Bridesmaids – who are they, and what do they do? Well don’t let the epic 2011 movie of the same name be your guide, because I’m not sure things will run particularly smoothly on your wedding day. Side note: Bridesmaids starring Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph is hands down one of my favourite comedies – so many quotable lines and snorting-laughter moments. If you ever want a Bridesmaids quote-off, hit me up.
“Oooh, Helen knows the ownerrr…!”
Nowadays, it’s fairly commonplace for a bride to be accompanied by a gang of girls, sometimes affectionately known as her bride tribe or bride squad (hashtag, hashtag). Having said that, there’s no rules to this thing, and a wedding doesn’t necessitate a bridesmaid, groomsmen or any of that palava as long as there’s the couple and two witnesses.
But more often than not, it’s customary for a bride to have one or more bridesmaids by her side providing support and assistance on the wedding day, alongside the most important of duties: arranging the hen party! As someone who has been both a bride and a bridesmaid, I’ve seen both sides of the coin, and luckily I have enjoyed a relatively stress-free experience. My two bridesmaids knew exactly what I wanted my for hen do, and we did it, and on my wedding day they were stars. One of my favourite memories of my two bridesmaids, Vicky and Ally, was them cracking up during the church ceremony, as no-one had given them an order of service and they were making up the words to every hymn. Those cheeky scamps.
Since becoming a photographer, I meet with a new bride tribe practically every weekend, starting with the quizzical look at me up and down as I arrive, as they’re all scampering around in their matching bride squad pyjama sets (a trend doesn’t seem to want to die out anytime soon). Believe me when I say knocking on the door to arrive for bridal prep can be quite daunting; you’re entering a sacred place, where the inner bridal circle have been encamped since early morning, and now an intruder is in their midst brandishing a camera. As I advise every female in those early moments of a wedding day, please be assured I try to avoid taking any photos of people without their makeup on so don’t worry. You stuffing a croissant down, bare-faced, will not make it onto my Instagram feed.
When there’s a lot of bridesmaids or people in the bridal party, it can get quite frenetic in the hour or so leading up to the wedding ceremony. One of the most valuable pieces of advice on this, is that bridesmaids should get ready (ie dressed) fairly soon after all of their hair and makeup is done. Too often I hear “we’ve got ages yet!” followed by the inevitable mad panicked dash as everyone’s left it really late to get dressed. In an ideal world, bridesmaids need to be dressed before the bride, and often it takes longer for everyone to get dressed than they think, particularly when dresses don’t fit (eek, this happens more than you think).
So, if you take away one thing from this blog post, it’s that the more bridesmaids you have, the longer it’ll take for all of them to get dressed. And once they’re dressed, banish them from your room if you feel like you need some calm, as it can get a bit crazy whilst you’re putting on your dress. Sisters are frequently roped in for this most important of tasks:
Once everyone’s dressed, where time and space allows, it’s always good to do a little reveal, if your squad haven’t seen the dress before!
So apart from sort out the hen do, what are bridesmaids meant to do? Well they should be looking after the bride on her special day, I guess that goes without saying, whether that’s making sure her dress is alright and not getting caught in her knickers, or helping make sure the day runs smoothly.
I always remember the really good bridesmaids; those who are always looking to see how they can help where needed on the day, as well as being great company too.
Things can get totes emosh, and so I’d hope one of your girl gang would be on hand to whip out a tissue where required. Weddings have this funny way of getting us right in the heart, particularly when the importance of the day hits – usually just before the ceremony. Having your best girls around you is such a comfort.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be just bridesmaids! 2019 was massive for Bridesmen too, meaning your male pals need not be excluded from your bride squad!
I love it when bridesmaids lead the way on the dancefloor, encouraging everyone to get involved. Guests are often nervous about cutting some shapes early doors, so I’m always grateful to those bride tribes who get the party started.
I see all kinds of bridesmaids throughout the year, loud ones, quiet ones, witty ones, aggy ones, and they all form the crazy legion that makes up your bridal party. There’s no real rules to bridesmaidery, just endless Whatsapp groups! We wouldn’t have it any other way though, would we?