Doing anything for the first time can be both thrilling and nerve-wracking. Remember your first day of elementary school? Your first job? Your first date? Anxious, suspenseful moments, indeed. So being a first-time bridesmaid is no different. When you’re first asked to be a bridesmaid, it is exciting and great. It’s an affirmation of how much you mean to the bride and the crucial role you play in her life. But being a bridesmaid involves balancing the personal with the professional. You will have to be there for the bride as a dear friend, but you will also have to be there for her as she confronts the numerous logistics of planning and pulling off a wedding. There’s the venue, the food, the decor, the seating arrangements, the bridal shower, and the bachelorette party – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. So if you’re on the cusp of a bridesmaid adventure, here’s a few fundamental things to know.
You will spend money
As a bridesmaid, you will have to dish out some of your hard-earned cash. There’s the bridesmaid dress and the aforementioned bridal shower and bachelorette party. In addition, there’s travel expenses like airplane tickets and hotel rooms, as well as all the additional brunches and lunches you’ll be asked to attend in order to coordinate the details of the bride’s big day. Weddings can get expensive, and bridesmaids are not immune. So make a budget and make the bride aware of how much you can spend. Setting aside money for a special someone’s wedding is sensible, but slipping into near bankruptcy on account of one wedding? That’s not necessary. And with open communication, it’s very avoidable.
Be communicative and stand up for yourself
While we’re on the topic of communication, it’s important to keep an honest dialogue with the bride about all things. Keep in mind, the wedding is all about her, but that doesn’t mean you’re obligated to submit to her every wish and demand. If something is making you uncomfortable – whether it’s the color of the dress or a bad feeling about the photographer – speak up. Disagreements are not conflict. You are capable of voicing your concern in a kind, measured way, and the bride – someone who is close to you – should embrace your perspective. There’s already enough stress swirling in the air, so avoid adding to it. Don’t feel like you have to conceal your feelings and don’t let your legitimate concerns stretch into reality-TV drama.
Prepare for the worst, but keep your fingers crossed for the best
With weddings, it’s not a matter of whether or not there will be bumps and setbacks, because trust us, there will be. So it’s all about how you deal with the unexpected incidents that come your way. As a bridesmaid, you are also an assistant, helping the bride solve problems. Where’s the photographer? Wasn’t there supposed to be a vegan dessert? The DJ needs a special chord, the grandpa isn’t feeling well, and – uh-oh – it looks like it’s going to rain. While you meet these wedding challenges in real time, don’t panic. Remain calm and be thoughtful. Remember, if everything went perfect, if the wedding followed the script line by line, then it wouldn’t be nearly as memorable.
Take care of yourself
Being a bridesmaid is an immersive, pressure-filled position. No, it’s not like you’re the one getting married, but your proximity to the bride means that you will feel her worries and stress. So it’s critical that you take extra good care of yourself during this time so that your psyche and body are ready to be a strong, resilient bridesmaid. Stay rested, eat lots of energizing greens, and maybe avoid TV shows and movies that emphasize the drama of weddings. After all, you’re not trying to get views, you’re trying to play a supportive role in a very special day. In order to do so, both your mind and body should be spaces of tranquility and peace.