You’ve just said yes to the love of your life. Now you get to decide which of your friends will win the coveted role of bridesmaid or bridesman at your wedding. You may be wondering how many bridesmaids and bridesmen you should have. And, what do they do anyway? What is a maid of honor? So many questions! How can you decide? First, you need to understand customary bridesmaid duties and roles then set expectations. As your wedding gets closer your stress level will rise. Your chosen attendants will be honored to help when they understand upfront what bridesman and bridesmaid duties are expected of them.

What are bridesmaid duties?

First, we need to understand what a bridesmaid actually is. And, the fact is, we don’t know for sure why female bridal attendants are called ‘bridesmaids’. It’s thought to be as simple as a wealthy engaged woman who brought her maids to assist before her wedding. The phrase stuck, but your best friends won’t be your maid on your big day. Rather, bridesmaid duties have evolved to help the bride with various tasks leading up to and on the day of the wedding. You should assign these tasks to your bridesmaids and bridesmen based on their natural strengths. After all, you’re going to be feeling the stress yourself. They should remain calm and do things they’re already good at instead of stressing out along with you.

Bridesmaid duties go beyond wearing a pretty dress

You’ve chosen your bride tribe based on friendship and family ties. They are now part of your wedding and have a vested interest in making sure it goes off without a hitch. Part of that interest is financial. You’re focused on the overall cost of the wedding, but your bridesmaids and bridesmen have some expenses, too. Members of the wedding party usually pay for their own attire. Some will also have to pay for travel and lodging. And, they will have the additional travel expense if you plan on having a bachelorette trip. Your chosen tribe will likely be at different stages in their careers and therefore have different interpretations of what is expensive. Maintaining open communication is key to maintaining friendships.

Maid or matron of honor duties

You don’t necessarily need a maid or matron of honor. This honorary title is bestowed on your most special attendant who will be your right hand leading up to and on the wedding day. It can be anyone- your sister, cousin, or friend. However, your maid or matron of honor will take on some additional bridesmaid duties. He or she may be the point of contact for your other bridesmaids and bridesmen, especially as you get busier as the wedding day looms. If you chose an honorary attendant it helps when they are naturally calm and organized. Likewise, they will be responsible for keeping you calm and organized. If your chosen maid or matron of honor is not calm or a natural organizer, make sure they at least know to delegate. Drama and disorganization are a recipe for disaster.

Bridesmaids are not decision-makers for your wedding

Your wedding is just that- your wedding. Even if you haven’t dreamed of it your whole life, you’ve definitely thought about it a lot since you got engaged. You chose your bridesmaids and bridesmen based on your relationship with them. You likely value their opinions and they should help when you need it. However, it isn’t their wedding- it’s yours. Decisions made now will be with you as you start your life with your fiance. They should be your decisions, although you may feel more comfortable knowing what your attendants think. Take their advice, but make the decision that’s best for you. That doesn’t mean choosing unaffordable attire or expecting everyone to take a month-long bachelorette trip. It means if you envision a specific look in your dream wedding photos, that’s what you should have. No one else knows what you want as well as you know yourself. And, when you need help with something, let them help you.

The bottom line- communication maintains friendships

We all have stories about miscommunication causing drama or hurt feelings. Keeping your bridesmaids and bridesmen in the loop goes a long way toward less stress on your wedding day. Bridesman and bridesmaid duties are different for every wedding. How much you delegate is based on what helps you the most. Making sure you are open and honest with your chosen attendants is the most important step in making sure you’re still friends after the wedding.

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Vendor dream team and featured image credits:

Photographer - Nicole Woods Photography
Florist - Flor Amor
Venue - The Union on Eighth
Donuts - Round Rock Donuts
Beauty - Blush n Bangs
DJ - Texas Pro DJ
Pet sitter - Wedding Pet Attendant
Gown - Made With Love Bridal A and Be Bridal Shop
Bridesmaid gowns - Lulus
Alterations - Altered for the Altar