Being a bridesmaid carries responsibilities beyond wearing a poufy flammable dress and writing a not-cringeworthy toast.
We spoke with Keija Minor, the editor in chief of Brides, about what makes a good bridesmaid. Here are seven tips to remember the next time that honor is bestowed on you.
1. Pay attention. “Listening is your most important duty. Brides have to make so many choices and have a lot of people giving them advice. Let her vent without interruption, or be the person she emails to say, ‘I’m sending you three links; what do you think?’”
2. Don’t share every opinion. “If she’s already purchased her wedding dress, then you love it. If she hasn’t and the one she’s trying on doesn’t flatter her, buffer the negative with a positive. Say, ‘That dress you tried on before really showed off your waist.’”
3. Find strength in numbers. “The good news is that most brides don’t choose those Little Bo Peep gowns for their wedding party anymore. Try to go along with the dress the bride picks. If the look is truly terrible, gather support from the other bridesmaids and say, ‘We love the idea of a strapless dress, but it doesn’t work on every chest. How about we do the same color but different tops?’”
4. Set boundaries. “If the bride is asking for more time than you can give to events or projects, it is fair to say, ‘I love helping with your wedding, but work is crazy right now. I’ve blocked off several days when I can be all yours. Let me know what I can do.’ It’s all about saying no while saying yes.”
5. Check your list. “Coordinate with the other bridesmaids about who’s taking on the mundane tasks. For example, the bride may need you to hand out tip envelopes or take the wedding dress home from the hotel the next morning. Make sure you know in advance what you’re doing.”
6. Give the perfect toast. “Aim for a three-minute speech—that sounds short until you’re standing in front of 100 people. First, establish how you know the bride. Then add something funny (but not embarrassing) and something sentimental.”
7. Decorate her hotel room. “Give the couple something festive to walk into: champagne and a little snack, like cheese and fruit or chocolate. A candle is nice, but don’t light it—you’ll burn the place down. And definitely don’t cover the bed in red rose petals. I know a brid