Wedding Party Responsibilities :: The Nitty Gritty

She’s your sister, your friend, your ‘girl’, and now she’s getting married. So when she comes to you and asks, ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ you blurt out an enthusiastic ‘YES!’ because it’s an honor and neither of you can imagine it any other way.  What you may not have realized yet is the work, the time, the details, the planning, and the cold hard cash that will go into that enthusiastic ‘YES!’.  The same goes for the groomsmen.

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If the couple has a wedding planner, s/he will definitely take a load of stress and responsibility off your plate, but you, as the wedding party, still have a distinct purpose – a job only a trusted bridesmaid or groomsman can fulfill. Your role is a huge compliment to your friendship, but first and foremost it’s a big commitment that should be taken seriously.  After all, wouldn’t you want the same when it’s time for you to get married?  Being a bridesmaid or groomsman is all about you for the first 30 seconds or so (sorry, that’s the hard truth).  After that it’s all about the bride & groom until after they waive good-bye and drive off into the night.

Planning a wedding can be one of the most stressful times an in couple’s life.  Whether it’s family issues that come up, vendor complications, nerves and stress, money or just plain lack of time…they need your support.  That’s why they asked YOU to be in their wedding.

Here are some key pointers of what you can do to be the BEST Bridesmaid or Groomsman you can be ::

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:: The Time ::

  • Attend all wedding related events with the bride/groom (bachelor/bachelorette party, bridal showers, engagement parties, rehearsal, etc).  Let the bride/groom know well in advanced if you can’t make it.
  • Always be on time – Plan your day accordingly so the couple isn’t waiting on you to get things started.
  • Keep the wedding reception atmosphere upbeat – Be present & on the dance floor. Don’t leave early.
  • Be available to assist whenever the bride/groom needs you – Offer to run errands, make sure they eat or drink something, calm his/her pre-wedding jitters.
  • Plan a speech for either the rehearsal dinner or wedding day. 1 ½ -2 ½ minutes is perfect.  Remember that this is a celebration. After a several minutes of speeches, it’ll be snoozeville.  So keep it short.

:: The Planning ::

  • Girls :: Help assemble/address save-the-dates and invitations, organize the seating chart, attend dress fitting appointments, etc.
  • Girls :: Coordinate the bridal shower and bachelorette party.
  • Communicate with each other – Don’t make the bride or groom be the go-between.  Forge new friendships so that you all can easily stay on top of everything.
  • Guys :: Return the groom’s tux and your tux to the rental shop.
  • Be self-sufficient.  Don’t bring the bride or groom into your drama.  Take care of any issues that arise on your own.  For example, if your dress or tux doesn’t fit, take it to the store and get it fixed.

:: The Cash ::

  • Girls :: The bridesmaids split the cost of the bachelorette party and bridal shower – Plan something that won’t break the bank, but will be enjoyable and thoughtful for the bride and her guests.
  • Guys :: The groomsmen spilt the cost of the bachelor party – Plan a party on par with the groom’s expectations.
  • Go in on gifts for the couple together – This will save you money and time, and will allow you to get a larger gift from their registry.
  • The wedding party is generally responsible for paying for their own attire, shoes, hair and makeup, and travel expenses.
  • According to How Stuff Works, a popular show on the cable network TLC, the cost of being a bridesmaid is over $1,000. This may seem overwhelming, but remember that it will be spread over the course of the engagement.  So start saving right away.

Aside from all the lists and quantified expectations, the most important part of being in a wedding is your ability to be there for the bride and groom in their time of need.  They couldn’t imagine you not being by their side on their big day.  So have fun with it and relish what a privilege it is to be trusted with such an important job.  You can do this!

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:: Photo Credits ::  Top- The Mamones Photography,  Middle- Amy Karp Photography, Bottom- On Location Portraiture