I've been a bride, and I've been a bridesmaid. I was blessed to have an awesome group of ladies standing by my side on my big day. On both sides, I've experienced highs and lows (including my own personal moments where I let the stress of it all get the best of me).
As a bridesmaid, it's your responsibility to be there for the bride. You have to help her in any way you can and make sure she has an enjoyable experience throughout the entire process.
So, before she says “I do” – and before you say “I will” to being a bridesmaid – make sure you take note of these 10 tips:
1. Remember it's not about you.
Yes, you will slay and look beautiful on that day. You'll have some great makeup on, and you too may walk down the very aisle the bride will walk down.
But don't forget that it's not about you. It's her day and her time to shine. Keep this in mind in everything you do.
2. Don't forget your title. Lend a helping hand.
Try to be proactive and ask the bride if there's anything you can do to help. Even if you live in another state, there are things you can do.
When one of my friends was getting married and I was living in another state, I still helped research decorative items and prices for her online. If you can't do as much in the time leading up to the wedding, at least commit to doing what what you can on the day of the wedding.
You can offer to get food for the other bridesmaids, run last-minute errands, help with the setup or clean up for the wedding.
3. Don't try to take over or force your opinion on the bride.
It's easy for us to try to tell future brides what they should or shouldn't be doing. But our opinions should only be offered when they're solicited.
Maybe you prefer a more intimate wedding, a larger wedding or even a destination wedding. That's totally fine. You can do all of that when it's your turn.
But for now, let the bride do whatever she wants to do. Remember: She's planning the wedding of her dreams, not your dreams.
4. Don't overwhelm the bride with too many questions.
“Where is the wedding? What time is the rehearsal? What kind of shoes should I wear? What time is the wedding?”
Unless you've been a bride, you can only imagine the number of questions that come up from all sides: parents, family, friends, wedding planners, etc.
So try to remember that before you start bombarding the bride with a ton of questions. One less question for her could mean one less thing she has to worry about.
Side note for the bride: Create a website, or send friendly email reminders that include commonly asked questions and answers. Then, as the wedding draws closer, consider empowering someone like your maid of honor or wedding coordinator with this information. Direct people with questions to either the person you've chosen or your website.
5. Shield the bride from any unnecessary personal and behind-the-scenes drama.
There will be enough small fires the bride will have to put out or deal with before and during the actual day. The last thing she'll want to do is worry about which bridesmaid is arguing with another, which bridesmaid doesn't like her dress or which bridesmaid has arrived late to the wedding.
6. Don't be "that girl."
Don't be the girl who's always late, always complaining, always showing up with an attitude or always causing trouble for everyone else around her. Yes, you may have to interact with people you aren't as cool or close with. But that doesn't mean it's time to confront them and deal with your issues.
At the end of the day, you don't want to be the one person who's making things harder on the bride.
7. If you're not certain you can fulfill your obligations, be honest from the beginning.
One thing I know for certain is being a bridesmaid requires a unique set of sacrifices that relates to time, resources and especially finances. Whether it's due to financial or timing issues, be honest upfront, even if it means you have to decline the request.
Besides, you don't want to end up a bitter bridesmaid. I had someone tell me she couldn't be a bridesmaid for some of the same reasons, and the circumstances were beyond her control.
Ultimately, my husband and I had to make some changes. But it was early enough that it didn't really affect anything. Plus, I understand that life happens.
8. Don't wait until the last minute to order your dress.
This is one of the best ways you can stay on the bride's good side and eliminate unnecessary stress. It's likely she will be checking online or calling the store anyway to check and see who has or hasn't ordered her dress.
Always take into account the length of time it may take for alterations. Be sure to plan ahead.
9. If you're going to give a toast at the reception, try to prepare your speech beforehand.
Unless you're great at speaking from memory, save yourself the embarrassment of stumbling over your words or saying things that could be totally inappropriate or humiliating for everyone involved (including yourself).
10. Be patient with the bride.
Managing life can be tough enough, and planning a wedding on top of everything else just adds more stress to the plate. I can own up and say that even though I wasn't a “bridezilla” per se, I definitely had stressful moments where I unfortunately took my frustrations out on others.
So, there may be times when you might have to put up with a bridezilla and utilize a little more patience than usual. But keep in mind that it's only temporary.
This article was originally published on the author's personal blog.