How to be a Good Bridal Party Member

17 Apr

6 Ways to Make Things Easier for the Groom and Bride-to-be

Wedding-PartyI recently penned a guide on how to be a good wedding guest, skipping the Emily Post etiquette in favor of an honest look at how the bride and groom would really like their wedding guests to behave. This week, we take a look at what is involved in being a good bridal party member. Again, people may declare this blog post selfish and bridezilla-esque, but it’s all true and important. Whether bridesmaid or groomsman, find out what your bride and groom secretly wish you were doing…

The role of the bridesmaids and groomsmen really boils down to two things:
You may have been chosen for this honor as a loved one of the happy couple, but part of your role is to help… not simply turn up and look pretty on the big day. Sure, no one wants to be treated like a slave (nor should you be), but if you are a true friend of the happy couple, hopefully you want to assist – not only to have a more active role in one of the biggest days of your friend or relative’s lives, but because weddings are stressful and presumably you want to ease the burden of a loved one.
Hopefully, this is the one time your friend or relative will ever get married, so he or she will only have one wedding and one experience with wedding planning. They would like that time to be special. The wedding lasts only a day, but the preparations continue for months, so it is all part of their wedding experience. Try to help make that time better for them (or, at least, don’t make it worse…).

1. Offer to help. Regularly.
bestman-duties1Weddings are celebrations of love and two people’s lives coming together… but they are also hugely stressful, with lots of details to manage and meddling family to keep happy. It is a lot for one couple to handle. Check in regularly with the soonlyweds to see if they could do with a hand, and especially in the final weeks when the soonlyweds will be at their most frazzled.

With our own four bridal party members, sadly none of them actively offered to help. Early on I gathered the bridesmaids for a Skype call, and asked them what they’d be interested to help with. They all said nothing in particular, and no other offers of help came. I assumed this meant they weren’t interested, and became afraid to ask for assistance as I didn’t want to bother them. I am a super organized person and really thought my husband-to-be and I could handle the wedding preparations on our own… however, I felt stressed and overwhelmed throughout most of the process, and a few extra helping hands would have been a weight off our shoulders.

2. Remember your role on the day
When you’re sipping champagne with the girls and getting dolled up by professionals, it’s easy to forget that you are also there to help out on one of the biggest (and potentially most stressful) days of someone’s life. As in the lead-up to the big day, pay attention and look for opportunities to make things smoother for the happy couple.

My groom wasn’t so lucky in this regard with his best man. While we girls were in make-up, the boys were enjoying a sunny lunch on their balcony. My groom soon realized it was time to get ready, and sprung into action… while the best man continued chilling on the balcony. In the end it was my groom who had to hustle to get the best man to the church on time, and they were nearly late for their car pick-up. The best man had also been asked to coordinate the post-ceremony photos, but was having a ball chatting with his friends… so me, the groom and the photographer actually had to shout across all of the group to get his attention and remind him to round people up. It slowed things down and increased everyone’s stress levels.

3. It’s not about you
AnnoyedCan’t stand one of the other bridal party members? Don’t believe in marriage? Hate the color scheme the happy couple has chosen? Ideally, keep it to yourself. The bride or groom is not going to fire a bridal party member or change their opinions because you have a different idea. Nor should they; it’s their day, not yours (and they’re the ones paying for it). As mentioned, planning weddings is already stressful enough; do not make what should (in theory) be a lovely experience any more negative.

A friend of mine getting married in two months took her bridesmaids shopping for their dresses. One of the three refused any gowns the bride suggested, and – after trying on 10 or so dresses of her own choosing – settled on one because it made her “feel like a princess”. The bride didn’t really like the dress (nor did the other bridesmaids), but simply went with it to keep that one bridesmaid happy. Why? It’s not that bridesmaid’s day, it wasn’t her paying for the dresses, and she wasn’t the one who would be hanging photos of the day in her home until kingdom come. What was the point of the tantrum?

4. Bond with other bridal party members
FunWhether siblings, colleagues or school friends, the bride and groom have most likely chosen their most favoritest people in the whole wide world to be in their bridal party… and there is nothing they would like more than to see those people get along famously. Sure, it’s unlikely you’ll be weaving each other friendship bracelets by the end of the experience, but make an effort at least to get to know each other. If there is a group call or outing, make sure to join; if there isn’t one, suggest and organize one. The bride will love you for it!

For me, two of my bridesmaids simply could not communicate with each other. Each claimed that the other never responded to her emails about the bachelor- ette party, and asked me to intervene… and of course when I did (verrrry delicately), one got upset and the other accused me of micromanaging, and neither were speaking to me. Sigh! This bridesmaid drama went on for months. It added a very negative element to our wedding planning, and caused a lot of unnecessary stress that could have been solved simply by one of them picking up the phone.

5. Stay on top of the details
Guests with questions about the day might ask bridal party or family members for the information first, rather than bother the busy bride and groom. As such, make sure you’re on top of details about event times, directions and wedding registry information. You of course don’t need to have these details memorized, but make sure you know where and how to find out this information. For example, if there is a wedding website, read through it so you know what details are where. If the bride and groom send out any information emails, archive them to a folder so you can locate them easily later.

6. Throw a bachelor/ette party that’s 12 kinds of awesome
bachelor_party_t_shirt-rf8952b820fbd435cb35135eb2474cc81_va6lr_512Check out this post on that very topic!

What do you think is involved in being a good bridal party member? What do you wish your bridesmaids and groomsmen knew to help make your life as bride and groom a little bit easier?

(First image from Let’s Get Married, second image from Mrs2Be.ie, third image from All Wedding Talk, fourth image from My Writing Paper, fifth image from Zazzle.)

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One Response to “How to be a Good Bridal Party Member”

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  1. Advice for Parents of the Groom and Bride-to-be | The Reflective Bride - May 1, 2014

    […] for the Happy CoupleThis time last year I penned guides on how to be a good wedding guest and how to be a good bridal party member – setting aside the Emily Post etiquette in favor of an honest look at what the bride and […]

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