Wedding planning can be very stressful – and not just on the happy couple. While a survey of 500 engaged and recently married couples revealed that 86% of respondents felt elevated anxiety during wedding planning, brides and grooms aren’t the only people likely to experience wedding angst. Close family and friends who opt to help plan often help carry the burden, especially friends included in the wedding party. 

While being asked to be in a wedding party is a great honor, it typically does come with a list of duties and expectations. As the wedding industry continues to grow, it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into before you accept a wedding party invitation. 

Bridesmaids, particularly the maid of honor, typically take on a lot of extra work to help celebrate the bride-to-be. A bridesmaid can plan to spend an average of $1,200 per wedding and a maid of honor should plan to spend even more money, time, and energy on the wedding planning. 

The stress of being included a bridal party will of course depend on the bride and her expectations. If you’re dealing with a bridezilla, expect more stress than usual as you set the stage for her pre-wedding activities.  

If you do plan to say yes to your bridesmaid invitation, use these tips below to reduce stress and get the most out of your bridesmaid experience. 

What Are Typical Bridesmaid Duties? 

While bridesmaid duties vary depending on the wedding, these are common expectations in a standard wedding. If you have accepted a bridesmaids invitation, know before you go that you’ll likely be expected to:

1. Buy Your Bridesmaids Dress: In most weddings, the bridesmaids are expected to purchase their own bridesmaid dress and be responsible for any alterations made to said dress. The cost of a bridesmaid dress can vary greatly depending on the bride, and you may also need to add in other costs such as shoes, jewelry, makeup, and hair. 

Tip: If you are tight on cash, save yourself the stress and ask the bride her budget before you agree to be in the wedding. 

2. Help Plan the Bachelorette: The bachelorette is a rite of passage for most brides, and as a bridesmaid you are expected to attend and pitch in to help plan the festivities. This weekend can add up fast once travel, accommodations, and decorations are booked. The best way to avoid stress is to keep this part of the wedding planning process in scope.

Tip: Pick a destination in driving distance to the largest number of bridesmaids to save money on travel costs and to reduce stress that comes along with flying. 

3. Attend Pre-Wedding Festivities: As a bridesmaid, you’ll be expected to attend most or all of the pre-wedding festivities. This may include engagement parties, bridal showers, and more. You also may be expected to purchase additional gifts at events such as bridal showers. 

Tip: Save on decorations with free downloads you can find online for the bridal shower and engagement party.

4. Be Present at the Wedding Weekend: While it goes without saying that you’ll need to be available on the wedding day in order to fulfill your bridesmaids duties, you will also need to carve time in your schedule for the rehearsal dinner, wedding rehearsal, and pre-ceremony wedding day festivities. 

Tip: If the wedding is on a Saturday, plan ahead to take that Friday off work to give yourself time to get in town for the rehearsal. 

5. Purchase a Wedding Gift: At this point, you’ve already spent money on a dress, makeup, bachelorette party, bridal shower gift and more. Are you still expected to buy a wedding gift as well? Short answer: Yes, you are still expected to gift the bride and groom on their wedding day. 

Tip: Consider gifting something thoughtful and homemade to the bride and groom, rather than an expensive wedding registry item. 

The tips above will help reduce stress (and costs) so you can sit back, relax, and celebrate your bride-to-be! Although being included in a wedding comes with its fair share of duties, if you walk in prepared you’ll be happy you said yes and helped shower your friend in love.