There comes a time in everyone’s life when weddings become a constant occurrence. Suddenly, you can’t go five minutes without hearing about impending nuptials, the travel plans involved, and whether or not your friend has posted too many updates about the arduousness of the “Big Day” planning process on assorted social media platforms. And if you’re lucky enough to be adored by a bride who couldn’t conceive walking down the aisle without you, then the constant planning, chatter, and eventual stressors are elevated to Defcon 4.
Thanks to modern media, brides have been transformed from blushing virgins to rage-filled monsters ready to curse out anyone with arms length if the wrong ribbon is used on the mason jar centerpieces. I’ve been lucky enough to play bridesmaid to a few women who were absolutely the opposite of Bridezillas. Here are the things they did that kept the experience of standing next to a group of ladies in matching below-the-knee cocktail dresses from being about as painful as the thought that you’ll never wear your $200 bridesmaid dress again.
Organizational Wizardry Is Key
Unless we’re talking about the maid of honor, being a bridesmaid is very much a part time job. You show up when you’re needed in the months leading up to the wedding, you perform errands and tasks that the bride might require, you get tipsy (but not wasted) at the bachelorette party and convince the bride-to-be to dance with strange men. You are not, however, a scheduling oracle. You’re fitting the wedding planning process into your life, not the other way around.
Having a clean, bulleted or numbered plan of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, and who needs to do it means that if your bridesmaids are worth their salt, everything will run smoothly. In that case, your ladies will be happy to help, and there will be no reason for a nasty email from the bride that is so terrifying it ends up on Jezebel.
Take It Easy on the Hair
Look, we’re already all wearing the same shade of deep eggplant that matches your favorite flower in each centerpiece, even though that color makes some of us look like Casper the Friendly Lady in Waiting. We bought new shoes because none of us owned goldenrod wedges to match the accent colors your mother decided were darling. We even learned an embarrassing dance routine for the reception. But we have to draw the line somewhere. When it comes to hair, simply telling your bridesmaids to either keep it up or leave it down is about as far as your coif commands should go. Recently, a bride simply asked that no one wear headbands, which couldn’t be a more perfect request.
After all, you’re not building a cyborg hive of identical ladies, you’re maintaining as aesthetic for photos and the ceremony. And having five ladies standing next to you in with indistinguishable hairstyles, dresses, and shoes gives off some seriously creepy Von Trapp Family vibes.
Feed Us Well
The day of the ceremony, things get hectic. Bridesmaids are rushing around, then sitting and waiting, then rushing around only to do more sitting and waiting. All the while, we’re burning through calories and energy that we’ll need to use when we’re standing next to the bride at the altar for the entire ceremony – in heels.
One of my favorite brides solved the hunger issue by having a tray of sandwiches, veggies, chips, and a selection of caffeinated beverages delivered for the bridesmaids. That way, when she had an emergency 15 minutes before she was about to walk down the aisle and one of us had to run down the street to pick up a second Tide Pen to get a Diet Coke spill out of her gown, we all had the energy and pep to keep her calm and do our bridesmaidly duty instead of letting a little hunger-induced panic attack sweep us up.
Try a Little Tenderness
Weddings are expensive. Whether you’re throwing the wedding, acting as a member of the bridal party, or simply attending the festivities, it costs money. Naturally, it’s important that in these wedding-riddled times, you’re able to maintain your work life. That’s why brides need to understand that their bridesmaids’ bosses probably don’t care that a woman they don’t know is getting married.
Recently, I dealt with a situation in which I was unable to get out of work in time for the wedding rehearsal, despite planning ahead. I called the bride in a cold sweat, fearful that if her anger didn’t get me, her sadness would. She was sweet, understanding, and ultimately said that of course I need to take care of my job (and thus my livelihood) first. After all, I’d be there all day leading up to her evening wedding the next day and I could get cliff notes from another bridesmaid. Crisis averted. This is how you do it, ladies.
Say Thank You (And Mean It)
It seems simple enough, but sometimes when a bride is caught up in the magic of wedding fever, it’s hard to remember to do this one little thing that makes the hours spent searching Etsy for the perfect bachelorette party veil (one without penises or flashing lights, but one that fits the bride’s personality oh-so perfectly) and the weeks of pasta dinners to pay for the plane tickets to the shower, the bachelorette party, and the wedding itself so very worth it.
Your bridesmaids do a lot for you. Don’t take that assistance and support for granted. You don’t have to give out cars to everyone in the wedding party Oprah-style (but I’m not going to stop you!), but a simple heart-felt and genuine “thank you” speaks multitudes. And if you can’t muster the words, we’ll take some more of those pre-wedding sandwiches.