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Attention, attendants! Your role in the wedding involves more than just Champagne and chiffon. Being a good bridesmaid or maid of honor takes time and energy. Luckily, your bride thinks you are up for the job. Here, how to go above and beyond for your friend.
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Understand Your Duties
Different brides have different expectations of their ladies-in-waiting. Get a handle on what the job entails, including the dates you’ll need to be present, what the bride envisions for her bachelorette party, and, if money is an issue, any costs associated.
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Assess Your Budget
The truth? Being in the bridal party comes with a price tag. Paying for your dress and shoes, chipping in on the shower and bachelorette party, and buying gifts for those prewedding events and the big day itself can sometimes total more than $2,000, says Eimear Lynch, author of The Bridesmaids, which shares true wedding-party tales.
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Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
If the commitment—whether time- or money-related—seems too much, it’s okay to politely decline. “If you just don’t have the money, just say, ‘I’m really sorry, but I don’t want to hold back the fun, and I don’t want to put limitations on your wedding, but I just don’t think I can afford it right now.’” And if you decline, do it in person or over the phone and not in an e-mail or text. Likewise, if you can’t attend a planning session or dress fitting, be up front about it.
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Step in When Needed
Dress shopping, toast giving, party planning, and shower hosting usually fall to the maid of honor, but she may ask the other girls to help. “Anyone in the bridal party shouldn’t be afraid to step in if it seems no one is taking charge,” says Lynch.
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Search for Solutions
If the mother-of-the-bride is feeling left out, find a way to include her. If the bride wants her bachelorette party in Hawaii and none of the bridesmaids can do it, offer a thoughtful alternative.
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Be Honest Within Reason
When the bride asks for your opinion, whether she is trying on dresses or picking a honeymoon destination, give it to her straight. But also know when to keep your thoughts to yourself. If the feedback isn’t constructive, maybe it’s best left unsaid.
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Weddings are emotional (for some brides more than others). Serve as a source of strength and comfort throughout the process. Your involvement should help move things along, not add stress.
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“Day-of, don’t forget to bring a sewing kit and fashion tape,” advises Lynch. “You’d be surprised at how many bridesmaids experience wardrobe malfunctions!”
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Keep the Focus on the Bride
At the end of the day, remember that it’s not about you; it’s about celebrating your friend and the next stage in her life.