QUESTION: If I choose to be a bridesmaid, what are my bridesmaid duties?
GINA'S ANSWER: I may be in the minority in my opinion here, but I don’t believe that being a bridesmaid means you automatically have duties. Frankly, it sucks being in a wedding where you not only have huge financial obligations but a lot of responsibilities as well.
Ultimately each bride sees their bridesmaids’ role differently and only you and your bride can work out those expectations together. For me, a bridesmaid is a wonderful friend that celebrates with you, tells you you’re pretty and maybe carries your lip gloss for you on your wedding day.
JESS' ANSWER: Whatever the bride needs them to be! If the bride has a wedding planner and her parents are very involved, she might not need the help of the bridesmaids too much. However, if she can’t afford a planner and/or her parents aren’t in the picture, she might need her girls to step in and help her with wedding details. Always volunteer and ask for help!
ASHLEY'S ANSWER: As a bridesmaid, your duties are to aide the bride through the duration of the planning process and the wedding day. Bridesmaids also plan and throw wedding related events, which might include a wedding shower, bachelorette party, or day after brunch. In some cases you may need to be a pillar of support to the bride; go to dress fittings with her, help her with any decision making, and support with family and friends as they all arrive around the wedding.
On the wedding day, it may be suitable to help with putting on the dress, bustling the dress after the ceremony, and assisting the newlyweds throughout the night with items like gifts. A bridesmaid should be helpful in handling the bride’s bouquet and their own bouquet, keeping track of items like keepsakes, re-applying makeup, and helping with attire changes.
If no planner or coordinator is present, throughout the night bridesmaids should help keep the events moving smoothly. If this is communicated thoroughly ahead of time it should make for a peaceful and successful event. Knowing the game plan for transportation just in case people want to leave the wedding, the exit plan for the bride and groom, and making sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time (if there is no coordinator or on-site help) are all things that are helpful as well.
Bridesmaids should also be aware of all of the events for the whole wedding weekend. They can assist guests from out of town and be of use for keeping people in the loop with the wedding events. Bridesmaids should be there for emotional stability as well. Many emotions arise around a wedding and the couple, namely the bride, and will need you and appreciate you.
Need more wedding etiquette, advice and tips? See previous etiquette posts here.
Gina Heideman is a bride-in-training from Boise, Idaho. When she's not planning her navy/preppy/downtown wedding, she spends her time perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her fiance, and playing outside. She's an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie. By day she works as Executive Director of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on meth use prevention. By night she's a freelance graphic designer (www.designscribble.com).
Jess Keys is a Journalism graduate of Indiana University, a Chicago transplant and Founder of The Golden Girl Blog. She was first bitten by the wedding bug at age 11, when she purchased her first Brides magazine in the Lexington, KY airport. She's partial to red lipstick, French Bulldogs, and a lover of the written word. When she's not writing for Wedding Party, you can often find her at the closest Dim Sum establishment, or exploring the Windy City with her camera in tow.
Ashley Smith is the wedding planner for Buzzworthy SF. She believes that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. Ashley is available for weddings in California and worldwide. Her expertise is in the Bay Area, but her heart is in Mexico, where she is certified by the board of tourism to plan and work. If she is not in San Francisco planning weddings and being social, you’ll find her on the beach at Playa Azul, Papaya Playa, or exploring the coast lines in Central America via bicycle.