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green bridesmaid dress

Bridesmaids: Bridesmaid Duties in Detail

Here's the skinny on what bridesmaids should do.

Photo: Next Exit Photography

The bridesmaid is an integral part of any wedding, on hand to comfort, console, multitask, and party hearty at all bridal events. Whether it's your first bridesmaid gig or your 50th, here's a cheat sheet of your to-dos.

  • Offer to help with prewedding tasks. Try to be specific when you volunteer. For example, say, "Would you like me to help you shop for bridesmaid dresses/stuff invitations/pack for the honeymoon?" instead of just, "What can I do?"

  • Scout out bridesmaid dresses, shoes, jewelry, and other wedding accessories. Pay for the entire ensemble. (Break in your shoes before the wedding day -- that will minimize slipping, blisters, and aching tootsies.)

  • Help to plan, cohost, and pay for the bridal shower and bachelorette party with other bridesmaids.

  • If the maid/matron of honor isn't already handling this task, keep a record of all the gifts received at various parties and bridal showers (so that the bride/couple can write thank-you notes); maintain RSVP lists.

  • Attend the ceremony rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. (Keep abreast of all prewedding parties, and go to as many as possible.)

  • Run last-minute errands. On the day of the wedding, be on hand to confirm flower delivery times, meet and greet the ceremony officiant, or satisfy junk food cravings.

  • Stand in the receiving line at the bride's request.

  • Serve as auxiliary hostess at the reception by introducing guests, making sure they know where the bar is located, and inviting them to sign the guest book.

  • Hit the dance floor when the music kicks in. Dance with groomsmen during the formal first-dance sequence. Also, be on the lookout for toe-tapping guests who might need encouragement and/or a dance partner.

  • Give the matron/maid of honor a break by helping to carry the bride's wedding gown train whenever necessary. Bustle the train before dancing begins, and be ready to help fix it if it comes unhooked. Accompany the bride on visits to the restroom, if asked.

  • Purchase a wedding present perhaps with one or several of the other bridesmaids. This provides more buying power, and two heads are better than one when it comes to wedding gift ideas. Sometimes the entire bridesmaid troupe pitches in for one knock-her-socks-off wedding gift.

  • Be a trooper, no matter how stressful the ordeal becomes. Try not to complain about the bridesmaid dress -- even if the color is horrendous. Be gracious and tactful.

  • Provide plenty of emotional support during the planning and on the wedding day.

-- The Knot

See More: Your Bridal Party , Basics for Bridesmaids