For many people, the role of the bridesmaid is still a confusing one. They don’t necessarily know who is supposed to have this role or what their missions are. However, they should know that, originally, bridesmaids had a spiritual meaning. In ancient Rome, the bride and groom arrived at the church accompanied by a procession of people of the same age. They were dressed in the same way as the future spouses so the evil spirits could not attack them because it was impossible to differentiate them from the rest of the procession. Therefore, they were protected from their misfortunes. This tradition no longer exists. Especially since today no bride wants to have a guest dressed in white and even worse, in a wedding dress.
However, the concept of the procession and bridesmaids has been reinvented and now almost systematic, especially in the United States. This American custom has crossed the Atlantic to become part of the wedding trend in Europe for a few years.
1. What Does a Bridesmaid Do – Choosing the Bridesmaid
Often, it is complicated for the future bride to choose only two witnesses. Therefore, it is advisable for you to surround yourself with bridesmaids in order to give a special place to these women who have an important place in your life. Very often, these are people in your family: a sister, a sister-in-law, or a cousin, but it can also be close friends. In any case, you must choose people who know you well, who can be honest and, above all, available. In general, the bride and groom choose between 2 to 6 bridesmaids. But it is not uncommon to see the bride accompanied by 10 friends or family members, especially in Europe. First, it is important not to confuse witness and bridesmaid. The witness has legal value, because it is he who will have to sign the marriage register at the town hall and in your place of worship if you are also preparing a religious wedding. It is mandatory to have one or two witnesses from the point of view of the law. The bridesmaid has a purely symbolic value and is not mandatory. However, it is an emblematic role in your marriage and often just as important or almost as the best man.
2. What Does a Bridesmaid Do – The Role of the Bridesmaid
Who has never dreamed of being part of the procession of the future bride? Almost everyone, right? However, the role of the bridesmaid is to be taken seriously at a wedding. It’s not just about being present in the procession. The 3 watchwords of a perfect bridesmaid are: support, help and coordinate.
2.1. The Role of the Bridesmaid – Bride’s Personal Assistant
Indeed, this is certainly the most important role of the bridesmaid. Attention, you are not in the “Devil Wears Prada”, even if the future bride is sometimes very demanding and on the nerves. But it’s more about being present during wedding dress fittings and being honest with her about her choices. Also, you can be available for hair or makeup tests. Finally, and especially on the wedding day, you will have to be present during the preparations: dressing, hairdressing, and make-up so as not to leave the future bride to prepare alone. Especially since it will be an opportunity to drink a glass of wine to relax before the ceremony or ceremonies.
2.2. The Role of the Bridesmaid – Listening Ear of the Bride
Also, from an emotional point of view, your attention or your presence will be comforting for the future bride. It can be before, during or after the wedding. As explained by the elder people, when asked about the doubts that arise during marriage, the bride-to-be will certainly alternate between periods of emotional lows and highs. It is the role of the bridesmaid to be present in these moments of peaks or euphoria and to know how to support the bride in moments of hollows and doubts.
2.3. The Role of the Bridesmaid – Coordinator and Organizer
Get ready to become an event pro! It is before and during the marriage that certain tasks will be assigned to you. Starting with the organization of the bachelor party! With the help of witnesses, you will be in charge of preparing a bachelor party worthy of the name. This goes through the proposal of ideas, the purchase of accessories or the organization of activities that will please the bride. Even if, the witnesses will also take care of a large part of the coordination, you may be asked several times. Also, throughout the preparations, the bride may ask you for help with sending the invitations, preparing the guest gifts, or making the decorations. Finally on the wedding day, the role of the bridesmaid is to help coordinate the wedding and its smooth running. Your mission will revolve around several tasks: setting up the procession, welcoming and guiding guests, arrangement of the dress. Also, you may be asked to prepare the room, the final touches and the setting up of the decoration. The list cannot be exhaustive, but the goal is to be able to help the bride in the preparations and in the face of unforeseen events.
2.4. The Role of the Bridesmaid – Wedding Day Animator
Don’t worry, this is the coolest and most symbolic part of your role. Indeed, as a bridesmaid and therefore close friend to the bride, you will have the opportunity to prepare entertainment. With the help of witnesses and your fellow bridesmaids, you can prepare a speech, a surprise, a dance, or a game. The point is to bring a symbolic and complete touch to your role. Show that you were not only present during the preparations but that this role had a special value in your eyes.
3. What Does a Bridesmaid Do – How to Place the Bridesmaids During the Ceremony
Let’s focus on where your bridesmaids and groomsmen sit at the altar. Whether you have just a few close friends by your side or more than a dozen people on each side, getting them down the ceremony aisle – and organizing them once they get to the end – is an important part of the organization of the ceremony, which is often decided at the last minute. If your wedding is fast approaching and you still don’t know who will go where, don’t worry! When deciding how you are going to place your bridesmaids and groomsmen down the aisle, you have several options to choose from.
By height. This is the easiest option, as it avoids any injuries. Line up your bridesmaids and groomsmen by height, with the shortest being closest to the altar and the tallest furthest away. The exceptions are your girl witness and your boy witness, who should stand right next to each of you, regardless of size. Plus, this range is the most aesthetically pleasing, so if you’re worried about how it will look in photos, this one’s for you!
By your proximity. Take it easy with this option. Of course, you will start with your wife witness followed by your sister or sister-in-law, and from there it will vary. You can have your best friend, followed by your cousin, then another close friend, or you can swap the order around. Be careful, as the person standing at the end may feel aggrieved. How long have you known each other? Based on real facts (since the date of your meeting can’t be negotiated), this is another option that will keep people from feeling hurt. Determine how long you’ve known each lady or groomsman, then line it up them from longest to shortest friendship, with the most recent friends on the outer edge of the arrangement.
By age. Again, this could be very diplomatic or a bit tricky. In this case, you would put the oldest bridesmaid or groomsman closest to you, with the youngest on the outside edge.
Either side. Do you have an uneven wedding party or a huge guest list? To make things a bit more visually interesting (or to hide the fact that you have four bridesmaids and eight groomsmen), don’t split the groups based on groom’s group and bridesmaid’s group bridal party and instead coalesce your wedding party around the altar, with bridesmaids and groomsmen on both sides. Want to make it even more fun? Instead of having them stand, surround the altar with living room furniture and turn your ceremony into a fashionable photo shoot.
4. What Does a Bridesmaid Do – How to Make the Bridesmaids Feel Comfortable and Enjoy the Wedding Day
Being a bridesmaid means having a long to-do list that takes up a lot of time, money, and energy. Not only can the job be overwhelming to take on in the months leading up to the big day, but it can also make you feel like you’re practically the wedding planner on the day of the wedding.
Most brides want their bridesmaids to not only have fun on their wedding day, but also to feel relaxed and stress-free. As you plan your wedding day, think of ways to be there for your bridesmaids most of the day so they can be there for you with full support.
1. Choose dresses with pockets for the bridesmaids. Your bridesmaids are going to spend eight hours or more in whatever dress you choose for them, spending most of the time running around, posing for pictures, and dancing the night away. An easy way to make them feel comfortable is to choose a bridesmaid dress with pockets (sometimes even hidden pockets) so they have a place to put tissues, makeup, and their phone.
2. Flat shoes. Once a person has blisters on their feet, you can almost guarantee that they will want to sit in a chair and not move a single toe. To ensure that guests can stand and run around, without their feet throbbing in pain, it is recommended a pair of good sturdy and supportive shoes. Even if you want your bridesmaids to wear a specific pair or style of high heels for photos, let them take them off after the photos are taken or the ceremony is over. Better yet, give them a pair of ballet flats, or comfy flip flops that they can put on right away and let their feet feel free.
3. Planned timings for cooling off. A wedding day may seem like the longest day in history. Ask any bridesmaid who was forced to wake up at 6 a.m. to do her hair and makeup for a ceremony that didn’t officially begin until 12 hours later. If you plan to start early, also allow time for the bridal party to relax, sit and, most importantly, eat throughout the day. If you run them around all morning and afternoon, right at the reception, you might find them napping in a corner.
4. Snacks. It has been said it above, and it will be said again: food is important. To protect your friends from tummy aches, stomach cramps, have unlimited snacks available all day. Choose healthy snacks that don’t contain too much sugar (you want to avoid blood sugar spikes) and will leave your bridesmaids feeling refreshed and energized. You should also encourage them to bring their favorite treats to snack on throughout the day.
5. Activities for their significant other. If your bridesmaids are bringing extra people who don’t know many other people to the wedding, they may feel uncomfortable leaving them alone for most of the day. Plan a few activities so the bridal party can get together for a lunch break or a mid-afternoon coffee break. This way, your bridal party members won’t feel distracted or guilty for not being fully available to entertain the person they’ve invited to the wedding to be their date. You could even ask the spouses to order coffees and deliver them to the bridal suite for a pre-ceremonial pick-me-up. Now they have a few minutes to see their partners, and you and the girls will get free coffee. Everybody wins.
6. A drinks bar. Hydrate your bridesmaids! A bottle of water is a must, but feel free to add champagne and cocktails as you see fit. Your bridesmaids will thank you — provided you can trust them to drink slowly and walk down the aisle well. It would be a shame to see them drunk during the ceremony!
All in all, the bridesmaids are mainly designated to help the bride during her preparations. Their main mission is to accompany you from your first steps in terms of organization: development of announcements, choice of dress, planning of speeches, etc. So take the time to decide who will be by your side to support you and advise you in your sometimes difficult choices.
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