Things I Learned as a Bridesmaid

9:49 AM

#1 Tip: Bring your best friend with you!!
I attended four weddings before I became a bridesmaid. Two occurred before memory retention formed (i.e. before I started blogging). The other two were lovely, and I had no part in them but to sit on a hay bale or sticky plastic chair and watch couples get married. I was certainly no 27 Dresses bridesmaid. I'd never even worn a strapless dress.

Truth be told, my only knowledge about bridesmaids and weddings in general came from obsessively scrolling through wedding photography blogs.

I was woefully unprepared. Fortunately for you, I'm revealing all the things you need to know as a bridesmaid right here, right now!

1. Buy your dress used. Google search the exact dress in the exact color and buy it for half the price. (Check out too!)

2. Never get your dress altered at the original store. My friend's wedding alterations cost more than half of the actual price of her wedding dress. Go with a local seamstress who actually knows her stuff for a fraction of the cost!

3. Double-check with your friend about what "formal" means. It will save you and your boyfriend the embarrassment of showing up dressed to the nines while everyone else lounges around in jeans and maxi dresses.

4. Moleskin is a lifesaver for stiff shoes that give you blisters. Actually, just go barefoot for most of the day.

5. If you need to use the restroom in a wedding gown, sit on the toilet backwards...or bring a friend with you. Yeah, just sit on the toilet backwards.

6. Get more than four hours of sleep before the ceremony. The yawns get harder to stifle after a while. And you'll turn into a crabby, weepy mess on and off stage.

7. There's a ton of waiting as a bridesmaid -- mostly in cold, secluded places with nothing to do after you eat two rice krispy treats, one brownie, and two sandwiches.

8. If you have an opportunity to get your hair and makeup done professionally, take it up! It's so much fun.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is not photoshop.
That's what my face looks like with three layers of makeup.

9. Hairspray that keeps my curls in actually does exist!

10. The price of hairspray that keeps my curls perfect all day is twenty minutes of combing out snarls.

11. You can't sit cross-legged in bridesmaid dresses. Oh, I tried. And I succeeded, But I kept thinking of all the wrinkles forming beneath my criss-cross apple sauce.

12. Strapless dresses are of the devil. I hate them so much. They fall down ever so slightly. They migrate away from center. I suggested we take a group jump shot of all of us bridesmaids hiking up our strapless dresses. And dancing in them? Don't even think about it.

13. Bring paper towels to wipe off the bouquets that should be sitting in water.

14. Oh, and bring that book you've been wanting to finish. There's tons of time while the bride gets her family photos.

15. A good photographer makes the day go smoother. Check her out at!

16. Get everything written down in your venue contract instead of relying on verbal assent. Otherwise, the crabby custodians will kick you out of every room they possibly can.

17. If you're considering scrapping the veil, don't. It's the most beautiful wedding day accessory.

18. Holding bouquets gives your shoulder muscles a workout. I had no idea that holding a bouquet for a half hour ceremony could kill my shoulders so much! Bring a personal masseuse...or just subtly roll your shoulders during the prayers.

19. Weddings are a great time to have a cold. Everyone will mistake your sniffles for sentimentality.

20. Wedding ceremonies seem to go on forever when you're standing in the same place holding a bouquet the entire time. (Don't be fidgety like me. I would say I ruined the wedding film, but I was furthest away from the bride. And I'm short. Nobody saw me.)

21. Go through the reception line twice to sneak another hug from your bff/the new bride. You won't get to see much of your bride throughout the day -- savor those moments!

22. Never, ever follow each other to the new site for wedding party photos. Give people the address. If you do have to follow each other, don't be the last car. You'll get stuck at two red lights and end up pulling over into a side street, where your tired, stressed rage will erupt at your boyfriend via phone who's patiently looking up the address of the place to which you have no idea you're going.

23. Obey traffic laws, no matter how stressed you are at being abandoned in a big city. I almost got t-boned, accidentally ran a red light, and considered the speed limit relative as I zoomed after the disappearing line of cars.

24. Wear your glasses if you're driving around frantically looking for the reception hall. Otherwise you'll drive right past it because you can't read the sign.

25. Actually talk to your friends and family while at the reception instead of half-sleeping on your boyfriend's shoulder.

26. When giving a speech in your bride's honor, pick only one of the three separate speeches you quickly prepared in your mind at 7 AM that morning. Do not merge them all into one long, jumbled, giggle-ridden mess.

27. Get more than fifteen hours of sleep over the wedding weekend, or face the consequences:

Have you ever been in the wedding party?
What are the things you'll do differently in your own wedding?

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12 impressions

  1. I was a bridesmaid once for my brother's wedding, it was a small wedding and actually in our yard (We have a farm.) My biggest tips - don't let the girls do their own makeup. They'll all end up being mismatched, and sitting on a deck in the middle of a hot Summer day with bugs trying to apply your makeup outside with tiny mirrors isn't fun. So do that beforehand. ;) And also, make sure the dresses fit before the day of the wedding.

    Yeah, we kind of forgot to pick up the dresses until an hour before the wedding.

    Smartest bridesmaids ever.

    1. Oh. My. Goodness!!!! Doing makeup outside and ill-fitting bridesmaid dresses sounds like a NIGHTMARE. I hope the rest of the wedding day made up for that harrowing experience!

  2. I officially loved this post (and that ridiculous picture of Erich and you - adorbs. Did you see poor him playing cards with Isaiah M. before the ceremony? What a trooper.)
    Well, now that you've got one wedding down, you'll be a pro for the next bajillion friends that are getting married. ;)

    1. He did?? Aww! He really made use of that deck of cards. :P

      Nobody else is getting married that I know of! I think I'll get a year or so break. ;) But I WILL have to learn how to throw baby showers for all of my newlywed friendies who are now becoming mommies! CRAZY.

  3. LOL at Erich playing cards with 10 yr. old Isaiah in the foyer! And building a house of cards at the reception. I would love to hear his tips on surviving the experience of being a bridesmaid's escort.

    1. I would be terrified of his tips, to be honest. ;) :D

  4. This is so great! I'm going to be a bridesmaid in October, so reading this post let me know a little bit of what to expect :) Also: you look so lovely in those photos!

    1. Why, thank you! You'll have to come back to this post and tell me about how your bridesmaid adventures went! :D

  5. Funny and useful - what a great combination! I was only a bridesmaid once - a loooong time ago ;-) - and your post is very thorough and complete. The only thing I could possibly add is, if you cannot talk your bff out of the strapless bridesmaid dress plan (because they truly are of the devil) if you are good with a needle and thread (or perhaps if you sweet talk your local seamstress who knows her stuff) you can fix or at least much improve them by following the directions here: If that ship has sailed, you can try pinning the dress to your bra, using double-sided wig or fashion tape, or - and this one I didn't know about until I searched today, so I would be interested to know if it really works - you can take that hairspray you found that will keep your curls perfect and spray some on the inside of the top of the dress and some on your skin and then put on the dress and press the fabric in place where it is supposed to be. Supposedly this will hold it.

    Beautiful pictures and you look like you are having fun. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Sadly enough, I asked my seamstress to put on straps and she forgot. I ALMOST got out of wearing a strapless dress.

      That link seems too good to be true!! I've definitely used fashion tape before, but I don't like how it feels. You know, half the problem with strapless dresses is just doesn't feel secure no matter how secure it is. :P

  6. I was in a friend's wedding in November 2013. I got my beautiful blue dress altered, got silver flats, and stressed about what to do with my hair. I have a multitude of allergies and can't use hair spray, so my mom and I used hot rollers on my hair and pulled back some of it in a fancy, silver scrolling barrette with pearls. Which my Mom found at CVS. Go figure.

    The wedding was great, and I didn't have any mishaps. I totally agree about bringing a book, though! There are lots of times when you're waiting, especially for me, since I wasn't having make-up or hair done at the beginning. I spent that time writing in my journal about everything going on, and the bride and other bridesmaids were awfully satisfied that all the funny banter was going on record. I think I used two or three inches of ink from my pen that day.

    1. What a sweet and awesome idea to journal all the banter!!! I wish I'd thought of something that cool! :D


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