I can’t say ‘I do’ without you! If you are a female age 23+, chances are, you have been faced with this question at some point in time. If you are taking a page out of the movie 27 Dresses, perhaps you’ve gotten this question dozens of times.
But what does a bridesmaid really mean anymore? If you ask our parents, being a bridesmaid meant assisting with setup, doing each other’s hair and makeup, and wearing a matching dress-- probably with shoulder pads. These days however, it’s a horse of a different color.
Bridesmaid duties can range anywhere from destination bachelorette trips and prepping hotel welcome bags, to learning a flash mob dance and paying hundreds of dollars for a dress you’ll never wear again. Here’s a quick breakdown of the duties you’re signing up for:
There may be an ugly (and expensive) dress involved. Let’s face it, some bridemaid dresses are pretty unattractive. What’s more, your newly engaged friend probably isn’t spending hours finding the most affordable dress for you. They are paying thousands of dollars on hundreds of other details-- it’s quite possible that they’re hoping to just mark something off of their list and move on.
Planning a bridal shower and bachelorette weekend. While you may not be the maid of honor, it is still your responsibility to pitch in with the planning (& financing) of these celebrations. Also keep in mind that the bride shouldn’t be paying for her travel, so her portion of the trip should be divided amongst the group.
TIP: Get a Visa Gift Card for the bride with the amount on it that the group has set aside to help pay for her food, drinks, and activities throughout the weekend. Anything above that budgeted amount, she can pay.
Attend pre-wedding celebrations. Although not always possible to attend every pre-wedding celebration, it is important to make an effort to attend what you can. Local bridesmaids will of course, carry more of this responsibility, but at the very least should be in town for the bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner. The more of an effort you make to get to know other members of the wedding party, the more enjoyable the wedding weekend will be for all parties involved.
Be a listening ear. Planning a wedding is a stressful time. Whether it’s finances, mean mother in laws, or stressing about wedding diets-- it’s important to be a helping hand and shoulder to lean on for your engaged friend. Sometimes it’s just beneficial to be able to talk through issues and when all else fails, be able to grab a margarita and blow off some steam with after a stressful wedding planning session!
The truth is, every bride is going to have a different set of expectations in mind for what she needs or wants her bridesmaids to do. If you are on the fence about whether or not you can commit the time and money-- don’t be afraid to say something ahead of time. While things can be awkward for a few weeks, ultimately, your friend with understand.