Whether it’s your first time as a bridesmaid or you have had plenty of practice, it can still be easy to make a few mistakes that can have a big impact. Being a bridesmaid is an honor and can be incredibly special, but it also comes with responsibility. And whether it’s your first time or your tenth time, make sure your presence is helpful, supportive, and appreciated by avoiding these mistakes:
1. Not communicating to the bride before accepting the role if you truly don’t have the extra time or the budget to be in the wedding.
Being a bridesmaid requires a great deal of time, effort, and energy. In the months leading up to the wedding, the bride may ask you to attend a number of events, like dress shopping, the bachelorette party, bridal shower, sometimes even cake tasting. If you already know that you are booked solid, make sure you share this with the bride early on. Let her know how much you would love to be a bridesmaid, but also let her have an out in case she is looking for you to be much more hands-on. Offer to take on a specific task, like researching cake bakeries or buying the bachelorette kit to decorate the bachelorette party, to show the bride that you want to be involved despite your limited schedule.
Being a bridesmaid can also be quite expensive, often costing hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, of dollars. Most brides are conscious of their friends’ budgets, but if budget is a concern, communicate that to the bride early. If you don’t, you run the risk of harboring resentment toward the bride as costs add up and she would have no way of knowing that you are feeling this way. Communicate!
2. Thinking the wedding is all about you.
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is like being asked to hold an important supporting role in a very big movie. Although your role is a special one, you are there to support the bride and to help her shine as bright as possible on her big day. Planning a wedding can be a lot of work and the bride may lean on you for help; but keep in mind that while you may think there’s a different or perhaps even a better way of doing things, this is about the bride and what she envisions. Provide your opinion when asked and when it might be helpful, but avoid giving unwarranted thoughts on things you want to see happen. This is especially important when it comes to the bridesmaid dresses!
3. Expecting the bride and groom to pay for everything.
Weddings are expensive, and while the bride and groom will certainly do what they can for members of their bridal party, there should not be an expectation that they pay for everything. You will likely be paying for your bridesmaid dress, accommodations, and depending on the expectations of the bride, you may also be paying to have your hair and makeup done on the big day. If you are concerned about the cost of hair and makeup, find out if the bride is comfortable with you doing your own. If the costs become astronomical, you can always have a polite, genuine conversation with the bride to share your concerns.
4. Posting on social media before the bride.
Social media is a huge part of all of our lives and as a bridesmaid, you can (and should!) celebrate the bride in your posts. But make sure to post carefully. The last thing you want to do is post something the bride isn’t ready to share, or that she wanted to first share herself. It’s a good rule of thumb to check with the bride prior to posting anything about her wedding, just to be on the safe side.
5. Assuming that you are entitled to a plus one
If you’re asked to be a bridesmaid, chances are good that the couple might allow you to bring a plus one to the wedding, especially if they are friends with your significant other. Although this can be the case, never make the assumption that you are entitled to a plus one just because you are in the bridal party. If the bride and groom choose not to give you a plus one, just accept it and never ask them to reconsider. No matter how politely you ask, it puts the bride in a tough and uncomfortable spot. Remember, this wedding is not about you. As a bridesmaid, you will have plenty to do on the day of the wedding anyways!
6. Trying to compete with the other bridesmaids
Despite the misleading title, never take cues from the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ in your bridesmaid role. Often the bride will have friends from all stages of her life serve as bridesmaids, so even if you are not particularly close with the others, your common goal is make sure the bride has the best support from all of you! Make an effort to become friends with the other people who are special to her, it will make a huge difference.
7. Being either too honest or not being honest enough with the bride
The bride has her own vision of how she wants her wedding to look, and this may be completely different from your own taste. If she looks to you for help, do your best to be honest and help her make the tough choices. But once she has made a decision, your support is much more important than your opinion. Even if you have already planned your own wedding, this is her wedding and you are there to make her life easier.