What Do Bridesmaids Do? Here Are 11 Things To Check Off Your List

When my best friend asked me to be her bridesmaid, I was both touched and thrilled. We jumped up and down, hugged, squealed, and then I left her house with a huge smile and an even huger question mark: what do bridesmaids do? The title bride's-maid hints at a service job; a person(s) in charge of tending to the bride. But what exactly does the bride need and what does she expect of her bridesmaids? It is an honorary title or a duty? What's the proper way to behave as a bridesmaid? What are the responsibilities? How much will it cost? What's the first order of business? How do you divide your duties? Who do you report to? Is it anything more than having to buy a dress you'll never wear again?

While being asked to be your friend's bridesmaid is a huge honor, it's also a commitment. So, if you're particularly strapped for cash, in the middle of a crazy work schedule or overbooked socially, you might want to mention this to your friend before accepting, because you owe your friends transparency. You might not be up for the job, which is a fine and normal circumstance that happens in our busy adult lives. If you've happily accepted a bridesmaid invitation, these are some of the most important things you need to know about what will be expected of you and what to look forward to:

Offer To Help With The Engagement Party

While it's not your job to throw an engagement party, you should ask if there's anything you can help with. Maybe you can draft the invitations, maybe you can pick up some decorations. You shouldn't have to pay for this, but you should offer a helping hand.

Help To Throw The Bridal Shower

Traditionally the bridal party splits the cost of the shower — though every wedding is different. If you can afford to pitch in to throw a shower, you should. Typically it's just a small group of family and women close to the bride.

Attend The Bachelorette Party

Your presence will be expected but if you can't swing it financially, it's no big deal. Sometimes these trips can become incredibly pricy and only for a short weekend of fun. If you can't attend because of work or money, the bride should be understanding.

Help The Bride Shop For A Dress

Help your bestie shop for a dress if she invites you to join her. This is one of the most fun parts of planning a wedding. Be available to go shopping and be as helpful as possible in that dressing room. She's counting on you to be honest with her.

Help The Bride With Random Tasks

She might need help with seating charts, she might need help licking envelopes or choosing between bands. Try to make yourself available to do these tasks, but know that they're not required.

Happily Wear Your Chosen Dress

It's tradition for the bride to chose the dresses for her bridesmaids. Sometimes she'll chose one dress for all, other times they'll chose a color scheme or length or pattern. Some brides just ask that you don't show up in sweatpants. It totally depends on what your friend is into, and it's totally your job to pretend you love her idea, even if you hate it. It's also your responsibility to pay for the dress and the shoes, so start saving.

Attend The Rehearsal Dinner

This special dinner occurs after the wedding rehearsal at the ceremony location. Typically, the rehearsal dinner is a small group limited to immediate family and the wedding party. You will be expected to dress up for this, but you can wear whatever you want — except for white!

Make A Toast

If there are a dozen bridesmaids, you won't all be expected to stand up and make a toast. But if there are just a few of you, there will be the expectation. You can all work together and create one speech, or delegate a few people without stage-fright to speak on everyone's behalf. You can get creative here.

Stand By Her Side On Her Wedding Day

Your biggest job as a bridesmaid is to be by the bride's side all through the wedding day. You're there with her in the morning, helping to get her ready and psyched. You're literally by her side in the ceremony, making sure she doesn't trip over her dress or need a tissue. Hence: maid.

Skip The Cocktail Hour To Take Group Photos

The wedding party will typically head to the reception area before the rest of the guests to pose for wedding pictures with a photographer. Because you're in the wedding party, you will be expected to be there to pose for pictures so make sure you keep your dress clean and don't get sloshed before this happens.

Hold Her Dress Up While She Pees

Yes, it's just like the movies. Most wedding dresses make it impossible for the bride to pee alone. You'll have to drop your walls and get up close in personal with the bride while you hold her dress up, keeping it from dunking in the toilet. You can trade off this responsibility with other bridesmaids.

Tear Up The Dance Floor

On this special day, you've got to keep your personal life at bay. The bride needs you to get the party started and keep it going. Your presence will be expected on the dance floor for most of the night. Your biggest job is to make sure she's having the time of her life and that you're a part of it.

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