Wedding Whispers - The Bridesmaids

You've been asked to be the Chief Bridesmaid. You're delighted and just a bit chuffed to have been chosen. It's not all glamour however. Marion Frances has captured countless weddings and gives her perspective on the top job.

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A multitude of tasks await the bridesmaids.

A wedding, a chance to dress up and be glamorous sounds like fun and a nice way to spend the day without much pressure. Not if you are a bridesmaid and especially the chief bridesmaid. Your bride's expectations start long before the wedding day. She will want help with choosing her dress, shoes, hair, accessories and make-up. Whilst this sounds like another shopping trip, there's a lot more at stake. It's going to be one of the most important days of her life and she will want advice about what she is wearing, planning and more besides. You'll have to get used to being honest without causing upset, and it's a fine balance. When it comes to the bridesmaids dresses and accessories, you might have to be prepared to wear these and persuade the others not to grumble unless you can get together and choose your own?

All things wedding can consume your bride's life for months leading up to the big day. You should expect to listen to her worries, be her sounding board, give advice, calm the inevitable family row and lift her spirits when it all gets too much. A good bridesmaid may be expected to share the load, even down to details about invites, menu and visits to endless wedding fairs. You'll probably find it all quite draining at times but your bride will appreciate your support.

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Supporting the bride is a team effort.

Expect to take charge of the hen party weekend and the task of finding something she will like. As her best friend you should know if her taste does not extend to night clubs and male strippers! And you will need to take care of all the invites and arrangements as well as making sure the bride has a great time. And you might have to stay sober!

You may not be the only 'chosen one'. Typically three to four bridesmaids (sometimes as many as eight) are usual these days and so it is essential to get on with the other girls. This might involve a gargantuan effort on your part in keeping the girls together, so keep it sweet, avoid jealously and friction otherwise you might become an outsider, however important you think your role is. Put some work in, get all their contact details and keep in touch to let them know what is going on.

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Get me to the church on time!

On the big day, the good bridesmaid will put the bride first. She'll be calming nerves, organising, making tea, finding something she likes to eat, even if it means a trip to the shops and making sure that everyone knows their place in the queue for the hair and makeup! You'll help the bride dress, visit the bathroom, (an effort once she's dressed!) check and re-apply lipstick, pin on buttonholes, find the flowergirl and sort out all the last minute panics. Don't forget the bag of essential items such as lipstick and tissues. Before you get to the church it will be useful to know who all the key family members are so the photographer can organise group shots. Be on hand to hold her dress up, arrange her veil and hold the flowers during the ceremony. 

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Job done!

Your own comfort and enjoyment is second place to that of the bride. And it's an exacting job. But when you've watched your best friend marry the man of her dreams and have seen them safely off on honeymoon, you'll feel like a sportswomen who's crossed the finishing line in first place!