting hit with lots of wedding questions, and feel like her whole life is revolving around this one day. So from time to time, make sure you talk about anything other than her wedding plans.
3. The Perfect Shopping Buddy
Your role as a wedding dress shopping confidant is a tricky one, you need to strike a balance between being constructive, but not putting your best friend off the dress of her dreams.
Take a look at her dress board on Pinterest, or ask her about what she has in mind before you go shopping, so you don't blurt something out, like “Ugh, beading” or “Strapless dresses are so boring” when that's the style your friend's heart is set on.
That said, do suggest alternative styles she may not have considered, which you think would look great on her, and if she tries on a dress you don't like, unless you think she's in love with it, gently tell her that another one was more flattering/gorgeous/suited to her.
But at the end of the day, remember, it's about about her style and taste, not yours.
4. Fall into Line (A Little)
A few weeks ago we talked about the mix and match bridesmaid trend, and how we love when brides embrace their girls' individuality. Brides should really take your style into consideration, but sometimes they'll be set on a certain (pink chiffon) aesthetic for their day.
But even if you get to choose your dress from her palette, maybe you don't like wear lilac, blush OR taupe (black is more your style), or perhaps you don't like to wear dresses at all.
While your bride can't ask you to wear heels you can't walk in, or dye your signature pink hair brown, when it comes to the dress, it's just for one day, so it's often better not to stress your pal out about it.
As long as she doesn't make you wear something three sizes too small, do your bridesmaidly duty and suck it up, put it on, and smile!
5. Spoil Her
Make your friend feel special in the lead up to her wedding, especially around her engagement and in the final weeks of planning. Make every get together an excuse for bubbly, send her excited texts in the lead up to her day, or take her out for a stress free day of shopping.
From getting a facial together to hosting a BBQ for her and her partner, weddings aren't just one day, it's a whole exciting time, so show your bride you're happy for her and want to celebrate every step of the way.
6. Throw Her Hen Party, Not Yours
So your idea of a perfect bachelorette party is downing shots, and hitting the dancefloor draped in flashing L plates, awaiting the arrival of your (fake fireman) stripper.
Perhaps the bride in your life wants something a little more low key.
A weekend on a farm, a spa break, or a karaoke slumber party, think about the elements that would make your friend's perfect day, night, or weekend, and incorporate them into a personalised hen party she'll never forget.
7. Make Yourself Useful
The most helpful thing you can do for your friend is to get jobs ticked off her list, rather than give her one more task, of finding something to delegate to you.
Don't just tell your bride to let you know if she needs anything, offer your services for specific tasks or take something off her hands entirely.
Tell her you can address and post the invites, assure her you'll steam her dress on the morning of her wedding, collect the boutonnières from the florist or look after making up the activity packs for the kids. It's practical help like that, that's invaluable in the lead up to the wedding.
8. Go Team
This kind of goes without saying, but try to get on with the other bridesmaids. You might not know them very well, you might not be very close, and you might even find yourselves competing over “best bridesmaid” bragging rights.
But the last thing your friend needs on the morning of your wedding is to break up your squabbling over who gets to button up her dress for the photographs!
Stay in touch throughout the planning, (set up a group email or message thread), work together on the bridal shower or hen party, and try to be nice to each other, even when it would feel better not to be.
9. The Little Extras
It's the little touches that takes a great bridesmaid to the next level of awesomeness. And those touches don't have to cost a thing.
Make your friend a playlist for the morning of her wedding (or steal ours!), create a book for her with words of wisdom, recipes and stories from the women in her life, go with her to a perfumery and concoct a signature scent for her wedding day, or make a survival kit with everything you could need for a wedding day mishap.
Your attention to detail will put your friend at ease – how could she be nervous on her wedding day when she knows you've got every eventuality, covered?
10. To The Bitter End
You might normally be the first one to duck off on a night out, but when you're a bridesmaid, you're on the clock as long as your bride is still up and at 'em.
Hit the dancefloor if it empties out after a not-so-great song, make sure your mate eats something and has plenty of water, and try not to drink too much yourself. Of course you should relax and enjoy the party, but just remember, your friend might need a hand unhitching those 47 buttons down the back of her dress at the end of the night.
If you follow those steps, you'll be sure to excel at your new job as best bridesmaid ever!
But of course, that's not all you can do to be a great bridesmaid, so please do share your advice in the comments below.
Debating on whether or not to have bridesmaids at all? Check out our case for ditching the bridal party altogether.