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Bride Holding Bouquet with Bridesmaids in Background

There is more to being a good bridesmaid than simply showing up.

It is a great honor to be asked to be a friend's or family member's bridesmaid and bear witness to the milestone of marriage. It is also a lot of work. Plus, it can be quite expensive to fulfill your duties to the bride and look fantastic in the process. To sum up: There is more to being a good bridesmaid than simply buying the dress. The following are a few guidelines and tips to carry you through, from the planning to the reception.

Know Your Bride

Well, she may not be YOUR bride, per se, but you will have many proprietary responsibilities leading up to her big day. It is essential for the physical, spiritual and mental health of everyone involved that you understand the big picture. Ask what the bride-to-be has in mind for things such as attire and a bachelorette party. Have your day planner or phone app open to record pertinent dates. Do not be afraid to discuss finances. The sooner you understand the scope of the event, the sooner you can adjust your schedule and budget.

Do Not Overcommit

If you discover that your friend's fairytale wedding will require you to take out a loan to meet your responsibilities, you may have to politely decline the job. Again, take action sooner rather than later. Nothing will damper your friend's excitement more than a stressed-out, overburdened lady-in-waiting. Eimear Lynch, author of "The Bridesmaids," estimates some bridesmaids' bottom lines to be around $2,000 after buying the dress and shoes, contributing to the shower and bachelorette party, and purchasing little gifts and tokens along the way to the altar. Avoid panicking, however. A down-to-earth conversation with the bride may reveal a path for even a budget-conscious maid to do it right. If, however, you decide to opt out, make a sincere attempt to do it in person, not through an email or text message.

Be a Leader

The best leaders know how to delegate tasks. Get to know the other bridesmaids, if possible, and assess everyone's strengths. Is someone a great party planner? Ask her to research a venue for the bachelorette party. Are there any crafters on the roster? They can be in charge of decorations for the bridal shower. It might be a good idea for those of you in town to organize a lunch to talk strategy. If people are far flung, another option is a remote conference via Skype or another program. Many hands make light work, and you are less likely to feel pressured to do everything perfectly.

Offer Your Opinion, Within Reason

When the bride asks you to tell her what you think about her dress, her honeymoon destination or her partner-to-be, be honest but be kind. If your opinion can truly benefit the bride by helping her make a decision, spill forth. However, if your take on a situation would not be constructive, keep it to yourself. It probably is not your place to argue the bride into or out of something. Yours is a support position.

Be Useful

A genuinely excellent bridesmaid is one who solves problems in the moment. Carry a sewing kit and a roll of fashion tape in your clutch. Know that despite all the elaborate preparations, a well-placed safety pin might be what really saves the day. It is a joyous occasion as well as an emotional one, so do your part to calm the waters. That may mean limiting visitors to the dressing room before the service or making conversation while you put a glass of champagne into a future mother-in-law's hand. While you may be feeling the stress of the day yourself, remember that you are playing an important role in a momentous event for your friend or family member. Breathe deeply, smile and take pleasure in the happiness to which you bear witness.

Category: Get Ordained Wedding Planning Ceremonies


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