Today’s in depth guest post comes to us from Sam Ketterer of Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy, based in London, England! Enjoy:

The chief bridesmaid is usually the bride’s closest friend or member of the family member. Her role is to help the bride organise a calm, stress-free wedding and assist her throughout the wedding day itself. The best chief bridesmaid provides the bride with valued physical and emotional support and often works tirelessly with the best interests of the bride at heart. It can be a tough, stressful and demanding role to fulfil and the list of duties is extensive.

Before the Wedding

There are a wide range of jobs for the CBM to do during the months of the bride’s engagement, for instance:

  • Assist in the planning and organisation of pre-wedding parties.
  • Help plan and organise the Hen party activities.
  • Help the bride choose and shop for her wedding dress and accessories, as well as any change of clothes on the wedding day.
  • Help select the dresses and accessories for the bridesmaids.
  • Manage and oversee the bridesmaids, making sure they coordinate and are kept updated on all appointments, trials, fittings, decisions and schedules.
  • Act as the bride’s problem solver should any bridesmaids have any issues relating to their own roles and responsibilities.

Read the full post after the cut!

TIP: most problems arise over money so it’s sensible to establish early on who is paying for the bridesmaid’s dresses and accessories. Nowadays there is no set rule and depends on the requirements and flexibility of the bride and the cost of the dresses. For example if the bridesmaid is a student without an income and the bride wants her to wear an unaffordable £400.00 bridesmaid’s dress that will only be worn once it is not the best idea to expect the bridesmaid to pay for her dress. Whereas if the bride is flexible and is happy for the bridesmaid to choose a dress of her own that fits the brides ideas, style and colour scheme, then it is reasonable to ask her to pay for the dress, since it is likely it will be worn again.

  • Help address invitations and stuff envelopes.
  • Help the bride with any wedding related DIY, for example personal signs, decorations etc.
  • Help the bride source any suppliers if asked.
  • Help coordinate and clarify travel arrangements and arrival times for wedding party with the best man.
  • Attend the wedding rehearsal if required.

Day of the Wedding

The chief bridesmaid has one of the most notable and important roles on the wedding day. Primarily she will help ensure the smooth running of the schedule on the day. She will also coordinate and work with the best man to carefully manage any potential problems, issues or areas of concern on the day.

Tasks to undertake:

  • Be prepared to act as the bride’s go-to-girl, problem solver or main point of contact.
  • Stay calm and be there to offer assistance to the wedding party or guests as required.
  • Help guide the other bridesmaids, flower girl and page boys when getting ready.
  • Ensure the bride eats and stays hydrated on the morning of the wedding day.
  • Be with the bride whilst she has her hair and make-up done.
  • Help the bride get into her dress.
  • Ensure the bride, bridesmaids and flower girl have and hold their bouquets.
  • Reconfirm all ceremony duties for bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys.
  • Help guide the bridal party to their respective cars to take them to the ceremony venue.
  • Leave for church in the car with the bride’s mother and the other bridesmaids.
  • Await the arrival of the bride and help her out of the car.
  • Help the bride out of the car, paying careful attention to the bouquet, dress, veil and train.

Ceremony

  • Ensure the procession is lined up correctly.
  • Assist the bride with arranging/adjusting her dress, train and veil before she walks down the aisle.
  • Follow the bride and her father in the Processional, along with the bridesmaids down the aisle.
  • Help the bride arrange her train and veil at the altar.
  • Possibly take back the brides veil during the ceremony.
  • Hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony.
  • Make sure the other bridesmaids, flower girls and page boys are in place.
  • Be responsible for the flower girl (if there is one).
  • Witness the signing of the register if required.
  • Replace the bride’s veil, if requested.
  • Hand back the bride’s bouquet before she departs with her new husband during the Recessional.
  • Depart the ceremony venue with the best man, along with the bridesmaids and ushers.
  • Help distribute confetti after the ceremony for photo opportunities.
  • Be prepared to help guide and assist guests to the reception.
  • Leave the church accompanied by the best man after the bride and groom.
  • Depart for the reception with any other bridesmaids and best man after the bride and groom.

Reception

  • Help greet, guide and assist guests arriving at the venue.
  • Be on hand to assist the bride as required throughout the wedding day, making sure she has everything she needs.
  • Assist the bride throughout the day to ensure her appearance, hair, makeup, dress, train and veil are in order.
  • Be responsible for the bride’s bouquet.
  • Help get people organised for photographs.
  • Help receive and store the wedding gifts.
  • Be part of the receiving line, if there is one.
  • Maybe make a short speech and a toast to the bride and groom.
  • Help the bride with a change of clothes, if required, after the reception and before the evening celebrations.
  • Assist the bride (and groom) when they depart at the end of the night. For example, a change of clothes; managing any special requests or surprises; ensuring all guests know the bride and groom are departing and to gather them for a final send-off; ensuring their transport is punctual and as required and that it is appropriately decorated with tin cans and just married signs.
  • Ensure the bride and groom’s luggage, champagne and flowers are delivered to their bridal suite and that the bridal suite is as required.
  • Help tidy up at the end of the night, if required.
  • Ensure wedding gifts are removed accordingly or stored safely.
  • Ensure any items left behind by wedding party or guests are stored safely.

After the Wedding

  • Assist the bride in returning any hired items.
  • Help the bride retrieve any personal items stored at the venue.

Sam Ketterer is a Managing Director of Absolute Perfection Wedding Consultancy. He oversees a small team of wedding planners creating beautiful, stylish weddings worldwide. Absolute Perfection is the longest established wedding planning company in London and one of only a handful of wedding planners that have been operating in the UK since 2003. Absolute Perfection also offers popular wedding planning courses via their Wedding Academy in which Sam is a Tutor.

Photos by: Ian Southworth


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