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Before You Say "Yes" To Being A Bridesmaid, Read This

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    My sister was a dedicated maid of honor — she singlehandedly planned my bridal shower — but we didn't always see eye to eye on bridesmaid details ahead of the wedding. We disagreed about things, like bridesmaid hairstyles and line dancing, and it caused a bit of contention among family members.

    But in the end, everything I'd gotten frustrated with about those smaller details didn't matter. My sister and her boyfriend stayed on the dance floor the entire night, even when things got slow, which was more important to me than whether or not the bridesmaids wore their hair down. Having her support was key in keeping the momentum flowing when other people flocked to the bar. For a little while, the dance floor was so sparse that we almost ended the wedding early — but the two of them kept breaking it down and it eventually picked up again. I'll always be grateful that she kept grooving the whole time.

    If you've been asked to be a bridesmaid for the first time, you might not know to expect. A Google search will turn up horror stories about bridesmaids who've paid insane amounts of money to be in their friends' weddings. You'll also probably find lists of tips for giving great speeches or handling massive email chains about planning destination bachelorette parties. Of course, every bridal party will have a different dynamic, so there are no one-size-fits-all rules to making a wedding spectacular. You know your friend best — that's why she asked you to be a bridesmaid — but there are still general tips that apply to every situation.

    And if you're ever in doubt about what your duties are, don't be afraid to ask questions. Even if she hasn't asked you for something specific, like help picking out flowers or creating centerpieces, you're there for moral support. Being a great friend — and having conversations that aren't about the wedding — is super-important, so don't downplay your part in helping the wedding go smoothly. As long as you listen to what your friend wants, you're already well on your way.

    Click through to see our tips for being an awesome bridesmaid — you've got this.

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    Don't compete with the other bridesmaids.
    If you're not friends with all of the other bridesmaids, it's easy to see the wedding as a competition. You might be worried about how your gifts for the shower and the wedding stack up against the other bridesmaids' or whether they're doing more to help the bride than you.

    Do not fall down that rabbit hole. Being a bridesmaid is about helping your friend get ready for her wedding, not for you to show off how great of a friend you are. The bride already knows that — that's why she asked you to stand beside her on the big day. Even if the other bridesmaids seem eager to make things a contest, don't play into it. If you have to, it's okay to tell them that you're focused on making the day about your friend.

    On a similar note, being a bridesmaid means letting the small things go. Even if you don't love the dress or the hairstyle, it's really not about you. And if you do want to vent — never complain to the bride.

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    Keep the dance party going.
    Hopefully, the other wedding guests are there to party, too. But if the dance floor's looking a bit sparse, the bridal party should keep the energy going by breaking it down — even if they're the only ones out there. Regardless of whether you like dancing, it will mean a lot to the bride to see people having a good time.

    And while we're on the topic, if you're in the wedding party, it's essential to stay until the end of the event. You may be bored, tired, or more interested in kicking off the after-party, but your friend asked you to stand by her side — and that includes being present for the entire reception.

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    Make sure everyone stays well-fed.
    Having snacks on hand is key at the wedding day and at any other wedding-related events. Whether the food is for you, the bride, or one of the other bridesmaids, everyone will appreciate that you have granola bars or fruit in your bag. The wedding day is long — you don't want to deal with hanger on top of everything else.

    And if you're packing some food for the day's events, it doesn't hurt to throw in some other essentials, like tampons and deodorant. Someone will need them.

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    Don't mention anything too embarrassing in your speech — but don't be afraid to get personal.
    Yes, the bride probably doesn't want you to mention the specifics of when things got crazy at the bachelorette party. But there's nothing worse than a generic speech, either. Share a few heartfelt (but G-rated) stories and you'll win over the couple and the rest of the wedding guests.