Especially in this day and age, when it’s more common than not for bridal party members to live scattered across the country, it can be hard to know exactly what’s expected of you when a dear friend asks you to be in her bridal party. While the specifics of what is needed most may vary depending on the bride, this Bridal Party Tending List will help you love on your friend well and support her throughout her engagement. Being asked to stand by a friend as she says “I do” is always an honor, and if you follow these tips, we’re confident that this time will only make your friendship stronger!
Note: the starred points are additions especially for maids/matrons of honor!
After she asks you to be a bridesmaid:
Respond promptly. Whether she asks you in person or via snail mail, don’t leave her hanging! Do your best to assess your ability to be a bridesmaid (based on timing of the wedding, finances, etc.) as quickly as you can so that you can jump right in to the planning stage together. (Note: if you have to decline, be honest and kind about the reasoning. The bride may be willing or able to tweak some things in order to have you with her on that day!).
Sit down together for a chat. Whether in person or via Facetime, make the time to chat one on one and learn about her dreams for the day. Let it be a fun time for her to share her vision with you, and ask what you can do to help bring those ideas to life! Ask specific questions about how you can best serve her during her engagement and what would be most encouraging to her.
Laurie + Brian by Cassidy Carson
In the thick of planning:
Touch base with her regularly. Whether this means a weekly coffee date or simply a text every few once in awhile, make sure she knows you’re thinking of her often. Ask if there’s anything you can do for her, but also, just be a listening ear for her to share the decisions she’s making with, and be genuinely interested! If she sounds stressed, you can also offer to help give her a break from planning by having a girl’s night or outing together (or, if you live far away, a Redbox gift card is a thoughtful and affordable way to encourage her to kick back and relax with her beau!).
Lend a hand. If you live nearby, or will be in the bride’s town at any point during her engagement, offer to host a crafting night, help her assemble invitations, or lend a hand with whatever she might need. Even the most tedious of tasks can be fun when done with friends!
**Take the lead with organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Chat with the bride, and possibly her mom, about any plans or preferences they have, especially regarding dates and locations. Then, take charge of planning the parties, communicating with guests, and sharing the bride’s registry details. Don’t forget to loop in the bridesmaids for help!
Help plan, and do your very best to attend, the bridal shower and bachelorette party. Your presence is the most important thing, but if you’re not able to attend one of the pre-wedding celebrations, you can still love on the bride by helping the other girls plan (you don’t have to be together in person to help search for the cutest decor ideas!) and sending a sweet note and gift to the bride for the party.
Be gracious and supportive about bridesmaid attire. Choosing bridesmaid dresses can be a really tough decision, and it should go without saying that this is her day, not yours. Share your thoughts gently if she asks, but above all, be willing to wear whatever she asks you to wear with a smile. Note: if you’re REALLY uncomfortable with the style or price point, talk to the bride one on one about any alternative options she may be open to.
Top: Sara + Austin by Love, The Nelsons, bottom: Nina + Nick by Tracy Enoch
On the wedding day:
Be on time. Few things are more frazzling than running behind, and the bride has undoubtedly put tons of thought into the schedule for the morning of the wedding. Show up on time, armed with your dress, shoes, accessories, undergarments, handbag, snacks, and anything else she may have asked you to bring along. Give yourself extra time to account for traffic if you’re driving!
Know the schedule. Print a copy or have it readily available on your phone to field any questions from vendors or wedding guests. All the bride should be worrying about is enjoying her day, so take responsibility for being aware of what’s going on so you can jump in confidently as needed.
Check in with her throughout the day. Make a point throughout the day to ask her how she’s doing, ask if she needs anything, tell her she looks incredible, and remind her that she’s marrying the love of her life today!!
Smile, toast, and dance! Participate fully in the day, from singing the hymns (no matter how bad your singing voice may be), to smiling joyfully during the portrait session, to being the first on the dance floor at the reception. While eyes will be on the happy couple, people will notice the way you’re acting too, so set a great example!
** Make a toast. When done well, the maid of honor and best man toasts can be some of the sweetest moments of the day. You can find all of our best tips for toasting here!
Drink responsibly. There are few things tackier than a bridesmaid who has had too much to drink, so enjoy yourself, but remember that all of the bride and groom’s loved ones are present (grandparents included!) and you should be respectful of the company.
Top: Mary Courtney + Kit by Graham Terhune, Jessica + Chuck by Jen Dillender, bottom: Stephanie + Glenn by Rachel May
After the wedding:
Send her a text to tell her how much fun you had at the wedding, and wish her a happy honeymoon!
Find more expert advice from the editors of Southern Weddings here!