A lot of what it takes to be a seriously supportive rock-star bridesmaid is knowing what to do, where to be, and how to say no to things you just don’t want to do. But figuring out how to make it to the wedding day without losing your cool with the bride or the other members of the bridal party can be tricky. Often it requires patience, trial and error, and walking down the aisle a few times before ditching the title of rookie bridesmaid.
Wondering what you need to know as you take on the role of being a bridesmaid? Read on to hear the advice of five bridesmaids who have been a member of a bridal party 10 times—each!
Be careful about saying yes to everything
“Bridesmaid mistake number one is saying yes to everything. When I first started being a bridesmaid, the only word out of my mouth was yes. When brides asked me to do ridiculous things, like call family members and tell them they were being too dramatic, or spend $1,500 on a weekend in Vegas for their bachelorette party, I instantly said of course. Why not? All of that adds up and you become miserable. I started thinking before responding and only saying yes to things I wanted to help with, could afford to go to, and had the energy to be a part of. Being a bridesmaid doesn’t mean you have to do everything the bride says. It means you have to support her however you can, and want.” —Brittany T., 37
Don’t feel like you need to give a gift for everything
“All of my friends from college got married before we all turned 28. I was constantly going to weddings and spending the little money I was making at my entry-level job on things for everyone else’s wedding (I didn’t get married until years later). One thing I realized: People expect you to get them a gift for everything. I was buying one present for the engagement party, another for the bridal shower, and a big one for the wedding. That ended after wedding number three, when I realized I was buying my friends too many things. I implemented a one-gift rule. I spent just $125 and gave the couple a check at their wedding. That’s all I could afford then, and that’s all I gave.” —Erin W., 35
Don’t buy a new dress each time
“Please, never buy a bridesmaid dress. You and your closet will be mad at you later. I have a total of 12 bridesmaid dresses. That’s over $3,000 of clothing I will never wear again because, honestly, where would I? If I can give you one piece of advice, it would be to find the dress used, rent it, or see if you can borrow it for free. Save your cash for pieces of clothing you’ll actually wear again in your lifetime.” —Shelby D., 39
Don’t be afraid to ask
“Want to bring a plus one? Want to skip the bachelorette party because the thought of going to a club and getting bottle service skeeves you out? Speak up. As a seasoned bridesmaid (10 times before I turned 30), I’ll tell you a secret. The only way to make it through the wedding without resenting the bride or your role as her bridesmaid is to be open and honest about things. She’s busy and stressed. She can’t read your mind. Ask for what you want and need so you can be the best bridesmaid ever.” —Tory S., 31
Don’t take it all too seriously
“It’s over when the couple says ‘I do.’ Try not to take any of the wedding drama to heart. It can be a bummer to deal with a difficult or emotional bride, or just one who has no idea what she needs to do, saves it all for the last minute and begs for your help. I’ve done this bridesmaid thing more times than I can count on my hands. I gave up years ago caring too much about it and instead show up when I need to, say no when I want to, and remember that a wedding is a party and I’m going to have fun no matter what.” —Diane G., 33