Bridesmaid Basics: Your complete guide to bridesmaid duties

It’s an honour to be asked to be a bridesmaid, so go you! There’s a lot of excitement, anticipation, and joy in the air as the bride-to-be gathers her BFFs around her. You’ve got the privilege of being considered one of her nearest and dearest so now it's time to make sure you show up and be the best bridesmaid you can be.

This position does come with some responsibility, so let’s have a look at what exactly being a bridesmaid means.

Bridesmaid Duties

1. Organise the hen’s party! We thought we’d start here as it’s one of our favourite parts! Some brides may want a part in planning the celebrations, and others may want a totally hands-off approach, but either way, the majority of the work is usually down to the bridesmaids. If you’ve never planned a hen’s party before, check out our ‘How to Guide’ for all the info you’ll need to know!

2. Visit bridal boutiques with the bride. You don’t have to attend every shop or every fitting with the bride, but it is usually nice if at least 1 or 2 of her BFFs are with her along the way. Make some time in the schedule, and even discuss in the group chat with the other bridesmaids who can be there to help the bride find ‘the one’ (well the other one, after the husband of course!).

3. Bring the zen. Wedding planning can be a stressful time, so you may find the bride-to-be needs to vent or take a breather and that’s where you’ll come in. Maybe you just need to be there to listen, or maybe she just needs to talk about anything other than the wedding, regardless, it's up to you to stay cool, calm, and collected for her.

4. Look after your bridesmaid dress. Traditionally it is up to the bridesmaid to pay for her own dress. Usually, this will be picked out for you, by the bride, but it is up to you to pay for it and organise any alterations as required.

5. Assist with pre-wedding events. We spoke about the hen’s party already but then there’s the bridal shower and/or kitchen tea, as well as the rehearsal dinner that you may be required to assist with the planning and preparation of as well.

6. Oversee any finishing touches. This can include straightening out the train, adjusting a veil, to organising the flowers girls etc.

7. Speech! Traditionally the maid of honour will say a few words at the reception, so if this is you, be ready for it! It doesn’t have to be a whole life story going on and on, a 3-minute speech that includes something heartfelt, maybe something funny, and what the now husband and wife mean to you, is all you need to include.

8. Get the party started. We’ve all been to a party where the music is heating up, but no one is game enough to be the first on the dance floor to get the party into the next gear. Well, girls, I’m here to tell you, at the wedding, this is your duty!

9. Touch-ups and toilet breaks. The bride will likely be run off her feet with people congratulating her, getting photos with the happy couple etc. So it’s up to you and the other bridesmaids to be there to assist with any makeup touch-ups. Likewise, when it comes to needing the ladies' room, the bride may need an extra pair of hands to help hold the dress.

Bridesmaid Basics


  • Start saving early. There is likely going to be a few costs involved, from the bridesmaid dresses to hen’s party planning, to gifts etc, and we’ve found they all seem to come at once! So save yourself the stress and put a little cash aside each paycheck so you’ve got it covered.

  • Put your hand up. Assigning specific tasks or costs to yourself early on means you’ll get the pick of the things you actually want to help with, plus those that you can afford!

  • Bond with the other bridesmaids. Teamwork makes the dream work ladies, and a job shared is a job halved. Ensure you have each bridesmaid's contact info, or even start a group chat, so you can communicate and plan things seamlessly together.

  • Be available. Try and keep certain dates free so you can attend bridal boutiques with the bride or your own dress fittings. Trying to be as flexible as you can be, will ease some of the bride's stress.

  • Be prompt. Ensure that if you have plans, whether it's a dress fitting or it's arriving on the big day, give yourself plenty of time and never be late!

  • Connect with their wedding planner. It’s a good idea for the bridesmaids to meet the planner or the venue staff ahead of time. This allows you to know the timeline of events, so you can keep the day flowing according to plan. Plus, it allows for them to communicate with the bridesmaids on the special day if there is anything that needs to be altered or any mishaps arise. That way, the bride tribe can work to overcome any challenges without having to worry the bride or groom on the day.

  • Grin and wear it! When it comes to the dress, it’s ultimately the bride's choice and at the end of the day you’re in it for a few hours, and all eyes are on the bride anyway. 

  • Take advantage of tech. Using a shared Google Doc or Google Sheet, which all the bridesmaids can access, and work on at the same time, is a great way to keep everyone on the same page in the planning process (quite literally). Or, utilising bill splitting apps like Venmo, Splitwise, or Billr to keep track of who owes what can make things much more straightforward when it comes to chasing anyone for money owing.

  • Look after the lady of the hour. This really comes into play when the events start occurring, and there’s a lot. From the bridal shower, kitchen tea, rehearsal dinner, and finally the big day the bride is going to need her bridesmaids. Create a bridal emergency kit with things such as bobby pins, safety pins, tissues, a sewing kit etc. you never know what you may need on the day!

  • Be self-sufficient. The bride has enough on her plate, so if you can deal with a problem or a challenge that arises yourself or amongst yourself and the other bridesmaids, do it.

  • Make sure the guests are looked after. The bride and groom will have a lot on their mind on the day itself, so it’s nice if the bridal party ensures the guests have everything that they need.


These may be self-explanatory so we will keep them short and sweet!

  • Don’t be late.

  • Don’t overshadow the bride.

  • Don’t drink too much at the reception.

  • Don’t bitch about other bridesmaids.

  • Don’t overcommit. If you’re getting asked to do things you know you can’t do, set boundaries and say no but offer other solutions as well.

  • Don’t forget the gift! 

With these things in mind, you’ll be well prepared to be the best bridesmaid you can be for your BFF on her big day! Remember there is a lot going on for the bride in the lead-up to her wedding day, so it’s up to you and the bride tribe to be there to support and take some of the load. It’s going to be a team effort, and ultimately it is a great opportunity for you all to bond over your shared love of the bride and her future partner.

Until next time,

House of Hens xox

friends on lawn
Emily Christensen

After saying cya to the corporate world, Emily has taken her experience with people and business and put pen to paper. In reality, it's more fingers to the keyboard, but nonetheless, she is crafting copy and content online to help businesses show the world just how great they are!

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