After being a bridesmaid five times (four in one year) and serving as Maid of Honor twice in an eight-month period, I have this whole lady-in-waiting thing down pat.
I have seen the same spills, meltdowns and lost photo opportunities repeatedly. In fact, I have even started to prevent them. I feel like some sort of wedding day medium. Now, I want to give you, young grasshopper, the wisdom I have acquired to make you the best damn maid of honor, or bridesmaid, in the world.
1. Be on the offensive at the reception
Great Aunt Ruth is a talker. The bride doesn’t have 45 minutes at her once in a lifetime, two-hour reception to discuss the price of milk in 1930. But guess what, bridesmaids? You do. On the plus side, no one will blame you for being the drunkest one at the end of the night.
2. Give the mother of the bride a Xanax already
Just do it. She is stressed the heck out.
3. Leave Dad alone
Men need time to process things on their own. As much as Mom is outwardly expressing her feelings about giving away her little girl, Dad is internalizing them. If he goes off to a room by himself, just let him.
4. The mother of the groom needs love too
They are often overlooked at weddings. These mamas are also watching their babies meet a milestone. And while they may not need to be medicated, they do need a hug.
5. Bring a blowdryer
I have forgotten this several times and have kicked myself later. Blowdryers are the Swiss Army Knife of wedding prep. They are useful when touching up hair, a quick nail drying tool and essential when you spill water or champagne on a bridesmaid dress just before pictures (I’ve seen it happen twice). Other must have items include: band-aids, a sewing kit, safety pins, scissors, tissues, tweezers, mints and a nail file. The Knot actually provides a great emergency list.
6. Have the bride print out a list of photos she wants
The photographer doesn’t know the bride met the groom at a beach volleyball game and they thought it would be hilarious to have a photo spiking the bouquet. If you do not have a list of all these inside jokes or family poses (the photographer doesn’t know who is who) written on a checklist, they will not happen. Think about all the possible combos beforehand, write them down and bring the list with you. I have seen a family photo of mom, dad, bride and siblings get forgotten!
7. Have a sense of humor about flower girls and ring bearers
Kids are hilarious. They just do the darnest things. Aren’t these sweet quirks the reason we incorporate kids in the wedding party? So, let kids be kids. If the flower girl needs her mommy or the groom has to bribe her with candy at the end of the aisle (my brother in law did this), have a sense of humor.
a. How is the wedding party getting from hair and make-up to the ceremony, then to the reception?
b. Okay, what about the bride and groom?
c. Bet you didn’t think about the parents?
d. What about the clothes you came in to get ready — you know that button up you wore to avoid smearing make-up and ruining an up-do? Can stuff sit in the church all day? When is checkout at the hotel where you got ready? Just make sure all belongings are safe and secure, guys.
9. Mix a banging play list
Give the getting ready process a slumber party vibe, but with mimosas. Bring snacks, make a girly/romantic playlist and have magazines handy. When there is one hairdresser and nine bridesmaids, you end up with a lot of down time.
10. Make sure the bride eats breakfast and snacks
There will be no fainting on my watch. Oh, and drinking plenty of fluids through a straw keeps from smearing lipstick. Fluids do mean you will have to help the bride pee (there may be corsets and bustles). But it’s all just part of the job.
11. Sparklers are a terrible idea for a send off
I know it looks cute on Pinterest, but you are literally giving drunk people explosives. There’s nothing that says “Best of Luck” to the married couple like a scorched bridesmaid dress and a burnt eyeball. True story.
Read more from Caroline Gerdes here.
Featured image via Caroline.