Photo: Artistic Imagez
At some point in your life, you may be asked to be a bridesmaid. Whether you respond to that question with a lot of high-pitched squealing, or an impending feeling of dread is up to you. However, being a bridesmaid isn’t really all that big of a deal—if you’re prepared.
So we present you with the questions you’re probably asking yourself, and how to be an awesome bridesmaid without too much drama.
1. My best friend got engaged three hours ago and she hasn’t asked me to be her bridesmaid yet, should I just call and ask her if I am one?
Nope. Why? Because it’s been three hours. And because she probably hasn’t picked a date, set a budget, picked a venue, or even taken a ring selfie yet. Bottom line: She’ll ask you when she’s ready. She’s got a lot of deets to work out before nailing down her bridal party so just sit back and relax. She’ll ask you when she’s ready. And if she doesn’t? Try not to be offended. There are dozens of reasons why your BFF may not ask you to be in the wedding. She might be having a small wedding, she might be doing siblings only, she might not want to start drama amongst friends, the reasons are endless. And you’ll save a ton of money! If she asks you, great. If she doesn’t, great. Remember, it’s her wedding not yours.
2. I was finallyyyy asked to be a bridesmaid! YAY! Do I have to say yes?
HOLY %$ congrats you totally didn’t see this coming. If she pops the question, we strongly recommend you say yes. Why? Because if you say no your friendship will likely be kind of over and nobody wants to have #badblood. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule. If you’re pregnant and your due date is near the wedding day, that’s a valid excuse. Just FYI we don’t condone getting pregnant just to get out of bridesmaid duties.
3. I said yes to being a bridesmaid, now what?
You should prob start saving your pennies. Being a bridesmaid is expensive AF and you’ll want to have some wiggle room in your bank account during this time. If you’re not the MOH sit back and wait for info on the bridesmaids dresses / bridal shower / bachelorette party. If you’ve been tapped to be the bride’s #1 sidekick, start perusing Pinterest because you’ve got some planning to do.
4. Should I start planning her shower?
If you’re the MOH brainstorming might be a good idea but no need to set a date quite yet. As long as you throw it two months before the wedding (at the very latest) then you’re golden. If you’re not the MOH, ask her if there’s anything you can do to help once the time gets closer. If it’s a ways out, there’s no reason to fret over shower decor just yet.
5. Do I have to go to her shower?
Nope. Seriously, you do not have to go. It’s obvi a very nice gesture for you to show up and watch her various reactions as she unwraps brand new kitchen supplies, but it’s not mandatory. Weddings aren’t a college course you’ll fail if you don’t have perfect attendance. Try your best to be there but if it’s far away, you have another commitment or you can’t afford it, give yourself a break. If she’s a good friend then she’ll understand and get over it.
Photo: Vanessa Joy Photography
6. What kind of gift do I bring to her shower?
Read this next sentence very carefully and etch it in your brain forever: bring something that’s on her registry. Don’t look at her registry and buy the exact same thing for less on another website because guess what? She’ll end up with two of the same thing. No, she wouldn’t rather you get her a tea set with cats all over it. She wants something from her registry, that’s why she made one. Yup, she really does want that stainless steel strainer. So get it for her. You’re not being rude for showing up with a gift she wanted in the first place. For the love of God, stick to the registry.
7. If I don’t go to her shower, should I still send a gift?
Yup. And you should get it off her registry.
8. How much $$ should I spend on her shower gift?
Around $50. If you have to get two things off her registry to bring your total to around that much, do it.
9. Do I have to buy that floor-length dress she wants us all to wear? I have plenty of dresses in my closet…
Yup. You do. You know why? Because this is her wedding and you’ll wear what she wants you to. Save the dresses in your closet for the rehearsal dinner / bridal shower / another wedding, because you’re wearing that dress.
10. But this neckline is SO unflattering on me and I’ll never wear it again.
You still have to wear it. If she’s giving you the option to choose one from a bunch of options, pick the one that’s most flattering to your body type. And you NEVER know if you’ll wear it again or not. Another friend may want the same color dress down the road.
11. Can I tell her I don’t like it?
Nope. But you can suck it up and be a really good friend for wearing it despite that.
12. I live in an apartment the size of a shoebox, I def can’t afford this dress.
If it’s really a major issue for you, talk to the bride. Since you’re in her wedding there’s a pretty high chance that you’re super close friends and can talk to her about this kind of stuff. Be sure to approach the situation maturely, instead of vetoing the idea of wearing it completely.
Photo: Sascha Reinking Photography
13. Um, her bachelorette party is a four-day weekend in Vegas. I can’t afford that and can’t take work off. WTF do I do?
Again, there’s no rule book that says you have to do anything just because you’re a bridesmaid. Would it be a thoughtful gesture to travel there and celebrate your bestie? Yup. Is it totally reasonable that you can’t afford a $500 flight and 4 days at an expensive hotel? Yup. If you can make it, great. If you can’t, explain your reasoning to the bride. If she’s a good friend, she’ll understand.
14. I can afford her bachelorette party. But I hate Vegas.
If you can afford it and you can take the time off work and the timing is right, you should go. You are a bridesmaid after all and attending the bachelorette party is one of the perks.
15. What should I bring?
Depends on where you’re going and what you’re doing. Think about the temp and the kind of activities you’ll be doing, ie) will you be clubbing or lounging poolside? Unless the MOH plans to throw a lingerie party or something similar you don’t have to bring a gift.
16. I’ve already paid for her shower gift, her bachelorette party, a dress, travel, and hotel costs. Do I have to get her a wedding gift too?
Yes. No exceptions.
17. How much do I have to spend on the wedding gift?
You should spend more than you did on the shower gift, and since you’re a close friend you should prepare to dish out a little more. Between $90 - $100 per person is typically a good range. If you’re bring a plus-one you should get something a little nicer since you can split the cost between the two of you. Wedding gifts are not the time or place to be stingy.
18. Wait, is this registry different from her shower registry?
Nope, it’s the same one. The couple should have added or updated it if they ran out of gifts following the shower. And like we said before, your wedding gift should come from the registry.
19. Should I bring the gift with me to the wedding?
Again, read this next sentence very carefully and etch it in your brain forever: Do not bring the gift to the wedding. Registries were literally created for the very reason that the gift can easily be shipped to their home.
20. But won’t the couple think I’m rude for not bringing a gift?
Nope. They’ll actually be thrilled they don’t have to find a way to get it home after the wedding, especially if it’s something big, unwieldy or fragile.
21. So I literally show up to the wedding with no gift in hand?
Correct. Unless you’re bringing a cash gift, in which case stick it in an envelope with a card and drop it at the specified place upon your arrival to the reception.
22. I’m a dude but I’m the bride’s BFF / cousin / brother and she asked me to be a “bridesman”. Is this really a thing?
Yup, it really is. Mixed wedding parties are becoming pretty popular because guess what? It’s 2016. If you feel weird about attending the bachelorette party, chat with the bride about it, but it's an honor to stand by your BFF / cousin / sister on her side of the altar—no matter which side you're on.
23. Am I getting a plus-one to her wedding?
If you’re in the bridal party, it’s pretty much a done deal you’ll get a plus-one.
24. But what will my BF or GF do before / during the wedding since I’ll be with the bride?
They’ll survive. They can hang with other the plus-ones whose girlfriends are primping with the bride or they can explore the location they’re in. Give them a head’s up before the wedding that you’ll be spending ample time with the bride so they’re not shocked if you don’t sit together at the reception.
25. If I’m single do I HAVE to bring a plus-one to her wedding?
Nope. It might even be more fun to go solo, weddings are a great place to meet other single people.
26. Turns out I have to give a toast. Is it cool to bring up college mems?
Uhhhh be careful with that. Remember that grandpa and grandma may be in the audience and the bride’s father certainly has no interest in hearing about his daughter’s crazy escapades from senior year formal. Stick to PG stories that won’t cause the couple’s faces to turn bright red.
27. So that rehearsal dinner… do I have to go?
Yup you should probably be there. Especially since you’ll be going over what your actual role during the ceremony will be.
28. It’s the wedding day and my BFF is freaking out about marriage. What do I do?
Calm her down. If you’ve been through it before, let her know you felt the exact same way once but it’s just the nerves talking. If you’re not married, just remind her that plenty of people feel this way and remind her that she’s making the right decision. Also a glass of champagne usually does the trick.
29. So I stood up at the altar and gave my toast, can I get drunk now?
Definitely enjoy the open bar, you’ve earned it! But you don’t want to be known as that one friend whose drunk tears flooded the reception space.
It’s an honor and also a lot of fun to be a bridesmaid! There are way worse things you could be asked to do, this isn’t so bad, so enjoy it!