How to Be the Best Chief Bridesmaid Ever
How to Be the Best Chief Bridesmaid Ever
So you’re a chief bridesmaid. Congratulations!
Maybe this is an exciting and emotional experience for you because you get to do this for one of the people you love most in the world. Maybe this is nothing more than a family obligation that you’re just okay with doing. Maybe you’ve done this five times already and you’re traumatized and sick of it, but you can’t say no.
Whatever the case, you said yes to being a chief bridesmaid, so congratulations are in order. Now, let’s help you fulfil your chief bridesmaid duties in one piece and make it a great experience for your bride, the bridal party, and yourself.
Understand your chief bridesmaid duties
This will depend on the situation. If the bride is very organized or has a wedding planner, you may not have to do much for the wedding itself. You can focus on things like a bridal shower and – depending on where you live – setting up wedding dress appointments for the bride and fittings for the bridesmaids.
On the other hand, the bride may not care about “little things like décor” or may forget details like having to meet with whoever is officiating the ceremony. If you’re not sure who is taking care of what, it is helpful to have a chat with her from the start and make a list of all the things that need to be done for the wedding.
This way, you will know exactly what she wants you to be responsible for.
Get a notebook. No really, get a notebook! If you’re an out-of-city chief bridesmaid and all you have to do is show up, you may not need this. However, if you’re going to be part of the planning, keep a paper or electronic copy of the bride’s and your to-do list. You may also need to have a list of vital contacts that could include vendors, the wedding train, or family members of the couple.
With your to-do list you can draw up timelines to make sure you are completing your duties. You can use the bride’s list to help her stay on track if she is the kind of bride that needs helpful reminders.
Proactively dive in, tactfully pull back
Again, this will depend on the situation. Ultimately, you want to carry out your chief bridesmaid duties so that the bride has a wonderful day. You might want this so much that you could start to overstep your boundaries with your suggestions and reminders.
If you get even the slightest impression that the bride is getting overwhelmed with your ideas or does not appreciate you suggesting to the groom what the groomsmen should wear, respect yourself sharply and tone it down. Try to strike a balance between being helpful and becoming a pest.
No Tantrums in this house! Take many deep breaths and long pauses
There will be times when you will need extra patience. The bridesmaids may push back at every little suggestion you have. They will take forever to respond to urgent emails or to send the video clips you need for a video montage you are putting together.
The bride may send you unreasonable DEMANDS (not requests) with no notice. She may bombard you with wedding gist continuously and not even notice that you’ve just had an awful day and need a shoulder to cry on.
At times like that, you have to try and look at the bigger picture. It sucks, but it all comes with the territory of being chief bridesmaid.
For situations like this, all we can offer is words of comfort: You are not alone. Somewhere in the world, lot of other chief bridesmaids are going through this too. Now take three more breaths and continue with your chief bridesmaid duties.
Be a good project manager. Don’t be bossy
You’re the leader of the bridesmaid pack. One of your chief bridesmaid duties is to make sure they don’t stress the bride. That means they’ll have to be stressing you instead.
They will likely expect you to start up the conversation about dress fittings and planning a bridal shower or even a bachelorette/hen night. While you are doing all of this, try not to micro-manage. If you can delegate certain things to willing and trustworthy bridesmaids, do so.
Work as a team with them, especially when it comes to things that involve a budget. Also remember that they are friends of the bride and love her too. If they say they can’t afford a destination hen night that you suggested, don’t interpret that as them being uncooperative.
Try as much as possible to compromise to keep harmony in the group and with the bride.
Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Many a bridal party have left a wedding swearing “I will never do this again” because of poor communication. It could be because unforeseen expenses have been sprung on them at the last minute. Sometimes, there is resentment about Bridezilla demands.
Whatever the case, you don’t want to leave the wedding vowing never to speak to a bride or bridesmaid again. When you send out requests for money, have a detailed breakdown of what people are contributing towards so there is complete accountability.
Secondly, know what you can let go of and what you can’t. If it won’t kill you to wear a weave over your natural hair, wear it and smile even if you hate weaves.
On the other hand, if you and the bridesmaids decide that the bride’s requirement for all of you to have lost 5 kg by D-Day is rubbish, for the love of heaven, tactfully explain to the bride why it is a bad idea.
If you don’t, you may end up with a resentful bridal train that’s only sixty percent happy at the wedding. This is assuming one of you doesn’t have a sudden meltdown the day before, scream “I’ve had enough”, and then proceed to confront the bride and cause a fight.
Don’t forget to be her friend
This doesn’t require much explanation. At this stage, the wedding is the most important earthly thing to her (hopefully only after her fiancé). However, if she is a good friend, you probably both know your relationship should last beyond this one day.
Through this process you’ll need to make her laugh, lend her a listening ear, and try to keep her positive. In between all this, there’ll be regular everyday non-wedding issues that need your support for her as well. Sometimes you’ll even need hers. If you feel it’s a good time to let her be a friend, let her.
Be the Wedding Day MVP (You may need comfortable back-up shoes for this)
Keep the bridesmaids organized and on time on the wedding day. Make sure everyone’s hair and makeup are done on time.
Depending on the kind of group you have, keep an eye on how much they are drinking before the wedding (you may need to keep an eye on the bride for this too). Make sure you have your emergency kit/ bridesmaids checklist.
At the wedding, you’ll need to be the bride’s support system, holding her bouquet when necessary, holding her train, and making sure the money that is sprayed while dancing is picked up. This isn’t necessarily your duty, but if you can, make sure that after the reception all the gifts are packed up to go.
Make sure the bridesmaids have a ride back to wherever they’re going. Basically try to be “class monitor” of the day to the best of your capabilities. Again, this will depend on how much the couple’s family is handling things themselves.
Prepare your chief bridesmaid speech in advance
A chief bridesmaid speech doesn’t happen at every wedding reception, so find out if you are expected to give one. If you are, make sure you have it ready in good time.
If you’re a “wing-it” kind of person and you do it well, that’s fine too, but keep it free of risky “Remember When?” stories that could make the eyebrows of the groom or the guests rise above their hairlines.
Also, keep it simple and witty. One of the most painful things to hear at a reception is a long, boring speech that seems to have no head, no tail, and isn’t even funny.
The wedding is a party and you’re supposed to have fun at a party. Granted, you may have a lot on your plate to deal with, but typically, things are “never that serious.”
Many brides will tell you their weddings did not go as perfectly as they planned for it to, so they just let the little things go and had fun. If the bride can do this, so can you.