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Genevieve Vieira
4 minute read
3 Oct 2013
6:00 am

Beside the bride

Genevieve Vieira

So your childhood friend is getting married. As anticipated, she asks you to be a bridesmaid, a sure sign that you're important to her. It's an honour and you accept without reservation.

Image courtesy stock.xchnge

All is good and well, but over time you start discovering sides to your friend you never knew she had: every single thing needs to be perfect!

Weddings are stressful, and most brides like to call the shots. After all, they’ve been dreaming about this day for years. But life likes to throw a spanner in the works and counting on perfection is wildly optimistic.

Throwing a wedding is exciting, but it can also be an arduous task – one that takes months, sometimes years, to plan. It is for this reason that bridesmaids play such an important role in the set-up. They’re not just there, dressed in appalling dresses, to make the bride look lovelier. Bridesmaids play a significant part behind the scenes.


Image courtesy stock.xchnge

Image courtesy stock.xchnge


Recently a close friend got married to the man of her dreams. We approved (not that it mattered) and the process began. Unlike most brides, she wanted to get married in a dry river bed in the middle of the bush. As if things weren’t tough enough already, the event was now subject to the elements and we had no back-up plan.

Waking up on the Saturday morning, hearing the wind howling in the background and seeing a troubled look on her face was enough to send everyone into panic mode. It rained. We got wet, but the wedding went on. The bride married her groom, which was all that really needed to happen that day. But here are a few tips from the experience.

1. It’s not about you

Being chosen to be a bridesmaid is an honour that comes with important obligations. It means being a shoulder to lean on when the bride is anxious or stressed; being there and allowing her to share her deepest fears and joys with you. A bridesmaid is a friend, advice giver, task helper, errand runner and more. It is important to make the bride feel beautiful at all times, even when you know that her want to lose 30kg is a ridiculous goal. Remind her about what is important and be encouraging about her choices.

2. Have fun with it

Choosing a dress, colour scheme, flowers and cake together can be a whole lot of fun and will help bring you closer as friends. Get excited to go shopping and to help with pre-wedding arrangements. Anticipate fun disputes over difference of opinion and while always being honest, do not be domineering. Use this time to learn about each other.

3. Spoil her

When wedding bells are about to ring, a bridal shower is required. This serves as a fun lead-up to the ceremony and allows the bride to stock up on both kitchen and bedroom accessories – both beneficial to her man as well as to her. Keep track of which gift is from whom so the bride can send thank-you cards later.

Talk to her about what she wants and doesn’t want. While pushing her out of her comfort zone is desirable, you wouldn’t want a disappointed bride. Request a guest list, so as not to invite someone who’s not invited to the wedding.

The location should match both the bride’s personality and your budget. Though these events can work out to be rather pricy, that doesn’t have to be the case. The shower can easily be held at a relatives’ home with hand-made decorations.

Essentially the earlier the event is scheduled, the less time you have to prepare. Consider how long it will take to collect the bride so that the guests do not have to wait uncomfortably long for her to arrive.

4. The big day

Offer to run any last-minute errands on the day of the ceremony. Remove distractions so that the bride doesn’t stress about the proceedings. Put some music on and allow her to relax and indulge in the pampering.

Provide moral support at all times, hoisting up her train and telling her how beautiful she is. You may need to help the bride get into that puffy dress, or even lift the layers during bathroom calls. Flow with it and enjoy it – it’s a celebration after all.

Take a moment to enjoy that elated feeling of seeing how happy the bride is. And stock up on tissues.