How To Be The Best Bridesmaid You Can Be

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Now that wedding season is in full swing, chances are you might have been asked to be a bridesmaid — maybe even more than once. It’s exciting to get chosen to stand next to one of your closest pals on one of the most important days of her life, but at the same time, it can be a rollercoaster. Figuring out how to afford the dress, planning a bachelorette party and bridal shower, and getting along with the other bridesmaids all at the same time is a huge challenge, but you can totally pull it off — and the bride-to-be will love you forever for it.

As a former bride, I can confirm that planning a wedding is one of the most stressful things I’ve ever done, but I survived it because I had my BFFs at my side. If you want to kill the bridesmaid game and be there for your friend during this crazy, emotional time in her life, here are a few tips that might help you out. Yes, you’re definitely going to want to roll your eyes at her choices (more than once), but she’ll appreciate you forever for playing along — and when it’s your turn to walk down the aisle, she’ll be there for you too.

Plan ahead to make everyone’s lives easier

Weddings are planned way in advance, which is very convenient since they often cost a lot of money if you’re going to be in them. You’ll probably have to pay for your own dress and shoes, and maybe even hair and makeup, depending on whether or not you want to do it yourself. As soon as your pal has settled on a wedding date, figure out when you’d need your dress by and give yourself a deadline to order it. That way, you’re not scrambling at the last minute to make things happen, and you can set aside cash when you get paid until then.

This rule also works well if you’re planning pre-wedding activities, like showers or a bachelorette weekend. Coordinating availability with the other bridesmaids can be tough, but it’s easier if you’re getting dates down in stone months ahead of time.

Remember that this day isn’t about you

This is your BFF’s wedding day, and, unless things go horribly wrong, she only gets one. That means no complaining about the bridesmaid’s dress she picked out, even if you hate it (and there’s a non-zero chance that you will, unfortunately). Bridesmaids are people, not props, and the bride definitely shouldn’t take advantage of your willingness to help make her day special, but if there’s something she requests and it doesn’t put you out too much, you might want to consider just doing it.

Honestly? Just grin and bear it, and when your day comes, you get to make everyone wear whatever dress you want. Won’t that be fun?

Give the bride a free pass to be a little nuts

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Bridezillas wasn’t made because all brides are chill. In fact, even if you’re typically a chill person, there’s something about planning a wedding that makes you completely lose it. Once you get engaged, basically all you want to talk about is the wedding, good or bad. There will be a lot of venting about the planning process, other bridesmaids, the in-laws, and everything else you can think of that has to do with this one, all-important day. The bride probably won’t be the best friend ever during this time, and unless she’s actively treating you poorly or hurting your feelings, it might be a good idea to just let it slide. When this is all over,  you’ll get your level-headed friend back, but until then, just love her through it.

Make sure the bride gets to participate in all the traditions she’s looking forward to

When I got married, I didn’t make the best choice in maid of honor, and no one threw me a bachelorette party. As a bride, I was so disappointed that my now-husband actually ended up throwing me one, which was really sweet, but still didn’t make up for the fact that my best friend let me down. If you want to make sure your friend has the full bride experience — and you know she’s into that kind of thing (not all brides are) — make sure she’s having a shower and a bachelorette party, even if you’re not the MOH, don’t worry about doing something sweet for your friend if you know she wants it. They don’t have to be fancy; she probably just wants to feel loved by her friends and family. Grab some penis-shaped straws and a few bottles of champagne, and you’re good to go.

Except maybe not for the bridal shower, especially if her grandma’s invited.

Keep things as low drama as possible

Weddings invite THE MOST drama all on their own, so keep what you can control as low-drama as possible. Don’t vent or argue with other bridesmaids; save that for your other friends who, ideally, aren’t even going to this wedding. If you aren’t a huge fan of the people you have to deal with for this period of time, remember they’re not going to be in your life forever. One day, you will get to leave the Best Bridesmaids Ever Facebook group and it will be beautiful. But until then, be chill.

Ultimately, being a bridesmaid isn’t any different from being a good friend, and although it can be stressful, it’ll end up helping you make happy memories you’ll have forever. Just keep pushing to the big day, when it’s all over and you get yummy cake and (hopefully) free booze for your troubles. Plus, you may even end up with pretty professional photos of yourself in a nice dress and an eternally grateful BFF. What’s better than that?