We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community what things they wish they knew before being a bridesmaid to keep them from going broke, getting stressed, or both. Here are the very helpful results mixed in with a few of my own. 👰🏿💃🏿
1. Start communicating and planning with the other bridesmaids as soon as you all accept the invitation to join the wedding party.
"As a maid of honor, I started a group chat with all the bridesmaids right away. We were all in different states so the open communication was so helpful!" —alisonc477fcd75d
2. Clarify exactly what the bride expects you to be responsible for doing! You are, indeed, a bridesmaid for reasons other than looking fab in the bride's photos. 🤷🏿♀️
"I didn't know that the bridesmaids were also responsible for the bridal shower. I thought that was the responsibility of the bride's mother or mother-in-law. Needless to say, I dropped the ball on that one!" —ashleyl4faacefea
3. Use a maid-of-honor planner — so you can write every single thing down and leave nothing up to chance! (Type A personalities, yea I'm talkin' ta YOU.)
4. Order your dress and get alterations sooner rather than later.
Nah, seriously. Don't procrastinate your way to an ill-fitting dress, an uncomfy walk down the aisle, and an "I'm really uncomfortable but trying to be glam" smile in those wedding photos. If you wait to get your dress and wait to get alterations, something WILL go wrong. Sometimes even the alterations need alterations and you need to get the dress back in time. Trust me, the last thing you need to be worried about on the wedding day is the fit of your dress.
5. Be smart about where you spend the coins for dress alterations! 🤑
"You do not need to get your dress altered at the shop where you purchased it. Some shops charge an arm and a leg for just a hem but a lot of local dry cleaners do just as great of a job and for far cheaper. —kaitlinw433331ac8
6. If you hate the bridesmaids' dresses, then speak up early, speak up ONCE, and offer affordable alternatives.
7. Buy YOUR dress size, not your dream size.
8. Try finding shoes to match your dress(es?) that'll be comfy ~and~ glam.
9. Get those designer shoes for the wedding if you must, but there's no need to pay designer prices.
"Buy the sky-high shoes you're going to need for that dress on Poshmark (or another secondhand clothing outlet), take them off at the reception to dance, never wear them again, and sell them once you're done. You won't get all your money back but that extra $13 will come in handy for something else, like ordering nachos to eat all by your single self the week after the wedding." —BuzzFeed editor Elizabeth Lilly
10. Invest in heel stoppers if you're at an outdoor wedding. They'll make those super high and skinny bridesmaids' heels a lil' easier to walk on by avoiding sinking in the grass.
11. Though I'm not opposed to getting drunk during some wedding festivities (depending on the vibe of your group), you still need to watch your liquor intake.
"Do NOT get drunk before the reception. Especially if you’re the maid/matron of honor and will be expected to deliver a speech." —wickednicki12
12. Opting for a full bridal party decor kit could save you and the rest of the bridesmaids from having to think of every single detail for the celebration. Just order the kit and set it all up!
13. Watch the hair-tie placement on the big day. It sounds trivial but, well...
"Make sure no one still has a hair tie on their wrist when they walk down the aisle. They’ll regret it in pictures later and someone always seems to do it." —danyelleu
14. Bring a sewing kit on the wedding day! You'll be surrounded by enough dresses and suits and someone (possibly even YOU) will really need it.
15. OR, get an entire bridal emergency kit on hand so when any "OMG, we need..." moment happens (and it will), you'll already have backups and won't spend extra money or gas on a store trip.
16. Being a bridesmaid is expensive as all HECK. The easiest way to prep yourself financially is to save up.
"I’ve been a bridesmaid in a few weddings and I’ve learned to set some money aside each month after you’re initially asked to be a maid. Doing it that way means you’ll always be prepared to purchase something like your dress or even other miscellaneous things that come up." —jasminc4512ec12f
17. Try out the hairstyle you want for the wedding several months ahead so that you can be sure it's how you want to look *and* that you can keep it up for the entire wedding day.
I tried out a hairstyle I ~thought~ I wanted for my best friend's wedding about three months ahead of time because I had never gotten it before and wanted to be sure I'd be comfortable with it. Thankfully, I ended up HATING IT so I was able to change my mind and go with a style I was more familiar with for the wedding. Phew! It was mos def the right choice.
18. Sharpening your makeup skills could prove to be a MAJOR key to wedding survival.
19. Investing in a case of champagne for all the wedding festivities could be clutch for you.
"I bought one right after my best friend got engaged and asked me to be a bridesmaid. For every event or occasion related to the wedding, I would bring a bottle or two and feel like it saved me big bucks. People were willing to buy my drinks since I had already made a contribution or I didn’t have to provide food or decorations since I was bringing champagne. It worked out perfectly since the last bottle was used as a bridal party toast right before we walked down the aisle. I didn’t do it the second time I was in a wedding and feel like I spent a lot more on food and the bachelorette party and shower decor. It doesn’t have to be champagne either; it can be whatever the bride’s beverage of choice is."—lydiaa4aba7d1c2
20. Puh-lease, avoid any "I love them more. No, I love them more" nonsense. 🙅🏿♀️ The bride chose you both as bridesmaids so there's that.
21. Don't be too shy to really enjoy and participate in all the fun for your loved one's wedding. It's not about you. It's about them so just do it, ya' know?
"I was a bridesmaid when I was 16 so I didn't have a ton of responsibility but one big thing that the bride asked of us was to dance down the aisle after the ceremony. Being 16, anxious, and self-conscious — I didn't do this and was the only one not to. I regret it to this day. My advice for other bridesmaids is to do whatever weird stuff your bride wants to do on her wedding day. Your pride isn't worth the regret you'll feel if you don't do it." —bonniereinsch
22. It's also not worth it to put up a fight over who was or wasn't chosen to be the maid/matron-of-honor.
23. You don't have to make it to every single one of the events leading up to the wedding. You just don't.
"It's okay if you can't make it to the bridal shower or bachelorette party! If it isn't feasible — like if you have to fly cross-country — don't worry about it!" —brujarn
Some people have multiple showers and bachelorette parties. Sometimes, they're destination events. If it's all too much on your schedule or wallet, then tell the bride you can't make every event AND ask which one she would really prefer that you not miss. Easy peasy.
24. Oil-free lotion is your friend and it just might save your dress! Hear this out:
25. Set a gifting budget for yourself so you honor wedding etiquette AND stay on top of your financial goals.
Going broke over a wedding is not cute. There's nothing wrong with setting a low gifting budget. It's truly the thought that counts, especially after you've already spent hella money just being a bridesmaid. I gave my bestie and her husband a champagne glass and beer mug set for a bride and groom. It was under $15.
26. And don't be afraid to say "no" to any outrageous or unnecessary expenses. You are not a bank.
27. Actually, you can say "no" to being a bridesmaid altogether if it's too much for you.
28. And focus on your love for the bride at all times!
BuzzFeed Community responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.