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Being asked to be a bridesmaid in your friend or relative's wedding is an honor. When you accept the invitation, you take on a certain amount of responsibility along with it. If you don't have the time, can't afford it, or don't want to make the commitment to your friend, you shouldn't. It's okay to beg off, as long as you do it gracefully.
It's far worse to promise you'll be a bridesmaid and then do a bad job of it. The bride is counting on you. And bad bridesmaids do exist at more weddings than you would realize. Behave badly enough and it could affect your friendship with the bride afterwards. On the flip side, being a helpful and supportive member of the wedding party will help create lifelong happy memories for your friend.
There are five things bridesmaids absolutely, positively should not do:
1. Don't be difficult about the bride's selection of the dress you'll be wearing on her big day. It's only one day. If you hate it, you never have to wear it again. And don't complain to the other bridesmaids — some of them probably have the same opinion but they're keeping it to themselves.
2. Don't put off going to the bridal shop for your fittings — missing the deadline can result in the bride absorbing rush charges for all of the dresses. Most shops order all the bridesmaid gowns together so that they're cut from the same dye lot and there's no variation in color. If one bridesmaid misses the dress-ordering deadline, rush fees will apply to everybody's dresses individually. Most considerate brides will end up paying for your mistake.
3. Don't miss any of the pre-wedding events unless you live out of town, in which case you should probably choose one party you can afford to attend and let the bride know that's your plan. She might have a preference — for example, wanting you there to attend her bachelorette party more than a bridal shower to stock her kitchen.
4. Don't ignore the bride. Respond to all the bride's questions promptly — messages asking, for example, do you want a hair appointment and have you made your hotel reservation yet? Taking your sweet time makes her life harder as she makes her wedding arrangements.
5. Don't let yourself get "over-served" at the wedding events. As a bridesmaid, you're supposed to be on hand to help, not be a nuisance because you're acting goofy after six pre-dressing mimosas. You'll also be featured in a lot of formal wedding pictures, and drunk does show. If you're not careful, you'll go down as that girl in the candids and videos that end up on social media.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.