When the bride asked you to stand beside her on her wedding day, up at the alter, underneath the white roses and the tea-light candles, she may have forgot to mention the amount of money, time, energy, phone minutes, and last-minute tasks she wanted you to be responsible for over the course of the next year or so.
Being a bridesmaid will have you doing a range of tasks and exerting all kinds of emotions. So here's what you need to know before you say "I do":
1. You're not alone
Meet the other bridesmaids as soon as you can. They'll be the girls you say "cheese" with in the pictures on the day of the wedding, and they'll be there before to split the wedding tasks with. Get to know them individually before the bridesmaid email chains start flowing — or somehow end up in your spam folder.
2. Email Chains
You'll get most of the details of what you're responsible to do and where you need to be via email. That's where you'll find out the details of the dress and shoes you need to buy and where you and the other bridesmaids will go back an forth on where to throw the bride's bachelorette party.
3. You Don't Have to Say Yes
There's the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, the dress fittings, the bridesmaid dress shopping, the random bridesmaid get togethers in between. You don't have to make it to every event — but you do have to let the bride know in advance if you can't.
4. If You Have 99 Problems, Don't Let the Bride Know One
That's what the maid of honor (should be) for — use her as a buffer or as your go-to when you have any kind of problem or concern about the wedding.
5. Money Will Be One of Those Problems
Being a bridesmaid costs money. A lot of money. So stick with rule number three — and only say yes to things you can afford to say yes.
6. Upgrade Your Phone Plan
The number one thing you'll do as a bridesmaid, is listen to the bride. That means 2 a.m. phone calls about how her Aunt Phyllis is causing drama with the rest of the family or text messages while you're at work over how the caterer is going to charge her extra for whole wheat bread.
7. Get Ready to Work Overtime
Your bridesmaid hours the day of the wedding often start at 7 a.m. and go until 2 a.m. Stock up on extra sleep the week before the wedding.
8. Things Won't Go Your Way
The dress may fit you weird and your hair may end up making you feel like a pageant queen from Texas. You may not want to wear ruby red shoes or magenta lipstick. You'll need to fake it until you make it through the end of the wedding.
9. All Eyes Will Be on You
When you walk down the aisle before the bride on the day of the wedding, everyone will turn to look at you and in that moment, you'll feel like the most important person in the entire world.
10. The Job Doesn't End When She Says "I Do"
After the wedding, you may be asked to help with sorting gifts of give the bride advice on which photos she should use for her wedding album. Just because your time as a bridesmaid is over, being the brides friend is something you pinky sweared for life, didn't you?
Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.