- I’ve been in over 125 weddings as a hired bridesmaid for strangers, which means I’ve seen a lot.
- There are a few common mistakes that I’ve noticed bridesmaids tend to make.
- The role doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything, but don’t forget you have a job at the wedding.
I’ve been in over 100 weddings as a professional bridesmaid for strangers.
People hire me to wear the dress and stand beside them in photos, but they often also need me there to diffuse any drama within the bridal party.
After seven years of weddings, I’ve seen a lot go wrong, so here are some of the biggest mistakes everyone in the bridal party should avoid.
Demanding a plus-one isn’t always the best approach
Asking for a plus-one is usually the No. 1 request bridesmaids make.
They might feel they deserve to bring a guest (whether or not they have a partner) because of their role. But no one is guaranteed a plus-one.
If your invitation doesn’t say you can bring a guest, chances are the couple has a good reason for it. Either their guest list is already too long or they want to stick to their budget.
Instead of demanding a plus-one, respectfully bring it up when RSVPs start coming in to see if they’ve changed their mind or if there’s room for your guest.
If you’re not comfortable with the chosen dress, don’t feel pressured to keep quiet
Bridesmaid dresses are always a hot topic.
Usually, the bride or the maid-of-honor will be in charge of picking the dress. But the fabric, color, or cut may not be flattering on everyone.
If you’re asked to spend your own money on a dress, you have the right to share concerns or even challenge the decision.
But before you tell the bride you’re not a fan of the dress, have alternatives to share. Offer up options close to the look she picked or even ask if everyone can choose their own dress in the color scheme instead.
You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything
You’re allowed to say no as a bridesmaid. Most people don’t realize this and say yes to things they later regret.
If you’re unable to take a week off work to travel to Italy for the bachelorette party, can’t afford to spend $500 on a dress, or don’t have time to attend all of the bride’s dress fittings, you can and should set boundaries.
Once you become a bridesmaid, let the person getting married know what you’re comfortable doing and spending. Then when something is out of those boundaries, find a reasonable and polite way of saying no so you don’t cause any drama.
Let the person getting married know how much you’re willing to spend
The average bridesmaid spends over $1,000. That’s a lot of money, especially if you’re in multiple weddings in a single year.
You might be asked to pay for things like the dress, travel to pre-wedding events (bachelorette party, bridal shower, etc.), and gifts.
Set a budget before you say yes to doing anything as a bridesmaid. Determine what you’re comfortable spending, and when something doesn’t fit in your budget, suggest a cost-savvy alternative or opt out.
Try not to overindulge on alcohol at any of the major events
Just because there’s an open bar doesn’t mean you have to spend the entire night flirting with it.
As a bridesmaid, you’re allowed to have a good time, but your main job is to support the bride, help wherever you can, and make sure the wedding is going smoothly.
If you’re wasted, you might ditch those priorities or even add to the wedding chaos.
Your job doesn’t end when the ceremony does
Once the couple says “I do,” your role as a bridesmaid isn’t over quite yet.
After the ceremony, it’s your job to help bustle dresses, make sure the couple gets to eat, and celebrate alongside them the whole night.
And you’re still a bridesmaid after the wedding. A lot of brides get upset when their bridal party disappears after the festivities.
If you’re not sure what to do when the wedding ends, check in and ask to help in any way you can. Try offering to break down decorations, write thank-you notes, or choose photos for the wedding album.
Remember that weddings are fun — don’t be afraid to liven things up
Bridesmaids often forget that their main role is to be the life of the party at the wedding. Consider the dance floor your plus-one for the night.
Being a bridesmaid means standing by the couple through the good, the bad, and the boring, so if the dance floor is empty, nobody seems to be having fun, or the energy is stale, try to help liven things up.