The Bridesmaid Duties: A Full Breakdown - Zola Expert Wedding Advice (2022)

Being a bridesmaid means agreeing to a fairly long list of responsibilities. As a part of the the Bride Tribe, a bridesmaid is expected to plan and attend all pre-wedding parties, help out with aspects of the wedding planning as needed, and be totally present and available to the bride on the wedding weekend. We’ve divided the list of bridesmaid duties into tasks that occur before the wedding and then actually on the big day. Every friend, sibling, or relative who’s asked to be a bridesmaid should have no trouble fulfilling her role if she follows these guidelines.

Pre-Wedding Bridesmaid Duties

  1. Shop (and Pay) for Bridesmaid Attire
  2. Help Plan (and Pay) for the Bridal Shower
  3. Help Plan (and Pay) for the Bachelorette Party
  4. Attend Any Other Pre-Wedding Events
  5. Attend the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner
  6. Help Support the Bride Emotionally
  7. Help With Wedding Planning Tasks
  8. Buy a Wedding Present

Wedding Day Bridesmaids Duties1. Get Ready With the Bride

  1. Assist the MOH
  2. Provide Getting-Ready Snacks
  3. Be the “Bride Tribe”
  4. Participate in the Ceremony
  5. Be Photo-Ready
  6. Be Model Guests (and the Life of The Party)
  7. Maintain a Stress-Free Send-off

Pre-Wedding Bridesmaid Duties

These are the main duties that bridesmaids are typically expected to perform in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding:

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1. Shop (and Pay) for Bridesmaid Attire

Bridesmaids may be asked to visit a bridal shop as a group to try on and select dresses together, or each woman may be asked do her own shopping and simply send her measurements and dress pick to the bride (or to a chosen shop). If the bridal party isn’t wearing matching attire, the bride may simply ask that each bridesmaid select her own outfit and share a photo to make sure it coordinates. Here are some additional tips when it comes to shopping for bridesmaid attire:

  • Whether shopping together or individually, follow the bride’s wishes with a smile on your face.
  • Be on time with your presence, your information, and/or decisions.
  • Provide supportive and sensitive feedback on the choice of bridesmaid attire only when requested.
  • Be prepared to pay for your own bridesmaid dress, jewelry, and shoes.

2. Help Plan (and Pay for) the Bridal Shower

The bridal shower may be a shared responsibility among the bridesmaids, the maid of honor, or the parent(s) of the bride or groom—however, bridesmaids are expected to at the very least attend the shower, and if there are no other hosts that step forward, to help the MOH with the shower planning and execution.

3. Help Plan (and Pay for) the Bachelorette Party

While the bulk of the bachelorette party planning usually falls to the maid of honor, the rest of the bridesmaids should lend her a hand wherever possible. This might include helping to secure travel plans, accommodations, activities, and transportation, as well as divvying up the costs between each bridesmaid so the bride’s expenses are covered.

4. Attend Any Other Pre-Wedding Events

Whether it’s an engagement party, a couples’ shower, or a gathering of helpers to do some wedding DIY over beers and pizza, bridesmaids are expected to attend all pre-wedding activities to the best of their abilities.

5. Book Travel and Hotel Reservations

Bridesmaids should take care of their own transportation and accommodations for the wedding weekend. It’s a good idea to do this early on, so you can be sure your travel logistics are convenient to both the schedule and location of important events. Whenever transportation is not already provided, the bridesmaids should figure out how they’ll get from place to place during the festivities.

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6. Attend the Rehearsal and Rehearsal Dinner

Bridesmaids should be present at both the ceremony rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. Not only is this a practical concern—everyone involved in the ceremony needs to know where to assemble, enter, exit, and where to sit or stand during the service—but as a member of the bride’s support crew, she’ll need you there during these final moments of preparation before the big day.

7. Help Support the Bride Emotionally

As her best friends, siblings, relatives, and just generally the people she wants surrounding her on this huge life decision, bridesmaids carry the role of being the bride’s emotional rock. Wedding planning can come with its fair amount of stress, so bridesmaids should check in with her throughout the process, ask what she needs, and do their best to thoughtfully and sensitively support her feelings.

8. Help With Wedding Planning Tasks

While bridesmaids are not wedding coordinators, florists, caterers, or cake bakers, they might be asked to help with certain smaller wedding planning tasks within reason. Activities such as stuffing envelopes, alphabetizing escort cards, getting hands-on with some easy DIY projects, or even making trips with the bride to pick out rentals or attend her hair and makeup trial are tasks where the bridesmaids can lend a hand.

9. Buy a Wedding Present

As with any other wedding guest, bridesmaids should buy a wedding gift for the couple off of their Wedding Registry and have it shipped to their address before the wedding. The only time this expectation may be removed is if you’re serving as a bridesmaid at a destination wedding and your presence (i.e. travel expenses) are considered gift enough. Going in on a big-ticket group gift with all of the bridesmaids can be a fun way to give the couple somthing they really want!

Wedding Day Bridesmaid Duties

On the big day, bridesmaids help ensure everything goes smoothly for the bride, her maid of honor, and the majority of the wedding guests. Here’s how:

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1. Get Ready With the Bride

Bridesmaids should plan on showing up at the designated getting-ready location on time, with all of their gear (bridesmaid attire, shoes, jewelry, makeup, undergarments, etc.) in hand. Besides getting themselves aisle-ready, the bridesmaids should do whatever they can to assist the bride during this time, such as:

  • Keeping her smiling, laughing, calm, and collected
  • Answering any incoming texts, calls, or logistical questions for her
  • Making sure she eats something and stays hydrated
  • Pouring celebratory bubbly for everyone to enjoy
  • Keeping hair and/or makeup appointments on track
  • Helping her into her dress
  • Assisting her with her shoes, jewelry, or veil

2. Assist the MOH

The maid of honor has a pretty big job on the wedding day. Bridesmaids should serve as her right-hand ladies, helping out with whatever tasks are needed—whether that’s making a last-minute run to the drugstore, coordinating with the photographer or wedding planner, or providing (and keeping track of) a wedding day emergency kit.

3. Provide Getting-Ready Snacks

If no other arrangements have been made for getting-ready sips and snacks, the bridesmaids should take it upon themselves to provide these treats. Everyone—from the bride to her mother to even the photographer and beauty stylists—will appreciate the gesture and benefit from some food and drink throughout the busy day.

4. Be the “Bride Tribe”

Bridesmaids should embody the concept of being the support crew for the bride and the maid of honor in all ways during the big day. They can also serve as a point of contact for guests and vendors when it’s helpful. Here are some tasks the bridesmaids can cover to be of service:

  • Double-check that all members of the wedding party and any special family members have their personal flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, flower crowns, or toss petals). Assist with pinning on boutonnieres or other floral accessories as needed.
  • Help guests navigate the venue, such as directing them to parking areas, bathrooms, handicap access, exits, and if applicable, the bar or refreshments station.
  • Standing near the gift table, guest book, or wedding favors to help direct and facilitate guests’ participation.

5. Participate in the Ceremony

Bridesmaids should be in place at the ceremony venue on time, (most likely hidden out of sight), and ready for their cues to process down the aisle. Keep chatter to a minimum and be respectful of the planner, officiant, or whomever is running the show. During the actual ceremony, be sure to hit your rehearsed mark, fulfill any other roles you’ve been assigned during the actual service, and then process out of the ceremony according to plan.

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6. Be Photo-Ready

If the wedding party didn’t pose for photographs with the happy couple before the ceremony, typically these group photos occur right after the ceremony at the beginning of the cocktail hour. Rather than dispersing into the crowd, bridesmaids should stick together and be ready to follow the photographer’s commands—gathering stray folks for these shots can be tiresome, not to mention steal precious minutes away from the couple’s ability to enjoy their cocktail hour.

7. Be Model Guests (and the Life of The Party)

Bridesmaids should mingle and chat with other guests, enjoy the food and drinks offered, sit down at their dinner table when asked, participate in guest-related activities like signing the guestbook or visiting the photo booth, listen to, applaud, and/or give any speeches (that have been pre-arranged), witness the special dances, and boogie down (tastefully) when it’s dance floor time.

8. Maintain a Stress-Free Send-off

Finally, bridesmaids should help the maid of honor, coordinator, or the couple’s parents assemble any items than need to be transported out of the reception venue at the end of the night. These packables might include:

  • Any getting-ready clothing or gear
  • Extra/unused ceremony programs, favors, or sparklers
  • Leftover alcohol
  • Any decor or signage that was personally provided (not rented)
  • The bride and/or bridesmaids’ bouquets
  • Wedding cards and gifts
  • The guest book
  • Special toasting flutes, cake servers, or cake plate
  • A basket of late-night leftovers (packaged by the caterer)
  • The top tier of the wedding cake
  • A few slices of late-night wedding cake (packaged by the caterer)
  • The bride and/or groom’s wedding attire, if they’ve changed into getaway clothes

In addition to making sure the above items leave the venue in the right vehicle(s), bridesmaids can lend a hand with these final logistical tasks:

  • Make sure all guests make it onto the right shuttle buses, find their cars, or otherwise make it safely out of the venue.
  • Hand out pre-addressed tip envelopes to the vendors.
  • Make sure the bride and/or groom’s overnight bags make it to their wedding night hotel room.
  • Organize guests to the after-party, if there is one.

FAQs

What are the bridesmaids responsibilities? ›

The list of bridesmaid's responsibilities include: Emotionally supporting the bride at all times throughout the wedding planning and ceremony. Assisting the Maid of Honor in planning and paying for the bridal shower and bachelorette party, and of course, assisting the Maid of Honor throughout the wedding day.

How do you split the maid of honor's role? ›

Two of the most important roles of the maid of honor are holding the bride's bouquet during the ceremony and signing the marriage license, so divide these tasks among your two maids of honors so that one gets the bouquet to hold and the other gets the pen to sign with.

What a bridesmaid should say at a wedding? ›

Talk about the bride (why she's a good person and friend, share a story to illustrate it) Tell the love story (The most romantic version of how the bride and groom met) Talk about the groom (Compliment him, why he's great for your friend, what he does for her etc) Celebrate the couple (Why they're so good together)

How do you deal with an overbearing bridesmaid? ›

Here are a few tips for dealing with an overbearing bridesmaid.
  1. Be clear when delegating duties. Sometimes all your overbearing bridesmaid needs is a little structure. ...
  2. Don't bring them to every appointment. ...
  3. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. ...
  4. Ask her to take a breather. ...
  5. Remember that it's coming from a place of love.
8 May 2017

What do bridesmaids traditionally pay for? ›

Most often, bridesmaids cover the cost of their dress and undergarments, shoes, accessories, and hair and makeup for the wedding day. The bride may opt to cover any of the aforementioned costs if she deems it appropriate.

Who pays for the bridesmaids stuff? ›

Bridesmaids' Attire

But if the bride imposes specific shoes and accessories, they're the one who should cover those costs. For more budget or sustainability-conscious 'maids, rental services or mix-and-match trends allow everyone to spend how they're comfortable.

Who walks down with the maid of honor? ›

The Maid or Matron of Honor: The maid or matron of honor will walk alone after other members of the bridal party. The Flower Girl(s) and/or Ring Bearer(s): The children chosen will walk down the aisle one after the other. They can sit with their parents once they are done.

What is the most important bridesmaid called? ›

The principal bridesmaid, if one is designated, may be called the chief bridesmaid, Capitán or maid of honor if she is unmarried, or the matron of honor if she is married. A junior bridesmaid is a girl who is clearly too young to be married but who is included as an honorary bridesmaid.

How long should a bridesmaid speech be? ›

Keep it short. The longer your speech, the more opportunities you'll have for people to start losing attention. "Keep your speech under five minutes," suggests Peterson. "Anywhere between two to five minutes is great."

Do bridesmaids give speeches at weddings? ›

Although they are traditional, some couples prefer no speeches and that is completely up to their discretion. If you're planning a wedding without speeches, guests will arrive at your reception, take a drink from the bar, and be seated.

How much should bridesmaid give for friend? ›

How much money should a bridesmaid or groomsmen spend on a wedding gift? Bridesmaids and groomsmen spend, on average, $125 on a wedding gift as a close friend or relative of the couple. But regardless of what the average spend is, bridesmaids and groomsmen should spend what they can afford to spend on a wedding gift.

Should bridesmaids walk alone? ›

Most couples choose to have their bridesmaids and groomsmen walk separately during the procession and then pair up after the ceremony is done.

Are bridesmaids expected to pay for hair and makeup? ›

Who Pays for Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup? As a rule of thumb, the bridesmaids pay for their own hair and makeup on the day of the wedding. The bride does NOT have to pay for bridal party hair and makeup.

How much money do you give for a 2022 wedding gift? ›

A typical wedding gift is around $100. The exact amount depends on your personal budget and relationship to the couple, among other factors. Aug. 18, 2022, at 4:18 p.m.

Is it normal for bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses? ›

Generally speaking, bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own dresses and accessories as well as potentially hair and makeup appointments and transportation to the wedding. According to Gottsman, bridesmaids should be prepared to cover the costs for these expenses once they accept the offer.

Who usually buys bridesmaids dresses? ›

So traditionally, who pays for bridesmaid dresses? According to etiquette, each attendant is expected to cover the costs of their entire ensemble, from their dress (or their jumpsuit, or whatever look they're rocking) all the way down to their accessories. That goes even though the bride traditionally picks the attire.

How much is the average bridesmaid dress? ›

What is the Average Cost of Bridesmaid Dresses? According to experts, the average cost of a bridesmaid dress is about $150. Keep in mind that's the average cost for just one dress - multiply that average by the number of bridesmaids in your wedding party and the costs will add up quickly.

What order should bridesmaids walk down the aisle? ›

Bridesmaids. They walk down the aisle solo or in pairs. They take their places up front, on the left side, with the first bridesmaid taking her place farthest from the bride. The bridesmaids might form a diagonal line so they all get a good view of the couple.

How do you deal with a disappointing maid of honor? ›

Try talking gently and honestly about her feelings. And always remember that, even when you're planning a wedding, friendship is a two-way street. She needs your support as much as you need hers -- maybe more. Some people have legitimate reasons for being difficult.

Who walks First the maid or matron of honor? ›

Who walks down the aisle first? You guessed it—there are no rules! Usually, the 'maids walk down first, followed by the MOH with the bride last. If you're just having one maid or matron of honor, it's a simple line-up.

Who walks down the aisle first Maid of Honour or bridesmaid? ›

Bridesmaids: The bridesmaids walk down the aisle one by one before the maid of honor enters.

Does the order of your bridesmaids matter? ›

By How Close You Are

Of course, you'll start with your maid of honor, followed by your sister or sister-in-law, and then from there, it tends to vary. You may have your best friend, followed by your cousin and then another close friend, or you may swap the order around.

Do bridesmaids stand the whole ceremony? ›

Traditionally, the bridesmaids (and the rest of the bridal party) won't sit during the ceremony. Instead, they'll form rows next to the bride and groom and remain standing throughout the entirety. Normally, the first bridesmaid coming down the aisle will begin the line farthest away from the altar or chuppah.

What should bridesmaids do the night before the wedding? ›

Go Out on The Town

Many wedding parties have the rehearsal dinner the evening before the wedding, so you may all be dressed up, hair and makeup done, and ready for some fun! Going out for drinks or dessert with just the girls is a great way to spend some quality time together before the wedding ceremony.

How fast should bridesmaids walk down the aisle? ›

In general, all members of the wedding party should take less than five minutes to walk down the aisle. The bride herself takes up around 45 seconds of that time.

Who is usually the bridesmaid of honor? ›

A maid of honour is a chief bridesmaid. Maids of honour are usually unmarried; if they are married, we call them matrons of honour. A bridal party may contain several bridesmaids, but the maid of honour title goes to the main bridesmaid, usually the bride's sister or closest friend.

Who is the second most important person in a wedding? ›

The party:

2. Groom. 3. Priest / speaker / ceremony leader.

What is better maid of honor or bridesmaid? ›

Basically, the Maid Of Honor is the assistant to the Bride. While Bridesmaids' responsibilities are to be supportive and help as needed, the Maid of Honor will help the Bride out with whatever tasks are needed.

How do you end a bridesmaid speech? ›

At the end of your speech, wrap up by offering a toast to the couple such as “wishing you both a lifetime of happiness” and raising your glass. If you are seated near enough to the bride and groom, feel free to give them a hug before sitting back down.

How much bridesmaids is too much? ›

On average, North American brides have between three and five bridesmaids. Some have way, way more than that; others forgo the bridal party altogether. If you're considering going above average (six bridesmaids or more), make sure you take into consideration the effect that this will have on the rest of your wedding.

Who gives the toast to the bridesmaids? ›

The best man should also thank the groom for toasting the bridesmaids, and comment on the newlyweds, especially the groom. He should also read out any messages from absent friends and family, and end with a final toast to the happy couple.

Do bridesmaids walk in front or behind? ›

Do the bridesmaids and flower girls walk down the aisle in front or behind the bride? Traditionally it's been said that in America the bridesmaids walk first, and in the UK the bridesmaids walk last. Luckily this really doesn't matter anymore!

Who speaks first in wedding speeches? ›

Whoever is hosting the event should speak first and should take the microphone as soon as guests have found their seats. This first toast is most often made by the parents (or father) of the bride and should combine both a toast to the happy couple and a welcome message to the guests.

Who normally gives toasts at a wedding? ›

Traditionally, the maid of honor and best man give a toast at the reception, just before dinner is served. It's also common for at least one parent to give a speech.

Do the bridesmaids get the bride a gift? ›

Even though you're already spending a lot of your money and time as a bridesmaid, wedding etiquette indicates that you're still expected to give a wedding gift to the couple. Bridesmaids are supposed to get the bride a gift for some prewedding events as well.

Does the bridesmaid walk first? ›

The Bridal Party

Traditionally, the flower girl and page boys walk down the aisle first, scattering petals if they have them. Next the Bride and the Father of the Bride walk down the aisle. They are followed by the bridesmaids; the maid of honour or chief bridesmaid being the closest to the bride.

Who walks first in weddings? ›

1. Officiant. Your officiant is generally the first person to walk toward the altar, signifying the ceremony is about to commence.

Which mother walks down the aisle first? ›

A. The groom's parents precede the bride's mother during the processional. Here's a rundown: After the ushers have seated all of the guests, the grandparents start up the aisle, followed by the groom's parents. Then the bride's mother takes her turn.

Who walks down with matron of honor? ›

Usually, the 'maids walk down first, followed by the MOH with the bride last. If you're just having one maid or matron of honor, it's a simple line-up. But with two MOHs, you have a little more flexibility. For example, you can have the maid and matron walk down together with each other and/or the best man.

How do I turn down my maid of honor? ›

For Would-Be Maids of Honor

“You should tell her right away, as soon as possible,” says event and wedding planner Mindy Weiss, adding that the conversation should take place in person when possible, and over the phone if not. The key is to have it as soon as you can.

Can you have 2 maid of honor's in your wedding? ›

It's common and completely acceptable to select two Maids of Honor as a way to honor your closest friendships. Two Maids of Honor is most common when a bride has only two bridesmaids, has two sisters, or, a sister and a best friend who carry equal weight in her life.

Can you have 2 maid of honors and 1 matron of honor? ›

There's no reason you can't have two maids or matrons of honor. These are the two women you feel closest to, and you want them by your side on your wedding day. But even if you're a super-chill bride, it's wise to give them each a set of responsibilities that play to their strengths and interests.

Which mother walks down the aisle first? ›

A. The groom's parents precede the bride's mother during the processional. Here's a rundown: After the ushers have seated all of the guests, the grandparents start up the aisle, followed by the groom's parents. Then the bride's mother takes her turn.

Who walks mother of bride down aisle? ›

Traditionally, a groomsman should walk the mother of the bride down the aisle. However, as with most details of a modern ceremony, the couple getting married is free to make any adjustments or choices they would like when wedding planning.

Who walks first in weddings? ›

1. Officiant. Your officiant is generally the first person to walk toward the altar, signifying the ceremony is about to commence.

Is it rude to turn down being a bridesmaid? ›

Being a bridesmaid is an honor, but it can also be expensive. You should be direct and honest when declining to be a bridesmaid for financial reasons. If a couple reacts badly, give them space but don't question your decision.

What is the average cost of being a bridesmaid? ›

The average bridesmaid spends $1,200 per wedding. If you count dress alterations, bachelorette parties, or gifts, then it escalates to over $1,820. That's a lot. Especially when you consider most bridesmaids are twenty-somethings with early-career salaries.

What do you say at the end of a maid of honor speech? ›

How do you end a maid of honor speech? A maid of honor speech should end on a sincere and happy note. Celebrate the couple and how they make each other better, share your love for the bride, offer pearls of wisdom for a happy life together, or recite a meaningful quote.

How many bridesmaids is too many bridesmaids? ›

A wedding can have quite literally any number of bridesmaids. Some brides have no maids at all, whereas others might have several dozen. The most common number of bridesmaids is 3, but anywhere between 1 and 12 is considered a perfectly normal amount.

Who should make speeches at a wedding? ›

Who Gives a Speech at the Wedding Reception?
  • Your parents.
  • The maid of honor.
  • The best man.
  • The two of you.
1 Sept 2022

What is a second maid of honor called? ›

You can make a distinction by calling the single one your maid of honor and the married one your matron of honor. Brides have been doing this for decades. If neither are married, then they'll both share the same “maid of honor” title. And if both happen to be married, then technically you'll have two matrons of honor.

Does the maid or matron of honor give a speech? ›

Do both the maid and matron of honor give a speech? Yes, if both are a part of your wedding party then both should be speaking (unless one personally prefers not to). They can each deliver their own individual speech or choose to combine their efforts on one grand toast.

Can a married woman be a maid of honor? ›

A matron of honor is essentially the HBIC (head bridesmaid in charge). The truth is, it's no different than being the maid of honor. The only distinction is that a matron of honor is a married woman.

Does the maid of honor give a gift? ›

Should the Maid of Honor give a gift to the bride? The maid of honor should definitely give a give to the bride. While it's always possible to get something off the registry, it's nice to choose something more unexpected and personal for the bride—think custom jewelry, a monogrammed bag, or a gift card to a spa.

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