Bridesmaid Duties and Responsibilities: How to Be a Good Bridesmaid in 19 Steps

If you’ve never been a bridesmaid before but have been invited to be one, you definitely have to read our bridesmaid tips in this post if you want to wow the bride. Read on to find out what the bridesmaid duties and obligations involve, learn about proper bridesmaid etiquette and also see the list of typical expenses you will incur as a bridesmaid. You will also learn how to be a good bridesmaid without becoming broke (as you know, they say that being a bridesmaid is an expensive business) – there’s a way to save money and still meet your bridesmaid obligations. Read on for our 19 essential bridesmaids duties and tips.

bride and her girls in purple bridesmaid dresses
Photo Credit: RH Photo Arts

So, your best friend has recently picked you as one of her bridesmaids. Congratulations! Now, let me imagine how you felt – initially, you were excited, and jumped up and danced vigorously to Inyanya’s Kukere music, for being among the ‘lucky few’ she chose. And after a while, when it dawned on you that you’ve never being a bridesmaid before, you started to panic. You don’t have a clue about how to be a bridesmaid, and don’t know what you’re expected to do for the bride. You don’t want to look stupid, BUT there is no one to give you some bridesmaids tips.

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If that sounds like you, relax. I can help you figure out what to do as a first-time bridesmaid. Even if you’ve been a bridesmaid three times before, in this article I will show you how to be the best bridesmaid.

The duties of a bridesmaid goes beyond wearing a beautiful bridesmaid dress, carrying a mini-bouquet and posing beside the bride for wedding pictures, as a fine babe. No, the bride didn’t choose you just because you are a fine girl (although, that scored you some points). The truth is that she chose you because she expects you to help her out with planning her wedding. It’s your duty to find out what and what the bride expects her bridesmaids to do – because most brides either don’t know or won’t tell you how to be a bridesmaid – even though they will spread the story if you fail to deliver. Read on for our 19 tips on the basic bridesmaids duties.

Bridesmaid Duties and Obligations: The Essential Guide

To help guide you to being the perfect bridesmaid, follow our 19 real bridesmaid tasks below – they are essentially everything a bride’s attendant should do for a bride.

1. Your Outfit: Buy your bridesmaid dress and shoes – even if the bride is your sister (based on the style, colour and design specified by the bride)

2. Your Makeup: Pay the cost of styling your hair and makeup (See pictures ideas for bride and bridesmaid hairstyles in vogue AND see also the Latest Bridesmaid Dresses seen at Big Nigerian Weddings)

3. Wedding Gift: Buy a wedding gift for the couple (yes o – in addition to the regular bridesmaid expenses you’ll make. It ain’t easy being a bridesmaid). And, if there’s a bridal shower, etiquette demands that a good bridesmaid brings a gift to the bride.

4. Transportation: Transport yourself to the wedding with your own money

5. Hotel Accommodation: If the wedding is out-of-town, you (not the bride) are responsible for paying for your hotel accommodation

6. Show Up: If the bride invites you, join her to shop for her white and traditional wedding outfits (no, you won’t pay the bills here – the bride pays for her outfits. Yours is just to escort her and help her choose her aso-oke, aso-ebi and wedding gown etc)

7. Give Your Opinion: Advice the bride on wedding reception look and feel. Again, if the bride asks you, help her decide on the reception decoration, entertainment, wedding souvenirs and so on.

8. Moral Support: he bride’s confidant and provide moral support and a listening ear (to the bride) through the period of wedding planning, up to the wedding day. Most brides feel alone at this time, and some become difficult due to stress, but a good bridesmaid will always help calm the bride down.

9. Plan the Pre-Wedding Parties: Join the other bridesmaids to plan and participate in all the fun pre-wedding parties such as the bridal shower, and/ or bachelorette party. You and the other bridesmaids (not the bride) are expected to pay the cost of putting together the bridal shower and/ or bachelorette party. Oh yes o- that’s the tradition.

10. Be Helpful: Before the wedding day, be really helpful during the wedding planning. Be “the bride’s MAID” by being useful to take part in executing the bride’s wedding planning to-do checklist – that could mean you running errands here and there, following up on the vendors, advising the bride on matters she needs your input, and showing up every once in a while (if you live close to her). [SEE ALSO: Nigerian Traditional Wedding Checklist]

11. Be Really Helpful: On the wedding day, fill in on any needed task the bride asks you to – such as becoming an usher welcoming and directing guests to their chairs, or following up with vendors to make sure they arrive on time, or even to hang around after the reception to ensure that the gifts are all safe, and that the wedding service suppliers clean up okay.

12. Be the Bride’s Personal Assistant: On the wedding day, help collate the wedding gifts on behalf of the bride and her groom. Also, if asked, help send out final payments to vendors.

13. Keep Stuff Safe: Help collect and safe-keep all the cash sprayed at the wedding. If the couple plan to leave for honeymoon right after the wedding, help them keep their personal stuff safe.

14. Package the Souvenirs: Help wrap and pack the wedding souvenirs

15. Prevent Emergency: With the bride and the other bridesmaids, put together the bridal emergency kit

16. Help Bride Dress Up: Assist the bride to get ready and dress up, before the wedding ceremony

17. Attend to Bride: Attend to the bride during the wedding – in case she needs anything.

18. Bride’s Wish is Your Command: Do everything to make sure that the bride is calm and looks like a princess on her big day (isn’t why they call them the “bride’s MAIDS”?

19. Coordinate the Wedding Day: With the other bridesmaids, help the bride coordinate the wedding reception, to ensure that she will have fun to the fullest, being confident that you and the other bridesmaids can handle any ugly unexpected thing that goes wrong during the wedding, behind her.

image of bridesmaids helping a bride dress up

See! A typical bridesmaid duty is similar to being a Glorified MAID.

Proper Bridesmaids Etiquette You Need to Know

  1. Be polite to everyone involved in the wedding, including the other bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the couple’s parents and elderly relatives.
  2. Be careful not to get drunk during the wedding – there’s no excuse to forget yourself and the reason why you’re there.
  3. Above all, give the bride the gift of your time – be there when she needs you.
  4. It’s okay to say ‘no’ if asked to be a bridesmaid (instead of agreeing and later complaining behind the bride, being a hindrance, not being helpful and not showing up when she needs you most). If you can’t afford the time or money to be a good bridesmaid, politely decline. The bride will respect you more if you decline and then help her in other ways.

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What Expenses Should a Bridesmaid Expect to Make?

It’s true that being a bridesmaid is very expensive. We have seen some Nigerian weddings where some bridesmaids and the bride became enemies before the wedding day – just because no one prepared the bridesmaids for the duties and expenses they would to incur. In some cases, the bridesmaids thought that the bride should pay for this or that, and later they (bridesmaids) were told it’s their responsibility to pay for their bridesmaids stuff. Nigeria, and the World in general, would have a better bride-and-bridesmaids relationships if someone stepped in to education and prepare bridesmaids in advance – that’s what we hope to do through this post.

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To give you an idea, below is a list of typical expenses you would incur from being a bridesmaid include:

  • The cost of the aso-ebi (for the traditional wedding)
  • The cost of your bridesmaid dress (for the white wedding)
  • Cost of your travel and accommodation (but if you have friends near the wedding area, you can save hotel costs by putting up with them).
  • The cost of planning and hosting the bridal shower
  • The gifts – you’ll need to buy the bride a wedding gift (and another gift for the bridal shower, if you and other bridesmaids throw a party for her).

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How to Be a Bridesmaid on a Budget

While the list of above bridesmaid expenses may look scary to most people, you may get lucky – some brides choose to help make it easy for their not-so-rich friends by taking care of some of the above costs. If you’re bridesmaid on a budget, there are things you can do to cut down expenses, and they include:

  • Cut-and-Sew your Dress: Sewing your own bridesmaid dress (instead of buying expensive ready-made)
  • Share: Stay (squat) with friends if the wedding is out-of-town OR share hotel toom with other bridesmaids and share the cost
  • Save on transportation costs by searching early for car owners who can accommodate you
  • Be Handy – DIY: Do your own makeup and style your own hair. Tie your Gele headtie by yourself – instead of paying a makeup artist.
  • Negotiate: Let the bride know when she suggests a dress or accessory that is way out of your reach, and negotiate a cheaper alternative


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Recap: Things a Bridesmaid is Expected to Do for the Bride

If you’re a bride, now you know what to expect of your bridesmaids. And, if you’ve been asked to be someone’s bridesmaid, now you know what a bridesmaid does for a bride before the wedding, and on the wedding day. Being a good bridesmaid is all about standing up for your best friend on her big day, doing everything you can to ensure that she has the best wedding.

If you’ve been chosen to be the chief bridesmaid or maid or honour, in addition to the above, be sure to read our tips on the “Chief Bridesmaid/ Maid of Honour Duties”.

That’s it from us on the 19 things a bridesmaids should do for the bride (aside from posing for pictures). If you’ve enjoyed those tips, please thumbs up this post by sharing it with your friends – facebook it/ tweet it/ instagram it/ email it – share it anyway on social media and help more Nigerian bridesmaids learn how to be a proper bridesmaid.

Wait, before you go, I want you to talk back to me – what are your thoughts about what a bridesmaid should really do for a bride. Tell me in the comments section down below.

About Stella Anokam

Stella is the founder and Editor of this blog (NaijaGlamWedding). Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Submit your photos to be featured - it's FREE, because we love everything weddings, bridal showers, engagement shoots.


  1. VERY late comment I know but I just stumbled on this link online 🙂

    This post spoke to me!! If I as the bride chooses to cover any of the costs, then fine but it should not be expected, and if the person being asked to be a bridesmaid feels they can’t spare their time or money they should say it from the beginning rather than making the bride feel uncomfortable when she’s already super stressed! I wish some bridesmaids had read this post before agreeing to be a bridesmaid hahaha.

    I wrote a similar post on this a couple of years ago but that was before my wedding so I’m much wiser now lol.

    Thanks for a good read 🙂

    • Hello Mimi,

      Thanks for stopping by. Lol – your comment is not late at all.

      You’re so right – some bridesmaids put up attitudes that stress out brides during the wedding planning. May be it’s for fear of saying “No” to the bride when asked to be a BM, or just didn’t bother to find out what a bridesmaid is expected to pay for. I know, it can be an awkward moment when the wedding day is getting close and the bride is getting a feeling that one or more bridesmaids may back out – that’s what informed the above post and I believe that if more bridesmaids know that accepting to be a BM comes with costs.

      I read your post on this same subject and liked that you shared own personal experience during your wedding planning. By the way, I love your style of writing – it’s fresh and friendly.

  2. Blaque Pearl says

    Story in bundle Stella! Sorry to bust ur bubble , call me whatever but I’m doing away with that whole bridesmaid thing.. I don’t have the energy for all their razzmatazz . my pictures won’t look any less pretty without them! My maid of honor is well off ok. Abeg I no do!

    • Hahaha. go for it girl! I feel you – it’s your wedding jare. That’s exactly what I tell brides – it’s not by force to have bridesmaids. Many weddings in Nigeria and abroad look amazing without them. My dear, your wedding pictures will still look great.

  3. It OK. What if the braidsmaid is not working?

    • Hi Promise. If a person you want to make your bridesmaid does not have a job, the bride MAY decide to help that bridesmaid pay for her bridesmaid dress, shoes, hairstyling and more – because if the bride doesn’t help out, that bridesmaid may start dodging to attend the wedding (not knowing how to tell the bride she can’t AFFORD the expenses required to be a bridesmaid. If the bride cannot help her out, it’s better to choose someone else who can foot the bill. I wrote more tips about this in the above post under the sub-heading “how to be a bridesmaid on budget”.

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