10 ways not to screw up the bride's day

Story highlights

  • It's not just bachelorette parties and shower games; being a bridesmaid is serious
  • Be present and stay attuned to the bride's needs to avoid unnecessary drama
  • This isn't about you, so keep your nitpicks to yourself
  • Have fun -- but not too much fun

It's April, which means wedding season is upon us. If you already know that, not because you're a bride-to-be but because you're knee-deep in bridesmaid commitments, you also know how stressful it can be to be in a wedding party.

So here, we tapped Eimear Lynch, a five-time bridesmaid and author of the book "The Bridesmaids: True Tales of Love, Envy, Loyalty...and Terrible Dresses," for her guidelines to get you through the process.

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1. Always agree with the bride

It doesn't matter whether she has asked for your opinion on her dress, your dress or the flowers. All she really wants is blanket approval for everything she has planned, from the equestrian-themed shower to her quirky Sophia Webster wedding shoes. "Well, I love it!" is all you ever need to say.

2. Lean in

There's nothing worse than being trapped in an e-mail chain with a bunch of bridesmaids masking passive-aggressive suggestions with XOXOs. Everyone will (eventually) thank you for taking charge when it comes to planning a drama-free shower or bachelorette party.

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    3. Make friends

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    Yes, interbridesmaid alliances will help you get your way in stalemates over bachelorette venue or shower gifts, but those bridesmaids and groomsmen (and wedding laypeople too, I guess) are also future friends, co-workers or boyfriends.

    4. Sweat the small stuff

    You read that right. Weddings are high-stress and ultra-emotional, and a blowout fight can be triggered by something as simple as a mention of the bride's eligible ex-boyfriend. Speak carefully as the wedding draws near, and keep even quieter on the day itself.

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    5. Pick up the phone

    Eighty percent of pre-wedding drama could be avoided if people spoke on the phone instead of sending snippy, insensitive texts and e-mails. If you need to tell the bride something potentially upsetting (such as "I can't make it to your eighth shower" or "We cannot have your bachelorette party in the Seychelles"), do it on the phone or in person.

    6. Try it on, try it on, try it on

    You might not want to wear your bridesmaid dress for one extra second, but you should. You'll probably get the dress months before the wedding, and there's a chance you'll gain or lose weight in the lead-up to the big day. I have been privy to a few sewed-into-the-dress situations, and I can tell you they're far from ideal.

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    7. Consider your updo

    So you just sat down with your friend's hometown hairstylist. Say, "Do whatever you like!" and you'll end up with prom hair pinned with baby's breath. Instead, bring an inspiration photo and be specific about what you want (and don't want). Same goes for makeup.

    8. Remember, this isn't even A LITTLE BIT about you

    Hate your hairstyle? Dislike your dress? Grossed out by the groomsmen? You can keep all that to yourself, because your job is marvelously simple: Support and celebrate the bride and her groom.

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    9. Drink responsibly

    Before you have that sixth glass of Sauvignon Blanc, think ahead to your place in the wedding album. Do you want to be immortalized in a damp bridesmaid dress with a half-undone bun and tear-streaked makeup? If so, order away!

    10. Have a ball

    This is the one time you'll get to indulge in all-out celebration of your sister or dear friend. And you'll do it over lunch, drinks, dinner, and dancing with some people you love (and, sure, some you detest). Why not try to enjoy it?

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