Just landed the role of bridesmaid? Congrats. You might be wondering what bridesmaids actually do. Fair.
Agreeing to take this role can sometimes feel like a second unpaid job, depending on the bride’s level of chill. Thankfully, these days, most people understand that the wedding party are there to support the couple and beyond standing by their side on the day, everything else is really an added bonus.
Our personal stance? There shouldn’t be any set-in-stone rules or expectations when it comes to the role of bridesmaids. You can get totally lost down a rabbit hole of traditional bridal forums online on what’s “expected” but realistically bridesmaids exist because those ladies (or gents – bridesmen exist) are part of the bride’s family and they couldn’t imagine having champers on the morning of their big day with anyone else.
Some brides like to take the reins on planning everything, all the way down to their own hen’s party. Everyone’s different. However, for the majority, we’ve listed the most obvious of responsibilities below to help you navigate being a bridesmaid and to shed some light on what comes with saying yes to this role. Do expect to put some effort in (and likely cash too). Here’s our two cents.
Featured image by Lauren Anne Photography.
The general etiquette of being a bridesmaid:
- Being an all-round legend and team player
This goes without saying, really. Turning up with a smile on your face and being a good friend are the bottom-line basics of taking on the role of bridesmaid, as well as being a soundboard for any questions asked.
- Supporting the bride at any dress appointments
Some are happy to go alone, or just with their mother and one other friend, but if you are asked, head along to the bride’s dress appointments and be mindful and supportive of any comments thrown about. Here are some tips we recommend reading first.
- Helping plan the hen’s party – and chipping in (if you can)
Sometimes the maid of honour plans this alone but more often than not, hen’s parties are planned between all the bridesmaids. Consider splitting the cost of it among the bridal party – along with an appropriate per head cost paid by the attendees too.
- Flashing a bit of cash (without emptying your bank)
We’ve heard some absolute horror stories here, which we’ll save for another day. Don’t go overboard and feel the need to empty your bank account completely in order for the bride to have the time of her life. Chat budgets (honestly and realistically), and discuss the overall vibe and theme for bridesmaid dresses, accessories, and shoes. Then talk about how you guys will cover the cost. These days there’s no golden rule about what the bride should pay for, vs. the bridesmaid so communication is key.
When it comes to anything beauty-related (hair, nails, makeup, tans), we’d say there’s a fairly solid consensus that the couple should pay for anything in that space. Basically, anything that affects the way the girls look that the bride has specifically requested.
- A speech or a toast of some sort
We definitely advocate for this – it’s always felt strange to us when you go to a wedding and only the groom’s side makes a speech. If you’re uncomfortable with public speaking, a short and sweet toast goes a long way, or team up with fellow bridesmaids and make a joint speech to share the load.