It’s an honor to support your sister/cousin/friend on her big day, and be part of it in a special way. But this experience can be nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first time and you’re a little clueless about all this girly-girl frilly wedding stuff. There’s no bible on how to be a legit bridesmaid, but lucky for you, we’ve got some semi-professional bridesmaids at SparkLife. Here's what they recommend:
Be friendly. Ask the bride if you can get the emails of the other girls in the party. Send a fun shoutout to her sisters, cousins, and friends from home, cc-ing everyone on the whole chain. It’s a friendly way to introduce yourself to the inner circle. Now that you’ve established contact, you can talk about bachelorette party plans and the shower. Offer your help to the maid of honor—see if she needs you to prepare a game to play at the shower, come up with restaurant options for the bachelorette, or pester people for responses.
Save up. Being a bridesmaid can be expensive. You'll have to pay for a fancy dress, alterations, and gifts; you may have to book a flight and a hotel room; and if the bride is broke/cheap, you may have to pay for your own manicure, pedicure, and hair. You might also have to pitch in for an engagement party, a bachelorette party, and the bridal shower. Most brides give their bridesmaids plenty of advance notice, so budget accordingly. Some bridal shops will even offer you a payment plan for your dress. If you know you can't afford to participate in the wedding, tell the bride you're so sorry, but you have to decline her invitation for financial reasons. Address the situation right away rather than stewing and become sour. She’ll notice if you are being a beyotch!
Hold your tongue. Yes, you are an important part of the celebration, but remember that it’s your girlfriend’s big day. Give your advice only when asked. While honesty is always the best policy, walk the line carefully, and sugarcoat your comments a bit. When your girl asks what you think about the bridesmaid dress she loves, don't say, “Umm..have you checked out my girls? How are they supposed to fit in that thing without me looking like a streetwalker?!?!?” Instead, say "Have you thought about something with sleeves?”
Check in. Planning a wedding can be stressful. While picking out flowers, tasting cakes, and trying on dresses may all sound like pleasant activities, many brides get a bit overwhelmed by the millions of details they must attend to. Remember to send your friend texts and check in. When she mentions picking out her flowers, ask her how it went. If she didn’t find anything she loved, offer her a hand with researching. When she's putting together her invitations, offer to pitch in.
Be memorable. Remember to get your friend a great gift. While sticking to the registry is safe, going off-registry may result in more meaningful gifts. For the shower, give a foodie bride a personalized apron along with the mixer she had on her list. Another standout gift is a personalized box where the bride can store her veil and dress. Look online for great artists who make unique pieces.
Got any other advice for virgin bridesmaids? The first-timers need all the help they can get, so please share your thoughts!