You're In The Bridal Party... Here's What to Expect • Carly Totten


We've all been there... your best friend asks you to be in their bridal party. You both cry, accept her sweet proposal and continue to celebrate this exciting time in her life. Once the thrill (and the champagne) wears off, you're left wondering... what do I need to do? Carly from Carly Is Inspired has outlined what you need to do, including some helpful tips to make your bestie's wedding day everything she dreamed and more! 

For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

Whether the bride asks you in person or ships a box filled with surprises along with a note to your doorstep, one of the sweetest questions to be asked is whether you will stand by her as her maid of honor or one of her bridesmaids. Being in a wedding is fun (or at least we hope you’ll agree!), but there are quite a few jobs and moments you agree to willingly participate in once you say yes to the wedding party. If you’re curious what happens after you say yes, take a peek below!

Photo by Emily Wren Photography | For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

Parties: You will likely team up with the bride’s mom (or the ladies of her family) to plan and contribute financially toward her bridal shower. Further, be at the ready to assist in planning and contributing toward the bride’s bachelorette party. Lastly, don’t rush to make plans for the morning following the wedding because the new Mr. and Mrs. may choose to host a brunch. 

Attire: As the maid of honor or bridesmaid, you will of course be wearing a bridesmaid dress! In some cases, the bride may ask for your opinion on the style, color, or length of dress you would like to wear. If she does, answer thoughtfully but honor her wishes if they’re different than yours. If a few members of the bridal party all live near the bride, plan a date to try on dresses together. It’s helpful for the bride to see dresses on different silhouettes, plus it’s a great time to get to know the other members of the bridal party.

Planning: As the maid of honor or bridesmaid, it’s safe to say you are one of the bride’s closest confidants. Be at the ready to offer a listening ear whenever the bride needs one (planning can be stressful!), and don’t be surprised if you find yourself at a DIY party in honor of wedding details. Also, ask questions so you’re in the know for the wedding day (knowing about the timeline and details will ease your mind and hers). Offering a helping hand is one of the best assets you have during this time, and you will always remember being involved.

Photo by Michelle Lange | For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

The Wedding: The wedding is your biggest moment as the maid of honor or bridesmaid! You will want to keep the night before the wedding clear for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, plus you will likely be staying in the same hotel or home as the bride in order to ease the process of getting ready on the wedding day. The photographer will likely be on hand to capture photos during the final hour you spend getting ready, and you will take many more photos throughout the day with the full wedding party – stay together! Think about your wedding reception entrance, and if you’re the maid of honor, prep your speech well in advance. Then, get ready to dance!

A few more hints for the wedding day:

  • Talk with the bride and bridesmaids to see if anyone owns a steamer, and make sure to have one during the morning of the wedding for last minute dress touchups. 
  • It’s incredibly helpful when one of the bridesmaids has a large tote on hand throughout the day to serve as a catchall for items you may need (bobby pins, safety pins, hairspray, makeup remover, etc) as well as items you may just want to have near you (clutch, phone).
  • Well in advance of the wedding day, ask the bride how she will bustle her dress. Her mom is likely aware, and as the maid of honor, you should know too. 
  • Make sure everyone stays hydrated throughout the day, have snacks on hand, and continue to encourage the couple – it’s an exciting day, but it’s also a long one for all!

Finances: You may be expected to contribute toward the shower, and you will want to fully pay for yourself for the bachelorette party as well as a portion of the bride’s costs. Plus, you will be responsible for purchasing your bridesmaid dress, accessories, and in some cases your hair and makeup on the wedding day. Because you will need to be on hand during the morning of the wedding, you may be staying in a hotel room the night before and the night after the wedding. Lastly, gifts! You may opt to purchase a gift on your own for the bride’s shower, bachelorette party, and wedding day, but it’s always a great idea to team up with the rest of the bridal party and purchase something together. 

Photo by Ashley Errington | For the modern couple planning their wedding in NY, NJ + PA. Real weddings, engagements, inspiration + more!

If you’re in a wedding or if you have already served as a bridesmaid or maid of honor, let us know in the comments if you have anything additional to add!

Photography by Emily Wren, Michelle Lange and Ashley Errington

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