Getting asked to be a bridesmaid can often feel like you just scored the supporting actress role in an Oscar-worthy movie. It can feel somewhat like a rite of passage, even something you're desperately looking forward to crossing off your bucket list.
But after the excitement of having the bride pop the bridesmaid question to you wears off, you may find yourself flustered over where to start or even though it might be your "job" to start anything. Sure, you can scour the Internet, call on experienced friends, or ask strangers for advice on what to do and more importantly what not to do.
But no matter how much you read up on how to be the most perfect bridesmaid ever, and no matter how many times you've been a bridesmaid before, whether that's once, twice, or a handful of times, you will find yourself making the kind of mistakes that will leave you with one too many blisters, headaches, or just simply wishing that you would have negotiated the terms of your bridesmaid role ahead of time. You may even find yourself fidgeting around the idea of backing out of your bridesmaid duties or convincing yourself that being a bridesmaid once is more than enough.
Dodge the blisters, the crying bride, and the "I'll never be a bridesmaid again" attitude by learning how to conquer your bridesmaid duties, and you eventually will, as long as you avoid making these 49 rookie bridesmaid mistakes.
You Prematurely Accept to Be a Bridesmaid
Just because you're asked to be a bridesmaid doesn't mean you have to say yes. Do it only because that person truly means a lot to you, you have the time and extra cash to do it right, and because you want to.
You Bring the Wrong Gift to the Wrong Place
When the wedding adventure first begins, map out each event that you plan on bringing a gift to—that way you won't make the rookie mistake of bringing lingerie to the bridal shower.
You Don't Listen to the Bride
When the bride says she wants a quiet and simple bachelorette party, somewhere with bottles of wine and cucumbers over her eyes—don't go off and plan a night out at the hottest club in Las Vegas. Listen to her, even if it's not what you want to do—or what you "think" she really wants.
You Don't Save the Drama for the Maid of Honor
Planning a wedding is stressful. So if you're not happy with the dress she picked out or the time the bridal shower starts or how another one of the bridesmaids is treating you, chat about it with the maid of honor or another member of the bridal party. Don't bother the bride with that nonsense.
You Spend Too Much Money Right Away
Yes, being a bridesmaid is expensive—sometimes more money than you'd like to actually spend. Set budget expectations early on with the entire wedding party.
You Leave the Essentials Behind
Clean out the travel-size toiletries section at CVS and throw all of those items into a tote bag or a fanny pack—they will come in handy. They will save your feet, your mind, and your stress sweat from leaking out all over the place when the bride desperately needs eyelash glue.
You Say Too Much in Your Toast
If you're speaking during her reception or at her rehearsal dinner, leave out the part about how on your spring break cruise to Cozumel she spent 60 percent of the trip with her head nearby the toilet and the other 40 percent with her lips on a shot glass. Save that for the bachelorette party.
You Drink Too Much at the Rehearsal Dinner
Speaking of shots, leave them off your drink menu the night before the wedding. Waking up hung-over won't feel or look so great.
You Talk Behind the Bride's Back
Even if you find yourself frustrated or overwhelmingly annoyed with the bride, avoid chatting about her behind her back or hosting a vent session with another bridesmaid.
You Think Your Bridesmaid Role Ends When the Wedding Ends
Just because the couple said "I do" doesn't mean your job as a bridesmaid has come to a complete stop and you can exit your role. In the days after the wedding, the bride may turn to you for help with picking out photos for her album, helping her sort through gifts, and even just calling you to chat.
You Think You're Guaranteed a Plus-One
Being a bridesmaid doesn't necessarily mean that you're automatically granted a plus-one to break it down on the dance floor with or cheers a glass of champagne with. Unless the bride specifically says you can bring along some arm candy with you, assume it's not okay to bring a guest.
Your Plus-One Becomes the Life of the Party
If you are granted the privilege of bringing a plus-one along with you to the wedding, remember that you're responsible for their actions. While you're juggling your bridesmaid duties, keep an eye out to make sure they aren't guzzling their twelfth tequila shot for the night.
You Can't Commit to Pre-Wedding Events
Be sure to take note of the date of key wedding events, like the bachelorette party or the bridal shower, and jot them down on your calendar. If you don't think you'll be able to attend, tell the bride right away.
You Put Up a Fuss about the Dress
Even if yellow marigold is not your color or you don't like the way the seven layers of chiffon fall on your body, just remember that you're only going to be wearing this dress for one night. Complaining about the dress to the bride could jump-start her stress levels.
You Assume the Other Bridesmaids Will Take Care of It All
Instead of thinking that the maid of honor is taking care of all of the details and the planning, reach out and ask if there's something you can help with. If there's nothing at the moment, you can offer to be "on-call" in case something comes up.
You Make the Wedding All About You
A huge part of being a bridesmaid is learning to be selfless during the wedding process. So even if you're unhappy about something or not in the mood to do something, remember that ultimately you're there to support your friend, the bride.
You Make Excuses Instead of Being Honest
If you don't want to go to the bachelorette party or are afraid to tell the bride that you can't afford to fly out for her bridal shower, it's better to be honest and upfront about your reasons rather than make excuses or let her know last minute what is really going on.
You Forget the Key People, Places, and Things
After saying hello to your bridesmaid role, be sure to keep a mental note of all of the important dates for the wedding adventure as well as who the other members of the bridal party are. Get yourself in the loop of the details so that you don't forget where you need to be and when you need to be there.
You Go Big When Really You Should Go Home
You may start to feel like you're overdoing everything just to impress the bride or make her happy. But instead of ordering five shots for the bride and yourself at the bachelorette party or spending a lot of cash to make her bridal shower look like it's straight out of Pinterest, remember it is okay to keep things simple.
You Don't Respect the Bride's Wishes
It's okay not to agree with the things the bride is asking of you after you have agreed to be a bridesmaid. Instead of rolling your eyes or putting up a strong defense, talk out any and all concerns you have with the bride or maid of honor.
You Lie to the Bride
Whether she asks you an opinion on flower arrangements or whether her fake eyelashes look too fake, you don't have to spit out a lie to make sure she stays happy. Politely tell her the truth and even provide an alternate suggestion after doing so.
You Turn It Into a Dating Game
While it may be tempting to go over and fraternize with the groomsmen on the day of the wedding, make sure that you're around for the bride first, especially when she needs your help the most.
You Try to One Up Another Bridesmaid
As a member of the bridal party, you are in essence a member of a team. There's no need to compete with other bridesmaids, especially when it comes to gift-giving, unless you want your savings account to be very mad at you.
You Force the Bride to Get Too Wild
It's okay to help get the party started when you're at the wedding or even the bachelorette party, but stray away from pushing the bride too far out of her comfort zone. Her wedding adventure should feel like a celebration, not an ongoing game of truth and dare.
You Get Upset at the Bride for Not Taking Your Advice
Be supportive and give the bride as much advice as she'd like to hear, but if she decides to honeymoon in Jamaica over Thailand or if she chooses gold chargers over the silver ones you recommend, don't take it personally.
You Put Your Wedding Before Hers
If you find yourself getting married around the same time as the bride, be sure to support her as much as you can. Share your wedding-planning tools and to-do lists with her and try not to let your own wedding chaos get in the way of being there for the bride through hers.
You Order Your Bridesmaid Dress Too Late
Order your bridesmaid dress as soon as you can, since it usually takes between three and four months for your dress to arrive. The later you order it, the more you may need to generate a backup plan that includes sewing fabric together to make it yourself.
You Assume You're a Bridesmaid Before You've Been Asked
Be careful not to assume you've been chosen as a bridesmaid before the bride has asked you. Even if you're a close friend and you think it's a shoo-in, the bride may just decide to go with family members only or no bridesmaids at all.
You Make the Bachelorette Party R-Rated
If the bride is more of a PG kind of gal, don't feel the need to spice up the bachelorette party with strippers. You can think outside of the box and plan a weekend that she'll enjoy more.
You Decide to Wear Uncomfortable Shoes
If you want to wear shoes that are cuter than they are comfortable, be sure to load up on the Band-Aids or pack a pair of flats so that when the blisters start to tag along or you want to break it down on the dance floor, you're prepared.
You Don't Use Your Strengths to Help the Bride Out
Whether you're good at doing DIY crafts, writing speeches, or using excel to manage budgets or organize a to-do list, the easiest and most supportive way to help out the bride is to offer help in areas that you're great at.
You Forget the First Rule of Being a Good Bridesmaid
The number one thing to remember when you're a bridesmaid is that you simply just need to remember to be a good friend. Be there to listen, to support, and to lift the bride back up to reality when she's too overwhelmed.
You Don't Plan Out Your Hair and Makeup Beforehand
Screenshot photos of hairdos and makeup looks that you absolutely love and bring them with you on the day of the wedding when you're getting your hair and makeup done. This way, the stylists will know the kind of look you're going for and they can stay on time.
You Don't Get to Know the Other Bridesmaids
Be sure to make an effort to be friendly to the other members of the bridal party, especially if not everyone knows each other. The more you get along, the bride will feel like she has a strong group of gals who have her back on her wedding day.
You Show Up Late
Do your best to get to the wedding events a little bit early, in case the bride needs any last-minute help setting up or just someone who can calm her nerves.
You Don't Respond to the Wedding Email Chains
Instead of tossing email chains in your spam folder, make time to read through them and respond when needed. That way, you'll stay in the loop of any and all details and changes.
You Competitively Try to Catch the Bouquet
Even if you want to wrap your arms around the flying flower arrangement, try not to get too rowdy and knock out any other members of the wedding in order to walk off the dance floor victoriously.
You Buy the Wrong Bridesmaid Dress
Write down the style number and the color of the dress the bride has asked you to get. If you play a guessing game over which dress is the right dress, you might find yourself walking down the aisle in the wrong dress.
You Leave the Wedding Early
Try to stick around at the wedding until the very end. Even if you're not a party animal, being there until it's over will show the bride that you support her and that you're around to help out if she needs it when the celebration comes to a close (she will probably need your help to clean up!).
You Wear White
Wear any color you want to the bridal shower, the engagement party, and even the bachelorette party except for white. That is saved for the bride and only the bride's wardrobe during the wedding adventure.
You Don't Give Her a Wedding Gift
Being a bridesmaid comes with a lot of expenses and you may find yourself shelling out more money than you can afford. It's still appropriate to give the bride a gift—even if it's something small or homemade.
You Forget to Book Yourself Accommodations
Make sure you have a place to stay after the wedding is over so that you don't find yourself shacking up with the bride and the groom.
You Don't Have Cash on You
Come prepared with cash in case you need to tip the hair and makeup stylists or lend the bride some money to tip the vendors—in case she forgot.
You Don't Take Time to Enjoy Yourself
In the end, this whole thing is one giant celebration, so take some time to enjoy yourself and the people around you.
You Think You Need to Attend It All
Don't feel as though you can't say no to wedding events. If you can't make them, just let the bride know as soon as possible.
You Think You've Mastered Bridesmaid 101
Just because you've been a bridesmaid more times than you can count on your hands, there are always new things you can learn about your bridesmaid duties and repeat mistakes you can work on avoiding.
You Make It Facebook Official That You're a Bridesmaid Too Soon
The bride might need a few weeks to ask all of the different people she wants to be a bridesmaid. Make sure you have the okay before announcing it to the world that you've been picked as a member of her bridal party.
You Forget to Say Thank You
Don't forget to thank the bride for asking you to be by her side on her wedding day. You can send her a cute card or even take her out for a relaxing afternoon of mani-pedis.
You Don't Ask for Help When You Need It
If you start to feel too overwhelmed as a bridesmaid, it's okay to ask for help from the other members of the bridal party or even the maid of honor.