When you get asked to be a bridesmaid, your first reaction is probably always joy – it feels great to be that loved and valued, and to know that your friend thinks enough of you to want you to play a big role in the most important day of their life. But then, after the joy, there comes an encroaching feeling of dread. How much time will this wedding take up? Will it be expensive? Will your friend turn into a dreaded bridezilla? In all honestly, sometimes helping out with your friend’s wedding is as stressful as planning your own. Luckily, there are ways to get through it unscathed…
Get Planning Early
No matter how early you start planning, it won’t feel as early as you’d like. The most important thing about planning a wedding is that you stay organised. If you’re already married then you’ll know this already and you’ll be able to advise the bride not to make the same mistakes you did. If you aren’t married, then you might be tempted to tell the bride to wing it and hope it’ll all be okay on the day. Make sure you don’t do that! If as much as possible is planned beforehand then she’ll worry less. It’s a tough job to create an event for hundreds of people and make sure that it’ll run smoothly and it does require a lot of planning and time. You should make sure that you get in first when tasks are being delegated so you get one that suits your budget. Sort out a Google Docs file for yourself and the rest of the bridal party so you can keep things organised.
Make sure that you stay positive and optimistic as much as you can. It’s your job to assuage the bride’s worries, not to create more stress and aggravation for her. If you don’t love the dress that she’s chosen for you, that’s okay. You don’t have to love it or to look amazing in it – the point is that you’re supporting her by wearing it. All the guests will know that you didn’t choose it, and the bride will likely be paying for you to have your hair and makeup done too so you definitely won’t look too bad! Even if you don’t agree with some of your friend’s choices for her wedding, just smile and nod and go along with what she wants unless it’s truly terrible and you think it might turn out to be a big problem. The bride is probably stressed out enough already without having to deal with any negativity!
Put Aside Some Time
Be aware that as a bridesmaid, you will be expected to give up a lot of your time to this wedding. You might begrudge this a little – it’s not your wedding! You didn’t choose it! But in the long run, if it works out well, it will improve your relationship with the bride. It’s one of the most important days in her life and if you’re intimately involved in it then she’ll associate you with her big day forever. Make the sacrifice of giving up a little time to help your friendship blossom and grow and you’ll get more than the equivalent of that time back in love and gratitude in the long run.
Of course the bride won’t appreciate it if she feels as though you’re telling her what to do, but it’s always nice to show up to wedding planning sessions with ideas of your own so long as you aren’t too pushy or overbearing. Let the bride know where she can get luxury wedding stationery, which flowers will be in season that time of year, if there are any strange dynamics within your friendship group that might affect her seating plan. Be available to her with ideas as well as support.
Even though you’re helping your friend plan her wedding, you also need to plan your experience of her wedding. Weddings are very expensive for the bride and groom and their families, but what a lot of people don’t talk about is that they’re also very expensive for the bridal party. Make sure that you save a small amount of money each month to go towards wedding costs like travel – to the hen party and bridal shower as well as the wedding itself – along with hotels and any other expenses that might come up. You’ll probably also be buying a gift for the bride along with the rest of the bridal party – why not talk to them and buy something bigger as a group?
Befriend The Other Bridesmaids
One way to feel comfortable and happy at a wedding is to have plenty of friends there, so it’s a good idea to befriend the other bridesmaids. Even if the bride is one of your best friends, you might not know them all as people often tend to keep different parts of their lives separated off, so you might not know her favourite colleague or her cousin! It’s easy to feel pushed out or overwhelmed when you’re meeting other people who are very important to your best friend, but remember that it’s important to her that you all get along. Greet the other bridesmaids with open arms and an open heart and you’ll soon find that they’ll become your friends too. You’ll also have a blast at the wedding when you get to see them again!
Be On The Bride’s Side
Remember that the bride needs you to be thoroughly on her side. By the time her wedding rolls around she’ll be happy and excited but she’ll probably also be nervous and tired from all the planning. Be her advocate when she needs a break – talk to her mother in law for her, organise the groomsmen when they’re being typically ridiculous, and soothe any arguments between the other bridesmaids. Essentially, make sure that your best friend knows that you’ve got her back unconditionally. She might be marrying the love of her life, but with your support she’ll see that she also has incredible lifelong friends around.
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