If you read the article “How to be a Grade A Groomsman” this one won’t be far from it, just a few more female suggestions. I feel like men have fun all day and then throw a suit on 30 minutes before pictures, whereas women spend all day getting ready for a 4 o’clock wedding, so the suggestions will slightly differ.
Being a bridesmaid is special. Most brides have dreamt of this day since they were a little girl, so if she chose you to be a part of that day, she trusts you not to screw it up, so let’s not do that! There are a few simple ways to make sure you don't.
Be thoughtful & willing. Planning a wedding is tough cookies; things can fall through the cracks. The night before my wedding I realized I forgot a wedding topper and a way of having music for the ceremony. My bridesmaids were clutch! One made a flash drive of all the songs I had picked, another went to get a cake topper at 6 am the next morning. Be the type of bridesmaid that combs through the details, and is willing to help where the bride may have dropped the ball, rather than criticize. If you know getting ready is going to be an all-day activity, maybe offer to go grab lunch or snacks or coffee; often other bridesmaids will chip in on costs. Offer to bring a steamer for dresses if you have one. Offer to drive. Take photos throughout the day for the bride if a photographer is not there (just don’t get anyone undressed). Ideally you either helped throw a bridal shower or gladly attended one before the wedding day arrived. The bride, your friend, probably has a million things on her mind, so just be intentional and mindful about ways you can help her day go smoothly, without adding any stress to her plate.
Don't talk about yourself. This is one of the cringiest things to experience during a wedding day. There is always at least one bridesmaid who goes on and on about her wedding day, about other weddings she was in, or insists on catching everyone up on her latest life events. DO NOT BE THIS BRIDESMAID!!!! In reality, all of the bridesmaids do not know each other that well, but they all know the bride. Focus on the bride! Again, this isn't about you. Ask her lots of questions, remind her of stories of good times. Ask the other gals to chime in on fun stories with the bride. Ask her about her future husband. Ask her about their goals in marriage and their plans for the future. Just have good and relaxing conversations.
Unify the group. Your goal is to bring everyone together in the room. The more unified the bridesmaids are, the better time the bride will have, because all of her best friends are getting along. It allows for more stories, more laughing, and less awkward silence. Suggest making a playlist for the day, and ask the other bridesmaids for songs (this would need to be done prior to the wedding day). One wedding I was in, a bridesmaid took initiative to create a memory book for the bride. She had all the bridesmaids send in a sweet note to the bride and some pictures with the bride. The bride opened it on the wedding day, and we were all emotional; it was great. Anything you can do to bring the bridesmaids together will make the day that much more special for the bride. Just keep talking and asking questions about each other. Make connections between people. You may even make new friends for the future.
Bring the wedding she planned to life. The bride is probably already thinking through every detail she forgot or didn’t perfectly execute. She is concerned there might be someone who doesn’t approve of her decisions or who snubs their nose at all of her hard work. It is your job to keep her in good spirits. Tell her how beautiful she looks. Remind her of how magical today is going to be. Ask her what she is most proud of for the wedding. Comment on how pretty the bouquets are. Be willing to take all the photo poses she wanted without any complaining. As a matter of fact, don’t complain about anything! Avoid any “Oh, that’s not how you described it, I’d be pissed if that happened on my wedding day” talk. Your friend has devoted many hours into planning this day, and there is little she can change on the day of. Pray for her and her future husband. Once the wedding has started keep the party lively. Be silly coming in as they announce the bridal party. Dance your overpriced dress off! Try and get others out on the dance floor. A dancing wedding is a great wedding. Don't be embarrassed if no one else is out there. You are dancing for your friend, and eventually others will join in. Cheer like crazy when the pastor pronounces the new couple. Cling the glasses so her and her husband have to kiss. Over enthusiastically greet every family member or family friend you remember. Be the bride’s and the newlywed couple’s number one fan!
Don’t get drunk. I don’t know which is worse: the bridesmaid that only talks about herself or a sloppy drunk bridesmaid. To be safe, avoid being either. If you get drunk you will be limited on how well you can serve your friend, she will more than likely be concerned for you, and not able to fully enjoy her wedding day. This is selfish. You can still be fun and enjoy yourself being sober, but again, this is not about you. You can give a better speech, you can handle any drama that arises, you can be more hospitable, and you will ultimately be more aware and present for your friend’s big day.
These are just suggestions and things I have personally seen work and things I have seen ruin parties if not done. Do whatever it takes to serve your friend well so they look back on this day and know that you love them and are willing to do anything for them. They will thank you forever!