Congrats, You're a Bridesmaid! Here's What to Do First
Get excited—you're a bridesmaid in your friend's wedding! Once your new status as a member of the bride crew sinks in, you might be wondering, "What now?" Whether you're a bridal party novice or an old pro, here are the very first things to prioritize to get the process going and the party started.
Meet the Squad
If you haven't met them already, reach out to the other bridal party members for a get-together. They're your team for the next few months leading up to the wedding, so get acquainted and kick off the journey together. If the bride or maid of honor hasn't had a chance to, organize a meet-and-greet over brunch or wine and cheese. Make intros, go over key dates, be frank about expectations, brainstorm ideas and more. And definitely get involved in whatever form of group communication works for everyone: Start a group chat, Facebook group or email chain to keep the conversation flowing and organized.
Nail Down Your Budget
Be upfront with the bride, the other ladies and yourself about your financial situation. Bridesmaids are traditionally expected to cover several wedding expenses, including the bachelorette party costs, airfare, lodging, gifts and wedding outfits. If you need to skip one event, split a gift with another bridesmaid or opt to do your own hair and makeup on the morning of the wedding, that's fine. Just let the others know as far in advance as you can to avoid drama.
Browse Bridesmaid Attire for the Wedding
The specifics of this to-do will depend on the bride, of course, but once you get some instructions from her or the maid of honor, start looking for outfits, sourcing accessories and getting your measurements. If you're responsible for ordering your own bridesmaid dress, don't procrastinate. You need buffer time to get it fitted before game day—try to order it about six months out. Oh, and if you're getting new shoes, order them early and break them in before the morning of (trust us on this one.)
Start Thinking About the Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party
Once the ball really gets rolling, it's time to wrap your head around the prewedding parties you're responsible for co-planning and -hosting. Traditionally, this includes the bridal shower and bachelorette party, but it could branch out to additional celebratory gatherings with the entire wedding party, wider circles of friends and so on. Touch base with with the bride and other bridesmaids about shower themes and ideas (tea in the garden or brunch in a loft space?), bachelorette logistics (Disney World or Nashville?) and bridal party paraphernalia (think: T-shirts, totes, pool floats and robes) you'll definitely want to have. This is fun research to do—the world (read: the internet) is your oyster.
Be There for the Bride
Being an A-plus bridesmaid is all about balance. While you have your own personal to-dos to juggle, don't forget to be a reliable go-to person for the bride and other bridesmaids. If you have questions, make the maid or matron of honor your point person before nagging the bride—she has a lot of her own planning to worry about. Offer to lend a hand wherever needed, whether your support is practical or emotional. The bride should be able to count on you for everything from dress shopping to envelope stuffing and everything in between. Keep an open mind and a cheerful attitude and the process will be a blast.
Want more? Here's your full cheat sheet of bridesmaid duties in detail.