What are Some Bridesmaid Responsibilities?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Serving as a bridesmaid may be an honor, but it is not without responsibilities. Bridesmaids are expected to participate in certain activities, both before and during the wedding. They are also expected to perform certain tasks to help the bride and other members of the wedding party. It is wise to learn about basic bridesmaid responsibilities before you decide to accept the position.

Many bridesmaids get their nails manicured.
Many bridesmaids get their nails manicured.

Many individuals believe serving as a bridesmaid simply requires giving time and support to the bride. This is a misconception, as being a bridesmaid can be quite costly. Bridesmaid responsibilities include paying for wedding attire. This may include a bridesmaid gown and shoes, chosen by the bride, and any required accessories. In some cases, bridesmaids may also incur the costs of having their hair professionally styled and their nails manicured according to the brides wishes.

Bridesmaids are responsible for planning and decorating a bridal shower.
Bridesmaids are responsible for planning and decorating a bridal shower.

Bridesmaid responsibilities also include paying for the cost of traveling to the wedding. The cost of traveling may be negligible when a bridesmaid lives near the wedding location. However, bridesmaids often travel to out of town weddings, racking up transportation costs. For some destination weddings, the cost of travel and accommodations for just one bridesmaid can reach more than $1,000 United States Dollars (USD). Sometimes, the bride may offer to assist with these expenses, but etiquette doesn’t require her to foot the bill.

A bridesmaid may invite guests to a bridal shower.
A bridesmaid may invite guests to a bridal shower.

Before the wedding, bridesmaid responsibilities include running errands for the bride and assisting with making or choosing favors for the wedding reception. Bridesmaids may also be called on for help with making table decorations. Bridesmaid responsibilities also include helping the maid of honor with planning, hosting, and paying for a bridal shower. Bridesmaids are expected to attend pre-wedding parties, wedding rehearsals, and a rehearsal dinner as well.

Traditionally, a bridemaid gives the bride one shower gift and one wedding gift.
Traditionally, a bridemaid gives the bride one shower gift and one wedding gift.

At the wedding, bridesmaid responsibilities include walking in the processional and recessional. In some weddings, bridesmaids walk single file. In others, they walk in pairs or escorted by an usher. During the ceremony, bridesmaids stand near the bride. Bridesmaids are also included in formal photographs taken of the wedding party.

Bridesmaids stand with the bride during the wedding ceremony.
Bridesmaids stand with the bride during the wedding ceremony.

Gifts are given to the bride at her bridal shower and to the happy couple at a number of pre-wedding parties, as well as at the wedding reception. As part of her bridesmaid responsibilities, a bridesmaid is generally expected to give the bride one shower gift and one wedding gift. A bridesmaid is not expected to give more than two gifts, even if she attends multiple parties.

Bridesmaids are responsible for participating in activites that occur both before and during the wedding.
Bridesmaids are responsible for participating in activites that occur both before and during the wedding.
Bridesmaids may help a bride with the finishing details of her look.
Bridesmaids may help a bride with the finishing details of her look.
A bridesmaid is involved in many of the bride's wedding decisions.
A bridesmaid is involved in many of the bride's wedding decisions.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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Discussion Comments


Always ask the bride to be where they plan on having the wedding before you jump on board as a bridesmaid. I made an expensive mistake by saying I was overjoyed at her news and promised to be part of the wedding. Had I known it was in the Bahamas I would have declined.

Unfortunately, when she asked me she didn't know where she was getting married. I should have told her I would get back to her when she figured out when and where it was going to be.

After I found out the location, I felt too guilty to go back on my word. It is one thing to be a good friend and support her at the wedding. It is another thing entirely to fly six hours away on your dime and spend several days in another country.


Being a bridesmaid, especially the maid of honor, can be a lot of work, so you have to make sure you are up for it. I made the mistake of accepting a maid of honor position without being aware of all the events I would have to go to and all the craftwork I would be enlisted to do. Plus, I had no idea I would be responsible for getting the rest of the bridesmaids to get on the same schedule.

I love my friend, but she was a bit of a Bridezilla during her wedding preparations. Had I known this in advance I would have never accepted the position. It really is like taking on a part-time job.

I think it is a good idea to really evaluate your friendship before you head into a bridesmaid spot.


One of the responsibilities of a chief bridesmaid may be to speak at the wedding reception. For anyone who is nervous about making a maid of honor speech I recommend a lot of preparation.

When I was allocated this role I spent ages writing and re-writing until my eyes crossed! Someone put me onto a website with tips and it turned it around for me.

The thing I was doing wrong was trying to be something I'm not. When you open your mind and write naturally it comes out much better. I also cut it down from ten minutes of rambling to a shorter and much punchier tribute.

The final stage was to practice, so I sounded natural and didn't stumble over words. I found writing the key points on notecards to be helpful here, as I didn't want to memorize it all.


@Bhutan -I have been to bachelorette parties and it does seem like flirting with danger. I think that one of the best maid of honor duties is throwing the bridal shower.

This is great because you get to enjoy the party and play a lot of silly games and everyone has a lot of fun. You could use the theme of the honeymoon in order to decorate the room and get really great prizes for all of the games. At my bridal shower we gave away makeup blockbusters and body lotion sets and all of the girls were so excited. It was like they were kids again.


@SurfNTurf - I agree and I wanted to say that I know that the maid of honor duties involve putting together a bachelorette party, and I may be old fashioned but I don’t like them very much and think that they are a little disrespectful to the groom.

My maid of honor offered to do one of these parties but after attending one a few years ago, I told her that I rather have a nice dinner with all of the girls and do an old fashioned sleepover.


@Yumdelish – I sounds like you did a great job performing your maid of honor duties. I think the bridesmaid duties and responsibilities are really significant and sometimes the bridesmaids may not have a sense of urgency in getting things done. For example, part of the bridesmaid’s duties is getting properly fitted for their dress and ensuring that they have bought their shoes and dress for the wedding.

This can make a bride crazy when a bridesmaid misses a fitting or has not bought her shoes yet. Taking care of these things early ensures that the wedding will run smoothly.


@yumdelish - It sounds like you had a pretty pleasant bridesmaid experience. I think your friend was very considerate to provide you with a bridesmaid checklist.

I had a pretty easy time of it when I was the maid of honor in my moms wedding. She got remarried about five years ago and I didn't have to actually do that much. My mom didn't want a wedding shower or a bachelorette party and she paid for my dress. Pretty much the only thing I had to do was show up!


@yumdelish - You sound like a great friend and the perfect person for all those maid of honor duties.

I can truly understand what you mean in your final point, as for some girls the bridesmaids duties and responsibilities can be difficult to deal with.

Last month I heard of a wedding where one bridesmaid failed to show up for several dress fittings, got drunk at the rehearsal dinner and stood on the bride's dress during the reception, causing it to tear!

It turned out that she's had a quickie wedding with just a civil ceremony and no extras, so was uber jealous of the whole thing.

I can honestly say that if I ever plan a wedding I'll be writing my own bridesmaid checklist. One thing it will include is a clean bill of emotional health!


My best friend got married last year and I was asked to be her chief attendant. As we lived a long way apart at the start of the planning, a lot had to be done by email and phone, so I was thankful for the list she gave me. It was titled 'duties of the maid of honor' and she'd printed it off a wedding website.

As this was my first time in the role I needed all the help I could get. Having the list of maid of honor responsibilities also helped provide structure as we discussed how to adapt it to her special day.

I was honored to be the person to go wedding dress shopping with her, and had no problems with things like addressing invitations, making up the favors, organising hotels for guests coming from out of town. Plus planning the bridal shower and bachelorette parties was a lot of fun.

The thing I found tougher was supervising the bridesmaids, as some of them were new friends who I didn't know well.

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