Wedding planning is often a months-long process filled with dozens of big and small decisions. By the time the day finally arrives, it’s only natural that you’ll want to kick back, relax, and be fully present for the experience. That’s not always easy when there are still plenty of tasks to take care of—and on a super-tight timeline!—but thankfully a personal attendant can relieve some of the stress.
What is a Personal Attendant?
Also referred to as a bridal concierge, personal concierge, bridal assistant, or lady in waiting, a personal attendant is a paid professional hired to take care of a bride or groom’s personal needs on the morning of their wedding. They do not assist in event or vendor coordination.
“When you book a bridal concierge, you’re hiring your very own assistant, like a celebrity would, for the wedding day,” explains Amber Perry, owner of Lady In Waiting Services. This wedding pro is focused on one thing, and one thing alone: your personal care and happiness. Read on for more details on the role a personal attendant might play on your wedding day, including the tasks they’ll perform, and the difference between a personal attendant and an honor attendant.
Meet the Expert
Amber Perry is the owner and founder of Lady In Waiting Services, a personal bridal concierge and wedding planning company. Based in Wilmington, Delaware, her company also offers services in New York, throughout the mid-Atlantic, and Charleston, South Carolina.
What does a personal attendant do at a wedding?
Per Perry, who has been offering bridal concierge services since 2011, a personal attendant is typically on hand for four to five hours on the morning of the wedding. The attendant arrives first thing in the morning, usually around 9 or 10 a.m., and finishes up just before cocktail hour. Though a bride or groom’s requests and needs are often different with each wedding, here are some of Perry’s typical tasks:
- Bring you and members of your wedding party water, coffee, tea, Champagne, and snacks while you’re getting ready.
- Steam the wedding dress, veil, and bridesmaid dresses.
- Hang the wedding dress by a window or in another visually appealing place so it can be photographed.
- Prep and style bridal accessories for the photographer to shoot.
- Pick up breakfast or lunch orders.
- Run last-minute errands.
- Come prepared with an emergency kit that includes common medicines (Advil, Tums, etc.), breath mints, first aid supplies, straws, a sewing kit (prepped with the correct color thread for the bride’s dress), and more.
- Facilitate the wedding-day gift exchange between the couple.
- Steam and prep clothing for the groom and groomsmen.
- Help the bride put on the wedding dress.
- Travel with the bride to the first look and ensure her dress and veil are styled for photographs.
- Provide minor makeup and hair touch-ups between photographs during the first look.
- Pack up belongings and tidy up the bridal suite.
- Handle fashion emergencies, such as broken dress straps or missing buttons.
- Distribute tips to other vendors.
- Bustle the wedding dress before cocktail hour.
- Assist in changing into a second reception dress.
Over the years, Perry’s more unique tasks have included stitching a piece of a mother’s wedding gown into her daughter’s wedding gown and sewing in the best man’s suspenders. She also notes that photographers have come to rely on her as a second set of expert hands while portraits are taken. “I’m there for the bride, but I end up being a good asset for all vendors involved,” she says.
While your venue may also offer a personal attendant, this person will not take on as many responsibilities. They won’t be assisting you until you reach the venue, may not be able to tackle fashion emergencies, and will moreso be focused on bringing you snacks and drinks from cocktail hour during your post-ceremony downtime.
What shouldn’t you ask a personal attendant to do?
A personal attendant’s focus is on the bride, groom, parents of the marrying couple, and members of the wedding party. They are not responsible for tasks that have to do with the wedding itself, such as laying out escort cards, directing guests to the ceremony site, or coordinating with catering, floral, or event production vendors. (These types of tasks are the responsibility of the wedding planner or day-of coordinator.)
Barring requests that might be inappropriate or pose a safety risk, though, there’s not much a personal attendant won’t do to help ensure the morning of your wedding flows as smoothly as possible. “I wouldn’t transport children, but I’ll absolutely help calm them down [during pictures],” offers Perry.
Who hires the personal attendant?
While a bride or groom who could use some extra help (or just wants to be pampered!) often hires their own personal attendant, Perry says that older relatives, such as a mother or aunt, will also often book her services for the marrying couple. Her personal attendant package has also been purchased as a bridal shower gift and as a gift from a groom to his bride for her birthday.
What’s the difference between a personal attendant and a member of the wedding party?
While you might hear a bridesmaid or groomsman occasionally referred to as an attendant, it is important to note that that does not mean they are expected to do your bidding. Your bridesmaids have likely already had a hand in planning your bridal shower and bachelorette and spent hundreds of dollars in the process. Come wedding day, they want to savor the special moment just as much as you do—and also have their own hair, makeup, and dressing processes to worry about. For that reason, you’ll want to be very selective with the tasks you ask them to complete. “Anything that requires someone to step away, I’ll handle it,” says Perry. “Please don’t send your bridesmaids or maid of honor, because they also want to enjoy the day.”
What is an honor attendant?
Some use “honor attendant” as an interchangeable umbrella term for the best man or maid of honor. (i.e. the maid of honor is the bride’s honor attendant, and the best man is the groom’s honor attendant.) You could also reserve the role for a younger cousin who is perhaps too old to be a flower girl, but not quite “adult” enough to be a full-fledged member of the bridal party. “She can come in, hang out, and hold your train as you leave the hotel,” says Perry. That said, you won’t want to depend on her help too much. “She’s also going to want to have fun,” Perry adds. “Know that when other people start coming around, she’s probably going to ghost you.”