Being asked to be someone's bridesmaid is usually a lovely rite of passage. Helping to make your pal or sister's wedding day the best and most fun it can be? Sign us up. But being a bridesmaid is not something they teach you at school, so it's not surprising that most first time bridesmaids find it a little confusing to navigate. Who pays for what? What exactly am I expected to do? How do I even get in touch with the other bridesmaids? Not to worry - we've got you covered with the answers to the most commonly asked bridesmaids questions - a must read for both brides and bridesmaids alike!

1. Who are the other bridesmaids and how should we stay in touch?

The Bride will usually introduce you to everyone, if you don't know them already. After that, it's just about coming up with a way to communicate easily that suits everyone. Most brides will set up a bridesmaids whatsapp group or a group chat on Facebook, so you'll can all keep up with what's happening in the one place. Easy peasy!


2. What am I supposed to do before the actual wedding happens?

The answer to this is both simple and straightforward, and entirely vague all at once. Helpful, we know! You're there to be a support for the bride throughout the wedding planning process, so you'll have to judge yourself what your bride needs. Offer to help with the stuff you're brilliant at, whether that's keeping things organised or DIYing bits and bobs or simply being a pop up therapist.


3. Should I offer input on the bridesmaids' dress selection?

On this one you sort of have to toe the line, especially if she's paying for your dress, which is typical for Irish brides. Feel out your bride first - you'll quickly know if she's got a very clear idea of what she wants, or if she's totally relaxed about it and is happy to welcome your input. Either way, it's her wedding so you can probably suck it up and wear whatever she picks. Of course you can make small suggestions to make it work for every bridesmaid - most brides do want their 'maids to feel comfortable in their dress - but at the end of the day, this isn't really about you.


4. Can I choose my own shoes and accessories?

It's always a good idea to ask! If she isn't strict on having all her bridesmaids matching exactly, that gives you some freedom. Usually you'll just agree a similar style that fits the dress and the wedding, and you can all work within that. For example, you might agree to all wear nude shoes (in whatever style you want) and delicate silver jewellery, and after that it's up to you!


5. What should I do for hair and makeup?

Similar to the shoes and accessories, this is probably a conversation you'll have to have with the bride and the other 'maids. If she's booked a stylist and MUA, chances are you'll have worked out a 'look' in advance that they will do on all of you, but if not, you might need a bit of direction from the bride - should you all have hair up or down? Is bright lipstick or heavy liner okay? Does she mind either way?


6. Do I have to go to everything?

The simple answer is no, and especially if you don't live close by. Between dress fittings, lunches, the hen party etc, you'd be back and forth constantly. The most important thing is to be there on the big day, so don't stress if you miss some of the smaller events leading up to it. What is important is that if you can't make an event, that you let the bride know, nicely, in advance. It's just manners, after all. Offer to help in any way you can so you can be there in spirit and it will feel like you're involved, but you're not a bad friend if you don't make absolutely everything.


7. What do I need to do for the hen party?

The Maid of Honour will usually take the lead on organising and planning the hen party, but that doesn't give you free reign to kick back and relax. It's a big job for one person, so definitely pitch in with ideas and offer to take over certain parts of the organisation if possible. She'll appreciate all and any check ins to see what she needs help with, so don't wait for her to ask!


8. Do I need to prepare a speech?

Usually it's only the Maid of Honour who will make a speech so you're probably off the hook. However, it's never going to do any harm to cover your bases and check so you're not surprised on the day.


9. What should I bring with me the day of the wedding?

You're her day of go-to support so you could probably bring the kitchen sink along, but it's unlikely that'll fit in your cute clutch. Bring your own mini-survival kit of toiletries, the first-aid essentials in a few plasters and painkillers, a phone charger, and some tissues will never go amiss. Add in a positive, energetic attitude and your best dance moves and you're probably sorted!


Related: This bride sent her bridesmaids a list of ground rules, including weight gain plans