Scoring a spot as one of your friend’s trusty bridesmaids is like winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But being a bridesmaid can also have its complications. And if you’re new at it, you may find this new responsibility to be a drain on your savings account, your free time, and (probably) even your patience. To help you avoid falling into that headache-inducing trap, we rounded up 14 mistakes all first-time bridesmaids make so that you can avoid them.
1. Being Selfish and Not Selfless
Real talk: The bride will likely need a lot of favors from you, so it’s best to put your selfless-foot forward. Instead of making the wedding about you, take a step back and realize that, as a bridesmaid, there’s going to be some dirty work to do.
2. Not Saying Yes to the Bridesmaid Dress
Waiting too long to order your bridesmaid dress could leave you running around to fabric stores the week before the wedding, attempting to DIY it. (Not good.) Even if you’re not completely in love with the dress the bride picked out, be sure to order it with enough time so that it arrives and you can get it altered if needed.
“There’s going to be some dirty work you may have to do that you don’t really want to do. But that’s just how friendship is sometimes, right?”
3. Assuming You’ll Get a Plus One
You may be flying solo to the wedding, even though you’re a bridesmaid and all of the other gals in the bridal party get to bring their significant others. Don’t assume you’ll be given a plus one, and instead, wait for the invitation to come before asking the bride if you’re allowed to bring some arm candy with you.
4. Skipping Out on the Pre-Wedding Festivities
Being a bridesmaid requires a whole lot more than just showing up on the day of the wedding and sauntering down the aisle. There’s often an engagement party, bachelorette weekend, and bridal shower that you’ll need to help plan and attend. Clear your calendar early on so you can commit to those events, too.
5. Blowing Your Budget
The first thing you should do as a rookie bridesmaid is set a very tight budget for yourself, and then stick to it. Being a bridesmaid can be very draining on your savings account, especially if you don’t plan ahead of time.
6. Leaving the Wedding Early
Just because the bride said “I do,” and the open bar is officially open, that doesn’t mean your role as a bridesmaid is finished. You may be asked to be there for the bride throughout the night to bustle her dress, get her a slice of cake, or even take her to the bathroom. Stick around until the very end of the reception (and after-party), if your exhausted feet can take it.
“The first thing you should do as a rookie bridesmaid is set a very tight budget for yourself and then stick to it.”
7. Getting Aggressive at the Open Bar
It may be tempting to celebrate the end of your bridesmaid role with a few shots at the open bar, but try to take it easy. You’re a big part of the whole wedding party, and since eyes are on you throughout the night, you want to make sure you’re functioning well (and on two feet) until the very end.
8. Forgetting to Pack a Change of Clothes
You’ll likely want to crawl out of that polyester, itch-inducing bridesmaid dress as soon as you can. Pack a change of clothes you can toss on for the wedding after-party, or even for the morning of the wedding before it’s time to walk down the aisle.
9. Not Prepping a Survival Kit
Pack a tote bag of essentials—everything from Band-Aids to Advil—that you might need at the bachelorette party and on the wedding day. Having these items by your side will be lifesavers for you and the bride throughout the entire event.
10. Bugging the Bride with Tons of Questions
You may find yourself with a list of pressing questions, like where you need to be and when. Try to save those for the maid of honor, or other members of the bridal party, instead of the bride. Her to-do list is a couple pages long, and the less you can bother her with questions, the better.
“It may be tempting to celebrate the end of your bridesmaid role with a few shots at the open bar, but try to take it easy.”
11. Not Getting Buddy-Buddy with the Other Bridesmaids
Get to know the other members of the bridal party and exchange contact information early on. That way, you have a solid support system throughout the entire wedding adventure.
12. Buying Too Many Gifts
As a bridesmaid, you’ll find yourself shelling out money here and there for all types of things along the way. You don’t also have to go wild and crazy on gifts, too. You can get the couple something off their registry, or even give them a check for whatever amount you can afford.
13. Saying Yes to Anything and Everything
It’s a common mistake to feel as though you need to say yes to everything when you’re a bridesmaid. But the truth is, you can say no to the things you can’t afford, don’t have time for, or don’t feel comfortable doing. The bride asked you to be a bridesmaid because she loves you—chances are she’ll understand.
14. Forgetting About the F Word
In the end, being a bridesmaid should be a whole lot of fun. The second that it feels more like a job or a stressful situation, take a step back and figure out why you’re suddenly feeling like a bridesmaidzilla. Eep!