Naturally, the most excited members of the wedding party will be the bride and her groom, but there’s a pretty good chance if you’ve been invited to be a bridesmaid, you’re anticipating the big day too, and for good reason. There’s something really special about being an integral part of a friend’s wedding day. If you’ve never been a bridesmaid before though, you may not know exactly what this honor entails. Try these tips on for size to ensure your girl’s day goes off without a hitch (except for one) and you enjoy yourself too!

Save Up Some Dough

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Thomas Beaman Photography

It’s no secret that weddings can be expensive, and that includes the bridesmaids’ gear. Traditionally, unless your bride tells you different, each bridesmaid is responsible for purchasing her own dress, shoes, jewelry and any additional accessories requested. The average price of a bridesmaid’s dress is around $150, not including any alterations. So when your loved one asks you to be a part of her processional, be sure to start saving up funds to ensure that you’re good to go when the time comes.

Let It Go

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Adrienne Gunde Photography

Not every woman, much less every bride and her ladies at arms, will agree that the same dresses and clothing are beautiful. This is just the way of the world. That said, there is a chance that when the bride finally chooses her perfect bridesmaid dresses, you’ll be less than thrilled. It’s also possible they’ll be the most beautiful dresses you’ve ever seen. Whatever the case, remember that this is not your day; it’s hers. Maybe you’re not terribly fond of the poofy pink cocktail dress you’ll be spending the day in, but what’s one day in a less-than-optimal outfit to make a friend happy?

Plan to Plan

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: BeGlorious Photography

If you’re lucky, the bride will hire a wedding planner to take care of all the details, leaving you to romp around in a beautiful dress and enjoy the day, and days leading up to it, with your friend. Don’t dismiss the idea, though, that there may be some d-i-y involved in the wedding and the first place your bride will turn for help, besides Mom and Grandma, is to her faithful ladies. Whether she needs you to stuff envelopes, tie ribbons around mason jars or stamp an image onto packaging, do your best to be available to help. Planning a wedding is a stressful process, and she could use all the help she can get.

Don’t Show Up Empty Handed

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Sarah DeShaw Photographers

The most seasoned of bridesmaids or wedding guests will tell you that the shower isn’t the only place you’re expected to bring a gift. Your friend may have a bridal shower, wedding, bachelorette party and even an engagement party. Each occasion is a celebration, and it’s appropriate to come bearing gifts each time. If your budget doesn’t allow for lavish gifts times four, take this into account ahead of time, and shop wisely so that the lady of the hour leaves with a little something each time.

Lend a Hand

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Audra Starr Photography

Though she’s more behind the scenes than anything, the Maid of Honor has quite a load of responsibilities for a typical wedding too. She doesn’t have to hand-write hundreds of invitations or eat a few bites of every cake known to man, but she will be responsible for planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party and making sure that each runs smoothly. Oh yes, and she’ll be working on other projects with the bride as well, including helping out with that d-i-y stuff mentioned earlier. Give the girl a break, and offer to help out with planning these parties. Even if you can only do something small, a little help goes a long way for an overworked Maid of Honor.

Know Your Role

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Rob Holley, Virginia Wedding Photographers

It’s finally the big day, and the bride is likely stressing like she never has before. If she’s the laid back type, there are still bound to be nerves rushing over her at the idea of becoming a Mrs., and if she’s not, chances are she’s worrying about a whole host of potential problems from lacking serving spoons to a crooked aisle runner. The last thing your bride needs is to worry about her backup not knowing what’s going on. A wedding can be a complex event, choreographed days in advance, and it’s important to know your part in the dance of love. Pay close attention during rehearsal so that, when it really matters, you’re exactly where she wants you.

Smile for Photos

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Andrew J.R. Squires Photography

This may seem like a no-brainer, but feelings show on our faces, in our demeanors and in our actions. No one is going to ask you to smile non-stop all day, but when it’s time for photos, remember that these are the memories your friend will have of her wedding day forever. If you’re feeling stressed, take a few deep breaths, let go of your worries, even if just for a moment, and show off those pearly whites.

Have Her Back (And Front, And Sides)

Everything You Need to Know About Being the BridesmaidPhoto credit: Manuel Meszarovits Photography

There’s a reason the bride has asked you to be involved in her big day. She knows, loves and trusts you and feels secure that, with you by her side, the day can’t go wrong. In agreeing to be a bridesmaid, you’re promising to set aside a day and help someone you care about in celebrating a huge step toward a new life. At any time during the day, she may need nail polish re-applied, help on a trip to the bathroom or any number of other types of assistance, including emotional support. Be there for her. Be her right hand ladies, after all, that’s the point of being a bridesmaid.