The bridesmaid survival guide

By: Racheal McCaig

©iStockphoto/RuthBlack Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto/RuthBlack


The bridesmaid survival guide

By: Racheal McCaig
The mood is set: cocktails have been consumed, the lights are dimmed. She takes a deep breath, leans in and pops the question: "Will you be my bridesmaid?" Tears well up in your eyes as you embrace her saying, "Yes, yes, yes!"  
Suddenly, visions of hideous coloured taffeta flash through your head and you think: "What have I gotten myself into?" Here are some tips and tricks for keeping both your sanity and your friendship.

Do get involved
Wedding planning can seem daunting. As a bridesmaid, being supportive and upbeat can be one of the best gifts you can give your friend. 

Do act as a referee
Run interference against an outspoken mother, mother-in-law or family member. There will be at least one who will try to bully the bride and push her to her breaking point. Calmly stepping in with some choice phrases like "We'll be sure to look into that for you," or "Thank you so much, that's a great tip!" will save the arraignment hearing from infringing on the honeymoon.   

Do be the voice of reason
Anyone who's seen Bridezilla knows wedding planning can go awry. Pick a code word you and the bride can use to indicate when things are getting out of hand. Using the code word can be fun and it'll save temper tantrums later.

Remember Steel Magnolias? Julia Robert's colours for the wedding were "blush & bashful", which Sally Field quickly pointed out were actually pink & pink. When your friend is looking at hiring a 12-piece Mariachi band to play next to the hors d'oeuvre table, it's time to gently say "blush & bashful." She'll giggle and take a second look at her decisions. 

Do set limits right off the bat
This is a great pre-emptive measure. It can be simple things like you will hold her dress, but you're not wiping anything. Or trickier things like you will go to the fittings, check out the flowers and the Mariachi band, but you will not dance with pervy cousin Ken at the rehearsal dinner.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover tips on what you shouldn't do at your friend's wedding on page 2
Don't dis the groom, or say anything about him except "he loves you so much"
Brides need to vent, and will do it often, but they won't forget frank words said in a heated moment, even if he really is a close-talking oaf. 

Don't upstage the bride
This is her day and even though you're playing an important role, you need to remember she is the star.  
You will have to sit through and help organize some boring showers

The bachelorette will be a blast, but when Auntie Marl starts making a hat out of a paper plate and present bows, as much as you hate your life, remember your friend is feeling worse – she has to wear it! Do what you can to make these events fun. Bring in an ice breaker like conversation cards or play a game like two truths and a lie. It will loosen up the crowd not just for the shower but for the wedding as well.  

You should bring an emergency kit for the wedding day

Include tissues, safety pins, Advil, blotting papers, waterproof mascara, breath mints, lip gloss (Cover Girl's AmazeMint acts as both), and a Tide To Go stain remover pen. It's amazing how many things get spilled, slipped and ripped around a white dress. 

3 things they won't tell you:
1. You will never wear the dress again. Suck it up and let it go. Just grin and wear it.
2. Every ugly cousin, and some married uncles, will try to hit on you. Roll with it – you might get lucky! But remember: what happens at the wedding will show up in the video and probably on YouTube sometime soon.
3. You will see a side of your friend you never expected and you will, at some point, question your friendship. This is totally normal and it will pass. You'll laugh about it over sangria at their first anniversary.

For more wedding advice check out our special wedding planning guide.

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The bridesmaid survival guide