So what's a girl (or bridesmaid) to do when she is put in the position to take on the duties that require her to throw a bachelorette party/bridal shower or any other wedding related events? Learn.
If you don't know how to do a math problem, you try to figure it out on your own at first. If you can't figure it out, maybe you do a little research...look for similar problems that have been solved and try again. If that doesn't work, maybe then you set aside your pride and ask someone for help.
It's the same concept when you are in someone's wedding. If you don't know what you're supposed to be doing, you ask OR you find out through research. Nowadays it is SO easy to find the answer to almost everything just by typing a word or phrase into Google. You just have to be willing to put a little effort into it (read- TRY) and wade through a couple useless websites/articles/blogs, etc... Go to your local library! I guarantee you will find at least a handful of books on wedding etiquette that include helpful information.
So what ARE the duties of your bridesmaids and Maid of Honor? I'm going to try and go over a few in the next couple of posts, based on what I've learned and from my own wedding experience...
*Edit: January 28th, 2011 @5:40pm. This is by no means a "you HAVE to do this" type of thing! Everyone's situation is different and every bride is different in the things she wants her bridal party to do/help her with...You may not have to lift a finger! This is just a compilation of the more traditional roles...*
Maid of Honor (also- Matron of Honor if she is married):
If you have been chosen to be a Maid of Honor, it is most likely because the bride feels that you are her closest, truest friend (and sometimes relative), and she believes you will be there for her throughout the wedding planning process. The MoH is most often the best friend of the bride or sister.
Think of the MoH as a chair
Often times, if the bride has selected multiple bridesmaids, they may not all know eachother or live in the same state. The MoH should initiate some ice breaking and contact the bridal party to get the ball rollin'. This can be done by making phone calls, or sending out an email to everyone. The MoH must always be very polite and tactful when sending emails, to ensure that no one takes anything said the wrong way. Sarcasm and humor can often come across as snarkiness in an email, even when it wasn't meant that way.
Now that we have that down... let's get into the nitty gritty.
Main Duties-Pre Wedding
- Be the bride's support! Not everything always goes as planned in the wedding process, and the bride might get overwhelmed at times. It helps to have someone to vent to.
- Keep in contact with all bridesmaids throughout the process and relay pertinent information as necessary.
- Throw the bride and groom an engagement party. Now this is something that not many people do anymore (I've never been to one)... and often, if they are having one, the bride or groom's family throws it instead. Check with the bride and groom's family and see if they are planning one first. If you decide to do it, consider making it a surprise, but you could also ask the bride if she wants to have one. Many people decide to opt out because of cost. Parties get expensive!
- Host a bridal shower for the bride with the help of the bridesmaids. Traditionally, the MoH incurs the cost of the bridal shower, but in modern times (yea, modern) the MoH and bridesmaids often agree to share the costs. The MoH can also ask the bride or groom's family for input if they don't plan on throwing a separate shower. People have MORE THAN ONE? Apparently! I only had one...but I have met many people who have had as many as 5 bridal showers before their wedding!
- Help the bride shop for her wedding gown (or at least offer).
- Plan, host and execute the bachelorette party with the help of the bridesmaids. You can ask the bride for input on the types of things she likes to do, or wants to do for her bachelorette party...but try to make it a surprise (unless she hates surprises)! It will be much more meaningful that way!
- Help the bride with anything she needs help with! This could include:
- Helping the bride research vendors if she hasn't already chosen them
- Making phone calls to vendors
- Helping with any DIY projects the bride has decided to endure (favors, invitations, save-the-dates, etc)
- Purchase wedding day attire. The bridal party is traditionally responsible for paying for the dress, jewelry, shoes (and paying for hair and makeup the day of). Sometimes a bride may opt to purchase some or all of these items for her bridal party, but I wouldn't count on it. Accepting the position of MoH or bridesmaid is kind of like an unwritten contract. Everyone should take into account the fact that they are going to be spending a small (or large!) chunk of change on certain items/events for the bride and groom's big day. If you can't afford it, let your bride know. She can work something out with you, or try to stay within your budget. Don't be afraid to tell her!!!
- Help keep the rehearsal running smoothly! Keep everyone in line. Many times, the venues only allow an hour or so for the pre-wedding rehearsal, and people can get carried away very quickly with chit chat and goofing around. Save that for the rehearsal dinner!
- Help keep the bride sane! She is going to have a million and one things running through her head on her big day (especially if she is the Type A sort of bride).
- Hold onto the groom's ring during the ceremony. Some brides leave the rings with the ring bearer until it is time to exchange them.
- Hold the bride's bouquet during the ceremony
- Arrange the bride's train at the appropriate times during the ceremony as needed.
- Stand as a witness (and sign!) for the marriage license, if necessary.
- Give a speech/toast during the reception
- Help with any other duties the bride may need help with
Whew!! That's all I can think of for now.. if I remember any more, I'll add them later. Hopefully this can help someone so they don't have to endure the stress that I am with the whole process... More to come! :)