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The New Bridesmaid Rules

Kha Do Photography

Being asked to serve as a bridesmaid is a wonderful honor and a fun opportunity to be intimately involved in a very special event. But helping your friend plan what’s likely the most important party of her life is not without its (occasional, hopefully) stresses. Plus, the guidelines for being a good bridesmaid today are different than they were when your mom got married.

If you’re new to being a bridesmaid, or think you need a refresher, use these pointers to navigate the wedding attendant terrain:

Do Be Enthusiastic About Her Plans.
If your friend is the type of bride who relishes planning every last detail of the big day, and sharing those details with you over texts, shopping excursions, or shared Pinterest boards, you should indulge her, even when it feels like a bit much.

Don’t Be Too Honest.
Even if she asks for your opinion, she may not actually want it. Unless you think she’s going off the edge into terrible judgment territory, tell her that all her decisions around the wedding details sound like perfection.

Do Make Plans Offline.
When you need to collaborate with other bridesmaids on the shower, bachelorette party, dress shopping missions or wedding logistics, lean toward picking up the phone or meeting to discuss in person if possible. Group emails and texts can be fertile ground for miscommunications and hurt feelings, clearly not ingredients for a happy wedding party.

Don’t Type Anything Catty.
Never, ever, write anything negative about the bride or another member of the wedding party in an email or text, which can be misread as more harsh than you might have intended, and can easily be forwarded. If you must vent at some point, do it to a friend who doesn’t know these people.

Do Befriend Other Bridesmaids.
If you aren’t close with all of the other bridesmaids, see it as an opportunity to make new friends. If the bride loves you all enough to include you in the wedding you are bound to have things in common, and are likely to be a part of each other’s lives going forward (at your friend’s future baby showers, milestone birthdays, and more).

Do Divide and Conquer.
It’s a smart idea to meet with the other bridesmaids early on and decide who will be in charge of what—for example, one person heads up choosing a shower venue, another takes on coordinating the bachelorette party games, and so on. Having a clear leader for each big aspect of the bridesmaid jobs is more efficient than having to decide every little detail by committee, and there’s more likely to be an equitable distribution of labor when everybody knows her role.

Do Set Financial Limits.
The costs of being a bridesmaid can quickly rack up. If you’re expected to travel to a destination bachelorette party, help host a shower, and pay for a posh dress, your savings could be circling the drain by the wedding day. Be clear with the bride upfront that you will spend what it takes for the events or items that are most important to her—so she should clarify what those are—but you might be unable to shell out for everything.

Do Deliver on the Big Day.
At the wedding it might be tempting to guzzle champagne and gossip with your friends or flirt with a groomsman, but remember that as a member of the wedding party you are a co-host of sorts. Stay within eyeshot of the bride so you can step in if she needs you, chat up the groom’s ancient Aunt Edith when you spot her alone in a corner, and let the event staff know that they can come to you with any issues or questions (so they don’t have to interrupt the bride).

Don’t Forget to Have Fun.
Once the toasts have been made and the first songs played it’s time to hit the dance floor with your hands in the air, to celebrate the happy couple and congratulate yourself on a job well done.

Final Thoughts

Do you agree with these bridesmaid rules? Is there anything we forgot? Let us know on
Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section!

Photo Courtesy of: Kha Do Photography


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Comments (9)

marymorstan Says:
July 13th, 2015 at 11:18 pm

The love of the couple for each other–not the spectacle of ever-more rules and demands–should be what’s important. No one “needs” a maid of honor or a best man. It certainly is grossly unfair to burden these friends with planning parties, running errands, affirming decisions, etc. The one real job the M-O-H and the best man have is to be official witnesses to the marriage, the legal “proof” the marriage occurred on a specific date and in a specific place and that consent was freely and publicly given. Period.

Danielle Says:
June 28th, 2015 at 7:02 am

I just got married in a destination wedding. I’ve been in dozens of weddings and the biggest way to kill a great event is to have a horrible, dictator-style bride. I knew that traveling to our destination wedding would be an incredible expense, so I let the bridesmaids choose their own dresses in three different colors (which actually turned out beautiful), shoes, accessories, hair, ect. I did not want them to incur any additional expenses. The only thing that I would suggest to bridesmaids is to respect the brides’s wishes. If you are not chosen to be the MOH, don’t have your feelings hurt or feel like you are loved any less. It’s not a competition. Don’t try to upstage the MOH, or anyone else in the wedding party. It will only lead to an uncomfortable situation for everyone, and hurt feelings. Otherwise, I say let bridesmaids be themselves– that is the way that they will feel the most beautiful and comfortable, which will lead to less stress on your big day:)

Susan Edwards Says:
June 23rd, 2015 at 5:04 am

I agree with Heidi, Laukie and Sandy. The bride should plan her own wedding. What is the purpose of a bachelorette party? The cost of their dress and one shower should be enough for any bride.

Heidi Says:
June 15th, 2015 at 2:53 pm

What utter nonsense. The rules should be as they’ve always been: the bride isn’t permitted to be a dictator, tyrant or both. Members of the weeding party are also guests – not “co-hosts” or slaves – . and should be treated accordingly.

Laukie Moore Says:
March 16th, 2015 at 8:20 am

If you’re not willing or don’t know what to do, say so! My daughter’s matron of honor did nothing! Claimed since she got married @ City Hall & devoted next 15 years to being a wife and mom, didn’t know what to do. This from a woman who spent hours watching David Tutera wedding show. Thank goodness a friend if the family could do the driving around and picking up items we needed for bridal shower (on my instructions), my niece stepped in and lent her home for the shower and we pulled off a great, surprise bridal shower! Keep in mind, neither of these women were in the bridal party, none of the bridesmaids offered to help, and I’m the mother of the bride. I too, had a small wedding 50 years ago, but I have common sense!

Sandy Says:
March 14th, 2015 at 1:18 pm

I find all of this over the top. I’ve been in 5 weddings and it’s an exhausting and financially draining experience. Expectations these days are ridiculous – why would anyone ever put themselves through this and sign up for the above?

Elizabeth Says:
March 4th, 2015 at 4:57 pm

I have been a MOH twice now, and I think that one important part is to be in open communication with the bride. In a lot of TV shows and movies the bridesmaids get resentful of the bride. I attribute this to bottled up frustrations and anger. It is easy to feel “taken advantage of”. But there is obviously a reason your BFF/Sister choose you to be there. This should be a time of joy and happiness. Sometimes you may have to repeat that to yourself but she does love you and will eventually appreciate everything you have done for her, just not right now.

February 26th, 2015 at 1:40 pm

As a wedding planner and consultant I would add two things that a Bridesmaid should be prepared to do.

1. Prepare yourself to be an emotional venting wall….listen, absorb, comfort and let it roll off without editorializing or augmenting and usually without sharing.. Be a pressure valve not a pressure cooker.

2. Make your very best efforts to make sure the Bride is taking care of herself especially during the last days leading of to the ceremonies. Make sure she rest, relaxes, hydrates and eats in spite of what is happening around her. Be her Friend first and not her co-conspirator.

Darlene Says:
February 16th, 2015 at 7:47 am

I like how you’ve changed things. In the past, the bride said this is going to cost you $$$$$ and you autautomatically spent that to make the bridezilla happy! Now not so much. Also dividing the responsibilities amonst a maids is very fair as at one wedding I had to step in for witchy sister maid of honor in the week before the wedding and could have used some help and a few valium to get it all pulled together. This new plans of action saves a brides stress levels if somebody flakes out. BRAVO!!!!!!

The New Bridesmaid Rules | Brilliant Earth