How To Be An Amazing Bridesmaid and Not Go Broke
Updated: Aug 14
You're going to be a bridesmaid! That's so exciting!!
And other than wearing a fancy dress and carrying a bouquet, what does this mean, exactly? Let us break down the basics and share our top tips for bridesmaid bliss.
Put Away Money Early
All of a sudden all of your closest girlfriends will get engaged and will likely plan to get married all within the same year. It's just how these things always seem to happen. We recommend having money from your paycheck automatically deposited into a bridesmaid bank account, which you can use for all wedding related expenses...kind of like a Christmas account, but for weddings. This can then be used for bridesmaid dresses, shower costs, gifts and anything bridesmaid-related. Trust us, if you don't plan ahead you will wish you had been saving all along, because somehow all those costs come up at once.
Offer what you want to do, and can afford, early on. This way you won't find yourself getting stuck with last-minute, more-expensive obligations. We suggest that you pick something you want to do and that's within your budget. For example, offer to pay for all the bride's drinks and food at the bachelorette party.
Deal With the Dress
We know its tough, but try to happily wear whatever the bride asks you to. Basically, it boils down to a few hours wearing a dress we promise that you never have to wear again. Every guest is fully aware your dress is a selection that the bride made, so they won't judge you if it is a total train wreck. Afterwards, give your bridesmaid dress to a Glass Slipper Project in your area. This wonderful program recycles formal gowns for girls who could not otherwise afford them to wear to prom or other formal school dances. Just in case the bride ever asks, you donated your bridesmaid dress to a very worthy cause.
We've learned that the key to staying sane is to bond with the other bridesmaids. We suggest that right from the outset, you get everyone's e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers. Then, periodically, send out some ideas, ask them what they think, tell them what you've done in the past that the bride has enjoyed. It's always better to say, 'What do you think of doing this?' rather than 'Everyone must give me money for this.' When it is a team effort things tend to go a lot more smoothly!
Avoid Salon Drama
If there isn't a specific salon or hair and makeup artist that bride insists you to go to, see if your friend who is a whiz with updos will take the time to make your hair look good. Or talk to the other girls in the bridal party and see if they'll go in on hiring a stylist together. Sometimes stylists will give group discounts. We also highly recommend checking out local beauty schools. Have one of the more experienced students work on your updo. Those cosmetology schools often charge half of what salons charge.
Learn to Love Google Docs
To keep sane when dealing with not-so-easygoing brides, we recommend setting up a shared Google Doc. It's free and it makes communication flow so much easier. Be sure to include the bride and all her bridesmaids as soon as the roster of bridesmaids is announced. Keep in mind that not everyone is super tech savvy, so perhaps FaceTime or Zoom them first to make sure everyone know how to use the collaborative document. From there, the bride can use it to let the bridesmaids know what she needs help with. The bridesmaids can offer dress suggestions or other advice and you can all be sure you aren't taking care of the various items on the wedding to-do list twice. Trust us, it makes being a helpful, involved bridesmaid so much easier.
Save on the Shower
For the bridal shower, do a potluck in a special location. We suggest Arrington Vineyards. You can pay for a wine tasting or just purchase several of the bride's favorite bottles. With everyone bringing a fun appetizer that little bit goes a really long way! And bridesmaids, you will also want to collaborate forces on the shower gift. If you have all the bridesmaids go in together one big gift you can get the couple something really special without over spending your budget.
Advocate for the Bride
Brides are often overwhelmed on the wedding day if they do not have a professional wedding planner. If this is the case with the bride you're a maid to, be sure she tells her vendors in advance that you will be the day-of point of contact handling all the random questions that might come up such as what the bride might want, where and when. Offer to step in and deflect some of that from the bride. If she doesn't have a professional planner, tell her that you will be the person to tell her mother-in-law that she needs to sit down, breathe and eat something instead of meet everyone on the planet. A rested bride is a happy bride, which makes the people who love her happy too.
Do what you need to do without bugging the bride about it? If your dress doesn't fit, go to the store and deal with it yourself. Don't bother the bride. It's not about you, and she's already got so much on her plate...do you really want to add to her worries? When you are a bridesmaid, treat it as an honor and take your responsibilities seriously. Remember to be the bridesmaid that you hope to have on your wedding day!