Bridesmaids Tales | How to ace your role by your Bride's side
Being asked to stand by your gals side on her big day is literally the ultimate extension of friendship you could ever come across. A role that is such an honour should never be taken lightly, and that's why I have called in an expert for this blog. Meet Petrina Chai, you could call her a serial bridesmaid - but one thing is for sure, she has this gig down pat. Here lies part one of a three-part series, of which I can assure you that you will be left an expert by the end of it. Today we're chatting about your duties in the lead up to the wedding, right up to the hen party. From there, the next time we chat we will give you all the help you need to ensure you're covered on the week of, and day of the wedding, followed by a final post on your bridal survival kit
Before the question is even asked, it's important to let the bride ask you when she feels comfortable. Petrina learnt this in one of her first rodeos by blurting out asking if she could be a bridesmaid to her bride Julie, who was actually just about to ask her herself. From there she learnt it would have been much nicer if it was a surprise!
So, you're now a bridesmaid. What does the role involve?
The wedding lead up, for a bride, can literally be one of the most stressful times of her life. Your job, is to be there - sounds simple right? You and a few select others are your girls support network. You're there for the bride to vent, rant and rave about her frustrations, there to be a sounding board for allll of her questions, and there will be a lot, there to be a voice of reason during YOLO moments or if she does need pulling back a few notches, nicely of course. Being there is part of your duty and it doesn't just stop at the emotional side of things. You may possibly become the worlds best sourcing specialist or DIY extraordinaire.
When it comes to what you will be wearing as a bridesmaid, it's important to have the conversation up front about who is expected to pay for what. Not only is there your dress and shoes, but things like robes, jewellery, tan, hair, makeup, nails and accessories need to be thrown into the mix too. If you are expected to pay for your own tan and nails, is the bride happy for you to do a solid home job on yourself? Or will she book you in with her preferred glam squad? If the bride gives you a choice, still run it past her before you make a purchase to keep her in the loop. She will so appreciate you for it! Also, check in on the hair situation before you think of having a YOLO moment yourself and making a drastic change. Money can easily become the root of all evils, so let the excitement of being a bridesmaid simmer down a little, then ask the question. That way, you'll have around about a year to save for anything required and you can put money aside as time goes by.
You're sorted, but the bride still needs to find her perfect gown! Some brides may choose to do as I did and do this on their own to keep their gown choice a surprise until the reveal on their wedding day - and that is totally ok. Others may want you involved for as many appointments as you can make. Watching a tonne of 'Say Yes to the Dress' will give you a huge helping hand as to what you should or shouldn't say, but it's important to keep the words positive and uplifting and be very careful how many no's you dish out. A bride will generally know if the gown she tries on is the one, or she will at least know if a gown is not the one, narrowing down the mix just a little! Choosing the perfect dress can come with a huge bearing as a bride starts becoming an accountant moving all the budget figures around in her head to try and account for the overspend. She can find herself torn or at a crossroads so bear with her and be patient, as excruciatingly painful as it may be watching dress after dress, after dress go back to the rack.
Next, comes the hen party. This can be the single most daunting task as a bridesmaid pulling together the perfect send-off for your girl, but more often than not the best ones are low key, simple and right up the brides' alley. Don't expect that the maid of honour is going to sort the entire day or weekend on her own, this is a team effort and you all need to get involved. Have a conversation with the bride about what she wants. Does she want to go away, have a one-night soiree, make it a weekend affair - does she want the stripper? Or do you? Try and get as many specifics as you can. The hen party doesn't have to cost a fortune, but do have a conversation with the other bridesmaids about the budget and try to find a figure that you are all comfortable contributing. Don't forget too that it's ok to ask any other party goers to contribute financially too, they're just as much involved as you and may even offer to help out. The biggest piece of advice is really directed at the maid who is the self-confessed control freak, and that is to not take over. Respect others opinions and the fact that these girls were chosen for a reason. You may think you know your bride best, but each girl will have a different relationship with the bride so it's important to take everything into consideration. If you find yourselves at a standstill trying to make decisions, write down a few options and put them to the bride to choose for herself.
Being a part of a bride 'squad' is such an exciting role to play, but it's not to say it won't have its challenges. If the girls are from different friendship circles it can be hard to find common ground, and you definitely won't be familiar with the way they all operate. Use the lead up to the wedding to get to know the group, organise outings with the bride, as well as top secret hen party planning meetings, it will make for a much more enjoyable wedding day if you don't feel like strangers to each other. In the same breath, whatever you do, do not vent your frustrations about other maids to the bride. There will never be a right time or place to do it, and it's not the brides' job to resolve any feuds simmering away. So, suck it up buttercup, put on your game face and be the best damn bridesmaid you can be.