The bridesmaid plays an important role at the wedding ‐‐ the perfect bridesmaid should be supportive without being intrusive, helpful on the day, and always available for a wedding shopping spree!
The chief bridesmaid’s work starts here!
The bridesmaid plays an important role at the wedding — the perfect bridesmaid should be supportive without being intrusive, helpful on the day, and always available for a wedding shopping spree! And of course, there’s that small matter of the hen party…
The chief bridesmaid in particular has a vital role in all preparations leading up to the day and plays a supporting role to the bride throughout the wedding day itself.
Here’s a guide to what you can expect to have to do during the wedding countdown…
Six months to go
You can expect to be involved in discussions and decisions in the planning stages and to be used as a sounding board for the bride’s ideas right from the start.
Your main duty is to be the bride’s personal assistant: someone who can rely on to chase quotes if required or to calm her down when stress gets the better of her.
An important task for any chief bridesmaid is to be an honest and reliable critic when it comes to choosing the bride’s dress. Make sure she gives you some idea of what she is looking for. Then be constructive about the styles and colours that suit her.
Along with helping the bride select her dress, as chief bridesmaid you should be involved in choosing outfits for yourself and other attendants. Ask the bride to tell you the colours and styles she is thinking of, and the ages of her attendants. You should also help with getting the other attendants to fittings on time.
Some brides choose older bridesmaids, others like to ask children. Whichever she chooses, you will need to help make sure they all know what is required of them and what responsibilities they may have.
Four months to go
If the bride is trying out a new beauty or fitness regime before the wedding, your support will be very welcome! If she’s going to aerobics or has taken up jogging, try to go along to keep up morale.
Having a makeover is a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon. Try out some new brands or make-up artists for the big day and see what suits you, or just plain enjoy yourselves doing something girlie.
You might be asked to act as an intermediary if difference of opinion occurs, perhaps between the bride and her parents or parents-in-law. Fingers crossed this won’t be necessary, but disagreements do happen from time to time.
This might be a good time to check with the bride’s other attendants to make sure that they’ve made the necessary arrangements for their outfits, and that they know when the wedding rehearsals are, if asked to attend.
Two months to go
One of your more fun duties is to arrange the hen night celebrations. This could be anything from an evening in a restaurant to an action‐picked weekend away.
If the bride is having a dinner for her hen night, or you are throwing her an American‐style bridal shower, you will probably be expected to make a speech, so now’s the time to start thinking about what you might say.
You’ll find plenty of ideas and material in our Speech Centre.
Now’s the time to encourage the bride to start a course of facials, manicures and pedicures so she will look her best on the day. (And of course, you’ll benefit as well…) Book an appointment with her hairdresser so you can both try out wedding hairdos.
The strain of the wedding planning may be getting to the bride at this point so make sure she keeps calm and relaxed. The Confetti Wedding Book of Calm might be just the thing to give her, for last‐minute tips on staying frazzle‐free.
One week to go
As chief bridesmaid you should attend the wedding rehearsal so that you know where you and other attendants should stand, when you should sit down and the exact order of the ceremony.
If the couple have a dinner after their wedding rehearsal, it is also traditional for you to make a toast then.
Phone all the other attendants to make sure no one’s suffering from last‐minute nerves or problems that they’re too nervous or embarrassed to speak to the bride about. Check in with the best man. Don’t forget yourself too. There’s nothing worse than spending all your time ensuring the bride looks beautiful and all the attendants are happy, only to discover at the last‐minute that your underwear is uncomfortable or you can’t find your shoes.
The day before the wedding
If circumstances allow, you may want to spend the day or evening with the bride, especially if she’s nervous or spending the night apart from the groom.
Also, you should both have your bridal manicure today.
Now that hen nights are no longer usually held the night before the wedding, it’s a great opportunity to have a quiet evening in with some videos and glass of wine and have a good chat! Encourage her to talk about what she thinks tomorrow will mean to her — the day itself will go so fast it’s a good idea to get some of the contemplation in beforehand.
- Baby wipes
- Breath mints
- Safety pins
- Nail file
- Hair spay
- Spare earring backs
- Mobile phone (switched off)
- Pain relief tablets
Pack the emergency kit in a bag and leave it in the car to pick up after the ceremony. If the bride loses the back of her earring or a guest breaks a strap on her dress, you’ll be able to rush to the rescue.
Make sure the wedding guest have plenty of confetti — if allowed — and that they know when they can throw it.
For loads of ideas for some great hen parties, check out our Hen & Stag section.