how to be the perfect bridesmaid

bridesmaid advice

Your friend from school who you've been friends with forever suddenly announced she's engaged and you're super excited but you never thought that in two years time you would be undertaking the honour of acting as a bridesmaid at her magical Lake District wedding, until its July 2015 and thats exactly the scenario.

My friend of 10 years, Katie, got married this July in a stunning Lake District location with four of her bridesmaids by her side. Before this wedding I'd been a child bridesmaid/flower girl but until your friend asks you, as an adult, you don't fully understand the honour. Being a part of the most amazing and memorable day of your best friends life is completely indescribable until you're by their side rushing to make the church on time whilst struggling to lace her up into her wedding dress, watching her marry the man of her dreams, taking her first dance with her father whose so proud yet so emotional at 'giving away' his daughter - there are more precious moments in one rise and setting of the sun than you can imagine possible on a wedding day.

I can write this post with hindsight, I don't for one second think I was the perfect bridesmaid, I am sure thats a pretty difficult feat to achieve however having been through the process myself and doing my own fair amount of research, witnessing my best friend act as maid of honour and interacting with the bride to be's family and friends I think I can chalk up a fair amount of tips. So without further ado, please be upstanding for my 'how to be the perfect bridesmaid' tips...

Lets be honest, nine times out of ten the bride will plan her own wedding and will ask you to support or for advice where she sees fit, but sometimes that very bride entrusts you and your fellow bridesmaids to organise the greatest pre-wedding party the world did ever see. A party that not only the bride but the family and friends can enjoy and remember forever, A PARTY TO RIVAL THE STAG DO.

Every bride is different so it's impossible for me to come up with advice to suit everybody but on a generic level with the hen do you need to LISTEN to your bride, I know it sounds obvious, but we are all women here and women tell you what they want on a subtle level, they've probably been dropping hints on what they want their hen do to be like to you since you were 12 and you met each other in the form room on your first day at secondary school but you just weren't listening. We found as bridesmaids though, theres listening to the bride and then theres listening to the rest of the hen party and you need consider both, yes you want to please the bride but how happy is the bride going to be when half of her bridal party aren't happy or comfortable for the entire duration, so here are my top tips....

Keep it a secret - a surprise reveal to the bride on the day or the weekend will make everything so much sweeter! I don't know if its just the way my friends and I work but keeping the groom and the stag party in the dark was also so good as it left them wondering who would win the war of the parties!

Plan surprise activities and games - Yes, come prepared with games up your sleeve but nothing too structured that people are unhappy with a whip cracking schedule they can't enjoy because there is no time to relax or breathe! As bridesmaids we all met before to come up with some ideas and left the chief bridesmaid to do her duties... hehe.

Consider the environment and your bridal party - It  may sound silly but if you've got a range of ages or you're doing a fancy boat cruise and afternoon tea (as we did on one of the hen party) you may want to forgo the inflatable penis...unless of course you plan a hen do to Benidorm.

So you've been asked to be a bridesmaid and you've been told what's expected of you (or not), you're considering the hen do or at least support for the hen do organisation but what else are you expected to do without anybody telling you you were actually supposed to do that...

Deal with the dress - It depends on the bride, nearly all brides would like their bridesmaids to be comfortable and enjoy the day but at the end of the day trying to please a number of different women is an impossible feat so suck it up, provide advice and input but when it comes to the final decision, JUST DEAL WITH IT. Personally I thought our dresses turned out absolutely beautiful and nailed the theme of the wedding but sometimes you may be unhappy - its one day, make your friend happy and smile harder than you have in your life.

Show your support - Weddings are pretty stressful events, your bride might be screaming out for help but suffering in silence, it goes without saying the odd check up to make sure things are running smoothly and to offer your support is a given. So make sure you're available to support the bride in her multiple floral arrangement, invitation, shoe, hair, make up decisions.

It's the little things - The night before you might have some arrangements, you may be staying at the venue, at the brides house but in any case its usually common for the bridal party to be together the evening before. Our maid of honour made that evening special by providing a beautiful scrapbook full of hen party photos and messages from all the hen party guests for the brides big day. Presenting this to the bride the night before just brings everything together and gives a personal and loving touch to the whole wedding process.

I think this one is pretty subjective so I don't want to say too much on the subject as so many different factors are involved for different people, such as budget, but I personally wanted to add a sentimental touch to my present. I knew I could buy off the bride and grooms wishlist or give them money as they politely requested in their wedding invitation but I felt as bridesmaid the rest of the party would obviously already being fulfilling their wishes and I wanted to add a memorable, sentimental touch. If, no doubt, you're a blogger and you're reading this then I think that you will already own the following - a decent camera, some kind of creative side and potentially a polaroid. I used craft and the skills I have learnt blogging and put these to use to create something unique and individual as a gift to the happily married couple. I took sneaky polaroids throughout the day and created a ten minute wedding video of their day amongst other things to add a personal touch to the gift.

I don't know the what the regular is with the morning of weddings as I can only remember the morning of one, which is this one BUT I'd like to think the mother of the bride, the bride and all of the bridesmaids are together in one place getting reading for an unforgettable day in the girliest morning of their life. If this is the case then without further ado here are my final be the best bridesmaid ever tips...

You can never start early enough - So you've got up four hours before you're due at the venue for your beautiful bride to be married but somehow somehow in the final hour, you've ran out of time and your 30 minutes late to the church... yep thats kind of how things went for us. We were up early eating casual breakfasts of croissants and fruit, being pampered by professional hair and make up artists, drinking prosecco, taking pictures, laughing, chilling in the garden in the morning sun BUT then you come to get dressed and you can't get your shoes on easy and the brides dress is unimaginably difficult to put on, like anything you've ever done in your life has not been as time consuming and hard work as rushing to lace up an entire bridal gown... so just either get up earlier or set aside at least 45 minutes to get dressed.

The bride is your priority - So I TOTALLY know this goes without saying but clearly the bride is the main gal for this whole day but just make sure she looks ON FLEEK all day. Yes you better be ready to sort out that veil or dress or make up or drink or just anything do it!!

Let me know your wedding tips whether they're tips for wedding guests or the bridesmaids!

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Jayde / 22 / North West England


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