Should you even say yes?
istock/UberImagesSometimes the best thing you can do is not accept the bride's invitation to be a bridesmaid, says Thomas P. Farley, known as Mister Manners. "Just because your friend says yes to being a bride doesn't mean you must say yes to being a bridesmaid," he says. Consider this if you don't feel close to the bride or don't want the financial obligations. Of course, handle your turn down, with great delicacy, so she doesn't get offended, Farley says.
Pay for your own bridesmaid dress
istock/maximkabbUnless the bride offers to pay, be prepared to pay for your own dress. But Kellee Khalil, founder of Loverly, a virtual wedding planning site, shares that if your bride knows it's a struggle, she can—and should—offer to help.
Help plan the bridal shower
istock/BenjiecceWhile Khalil says planning the entire bridal shower falls under the maid-of-honor's duties, you should be prepared to help and be an active participant. (Here are some tips for the maid-of-honor on a bride's big day.)
Try to attend all bridal events
istock/andresrAttending all bridal events is a must for a bridesmaid, Khalil says, except, of course, if you live out of town or have another family obligation. "Never say you're too busy to participate in any pre-wedding event," shares Cristen Flaherty, event planner and founder of Cristen & Co. Event Coordination & Design. "Everyone is busy and that is a poor excuse and you will simply upset the bride for not being a part of all the festivities." And remember, throwing a bridal shower doesn't have to be a huge expense.
Be ready and on call the day of the wedding
istock/teksomolikaFrom helping a flower girl down the aisle to making sure the bride's train is bustled, a bridesmaid should be ready to help out, no matter what, on the day of the wedding. "A bridesmaid should also act as a resource with information for any guests who may have questions about wedding logistics, bridal registries, directions to the ceremony or to the reception," Farley says.
Do not complain to the bride. Ever.
istock/Image-SourceThis may seem like a given, but if you are used to sharing your every thought with the bride on a regular basis, you may forget that this is her big day and she doesn't want to hear your thoughts. Not about the dress, not about the shoes, and not about the jewelry, no matter what. Here are tips to stop complaining.
Leave the drama at home
istock/pixdeluxe"This day is not about you. You are there to support the bride," shares Flaherty. "Yes, you have been chosen for a special role however, it is all about the couple getting married. Don't be a diva!" That also means don't get drunk and don't make a scene, say, if your ex turns up with his new girlfriend.
Make an effort
istock/HalfpointSure, you show up for bridal events and the wedding, but having a smile on your face goes a long way. "You should always pay attention to the bride and be present, this is a really exciting time for the bride and staying off your phone and having fun together is extremely important," says Flaherty. (Find out the secrets a wedding planner will never tell you.)
Speak up about financial concerns
istock/Martinan"Being a bridesmaid can get expensive and if you know there are certain things you may or may not be able to afford be upfront with the bride before all the festivities get started," Flaherty says. "It is OK to say no, because if you say yes and then can't afford to do certain things it ends up causing unnecessary tension and potential arguments."
Keep your opinions to yourself
istock/andriikobrynThis is the bride's big day. She has spent hours finding her dream dress, choosing the perfect flowers, and fantasizing about how everything would come together. "Don't give unsolicited feedback on her design or wedding details," says Khalil, "Let her create a vision that feels special to her, not everyone has to love it as long as she is happy!" Farley also shares that, "A bridesmaid should be supportive, positive, joyous and ready and willing to participate in all traditional activities on the day of the wedding (such as the bouquet toss) even if she is not a fan of such traditions herself." Speaking of traditions, find out why brides stand to the left at weddings.