Her Big Day has finally arrived. Before you breathe a huge sigh of relief, remember to do the following to make things go smoothly and painlessly!

Plan Ahead. Don't leave anything for the last minute. The night before the wedding, make sure your dress, accessories, and other necessities (like cosmetics and toiletries) are in order. Our handy BridesmaidAid kit (chock full of goodies like bobby pins, breath mints, and clear nail polish) prepares you for all last-minute emergencies. Fill out our short survey and you could win a free kit!

Get There Early. Ask the bride what time she'd like you to be at the wedding site and be there early. She is counting on you and doesn't need the extra stress of wondering whether a bridesmaid has gone AWOL.

Offer to help. There are countless chores and errands that need to be done in the hours before the wedding, from helping the bride get dressed (and, yes, helping her go to the bathroom once she's swathed in satin) to fetching people for photographs. Ask the bride, her mother, the maid-of-honor, or the wedding coordinator what you can do to help.

Congratulate the Bride. This seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many people forget this extra nicety. Before the wedding chaos ensues, take a moment to congratulate the bride (it doesn't hurt to tell her how beautiful she looks, either). If you'd rather express mushy sentiments in writing than face-to-face, give the bride a congratulatory card she and the groom will treasure forever. Also, be sure to congratulate the groom, too, after the ceremony!

Capture the Moment. Make sure to snap pictures of her getting ready for the wedding. The official photographer often does not document these special moments. Another nice momento for the bride (and her groom) is a copy of the newspaper from her wedding day, wrapped in a ribbon. At the very least, he'll enjoy the sports pages . . .

Smile for the rehearsal and photos. When everyone is dressed and ready to go, there may be a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony (if this has not happened already at a rehearsal dinner), and photographs may be taken. An annoying wedding coordinator will probably order everyone around and tell you where to go and what to do. Do as she says and be glad you don't have that horrid job. For the photographs, flash your biggest smile. You'll be immortalized forever in the couple's wedding album so you should look happy!

Enjoy the Ceremony. During the ceremony, stand up straight, keep your flowers up, and enjoy the moment. No matter what other aggravation you may have had as a bridesmaid, be happy that you are witnessing yet one more example of two lovebirds finding each other.

Be the Life of the Party. Sure, you've danced the Macarena a dozen times before. Yes, you've met the bride's Aunt Sadie on ten other occasions. No, you do not want to participate in the bouquet toss. It doesn't matter! You have to be an active participant for the bride's sake, so you might as well enjoy yourself. Have some wine, kick up your heels, flirt with that cute usher, and have a great time at the reception. Remember it's a party and you're a guest as well as a bridesmaid, so have fun and enjoy.

Make Sure the Bride is OK. In the midst of the reception, you may catch the bride stuck talking to a particularly tedious relative (go over to rescue her), fretting about which songs the band is playing (reassure her everything sounds great), bickering with her groom (it happens; flash her a knowing smile), trying to snag something to eat or drink (bring her some refreshments), or fussing with her dress or headpiece (help her if she wants to remove her veil or pin up the bustle on her dress). It's your job to make her as comfortable as possible.

It's Not Over . . . Until the last guest goes home. Stay at the party until the end (or as close to the end as you can muster) to show the bride that you care. Offer to help with any remaining little tasks (helping carry gifts to the car or escorting older guests to the parking lot, for example). Be sure to also personally congratulate the parents of the bride and the groom, and tell them how beautiful the wedding was.

But Wait, There's More! Do you want to be a really stellar bridesmaid? Of course! After the wedding, send a note and copies of your pictures to the happy couple (it'll be a wonderful present waiting for them when they return from their honeymoon; if you don't have copies of pictures yet, they'll appreciate a nice note). Leave a message on their answering machine, welcoming them back from their trip. Thank them for giving you such an important role in their celebration. And, then, kick back and relax. Your job is done. . . until your next friend gets married!

©BridesmaidAid.com, LLC, 2001-2008

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