Bridesmaid Duties: Just What Does a Bridesmaid Do?

Let’s talk bridesmaid duties.

Bridesmaids are your support staff for organizing your wedding and a good bridesmaid will make the job of planning and executing your wedding a breeze.

What with all those 2am phone calls, middle of the day frantic emails to check on the wedding favours and proof the invitations, lost weekends spent shopping for your gown and looking at wedding venues, and having to keep a smile on their face the whole time, a bridesmaid’s work is
simply never done!

But just what does a bridesmaid do?

Bridesmaid Duties - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #1: Support the Bride

Number one in the list of bridesmaid duties is always support the bride.  Ultimately, a bridesmaid and Maid of Honor (or Matron of Honor) exists to be the support system for the bride in this very exciting but stressful time in a bride’s life.  This is a wishy washy explanation of bridesmaid jobs but it’s so important that bridesmaids understand this and remember to provide kind words of support, activities that support the bride and keep this thought top of mind all through the wedding planning process.  If her bridesmaids support the bride, the whole wedding planning process is much easier on everyone.  A word of caution to brides out there – please treat your bridesmaids well, because if you want them to be your main support network during the wedding planning phase, then you want them to be motivated!  Treat your bridesmaids well and they are likely to be willing to jump in and help you with almost anything you ask!

Bridesmaid Duties Support the Bride


Bridesmaid Duties #2: Let Her Shine

In much the same way we suggest you support the bride, it is your duty to let the bride shine on this special day.  Put away your ego and let her be the center of attention in all activities.  This is her special moment and you are there to elevate her, make her feel wonderful and give her confidence.

Bridesmaid Duties Let Her Shine - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #3: Party Planning

Bridesmaids help plan and pay for the bridal shower, bachelorette party, hens party and kitchen tea – depending on which country you’re from!  The maid of honor is generally head party planner, and bridesmaids are expected to help with ideas, making bookings, inviting guests, hostess duties and gifts for the bride.  Bringing together the bride, her family and friends to celebrate in the lead up to the big day really makes the bridesmaid duties an honor; so it’s important that this part of the job is taken seriously and the bridesmaids all understand who is important to have attend each event and that the party planning fits the wishes of the bride.  The costs of planning these parties are usually in part borne by the bridesmaids, so if there are budget issues, please be up front with your fellow bridesmaids, so there is no confusion or cause for concern.  Set your expectations up front and then keep communicating – you’ll get a much smoother and easier ride and a much better outcome for everyone.

And, of course, it’s not only important to plan the parties, bridesmaids also need to be the hostesses at the parties.  Put on your best Hostess with the Mostest dancing shoes and get socializing because the month before the wedding day will be filled with parties you need to organize, host and attend with a great big smile!

Bridal Party Toasting - Wedding Masterclass


Bridesmaid Duties #4: Help with Decisions

The bride will need to make thousands of decisions in the lead up to her wedding day.  From dresses and style to decor and catering, bridesmaids can really help the bride make those decisions with support, love and lots of listening.  Bridesmaids are not bound to agree with everything the bride wants, so do be honest, but remember the #1 bridesmaid duty of support, and guide her and help her rather than bullying her towards decisions you like.

Bridesmaid Jobs Decisions - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #5: Bridesmaid Dresses

Bridesmaid dresses can be a bone of contention when planning a wedding – and as a bridesmaid this can be the trickiest duty to navigate.  You need to be supportive of the bride’s decisions on theme, colors, design and style, because ultimately this is her wedding; but also gently have an opinion about what will make you feel comfortable and gorgeous on the wedding day.  Deciding on bridesmaid dresses can be fun – try and get into the spirit of the moment rather than breaking down every decision into a your opinion vs her opinion negotiation.

On the topic of paying for the bridesmaid dress, the expectation in most Western countries is that the bridesmaid will pay for their own dress, within reason.  Some generous brides will chip in or even shout the dress for the bridesmaids, but this is the exception not the rule.  So, we suggest as a bridesmaid that you simply go with the flow and accept that you’ll be investing in a new dress that you’ll (hopefully) be able to wear to many occasions after this wedding day.

Bridesmaid Dresses - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #6: Bridal Dress Fittings

For the bride, choosing her bridal gown is one of the most fun-filled decisions she will make during the wedding planning process.  As a close friend and confidante of the bride, it’s part of the bridesmaid duties to go along to the bridal dress fittings and again, support the bride.  As with other jobs, we recommend you be honest but thoughtful in your suggestions and opinions.  Come with the bride to try on dresses, support her if family opinions are difficult, and show up for the fittings as well.  Learn how to button the dress, place the veil and apply the accessories – because these duties are an important part of supporting the bride on her wedding day.

Sequin Bridesmaids - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #7: Get Crafty

If a bride is DIY-ing her wedding or even some of the components of her wedding decor, jump in and be helpful.  Address the invitations, fold the napkins, label the wedding favors… all of these bridesmaid duties can be completed with bubbles in hand and plenty of laughter!

Bridesmaid Bouquets - Wedding Masterclass


Bridesmaid Duties #8: Hair & Make-up

Much like the bridesmaid dresses, bridesmaids are expected to pay for their wedding accessories, hair and makeup; and essentially work in with the bride’s wishes.  Please let the bride know if you have any budget restrictions for the day so she can make plans to either help out or relax some of the pricing for you.  For wedding hair, makeup and accessories – we think you should relax and enjoy the ride as much as possible.  It’s not every day that you get to have your hair and make up professionally styled, so don’t moan and groan – instead see this as a princess opportunity!

Wedding Makeup - Wedding Masterclass

Bridesmaid Duties #9: Rehearsal & Dinner

If the bride and groom are having a rehearsal, it’s important that you come fully prepared to listen and follow instructions.  If you learn exactly what is expected of you on the big day, you’ll be much more relaxed!  Listen to the celebrant, officiant, wedding planner, and everyone else who is charged with organizing the rehearsal and ensure you support the bride through her routine as well.  She is likely to be nervous about the rituals ahead of her, so be her rock and keep things light hearted and fun.

At the rehearsal dinner, it’s lovely for the maid of honor or chief bridesmaid to make a toast to the bride.  It’s not necessary but it’s a lovely gesture that the bride will most certainly appreciate.

Champagne Bridesmaids - Wedding Masterclass


Bridesmaid Duties #10: On the Wedding Day

Essentially, you should arrive at the wedding day prepared to go with the flow, mop up any spills and be the calm throughout any storms!  Your bridesmaid duties start with arriving without make up and with your hair washed if a professional make up artist and hair stylist have been employed, and ensuring your bridesmaid gown is laid out correctly and all of your accessories are with you safely.  Then, be there for the bride, giving her guidance, listening to her and calming her through her anxious moments.  Follow the direction of the wedding planner and all of the wedding professionals – and smile through any stress!  Make little adjustments to the wedding table decorations, let the planner know of anything you notice that isn’t quite right and be there to make the day magical in the background.

Blue Gray Bridesmaids - Wedding Masterclass


Being a bridesmaid is a wonderful honor, and we think that if you keep in mind the word support at every turn of your bridesmaid duties, you’ll have a calm, relaxed and beautiful time with your friend the bride who will treasure this time together forever more.

Want to know more?  Download our Bridesmaid Guide which will give you a clear picture of what a bridesmaid’s jobs are as well as some helpful tips for working together on this very special occasion.

Love Kathryn xx


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