Ask a Disney Bride – What Is Expected of Me as a Bridesmaid?

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Welcome to another edition of:

Ask a Disney Bride

I have a received a couple reader questions about the subject of bridesmaids, and the questions seemed to be completely opposite, yet almost the same!

Disney's California Adventure wedding - bridesmaids
Hamming it up at Disney’s California Advenure! Photo from D. Park Photography
As a bridesmaid, how can I best help my bride?  I am excited and enthusiastic about helping her plan, but I also don’t want to be annoying and overbearing.  How can I find the right balance?
I’m a current bridesmaid and a recent bride, and I’m having trouble getting excited about my friend’s wedding after working so hard to plan my own.  How can I get myself pumped up to help out?

I find these two questions so interesting!  One person is trying to not be overly excited, and another can’t seem to get excited at all!  Isn’t it funny how the same role can bring such different emotions in different people?  Being a bridesmaid comes with a lot of responsibility, usually involving being really supportive about things you didn’t realize you cared about, like organza linens, and being stupidly giddy about that mint taffeta gown you’re trying on. Guess what?  Some people simply aren’t wired for it, and that’s okay.

I honestly feel like this is a difficult topic for me to tackle, since I myself didn’t have any bridesmaids at our own wedding.  Why, you ask?  There were a few reasons.  One is I’m a Type A personality who loves control and hates giving any of that control up.  Another reason is because I really don’t have any best friends (aside from my husband!) and I just couldn’t picture any of my closest friends being reliable enough for the job.  But the main reason is because I am always, always, ALWAYS reading about how brides and bridesmaids end up at each other’s throats for STUPID reasons!  And everyone always thinks, “Oh, I’m sane, that won’t happen to me.”  Well guess what?  WEDDINGS MAKE PEOPLE INSANE.  It’s unavoidable.  So, who knows what crazy little thing I would have gotten mad at my friends over, but surely, with 18 months of planning, it would have happened at some point.

So with all that in mind, here are my personal thoughts on being an ace bridesmaid:

  • Communication is key.  When you first agree to be a bridesmaid, find out up front what will be expected of you, including your costs.  Get it in writing if you can.  I know that sounds unromantic (like signing a prenup), but at some point your bride will come down with “Bride Brain,” a disease that strikes brides when their minds turn to mush from too many floral pricing proposals.  This way when your bride falls in love with a Vera bridesmaid dress, you wave your prenup and say, “Heck no, we agreed I would spend no more than $100 on my gown!”
  • Schedule time to talk.  Agree on a set day of the week, or day of the month, to have a phone call or Skype call to talk all things wedding.  Maybe even agree that you’ll meet for drinks the first Friday of every month.  And stick to it!  When you’re bride gets excited about something and wants to meet, like, OMG IMMEDIATELY, ask if it can possibly wait until your next scheduled meeting.  And even if you’re not too excited about it that day or you have “better” things to do – you made a promise, so don’t break it!
  • Volunteer.  “What can I help you with?” is music to a bride’s ears. If she replies that she’s not sure, make suggestions.  “Can I look up bridemaids gowns for you?  Have you decided on colors for your floral?  Have you started to make a dance music list for your DJ?” Maybe you’ll think of something she didn’t realize she needed to do, she will delegate it to you, and you’ll be a freakin’ superhero. BOOM.
  • Be a good listener.  Your bride is under a lot of stress.  Maybe your bride just needs to vent about how unreasonable her mother-in-law is acting or how uninterested (or in some cases, overly interested) the groom seems.  Sometimes your bride just needs to get it all out and listening is the most important job of all.
  • Throw a kick-butt bachelorette party.  And it doesn’t have to be swanky or expensive.  For my bachelorette party, my friends took me out to dinner at Goofy’s Kitchen.  And it was perfect.  So, even if your bride says she doesn’t want a party, plan a little something anyway.  Even if it’s just getting the bridesmaids all together and out to a bar or restaurant for a couple hours.
Disneyland Hotel wedding - Bridesmaids
Pretty ‘maids from a Disneyland wedding.  Photo by White Rabbit Photo Boutique
So that’s about the best I got.  Since I am so totally not an expert on bridesmaids, I opened this topic for discussion on my Facebook page and got some really great responses from my readers.  Here are some of my favorites:
“Periodically ask your bride if she needs any help, and be prepared to actually help if she says ‘yes!'” – Wendy
“I love that my Maid of Honor texts me once a week to check in!” – Megan
“I send my bridesmaids an email once week to check in with them and give them updates.  It’s a great way for all of us to stay in touch.” – Melissa
“If you are a bridesmaid who is also getting married, or got married recently, don’t talk about your own wedding constantly (unless the bride asks about it)!” – Tricia
“Just ask your bride how the planning is going and if there is anything you can help with. Also learn her likes and boundaries if you are planning any parties for her.” – Becca

“Don’t expect the groomsmen to be as excited as you are! Don’t be rude or mean to them; I see this all the time as a wedding photographer!” – Jessica
“Talk to your bride and let her know you’re there for whatever she needs!” – Michelle
“As a bride, it made me happy whenever my bridesmaids contacted me and seemed excited about the wedding.  Also, Pinterest! As a bridesmaid, I tag the bride whenever I find a pin I think she would like.” – Christine
“Bridesmaids should offer the support the bride (and groom) need getting to their wedding day, and personal opinions should be kept to yourself.  You had or will have your own wedding someday and you can do things your way then.” – Jamie
“My Maid of Honor often said she felt like she wasn’t doing enough, but she did exactly what I needed her to do!  And on the day of the wedding, just do whatever is asked of you with a smile!” – Brittney
Walt Disney World wedding - Bridesmaids
A WDW wedding. Photo by Disney Fine Art Photography and Video; Source: Magical Day Weddings
Great stuff, ladies!  I’d love to hear some more advice for bridesmaids in the comments!

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About Mindy

Mindy Marzec is a life-long Disney fan who grew up in Los Angeles. She started This Fairy Tale Life to share Disneyland travel tips for adults. When not at Disneyland, you can find Mindy at home snuggling with her cats and re-watching Thor: Ragnarok for the billionth time.