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Ideas & Planning

25 Things that Bridesmaids Do (And Don't Do) for the Bride

When you ask a girlfriend to be a bridesmaid, you probably have an idea of what you want her to do.

From dress-shopping to addressing invitations and making wedding toasts, it's easy for a bride and her bridesmaid to have different ideas of what a bridesmaid should do.

In fact, there are a lot of different things a bride might expect, but here is a list of what is reasonable (and what isn't):

The basics: A bridesmaid should...

  • Know where you are registered and pass on that information to anyone who asks
  • Wear whatever the bride wants (it's your big day after all — and if you want her to wear cowgirl boots that's your prerogative)
  • Pay for her own wedding dress, shoes and accessories without complaint
  • Attend the wedding rehearsal so she knows what to do during the ceremony
  • Participate in the wedding ceremony
  • Stand in the receiving line (if there is one)
  • Smile in as many pictures as the bride and groom want to take
  • Attend the wedding reception

Common responsibilities: A bridesmaid often...

  • Goes dress shopping with the bride (for a wedding gown and / or bridesmaid dress)
  • Plans or attends a bridal shower
  • Helps the bride address her wedding invitations
  • Joins the bridal party at the rehearsal dinner
  • Helps the bride get ready for the ceremony and pictures on her wedding day
  • Packs up any forgotten items for the bride after the wedding
  • Sits with the bride and groom (and not necessarily her date) at the head table for the wedding reception

A truly special bridesmaid or Maid of Honor may also...

  • Help the bride keep track of RSVPs, gifts and thank you notes
  • Attend or host a bachelorette party (if you want one)
  • Decorate the chapel, reception location or post-wedding transportation (think "Just Married")
  • Give a short toast at the wedding reception
  • Dance when the bride wants the guests to dance
  • Run interference at the reception to avoid any family difficulties
  • Take care of final vendor payments with the checks or cash you give her

A bridesmaid should never be expected to...

  • Date or flirt with anyone for any reason
  • Pay for the bride's dress, accessories, or actual wedding expenses herself
  • Address all of your wedding invitations for you (there is a line between having a get-together to address invitations with a friend and having invitations bulk shipped to her)

Like most things, communication is the key to success. Let your bridesmaid know what you expect from her and you both can more relax and enjoy the wedding day (and all of the fun planning that leads up to it!)

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