Bridesmaid Tips for 'Maids Making Their First Trip Down the Aisle

Nervous? We gotchu, girl

Updated 03/21/17

Photo by Chris J. Evans

Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an incredible honor. If this is your first time, you might have some (or many) questions or concerns. Don’t worry, this is totally normal, and we’ve got your back. Check out our top tips for first-time bridesmaids and you’ll be sure to enjoy every moment by your friend’s side on her journey to the aisle.

Be Supportive

While you may seem a bit like a fish out of water as a first-time bridesmaid, remember that at the root of it is friendship. You were asked to be a part of the big day for a reason, and in that spirit, do your best to always be supportive of the bride. Keep in mind that wedding planning can be super stressful and overwhelming, so cut her some slack if she seems distant, short-tempered, or even a little demanding. (Okay, we said a little.) If you notice something is a bit off, offer your ear, some of your time, or a helping hand.

But always be sure to recognize the difference between excusable and acceptable behavior, and what is not.

Communicate

This is perhaps the golden rule of wedding party members. You never want to be the disengaged or difficult-to-reach bridesmaid. By being communicative and reasonably available, you’re sure to be able enjoy the process much more and keep things organized for both yourself and the bridal party.

In general, try to respond to all texts and emails in a timely manner, and be open and honest about your availability. Communicate your ideas and opinions openly, too. If you absolutely feel uncomfortable in a dress option, think the bachelorette plans are getting out of hand, or are part of other decision-making processes where your input is asked—give it! If something doesn’t sit right with you, you might want to bounce your ideas and feelings off someone who isn’t involved first for an outsider’s perspective and advice prior to opening up.

Regardless of the situation, always remember: Communication is key.

Be Prepared to Spend

Being a bridesmaid should never become a truly significant financial burden (although it might feel like it), but spending is a necessary and normal part of partaking in the honor. If this is a concern for you, there’s nothing wrong with asking the bride, at the right time of course, the approximate cost of the dress, shoes, and any other expenses she may hold you directly accountable for. It’s also perfectly fine, and encouraged, to reach out to the maid of honor, too. Not only will this be a great time to communicate and ask how you might be able to help, but also ask for a ballpark figure of shower and bachelorette expenses.

The more prepared you are, the better off you’ll be.

If it turns out that you simply cannot afford all that comes with accepting the part of bridesmaid, there are ways to politely and graciously turn down the offer, too.

Be Present

As a bridesmaid, all the events leading up to the big day can feel overwhelming at times, as they tend to be piled on top of your already busy (and maybe even stressful and hectic) schedule. Just keep in mind that for your friend, the bride, these events are her once-in-a-lifetime special moments. Keep that notion in the front of your mind whenever you feel a bit overwhelmed or disengaged. Do your best to consistently be present and participating while sharing in her happiness. Nothing is worse than a bride who feels like a burden.

Have Fun

It’s unlikely that your role as bridesmaid will happen 27 times, à la Katherine Heigl’s character in 27 Dresses. (Phew!) Chances are, you’ll have this honor a handful of times at most. So, do your best to enjoy every moment. Pop the Champagne, play (and win!) the cheesy shower games, rock your bridesmaid dress, indulge in the day-of pampering and remember how lucky you are to have a friend that couldn’t say “I do” without you!

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