Bridesmaid 101: What To Expect When You’re in a Wedding Party

When one of your BFFs gets married, it’s a pretty freaking exciting time. They’re so, so in love and are preparing to basically yell it from a mountain top. What makes it even better? She’s given you the second place prize after her future hubby/wifey and asking you to be a bridesmaid! While that’s super awesome and we’re so happy for you (the love between you and your BFF is ~truly~ beautiful), we have a little hunch that you might need some guidance on this front, especially if this is your first time being a bridesmaid.

There’s definitely no go-to guide on how to be the perfect bridesmaid – after all, everyone is different, and what your bride and fellow bride tribe will need might be completely different from another wedding party.

But there are also a few things you can expect when heading into this whole process, and we’re here to make sure being a bridesmaid doesn’t leave you like the most recently booted contestant from The Bachelor: completely blindsided.

It’s not really that glamorous

Imagine being a bridesmaid as the same thing as Instagram – your feed is dope as anything, but in reality you took 16 pictures and a few filters before you got the right selfie.

Being a bridesmaid is exactly the same thing. You might think you’re about to step right out of Martha Stewart arts and crafts heaven, but in reality you’re going to be doing a lot of running around, a lot of small talk with strangers, and a lot of planning.

Don’t get us wrong. Being a bridesmaid is so much fun, and it’s a huge honor that your friend wants you to stand beside her as she makes this serious commitment. But just remember that it’s probably not going to look completely like your Pinterest board, and that’s okay.

It’s going to be pretty pricey

Like we said before, every wedding is different. Some brides might not care if you get your hair professionally done, while others will care. We can’t tell you every single expense you should anticipate, but we can warn you that this might be a bit of an expensive expression of your friendship with your bride.

Things you probably can expect to pay for: the dress, your wedding day hair and makeup, bachelorette party celebrations, bridal shower venue or decorations, gifts for the wedding and shower, and little accessories like bridesmaid tank tops or robes to getting ready in.

If cost is a huge issue for you, we suggest you be up front about it by offering budget suggestions, or volunteering less expensive options.

But ultimately, you’re going to have to pick your battles and remember what you signed on for. While it’s A-Okay to set a budget for something like the dress, try to keep in mind that this is an event that you knew would run you a little bit. Show your friend that you care about her by prioritizing spending on this one-in-a-lifetime event rather than say, a zillion shopping sprees.

Your opinion is valued (but only sometimes)

This is probably the trickiest part. Sometimes bridesmaids are too afraid of giving the wrong opinion that they give none at all, which totally sucks because your bride wanted your help for a reason – she trusts you and values your opinion.

When she asks your honest opinion about a dress or a center piece, you should definitely give it to her. You’re presumably one of her close friends, so you have a good read on what looks good on her and what she’ll ultimately be happy with when she looks back on her big day.

But you should also make sure you’re sensing your bride’s tone. If she seems super enthusiastic about something that you don’t love, just play along. She might be asking you for your opinion, but in reality she just wants you to confirm what she already knows and loves. Sometimes ya girl just needs a yes man.

It’s going to be so ridiculously fun

While there are a lot of harsh realities of being a bridesmaid (you mean I won’t always look like I stepped out of a bridal magazine?!), please remember that this is going to be a seriously joyous occasion for you and your friends. They’re getting married, and they love you enough to bring you along for the ride.

While there are definitely parts of being a bridesmaid that aren’t exactly fun, remember that this is a time that you and your BFF are going to remember forever, so make sure you’re making good memories.