Being a bridesmaid

With colourful dresses, flowers and smiles, bridesmaids and younger flower girls bring a lot of the joy to a wedding celebration, but it’s a key role with particular duties too.
Five bridesmaids sitting in a pew

It’s always exciting to be asked to be a bridesmaid, or ‘maid-of-honour’ if you’re already married yourself. Although there is no legal requirement for bridesmaids, it’s an important role, supporting the bride and helping the day run smoothly.

If you’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid, you might be from the bride or groom’s family or their friends. There’s no limit to the number of bridesmaids and flower girls (except perhaps the wedding budget)!

If you’re a chief bridesmaid, or ‘maid-of-honour’, you may have various tasks to support the bride, such as helping her to dress on the day of the wedding and making sure flowers, handbags and confetti are remembered. If there are several bridesmaids, you’ll be able to share tasks.

If you’re looking after younger bridesmaids or flower girls, it may be a good idea for you and the bride to take them to church a couple of times beforehand if they’re not familiar with it, so they can feel comfortable being there on the big day.

During the ceremony, you may have additional roles, such as being a witness when the marriage paperwork is signed, or reading from the Bible.

The bride is likely to be excited and nervous, so you will offer her support and reassurance. Whether there are several bridesmaids or just you, taking a few handy items to the ceremony in a small bag could help save the day should there be any little mishaps. Useful items might include:

  • Safety pins
  • Tissues
  • Make-up
  • A fully charged mobile phone, switched off unless needed, containing useful contact numbers like the reception venue, the best man or ushers and parents of the bride and groom.
  • Hair grips
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Small pack of hand wipes
  • Confetti – ask the vicar beforehand where it may be thrown

When you walk into church, it is traditional in the UK for the bridesmaids to follow the bride in to church, but in some other cultures, bridesmaids walk in to church first, with the bride entering last. There are no church rules about this, but the wedding rehearsal is a time to iron out any problems with the ‘choreography’ of who needs to stand where.

You may need to hold and manage the bride’s dress and/or veil if they have a long train, and hold her flowers at the point when the vows are made and rings exchanged.

Traditionally, when the ceremony is over, the chief bridesmaid and the best man follow the bride and groom out of church.