From her very beginnings, the chief bridesmaid – together with the best man – played an important role in a wedding ceremony. Her original job was to confuse evil spirits, or potential kidnappers, by dressing like the bride – a truly important task, you’ll agree! Luckily, it’s a lot less dangerous nowadays – superhero-worthy organisational skills are far more useful to modern brides. So what are the chief bridesmaid duties? See our list below.
Faithfully devote some evenings to wine and bridal blogs. Plenty of Pinterest pinning may also be required.
Plan the hen party. The bride needs a suitable send-off, just like the groom does. The best tip we can give: it’s important to find out what the bride DOESN’T want to do, and go from there.
Help with (or take over) at least one major task. Agree to be a point of contact for RSVPs or gift enquiries. Manage the invites spreadsheet. Coordinate or do some DIY. Buy gifts for the flower girls or page boys. Even one of those things will be a major relief for the bride – take a peek at our checklist for ideas.
Make friends with best man. Working well together, the dynamic duo of BM + CB can help avert any pre-wedding emergency and save the bride and groom much stress, despair and even money.
Go shopping. Tis very true that brides often get frazzled due to most of the wedding planning being on their shoulders. The chief bridesmaid should be the voice of reason, helping the bride make wise decisions on everything from favours to flip flops.
Photo from Pam & Paul’s real wedding by Moat Hill Photography
Buying THAT dress and going to make-up and hair trials. Here’s where honesty really counts. If a certain look really suits the bride, tell her. If it really doesn’t – tell her also. But always let her make the final decision.
Attend a bridal fair if the bride wishes. Wedding fairs and open days are best attended with best friends and are super fun.
Taste all the cake in all the bakeries near and far. This is one of the best parts of planning a wedding, we swear.
Make sure the bride has wedding-free days. Don’t spend all the time talking about the wedding and make sure to do all the fun things you’d normally do together – movies, clubbing, yoga, etc.
Participate in beauty regimes the bride organises. Everyone knows buddy system always gets the best results – so whether it’s weight loss, spa days, skin peels or fake tans, she’ll need a little support – even if you’re not taking part.
Keep things smooth and easy with the other bridesmaids. Tempers may flare up, but it’s alright – chief bridesmaid’s diplomatic skills will ensure any frazzle is kept to a minimum and all the duties are followed to a T.
Photo from Paige and Kjell’s real wedding by Circus Photography
Be ready for any outfit emergency. The bride’s, the bridesmaids’, even the guys’ – quick thinking and great Google skills are very likely to save the day should something go amiss, like shoes, jewellery, or if a seamstress is urgently needed.
Offer to make a speech/read in church. Sometimes, hiccups happen. The groom may reveal he’s terrified of public speaking the day before the wedding. The best man may already be dangerously tipsy. The father of the bride may be feeling emotional. The CB steps in to save the day.
Be available for pre-wedding events. Same as the best man, really – engagement party, rehearsal dinner, day out with the girls… the chief bridesmaid should be involved in all these, to best support the bride.
Introduce yourself to the wedding planner or venue coordinator. The CB is an important part of the wedding – the planner should know who she is and have her contact details too.
Arrange emergency kits. Here’s our handy checklist – those plasters, tissues, headache pills and bobby pins sure make a huge difference.
Collect supplier phone numbers. The best man should also have them, but two people are better than one. It’s best if the supplies have the chief bridesmaid’s number as well – if there are any delays on the big day, they should have an easily reachable point of contact.
Photo from Tara & John’s real wedding by Insight Photography
Help the bride choose music. She’ll have to discuss with the OH too, but you can have much fun compiling lists of your top five choices for processional, recessional, reception entrance, dinner, dad dance and anything else.
Assist the bride with getting ready on the morning of the wedding. Elsewhere in town, the best man is patting the groom on the back – the chief bridesmaid is there with tissues, compliments, hugs, veil and everything else. Also – breakfast.
Collect the bride’s bouquet when she walks up to the altar/registrar. Agree if it will be as soon as she arrives with her dad, or after dad goes to sit down.
Sign the wedding register as a witness. This is a traditional duty of the chief bridesmaid, but nowadays it’s the couple’s choice.
Dress & beauty duties. CB should help the bride with her train and do up the bustle come the reception. The bride may also need a hand with hair and make-up touch ups during the day so have the clutch at the ready.
Be attentive at the reception and wedding. Not every bride is calm and collected all day long – so if she’s exceedingly nervous, forgets to eat, is emotional or exhausted, make sure to ask her what you can do to make her feel better.
Peeing assistance. Ah yes, the one that strikes the fear in the hearts of many. Here’s a handy tip – the bride may find it easier to pee facing the toilet so she won’t have to lift her entire dress over it. This is also ideal for preserving her modesty! All that’s left for the CB to do is make sure the bride gets in and out of the stall without getting her dress caught on the door. In fact, we recommend asking about the biggest toilet at the venue to make life easier!
Photo from Lisa & Gareth’s real wedding by Ebony & Pearl Photography
Dance with the best man. Do your best Fred-and-Ginger-on-Broadway – you’ll love it, and we’re willing to bet those will be your favourite pictures of the day.
Keep track of wedding gifts the couple receive. It’ll be of huge importance once those thank-you cards are ready to go.
Make sure everything is packed for the honeymoon. Suitcase at the ready, as well as passport, reservations and anything else.
Welcome the bride upon her return from world travels. Set aside a generous amount of time for honeymoon stories and planning for the future.
Main photo from Joan & Dave’s real wedding by Ebony & Pearl Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.