So you've found the love of your life and asked your best gal pals to stand beside you on your wedding day (or maybe you're one of those girls who has been asked to stand with the bride on her wedding day!) What now? What are your bridesmaids' duties now that they've agreed to stand beside you? There are a lot of ways that your girls can support you if they have time and talents, but these are the things that can be reasonably expected from them - that come in the job description, so to speak.
Buy their dress (or suit, if you have a bridesman)
Under this category, I always think it's wonderful when bridesmaids can help the bride choose the bridesmaids' dresses. However, this isn't always possible due to too many opinions. Bridesmaids can be expected to purchase their attire - brides, it is helpful when you remember the budget constraints of your different girls and try to respect those.
Be at the wedding and dance
I feel like this one doesn't need to be said, but bridesmaids are expected to be at the wedding and to dance with the bride when the dance floor opens.
Help the Maid of Honor plan and pay for the bachelorette party
Depending on the maid of honor, she may have the planning taken care of, but it's polite for the bridesmaids to pitch in and help plan and pay wherever possible--or at least pay their own way if the activity is a class or dinner out.
Attend the bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner unless there is a major conflict
Unless you live out of town or had a prior commitment, these are essential events that bridesmaids should be part of. In regards to bridal showers, some brides have multiple, which can be overwhelming. If this is the case, bridesmaids do not need to attend them all. What they should do in this situation is ask the bride if there is a specific on she would prefer they attend. If there is, make every effort to attend that one. If not, pick one that fits in best with your timeline and go to that one.
Pay for their transportation and accommodations for the wedding weekend, if necessary
If you already live in the town where the wedding is taking place, you don't need to worry about this as much. However, if you live in Chicago and your best friend lives in California, you are responsible for paying your own way to get to the wedding. If multiple bridesmaids are traveling in from out of town, see if you can split the cost of a rental car and hotel room.
Buy their accessories
Sometimes the bride gifts these items to her girls. However, if this is not the case you are responsible for purchasing them.
Help the bride with wedding-related tasks if possible
Depending on where you live, your schedule, and your talents, you may not be able to help with all the areas the bride needs help in. However, if you have pretty handwriting try to volunteer and help the bride address invitations. Or, if you are less artistic, see if you can attend a dress fitting with her.
Give a wedding and shower gift
I do think that at least a little gift from her girls is very meaningful to the bride. Now, you can of course temper the cost of this gift based on how much you've already spent on your dress or if travel was involved for you (since your presence is also a gift.) If the wedding is high-cost on the bridesmaids side, see if you can all go in on a nicer gift together.
Be on time for the wedding and pre-wedding photos
This one is HUGE! The last thing a bride needs to worry about on her wedding day is whether or not her bridal party will be on time. If you habitually run late, tell yourself you need to be there 30 minutes earlier than the timeline says so that you're not late.
Support the bride
Most important of all, support your friend throughout the wedding planning process. Wedding planning can be an emotional ride of excitement and even stress. Support your friend as much as possible throughout, and know when you need to tell her to stop talking about the wedding and go out and do something else. Thinking about the wedding 100% of the time is only going to make her more stressed.
What are the best ways your bridesmaids support you currently?