bridesmaids and bride hiding behind bouquets

Photo: Dana Lynn Photo, Video & Photobooths

There are a lot of perks to being a bridesmaid—wearing a (hopefully) killer dress, planning and attending lots of fun parties, carrying a pretty bouquet—and lots of champagne, of course. However, you may be surprised to see how packed a bridesmaid’s wedding day timeline can be. From waking up early after a night of partying to helping your BFF while she uses the restroom, a bridesmaid timeline includes a variety of tasks, big and small.

Let’s walk through what a wedding day timeline for a bridesmaid might look like.  

8:15am: Phone alarm rings. You fumble to turn it off, and realize you’re definitely feeling the effects of last-night’s rehearsal dinner festivities. Did you really need that last drink at the after-party? No matter, it’s time to get up and head over to the bride’s suite.

8:48am: You’re showered (but left your hair unwashed—all the easier to style it!), and are wearing a button-down shirt so your makeup won’t get smudged upon removal. You’ve tripled-checked that your bridesmaid dress and accessories are all packed and ready to go, and that your purse for the evening is fully stocked.

9:00am: Fortunately, you are staying in the same hotel as the bride, so you head up to her suite and arrive right on time (you’ve practically memorized the wedding day timeline!). The MOH has made sure that everyone’s breakfast orders have arrived via room service, so you greet the bride with a hug and start chowing down.

9:07am: As the rest of the bridesmaids arrive (some looking a bit more hungover than others), the bride presents the whole crew with gifts—matching robes! As you scarf down your eggs and smoothie, you put on the robe and pose for a few selfies with the gang.

9:26am: After fiddling with your Spotify app for a few seconds, you find the getting-ready playlist you created for this occasion (with input from the rest of the girls, too!). As the bride’s favorite tunes start playing, you start busting a move as the MOH pours the mimosas.

bridesmaids getting ready and toasting

Photo: Bradley Images, Inc.

9:56am: The hair and makeup team arrive and immediately get to work on the bridesmaids. While you’re waiting for your turn in the makeup chair, you chat with the bride. You’ve known her long enough to know she’s nervous, so you keep the mood light by sharing funny stories from the rehearsal dinner and reminiscing about old times.

11:03am: It’s your turn to get your hair and makeup done. You want a fresh and natural beauty look, and all the 'maids are wearing their hair down. The bride is starting to get her hair and makeup done as well.

11:15am: The photographer arrives. She very quickly starts snapping photos of the getting-ready scene, including the bride getting her makeup done and some group shots of the ‘maids.

11:32am: The mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom arrive. They got their hair and makeup done at a local salon, and the bride nearly leaps out of her chair to greet them.

12:00pm: Lunch arrives from room service. Fortunately, the makeup artist is just putting the final touches on your face so you can quickly start chowing down. The bride is still having her hair done, so you quickly make her a plate so she won’t get hangry. You also make sure that she’s drinking plenty of water (through a straw so as not to upset her lipstick, of course!).

12:12pm: The florist arrives with the bouquets. Everyone starts shrieking about how pretty the flowers are. As you hold your bouquet, you feel like a real bridesmaid.

12:45pm: Everyone gets dressed. You actually really like your bridesmaid dress, so you’re excited to put it on. The rest of the ‘maids look awesome, and the bride is getting into her dress with the help of her mom. When she turns around, you and the ‘maids gasp at how stunning she looks. The phones come out for a few photos (no posting, though!), and you even catch yourself shedding a few tears.

bridesmaids gasping at bride

Photo: Smith Studios Photography

12:53pm: It’s almost time to head to the wedding venue! The soon-to-be married couple are going to do their first look at the venue, so you say goodbye to the bride as she heads off with her mom. You and the ‘maids are taking a shuttle to the venue soon (you’re super-grateful the bride splurged on transportation for the whole gang!). You run back to your hotel room to put away your belongings.

1:15pm: You and the ‘maids make sure that the wedding-day emergency kit is fully stocked and that you all have your bouquets. You head to the hotel lobby to catch the shuttle. You meet the groomsmen there and everyone is excitedly chatting. As you jump into the shuttle, a few beers are passed around and everyone sings along (loudly) to music from someone’s phone.

1:58pm: You’ve arrived at the venue and it’s time to take some photos—an essential part of the bridesmaid timeline. The almost-newlyweds have already completed their first look and are posing for photos with their families. You and the rest of the wedding party patiently wait your turn.

2:17pm: Wedding party photo time! The photographer takes photos of the bridesmaids and groomsmen separately, as a big group, and a variety of combinations. Your cheeks hurt from smiling so much, but seeing your pal so happy with her soon-to-be spouse is making your heart swell. The photographer takes photos of the gang standing, walking, jumping, and more. Those 4-inch heels you picked out might not have been the best decision. Your feet are starting to hurt, and the ceremony hasn’t even started yet.

3:21pm: Photos are over and the whole gang heads inside. The ladies are escorted to a waiting area and you can tell the bride is starting to get nervous again. You and the ladies put on some fun music and everyone starts dancing. The wedding coordinator stops by to politely tell you to keep it down—the guests are starting to arrive.

4:00pm: The ceremony is about to begin. Given your in-depth knowledge of the wedding day timeline and the fact that you paid close attention during the rehearsal, you and the rest of the ‘maids line up and the bride is ready to walk down the aisle with her parents. There are a few small children in the ceremony and you help entertain them until the ceremony starts.

4:05pm: The music is playing and the processional begins. You clutch your bouquet, making sure to hold it at your waist level, and remember to walk slowly, but not too slowly.

4:06pm: You repeat to yourself “don’t trip, don’t trip, don’t trip” as you make your first steps down the aisle. You try giving your most natural smile as you take your place at the altar.

bridesmaids at ceremony

Photo: LOVE + WOLVES CO

4:07pm: Here comes the bride! You can’t believe you’re seeing your best pal as a bride. She looks so gorgeous and happy as she hands the maid of honor her bouquet.

4:10pm: You try not to cry during the ceremony, but it’s super emotional! You look out at the crowd and start to tense up at seeing so many faces looking in your direction. Settle down, no one is looking at you right now!

4:25pm: Okay, you’re ready for the ceremony to be over. Your feet are starting to throb a bit. These stupid shoes! You forget about the pain in your feet and try to pay attention to the reading.

4:32pm: The couple share their first kiss as a married couple and everyone cheers. The maid of honor makes sure that the bride takes her bouquet and the recessional begins. You are so ready to sit down.

4:46pm: You quickly give your bestie a hug as she is whisked away to take some photos with her new spouse. You and the rest of the wedding party members head over to cocktail hour—fortunately, the ceremony and reception are in the same building.

5:00pm: Cocktail hour! Drinks are flowing and, thank goodness, the food is plentiful. You and some of the other ‘maids grab some champagne and make a beeline for the servers who are carrying trays of delicious-looking hors d’oeuvres. Those mini crab cakes are totally your weakness.

5:06pm: You take a look at the escort card display and check your table number. You’re sitting with the rest of the wedding party at the head table.

6:00pm: Time flies! The doors open for the reception. The wedding coordinator gathers the entire wedding party so that you can make your grand entrance into the reception after the rest of the guests are seated.

maid of honor toast

Photo: Eric Vest Photography, Inc.

6:08pm: You dance into the reception with the rest of the bridesmaids and then the newlyweds are introduced. The wedding party stands near the dance floor as the couple begins their oh-so-romantic first dance.

6:11pm: Time to dance! You make sure that your bouquet and purse are placed at your table and then rush onto the dance floor to let loose.

6:30pm: Dinner is served—probably the most important part of the wedding day timeline as you’re still starving. You head back to your table, where everyone is excitedly chatting and clinking their glasses to make the newlyweds kiss. You’re glad to finally rest your feet a bit.

6:52pm: You get the bride’s attention and motion to her that she needs to eat something. She takes a few bites of her chicken, then keeps on chatting. At least you tried.

7:15pm: As everyone is enjoying their entrées, the bride’s father, the best man, and the maid of honor give their toasts. You said a few words at the rehearsal dinner last night, so you’re sitting pretty.

7:30pm: Parent dances—so sweet.

7:33pm: Everyone hits the dance floor. You know you have to set a good example for the rest of the guests, so you hit the floor extra hard.

7:43pm: An elderly guest walks up to you and hands you an envelope. “I can’t find the bride,” she says. “Can you make sure the bride gets this?” You thank her and bring the envelope to the gift table.

bridesmaids wearing pink gowns

Photo: Olli Studio

7:57pm: The bride discreetly tells you and another ‘maid that she has to use the bathroom. The three of you head to the restroom, where you help her with her dress so she can pee. That’s what friends are for, right?

8:30pm: Cake cutting! Aw, the newlyweds are just the cutest. They give a little speech thanking their guests for coming.

8:40pm: The shoes come off as you’re sing-screaming the lyrics to “Shout.”

10:55pm: Wow, the reception totally flew by. It’s time for the last dance. You make sure to hug the newlyweds before they make their grand exit.

11:00pm: The newlyweds have left the building and the wedding is over. You help the maid of honor hand out the last remaining tips and make sure that all of the gifts are brought to the right place.

11:15pm: You and the rest of the wedding party jump on the shuttle. Everyone is still in a party mood, so you’ll all meet at the hotel bar for a little after-party.

11:32pm: You enjoy a drink and toast your fellow bridesmaids on an amazing evening. The newlyweds stop by for a few minutes—they’ve got to be up bright and early for the post-wedding brunch…which means, so do you.

11:48pm: You head up to your hotel room, wash off your makeup, and check your phone to see if any photos of you are on the wedding hashtag. Your eyes are barely staying open so it’s time to zzzzzzz….