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What Do Bridesmaids Actually Do?

Just landed the role of bridesmaid or newly engaged and about to recruit your team of legends? Congrats. You might be wondering what bridesmaids actually do. Fair.

Agreeing to take this role used to 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 are a thing) are considered 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 (or your expectations if you are the bride) 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 Ashleigh Haase 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, grab some champagne and support your friend at her dress appointments. Remember to be super mindful and kind with your comments as finding the dress of your dreams isn’t always easy. Here are some tips we recommend reading first.

  • Helping plan the hen’s party 

Sometimes the maid of honour grabs the reins and plans this alone, more often than not, hen’s parties are planned between all the bridesmaids/men. Usually the cost is split amongst the bridal party – along with an appropriate per head cost paid by the attendees too (shouting the bride). Be conscious that this day is about your favourite gal and keep her in mind through the planning process.

  • Chipping in (if you’re able to)

We’ve heard some absolute horror stories here, which we’ll save for another day. Straight up you need to 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. We cannot say it enough communication is everything legends, talk it out in the beginning so there are no surprises.

  • A speech or a toast of some sort

If you’re uncomfortable with public speaking, a short and sweet toast goes a long way, or team up with your fellow bridesmaids and make a joint speech to share the load. Team speeches are a gorgeous way to all celebrate the moment without the anxiousness. We see this as a must!

  • Vibe checker

Arguably one of the most important (but least talked about) roles. Cue – a dance floor lull, some drama in the bathrooms or even old drunk uncle Pete teetering too close with a full glass of red. Being part of the bridal party means that you should have an eagle eye when it comes to the wedding day, constantly checking the day’s vibe and seeing where you can lead by example. Dance floor empty? Grab some pals and get it going. Spy something problematic that the couple need not see or give energy to? Then direct someone to sort it or quietly attend to it yourself.



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