Bridesmaid Duties: 5 Quick Tips for New Bridesmaids

I’ve had the pleasure of being a bridesmaid a couple of times, so now I know what to expect. Just last weekend, I was a “sister” for Leon and Fidelis’ wedding and wow, it always hits me that no matter how many times I’m one, it’s always an awesome experience to see your friends tie the knot and being there to support them as a bridesmaid.

When I started out early this year on my first “bridesmaid role”, I was really clueless, but now I’m a bit more sure of what to do during the big day. Frankly though, even if it’s my third time lucky, I still fumble a little when the day rolls around. That said, I’m always really happy to be able to help out my bride and make sure she has a wedding that is as worry-free as it can get. I’m still far from the bridesmaid prowess of Nadia and Jacelyn (who seriously are bridesmaid pros by now), but I’d love to offer a couple of tips to the bridesmaid newbies out there! Don’t worry, we’ve all been here and done that. Here’s a couple of ways how you can help make your bride’s wedding as smooth as possible.

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My second bridesmaid experience as sister at Richmond and Gladys’ wedding

PRE-WEDDING

1. ORGANISING A HEN’S NIGHT

It sounds simple enough, but don’t plan a hen’s night too close to the wedding. (e.g. days before a wedding is a sure no-no and for some brides, a week before is also a bad idea). You don’t want to bride to get vexed over water retention, bloating and any alcohol induced hangovers too close to the wedding when a lot of other organisation and wedding matters need to be sorted.

A Hen’s Night is also not about killing the bride-to-be (contrary to popular belief). Of course, it’s fun to make it a memorable one complete with whatever vice the bride-to-be is comfortable with, but every Hen’s Night is bound to be different. Knowing the boundaries of your bride-to-be is so important because the main idea of a Hen’s Night is really a celebration of her last days of singlehood – not a celebration of all things nasty and vice-like. Not unless your bride-to-be is totally looking forward and open to it of course. Sometimes, it can even just be a simple spa pampering session for the milder brides, so there’s no need to go all Las Vegas in Singapore.

2. PLANNING THE GATECRASH GAMES

A nice “best practice” is to have each sister plan one game and take charge of that on the actual wedding day during the gatecrash. The gatecrash is typically a time where the groom and his brothers work together to show how much the groom is willing to take and the lengths he is willing to go to marry his beloved bride.

How “far” the games can go really depends on the bride. It’s her wedding, her man who has to prove his love for her before he manages to “fetch” her home. Take into consideration how fun the games will look on video if a videographer is being hired. Some games may sound pretty blah but make for very cute moments on camera.

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Each of us had a segment to “head” and be in charge of during Skai and Nadia’s gatecrash

Some of the games that really seem to make for good footage on the highlights videos are:

  • Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy (酸甜苦辣)
    A must-do for almost all the wedding gatecrashes I’ve been a part of, the sisters usually help brainstorm and prepare items that correspond with the four tastes – sour, sweet, bitter and spicy. Some things to note is that some families may not like the groom to eat the bitter items because it means that they will be eating bitterness (吃苦) which would mean experiencing tough life. Sometimes, it is taboo to serve bittergourd as well. Totally depends on the families involved. In that case, the brothers will usually take on his portion. When planning this, try to bear in mind that if any of the items served will cause tummy upsets – the last thing you want is a sick groom – so play within the limits and exercise creativity in the four flavour pairings!
  • Dance Related Shake Offs 
    Colourful post-its are stuck onto the brothers and groom and they need to dance off the post its completely. To make this game fun, choose a song that has exaggerated dance movements (e.g. Anaconda – butt movement, What Does the Fox Say – complete hilarity, any Thai Disco song – really funky chereographed dance moves those Siam Tiu brotherhood will probably know the steps to). Choose one that resonates with the groom and brothers and they will really dance it off and have fun. Big dance moves always make for good videos. Post-its can also be replaced with clothes pegs if you find them not “sticky” enough.
  • Leg Hair “Waxing” Forfeits
    Yes, it’s bloody painful, but it isn’t so painful till the guys will curse and swear. Whatever game is being played, if a wrong answer is given, this serves as a hilarious forfeit. Usually the brothers are sent to “take” the pain in the place of the groom too, so both the bride and groom can have a chuckle.
  • Body Part Games
    I have no idea how to title this because there are so many variations, but these are seriously one of the grossest and funniest games ever played during a gatecrash. Imagine having ice cream sticks or papers detailing a body part (e.g. hand, armpits, eyebrows, feet, belly button and even… get this… nipple). The groom will select one of the sticks or paper lots and that is the area he has to kiss (with lipstick on) or lick whipped cream off… one lucky brother.
  • The Love Contract
    So far, this has been an absolute winner. Getting the groom to send in his “promises” to the bride and then creating a “contract” for him to sign off on in front of friends, family and relatives as the last round of the gatecrash activities always gets everyone sniggering. Sometimes, it can be quite emotional and sweet, so that’s perfect to be captured. No signing means no entering and the groom needs to read it out loud. Some funny additions I’ve seen are promises to buy branded handbags that the bride has been eyeing for months or years, allowing the bride to spend all her money on online shopping, and even something as simple but touching like making Milo every morning for the bride! A recent twist in Fidelis’ wedding that we did to this game was have the groom translate it into Hokkien (his dialect). The half-past-six translations are really laughter inducing and of course this is time for the dialect speaking buddies to help out the hapless groom (if his dialect isn’t strong).

ACTUAL DAY

3. KNOW THE PROGRAMME FLOW

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Tea ceremony at Skai and Nadia’s wedding

You don’t have to stick rigidly to the programme because yes, things change and as a “sister”, it’s important to get on with the programme if things don’t go as smoothly as planned. That said, it’s good to familiarise  yourself with the days events from whether there’s going to be a photoshoot after the morning’s gatecrash events to what time is the Auspicious Time a.k.a Ji Shi (吉時). Sometimes one of the bridesmaids that handles the timekeeping, but in any case, it’s always good to take note anyway!

If you’re wondering, what the hell is the Auspicious Time and why is it a big deal, let’s just say that it’s the most opportune time to get married for your couple and these timings are based on the couple’s eight characters (八字). For traditional families, there is nothing more important than making sure the couple gets married during the auspicious time frame. Do your bride a favour and understand if there is any Auspicious Time (this is usually briefed during a bridesmaid meeting of course).

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Having a short photoshoot with the bride and groom post tea ceremony at Skai and Nadia’s wedding

Bearing time constraints in mind, the gatecrash can be shortened and a gentle reminder at each segment on the time could be given to key people during the morning’s activities, could definitely help speed things up. Ultimately though, it’s your couple’s big day, so do your best not to worry them too much. It is the biggest day of their lives together, an amazing milestone in their love journey, so don’t be too fussed up over being “on time”. Just make sure everyone is aware and the decision will end up being the couples’.

4. KNOW WHAT IS TABOO

Try to find out what’s taboo for the families involved. Also, ask her about her in-laws and own family. Are they very traditional or modern? Just to know how you should preferably “behave” during the morning’s events. If in doubt, always ask the more seasoned bridesmaids for advice!

5. BE THE BRIDE’S PERSONAL ASSISTANT AND GOWN TRAIN MANAGER

The main thing about being a bridesmaid is to just be there to help out the bride, really. No matter how pleasant and good-natured the bride can be, being in a huge-ass and rather thick gown,  bloody high heels, and melting make-up plus being trapped in a sweaty sticky gown in Singapore humidity can really put a frown on any pretty face. Ready the wet/dry tissues and try to make sure she doesn’t need to fumble too much with her gown by holding up the troublesome long inner slip that is so easy to trip over when she walks. Also, don’t forget to bring along some simple make up items for touch up (especially lipstick and lipgloss which fades off faster).

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Doing our sister duties and stealing some time with the bride, Gladys, before the banquet

Also, what’s super darn important is the power of reassurance. When things are going psycho during the wedding (which sometimes happens), its really a bridesmaid role to reassure the bride when she’s getting anxious and to offer whatever assistance she needs to make the wedding go smoothly. It can be set up of reception tables, tear down of the candy bar, talking to banquet managers. Sometimes it can also be emotional support (more often than not this is needed) to calm her down and have the show go on. There’s no need to play down any hiccups, but just empathise and reassure. When you don’t immediately panic in the face of any situation in need of dealing with, the bride will likely stay cool too.

So those are my 5 quick tips for new bridesmaids! I hope you find that it provides you with a bit more clarity in how this whole sister thing is going to pan out and how you can contribute too to the bridal party. Everything I learnt… I learnt on the job! And of course from Nadia and Jacelyn who are just… they are speechlessly good at what they do as bridesmaids.

Yes, I’ve been posting a bit more personal posts of late because I really want to share a part of my daily life with you all. I mean, I love the fashion posts and I absolutely enjoy writing the reviews and stuff, but I also want to share a slice of my life for the memories and also because it puts a smile on my face! Please leave a note if you visit here.

Photo Credits to Nadia and Gladys

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6 Responses to Bridesmaid Duties: 5 Quick Tips for New Bridesmaids

  1. Amande Hii November 25, 2014 at 10:52 pm #

    I’m so glad to have you as my bridesmaid. <3 With you around, I'm sure that that day will surely run smoothly! Love you babe!

    • Carrie November 27, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      Love ya!!! <3 Can't wait!

  2. Michelle May 15, 2016 at 6:22 am #

    I’m a bridesmaid to be, and am really nervous/ excited about it. My friend (bride-to-be) is quite independent though.. so I’m not really sure if I’m doing the right thing by letting her settle her wedding. I’ve asked her specific questions on areas that I might be able to help with but she doesn’t seem like she needs it. ><

    • Carrie May 16, 2016 at 1:08 am #

      Hey Michelle, don’t worry about it. If she’s got it under control, then just let her tell you what she needs when she’s ready to get help. 🙂

  3. joy z November 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    I was a bridesmaid for a good friend a couple months ago, there were 5 of us, but I felt bad because we forgot to hold her mermaid dress train while we were walking to the phototaking place which was about a 15mins walk. She held her own train(it wasn’t very thick though). Do we also need to carry her train when she goes around the table taking photos?

    • Carrie November 21, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

      Hey Joy, I think if it’s over, no need to worry too much about it. Things happen quickly at a wedding and if it wasn’t an issue for the bride then you shouldn’t lose sleep over whether you should have helped with her train. I think in most cases, the bridesmaids team offer to assist, but the bride typically shares if its necessary or not. For all the weddings I was a bridesmaid, most of the brides were on their own with their husbands and their husbands helped with the train during photo taking as the brothers will usually help gather people for the photographer and bridesmaids are not “on duty”. Depends on each bride and wedding I suppose! For my own solemnisation, I had a small train and no bridesmaids, but a few friends were helping. I told them no need to help with the train and I could manage.

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