Looks like a special friend or your sister is getting married. Maybe you’ve done this 14 times in the last 3.4 years, or maybe it’s your first time. Being a bridesmaid is a special job.

I have a few tips on being the best bridesmaid you can be.

First of all, your job, and the reason you have been asked to be a bridesmaid in the first place is to honor the marriage of your friend or sister. You are standing up in front of perhaps a crowd of witnesses to say, “I support this marriage. I witness it happening, and I am happy to encourage them in their future life together.” To me, that’s a pretty big deal and it carries some weight. There are often showers and parties and celebrations as the wedding approaches and certainly those are delighting. However, in my eyes, the biggest responsibility is being there. Being at the wedding and continuing to support that marriage over time.

Seated portrait of groomsmen and bridesmaids alongside bride and groom in wheelchairs

Secondly, you are there to help the bride on her wedding day. Help her make sure she’s got everything she needs. Slip her bags into the car for her. Make sure she’s eaten breakfast. Pray with her, take deep breaths with her, and bring her fresh lip stick.

Bride laughing with bridesmaids outdoors, holding pinecone bouquets

Train time. One of the bridesmaids, usually the maid or matron of honor helps the bride with the train on her dress. If you are in a wedding I am photographing, I’ll help you learn how to lay the train out during the ceremony. In general, a little bit of air to fluff it into place is all it needs and keeps attention where it needs to be. You can also help her carry the train if it is long or heavy, or help her find the loop under the train for the bride to carry it herself. Many trains have a loop that she can slip right over her wrist. Lastly, after the ceremony and photos, often a bridesmaid or the mother of the bride will help to bustle the train. This means that the train will become neatly tucked up into the rest of the dress with buttons, ties, or hook and eyes to allow the bride to dance and move around freely without tripping. Often the seamstress can help you learn how to bustle the dress before the wedding day.

Wedding party portrait, with groomsment in vests and bridesmaids in pink dresses, holding flowers

Carrying a bouquet. No matter how many times a bridesmaid carries a bouquet down the aisle, I always do my best to remind them how to hold them. When you are walking in heels down an aisle in front of people, it can be awkward to know how to hold the flowers. They tend to creep up higher as you walk and next thing you know, they are up front of your face like a microphone. Keep your arms low and relaxed. Forearms near your hips.

Pro tip: Have a few paper towels handy when you take the flowers out of the water and blot the ends. You don’t want the cut tips to seep water onto your dress.

Bridesmaids applying makeup before wedding

Bring a change of shoes. When you are carrying bags or gifts out to the car, or you have been in heels all day for the first time in a year, you’ll be glad you had a pair of flats or flip flops. You’ll be in a better mood to help until the end of the day when you are prepared.

Take your hairband off your wrist.