You’ve been asked to be in a wedding — what an incredible honor! Of course, your gut reaction is a squealing “YES!,” but now that you’re in, here are some things you’re really gonna need to know.
1. Finances. You are gonna need to budget, stat!
The bridesmaid gown or tux rental, the bachelorette/bachelor party (and if they decide on a party bus or not …), the wedding shower, the wedding itself with all of the various travel / hotel expenses, and then hair and makeup on the big day.
It’s good to mentally prepare, and also budget for this big (yet oh-so-worth-it! commitment). Make sure to communicate with the entire wedding party and set a budget that works for everyone.
We reached out to one of the bridesmaids in a wedding we recently had the honor to shoot. Here’s what she had to say:
“As a bridesmaid, it’s important to know and expect the financial responsibilities … once you’re involved, if you can’t afford things, it makes it stressful for the rest of the group and isn’t fair to the bride.”
2. You’re going to wear a LOT of different hats
It takes a lot more than just “showing up” to be in the wedding party. You’re going to be in a major support role, too. You’re going to be a therapist, the snack fetcher, the pillar for the bride to stand on when she’s so stressed she can’t stand it (especially if you’re in the Maid/Matron of Honor or Best Man role!).
I’m going to tell you a story from a wedding of a best friend of mine.
Her husband couldn’t find his tux on their wedding day.
I saw a panicked look on his face (seriously, and hour to go until it was ‘walk down the aisle’ time). I asked him what was wrong.
“Christine, I can’t find my tux.”
Now, did I panic? No. Did I let the bride know something was amiss? Hell no. She was blissfully ignorant of the entire situation (as it should be).
I went into her room, poured her another glass of champagne, and stepped out into the hall.
“You’ve looked in your hotel room, everywhere?”
“Yes!” he said.
“I think you should go look at the house (her parents lived close by).”
“The house? I don’t think it’s there.”
“If it’s not here, that’s your last option!”
I convinced him to go look.
I walked back into the hotel room to a suspicious bride.
“Where is he?”
“Just getting ready. A little hungover from last night.”
That didn’t seem too crazy to her, and by the time she walked down the aisle, she saw her grinning groom in his tux (yes, it was at the house).
As a wedding party member, it is your job to put out the fires. It is not the bride’s job. It is your job to help her pee when her dress is too big. It is your job to hug her when she gets emotional that she’s about to start this new phase of her life!
Also, it is YOUR job to support the decisions she makes. Don’t make her life harder than it is. Don’t like the dress she picked? It’s not your wedding, so make sure to be supportive of her decisions, and let her know she looks stunning in it!
Hate the bridesmaids dress? Don’t ever let her know.
Think the shoes are tacky? She doesn’t!
As one of our recent bridesmaids put it: “Realizing it’s not your wedding, it’s your friend’s, so you need to be supportive of what they need and want, and help make decisions easier, not harder!”
3. Something is going to go wrong
This ties in well with my previous story. But it’s not just at that wedding. Something will happen at every wedding. Seriously. I’ve been in a dozen myself, and have personally been the photographer for more than I can count.
There have been at least 3 weddings where the pastor was late. In one of those cases, he told the bride only a few days before he couldn’t make it at all. In that case, the best man stepped up and got ordained online so he could officiate! Now, that’s commitment!
I once shot a wedding where the best man dropped out the week before.
I’ve been in a wedding where a bridesmaid showed up, didn’t like how her dress fit, and then literally drove back home and never came back for the ceremony.
I once had a groom who was uncertain if he was going to be able to do the mother-son dance because of family drama.
I don’t think I have ever shot a single wedding where the ceremony started right on time.
Things happen. Life happens. It’s all going to be ok!
As a member of the wedding party, try to deal with as much as you can. The bride and groom seriously don’t need anymore stress. And, if it can’t be helped, keep that champagne flowing!
4. After the wedding, your job isn’t quiiite over!
All those gifts need to get packed up in someone’s vehicle! Also, sometimes cleanup is involved at the end of the reception.
Even months after the wedding, the couple may want some help picking out photos for their wedding album (although you need to give the photographer ample time to edit them first)!
There’s so much that goes into a wedding day. It’s a whirlwind, but it’s worth it! Know your commitments, be there for the bride and groom, and celebrate these two who are dedicating their lives to each other!