The bride. She’s one of your most meaningful, cherished humans. With a love that runs deep, (as your sister, cousin, best friend, partner in crime) you feel super privileged to have been asked and naturally, you want to navigate the role like a boss! Having been both brides and bridesmaids ourselves, plus hanging out with both parties most weekends we’ve short listed below, our most valuable tips on nailing the gig.
First things first – Emotional Support
Weddings can be tricky, emotionally overbearing things. On paper they should be nothing but joyous. But in reality they can be an overwhelming rollercoaster ride of trying to please everyone else. It can feel like a solid year (or more!) of navigating unhelpful advice and opinions, managing everyone’s expectations (including her own), logistical conundrums and about 1000 decisions and tabs open in the brain. So above all else, provide her with emotional support during the planning stages, because it’s honestly what she needs the most. With this, she’ll be equipped to deal with pretty much everything else.
Also, physical & logistical support
Kind of like emotional support, but more tangible. Be there. Make yourself available to her. Turn up to appointments on time, and be emotionally present whilst there. Answer her calls and texts and emails promptly, even if you’re having a busy week. Offer to help with the juggle of getting everything done in the lead up. Ask what she needs help with. Sourcing or styling? Running errands? Meeting with vendors? Dress fittings? You know your bride best…if she’s the kind of girl that feels uncomfortable calling people for assistance or favours, chances are she’s not going to reach out for this stuff. So offer, insist, beg for tasks you can take off her plate, don’t take no for an answer!
Be her ultimate confidante & co-conspirator
She’s asked you to be bridesmaid because she genuinely values your taste, opinion and help through the epic task of planning and executing a wedding. When she asks for your advice, offer honest and constructive thoughts. Help workshop things and bounce around any areas of uncertainty. Stationery, seating chart, flowers, hair up or hair down…anything! Planning a wedding can induce ’decision fatigue’…and unless she does PR, Marketing or Event Planning for a living…chances are this is the biggest thing she’s ever organised & executed (& most likely juggled on top of her full time job). So having you as a sounding board on pretty much any decision she wants a second opinion on, is unbelievably helpful. Trust us.
Let’s talk Bachelorette celebrations
The easiest way to nail this one is to make it memorable, for all the right reasons. And that’s going to mean completely different things, for every bride and every bridal party. The trick is, make sure whatever you plan, is with her and her best interests front and centre. Unsurprisingly, a cocktail frenzied night out on the town (or a male *ahem* dancer!) is not every bride-to-be’s idea of the perfect party….But then neither is a yoga retreat, every bride-to-be’s idea of the perfect party either. Basically the best thing to do here is ‘choose your own adventure’ but make sure it’s her adventure!
Remember that it’s her big day (& not yours)
Sounds simple and self explanatory, but surprisingly overlooked! Nailing this one means graciously accepting things that you wouldn’t necessarily choose for yourself (if it was your wedding…which it isn’t). This includes, but is not limited to; your dress, your shoes, your hair & makeup + any styling decisions she has made whatsoever (venue, florals, food, drinks, stationary, wedding cars, favors etc…). Also, if you’re privileged enough to choose your own dress, do not attempt to outshine the bride with something dramatic / revealing / attention seeking / show stopping. Also, don’t get drunk (it’s the fastest way for you to forget about the bride & her needs…or for you to become overly emotional, which she doesn’t need – because she’ll be emotional enough already!).
If you’re the Maid of Honour – Before the day
Closely linked to the vast number of decisions that need to be made re: planning, there’s an eye watering amount of communication involved (mostly around filling everyone in, on what each of those decisions are). And unless the whole bridal party live in the same city and hangs out together most weekends (which is kind of rare), this means a bunch of text messages or emails. Which can sometimes be stressful or overwhelming for the bride, on top of all the other communication she’s in, with vendors and logistical arrangements. As her maid of honour, offer to simplify this by being the communication touch point for the bridal party, where she can relay things to you, as she thinks of them (mentally crossing them off her list) and she’ll know that you can take it from there, with the other girls.
If you’re the Maid of Honour – On the day
Basically, just be the ultimate wing woman! This means adopting the role of her ninja-like stylist, checking her hair and make up for any touch ups needed throughout the day. Staying close by with a stash of tissues in emotional moments like vows or speeches. Arranging her veil and dress before any key photos (discreetly, during the ceremony). Basically anticipating her every need, with thoughtful, beautiful gestures. The kind of things that remind her why she picked you for the gig in the first place.
Giving a Speech
Whether you’re flattered or terrified by the prospect, you’ve been asked, and you’re determined to nail it. Our best advice, make it meaningful and from the heart. Not everyone is a comedian, or a poet. Just pick a tone of voice that is true to you, and speak in your own words. Maybe use it as an opportunity to enlighten guests on something that they may not know about the bride (but only something she’s ok with being shared!). Possibly how you two met, what you love most about her as a friend, a favourite moment / adventure / horror story / will never forget shared experience. Also don’t forget to weave in her new ‘adventure ahead’ – and talk about not only her, but their relationship. ie. what you love about him, or what positive influence he’s brought about in her. Your reflections on their courtship, what you hope for them both, for the future. The truth, always resonates the most powerfully. Promise.
Equip yourself with all the helpful, practical items she might need and will almost certainly have forgotten. Band aids for the wedding heels (that we can guarantee are not yet broken in). A vial of rescue remedy – in case of tears! Snacks throughout the day, because brides are notorious for not eating (due to nerves or sheer excitement!). Plus plenty of water – particularly between glasses of champagne at the reception!
Be the bridesmaid you would want – if you were the one getting married that day. If you’ve been a bride yourself, reflect on what made you feel so grateful for each member of your own bridal party, or maybe what you wished had unfolded slightly differently, and why. If you’ve been neither a bride or a bridesmaid, just shower your friend in love and support and random acts of thoughtfulness, throughout the entire lead up & day. Ultimately, it’s all the little things, and the feeling that your bridal party are unquestioningly there for you, that means the most.