Bridesmaid Basics

eleGALA tip

How much should you spend on gifts? Whatever you can comfortably afford – from lowest to highest: bachelorette party, engagement party, bridal shower, wedding. 

She asked you to be in her wedding, and now you’re wondering what the job entails. The good news is that you don’t have to be an etiquette guru or event diva to play this role perfectly. You simply need to be your most fun and supportive self and handle a few basic tasks. Nail your job with poise and grace with this cheat sheet of essential bridesmaid to-dos. 

Basic Bridesmaid Duties

Bridesmaid Dos:

1. Buy your bridesmaid dress, shoes, and any other accessories. 

2. Provide emotional support for the bride throughout her engagement, especially during the often stress-filled final weeks.

3. Offer to help the bride with planning tasks. Try to volunteer for specific duties, like scouting for bridesmaids’ dresses or stuffing invites.

4. Help plan, co-host, and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party.

5. Attend the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

6. Attend as many other pre-wedding parties as your schedule will allow.

7. Be prepared to arrange for your own transportation to and from the wedding and pay for your accommodations. Don’t expect the bride to reserve and fund your room and ride.

8. Purchase or go in on group gifts. In addition to a wedding present, you will most likely give gifts at the engagement party, bridal shower, and bachelorette festivities.

9. At the shower, help record gifts so the couple can write thank-yous. 

10. Be prepared to give a toast (or roast) at the rehearsal dinner or wedding. Although this technically falls on the maid of honor’s shoulders, bridesmaids can also do the honors. You may want to prepare a group speech or poem to take the pressure of an individual speaker. Our wedding toasts and speeches guide will help you get started.

11. Be there for the bride on the wedding day. Of course you should have a good time, but don’t sneak off on your own in case the bride needs you.

12. Help the bride get ready before the wedding, and offer to hold on to her makeup bag for touch ups throughout the day. 

13. Help bustle the bride’s dress before the reception.
14. Stand in the receiving line at the bride’s request.

15. Take on back-up hostess duties at the reception if necessary – introducing guests, helping them to their tables, or directing them to the bar. 

16. Instigate a packed dance floor at the reception – the guests will take cues from the wedding party.

17. Above all – be a good friend!

Bridesmaid Don’ts:

1. Don’t show up late – for anything.

2. Don’t barrage the bride with tons of last-minute questions. If possible, point any questions or concerns to the maid/matron of honor or another bridesmaid.

3. Don’t make a spectacle of yourself by drinking too much. This is a wedding/rehearsal dinner/luncheon – not a fraternity keggar (however, cutting loose at the bachelorette bash is just fine!).

4. And finally, try not to complain about the style of bridesmaid dress the bride chooses (even if you hate it).