Bridesmaid 101: Now What?

I’m excited to launch a series that’s been kicking around in my brain for over a year: Bridesmaid 101.

At the start of 2015, I found myself gearing up to be a bridesmaid in FOUR weddings, having previously never been in a wedding- ever. This series is designed for any of you out there, who, like me, find yourself thrust into “that time” where all your friends are getting married (I find that all older people describe it wistfully this way with a twinkle in their eye.)

I had so many basic questions about the un-said expectations of me as a bridesmaid: If I’m traveling across the country, do I still need to buy a gift? Am I really expected to pay to get my own hair and make-up done? How far in advance do I really need to order my dress? If I’m not the maid of honor, how involved do I need to be in planning? Weddings are full of nuances like land-mines, you kinda don’t know they’re there until you step on them (and yeah, sometimes they explode.)

I was frantically texting my sister and asking older friends about what was expected and what was not, but I’m hoping that Bridesmaid 101 can be the sister you never had! Only this sister will not compete for your parent’s love and steal your clothes. Optimal!

Disclaimer: I’m definitely not an expert, and I’ve never been married myself; so I’m just sharing from my experiences. If you’ve had a different experience, or firmly believe that etiquette teaches otherwise from what I’m saying- I would love to hear about it! No doubt I will be a bridesmaid again (I am writing this on a plane, on my way to throwing a bridal shower for my sister-to-be l o l.)

I’m kicking off with a really simple premise- so your friend just asked you to be her bridesmaid?

Bridesmaid 101: Now What?

+ First of all if you didn’t get an in-person/Face-time ask- call that beesh up and say thank you! Make sure you squeal over the phone and let her know how honored you are that she chose YOU to be by her side on the most important day of her life.

+ This is also a fantastic time to excitedly start scoping out the next year (6 months, 2 years, whatever timeline you're working with.) Does she want a bachelorette party? Where? What’s the part she’s most stressed about? Should she even be marrying this guy? (That last one was a joke, kinda.) Keep in mind that the sooner you know big picture stuff, the easier it will be.

+ Find out who’s in the bridal party. Two reasons behind this one 1) it’s important to know which girls you love and which girls you hate are also bridesmaids (only kinda joking- but for planning purposes!) and 2) if you don’t have a date, it is imperative that you call dibs on the cutiest groomsman ASAP. :)

+ Find out what she’s going to do first. If there’s a dress-shopping appointment set, be there. If she wants to go look at venues, go with! If she just needs to convince her groom that they can’t do a hunting themed engagement shoot…first have a serious conversation with your girl and THEN help her draft that gentle talk.

+ I think the best piece of general advice I can give is to be proactive about helping out when needed. It’s important to realize that not everyone is a planner, and that’s ok (though, I’m amazed they’re still alive.) For some friends, you might honestly want to immediately print out a wedding timeline and offer to help design and mail a save the date. Remember, the only way to have a friend is to be a friend!

What's the first thing you do when you find out you're a bridesmaid? Share below!

This installment of Bridesmaid 101 was a light-hearted intro into a series that I promise is going to be 90% SERIOUS BUSINESS. Next up: the Bachelorette party!

ETA: all of my bridesmaid adventures are chronicled right here on the blog for your enjoyment.

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