If you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid or the maid of honour at a wedding, first things first: congratulations!
Being asked to be part of the bridal party is a huge honour and something that you should really be proud of. However, it can also be a big responsibility and slightly overwhelming if you’ve never done it before, especially if you don’t quite understand just how important it is.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this guide to make sure you can support your friend as much as possible on their big day and make sure it’s an occasion to be remembered, all for the right reasons!
First, let’s look at exactly what’s expected of you as a bridesmaid.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to support the bride or groom in any way you can and different weddings will call for different roles.
Usually, though, it’s your job to be the bride or groom’s right-hand woman, with responsibilities including:
Helping to plan the hen party (and bridal shower if you’re having one)
Helping to choose the dress
Helping out with invitations, favours etc.
Helping set up the venue
Helping the bride or groom get ready
Getting the party started at the reception
Listening to the bride or groom let off steam
At the end of the day, your job is whatever the bride and groom want it to be, but you just need to be a good friend and take as much as of the pressure away as you can.
Let’s start with one of the awkward ones: who pays for what?
Generally speaking, you’ll be expected to pay for your own dress but if you think the cost may be an issue, then don’t hesitate to raise it with the couple.
In terms of the hen party (if you’re having one), it’s usually accepted that all of the bridesmaids chip in together but make sure that everybody is clear on this before things get messy!
However, if the happy couple wants you to have your hair and makeup done professionally, it’s usually a nice gesture for them to pay for this, especially if you’re already paying for everything else that we’ve mentioned!
For a more in-depth idea of how much you can be looking to pay as a bridesmaid, check out this post from Confetti.
Most UK weddings don’t have a bridal shower but you’ll still be expected to buy at least one gift for the bride/groom and maybe another for the hen night.
Again, this largely comes down to the couple: some might have a wedding registry of gifts, whilst some might prefer cash that they can put towards something.
But, in terms of how much you should spend, this will come down to how well you know the couple, their own preferences as a couple and, of course, your own finances.
For some gift inspiration, check out this post from Hitched, but don’t feel under pressure to spend more than you can afford, especially if you’re spending a lot on travel to get there!
The wedding dress is one of the most important aspects of the day and, as a bridesmaid, you have a big role to play.
The most important thing here is that the bride is always right! You might not always agree with her fashion choices but it’s definitely best to bite your tongue if that’s the case. Of course, offer your opinion if you really feel like the bride is about to drop a huge fashion clanger, but remember that it’s her day and her choice.
Also, be sure to come along for all the dress fittings for moral support and to tell the bride how beautiful she looks!
You’ll also have to help choose the dresses for the bridesmaids. This will again depend on the couple in question: some will want you to match exactly whilst some will allow a bit of choice as long as the colours or styles are the same.
The Hen Party
Planning the hen do is probably the best bridesmaid task and definitely the most fun!
Of course, not everybody has a big night out, but it’s best to organise something like a bridesmaids’ luncheon instead for those brides who aren’t party animals.
The most important thing to remember is that, while you want everyone to have fun, you don’t have to feel under pressure to make it the wildest night of your lives (unless that’s what the bride wants!).
If you’re the maid of honour, then the bulk of the planning will fall to you, but all bridesmaids should pitch in to help.
Ideally, you should start planning for this about three months before the wedding and have the night itself about a week before the big day.
Be sure to speak to the bride to find out what kind of night she wants (without giving too much away!) and establish the kind of feel you’re going for, whether it’s a spa weekend or cocktails and butlers in the buff!
Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it’s planned down to the last detail, from reservations and transport to the guest list, and make sure that it’s a secret from the bride!
When it comes to the night itself, be sure to make sure everyone has fun, but not too much fun that anybody makes a fool of themselves or has a sore head for the big day!
The Big Day
Finally, it’s the moment everybody’s been working towards: the wedding itself. The bride and groom are probably a bag of nerves at this point, so it’s your job to stay cool and provide some moral support.
Each ceremony is different but some of your main tasks will include making sure everybody is where they need to be, helping with the bride’s hair and makeup, and looking after the bouquet.
As a bridesmaid, you’re also going to be a big part of the pictures for the day, even if you’re a bit camera shy. If this is the case, check out some of these wedding pic tips from Glamour to make sure you nail it!
It’s also a good idea to pack some essentials and emergency supplies that everyone else might have forgotten about, such as some tissues, paracetamol, face wipes, mints and hair pins.
So there you have it. It can be a stressful job being a bridesmaid but it’s also so rewarding to be such a big part of this huge day in the couple’s lives.
Find out more about the wedding services we provide here at Broadoaks Country House Hotel if you or somebody you know is planning on tying the knot soon.