When it comes to being a bridesmaid in a wedding, preparedness is your new best friend. The day may begin early in the morning and hopefully, ends after midnight. And you better believe there isn’t a lot of time for a Target run. That’s why packing your wedding day tote bag with all the essentials is crucial for a successful day.
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Table of Contents
- 1 The Necessities
- 2 Fashion Fundamentals
- 2.1 A Rehearsal Dinner Outfit
- 2.2 Your Bridesmaid Dress
- 2.3 The Wedding Shoes
- 2.4 Your Dancing Shoes
- 2.5 Heel Protectors
- 2.6 A Clutch
- 2.7 Jewellery
- 2.8 The Right Bra
- 2.9 Safety Pins
- 2.10 Double Stick Tape
- 2.11 A Mini Steamer
- 2.12 A Lint Roller
- 2.13 Stain Remover
- 2.14 A Mini Sewing Kit
- 2.15 A Change of Clothes
- 2.16 A Spare Tote Bag
- 3 Hair and Makeup Must-Haves
- 3.1 Inspiration Photos
- 3.2 A Button-Down Shirt or Bridesmaid Robe
- 3.3 Your Own Makeup
- 3.4 A Travel Mirror
- 3.5 Hairstyling Tools
- 3.6 Extra Hair Ties
- 3.7 Hairspray & Makeup Setting Spray
- 3.8 Dry Shampoo
- 3.9 Bobby Pins
- 3.10 Perfume
- 3.11 Deodorant
- 3.12 Oil Blotting Sheets
- 3.13 Makeup Remover Wipes
- 3.14 Q-Tips or Cotton Swaps
- 3.15 Clear Nail Polish
- 3.16 Nail File
- 3.17 Tweezers
- 3.18 Mints
- 4 Emergency Supplies
- 5 Soirée Staples
- 6 The Bridesmaid Duties Checklist Every ‘Maid Needs
- 7 Bridesmaid Duties: Before the Wedding
- 7.1 Be there for the bride.
- 7.2 Be there for the maid of honour.
- 7.3 Be positive and offer to help with planning (within reason).
- 7.4 Find and book travel/hotel accommodations for you (and your plus-one).
- 7.5 Buy your bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories on time.
- 7.6 Go wedding dress shopping with the bride-to-be.
- 7.7 Help plan and organize the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner.
- 7.8 Chip in for the parties if you can.
- 7.9 Attend pre-wedding events.
- 7.10 Buy a wedding gift.
- 8 Bridesmaid Duties: Getting Ready and Pre-Ceremony
- 9 Bridesmaid Duties: Ceremony
- 10 Bridesmaid Duties: Reception
A Solid Attitude
No matter what’s going on, be sure to enter the wedding adventure with a positive, go-with-the-flow attitude. Be there to support the bride more than you ever have before.
A Timeline for the Weekend
Before the wedding adventure kicks off, be sure to print any itineraries or timelines that the bride or maid of honour may have sent over. That way, you’ll know where to be and when to be there.
The Wedding Invitation
Keep this handy, so you know important details like the time of the ceremony, cocktail hour, and the reception.
The Contact Details of the Bridal Party
Keep the phone numbers of the maid of honour and the other bridesmaids handy in case you get lost or have a last-minute question on the day of.
Your Cell Phone Charger
You have a long day ahead of you, so it’s always helpful if your phone is fully juiced. Bring along a wall phone charger or even a portable one that can bring your phone back to life when you’re on the go.
A Bag of Snacks
You’ll be running around the morning and afternoon of the wedding, getting glammed up and posing for pictures. Don’t forget to please your stomach by bringing along a bag of filling and easy-to-eat snacks.
A Water Bottle
It’s important to stay hydrated on the day of the wedding, so keep a water bottle close.
A Mini-Pack of Tissues
You can never have too many with you on the day of the wedding, whether it’s to dry tears or fix your makeup.
A Copy of Your Speech
If you have a speaking part during the wedding weekend—whether at the rehearsal dinner, ceremony or during the reception—be sure to have a couple of copies of your speech printed out.
Check out our post on What wedding shoes should I wear?
A Rehearsal Dinner Outfit
Don’t forget about the night before. Have a semi-formal outfit ready to rock at the rehearsal dinner.
Your Bridesmaid Dress
You’ve spent so much time trying it on and getting it altered, that it might escape your mind to bring it on your way out.
Be sure to leave it hanging up by the front door, so it’s the last thing you grab when you go for the wedding.
The Wedding Shoes
If the bride had you pick out a specific pair of heels or told you to bring a pair in a certain colour, make sure you have the right pair packed and ready to go.
Your Dancing Shoes
These are the shoes your feet will be craving after standing up during the ceremony—and the shoes that will feel light on your feet as you break out some of your finest dance moves once the reception starts.
Heels and outdoor ceremonies just don’t mix. Keep yourself from sinking into the grass with a pair of clear heel protectors that snap right onto your shoes. Try this $10 set from Amazon.
Bring a clutch large enough to hold your phone and maybe the bride’s, too—but small enough that it won’t be a nuisance when you’re carrying it around all day.
Keep the necklace, earrings, or bracelet you plan to accessorize your dress within a small bag or box that you can store in your purse until it’s time to get dressed.
The Right Bra
Whether you’re going strapless or donning stick-on cups, make sure you pack the right undergarments for the dress.
In case anyone’s dress or bra suddenly breaks, have a couple of safety pins available to save the day.
Double Stick Tape
It’s a good idea to have a roll of this with you in case of any major wardrobe malfunctions.
A Mini Steamer
Keep a mini steamer handy to smooth out any lingering wrinkles in your dress.
A Lint Roller
Cat hair on your black bridesmaid dress? Remove it in a snap.
Stains happen when we least expect them to, so bring along a mini stain stick or stain remover wipes.
A Mini Sewing Kit
You can jump in and assist with any emergency alterations to the bride’s wedding gown or the bridesmaid dresses.
A Change of Clothes
If you’re heading to the after-party, bring along a different dress so you can unzip your bridesmaid robe and step into something a bit more comfortable.
A Spare Tote Bag
Bring along an extra bag in case the bride needs it to carry home any extra decorations or gifts at the end of the night.
Hair and Makeup Must-Haves
If you’re getting your hair and makeup done on the day of the wedding, try not to come empty-handed. Bring along photos of looks you love or ideas you have.
A Button-Down Shirt or Bridesmaid Robe
Slip-on a button-down shirt or bridesmaid robe before you do your hair and makeup so that it’s easy to get changed without messing up your fresh look.
Your Own Makeup
Even if you’re getting your makeup done by a makeup artist, bring along your favourite beauty items in case you want to touch up your makeup later on in the night.
Wedding hair and makeup is almost as important as the gown. Check out our top 90 Hair & Makeup Artists here.
A Travel Mirror
Mirrors will be a hot commodity if the entire bridal party is getting ready in one room. Bring your own.
Although a professional will bring her own tools to style your tresses, pack a curling iron in case someone needs to borrow it or you want to touch up your ‘do later in the night.
Extra Hair Ties
You’ll want some of these handy for the end of the night when you’re sweating it out on the dance floor and just want to pull your hair back.
Hairspray & Makeup Setting Spray
Keep your look on lockdown with setting sprays for your hair and makeup.
Are the newlyweds hosting a next-day brunch? Refresh your wedding ‘do with some dry shampoo.
Keep a handful of bobby pins close by in case any loose strands of hair begin to fall.
A rollerball perfume is a great travel-friendly option that’ll have you smelling sweet as you walk down the aisle.
You’ll start to feel sweaty as the day goes on, so keep your deodorant stick close by.
Oil Blotting Sheets
Use these as a quick, last-minute way to freshen up before walking down the aisle, without ruining your makeup.
Makeup Remover Wipes
In case the tears start spilling or your lipstick starts to feather, bring along makeup remover wipes to keep your face looking fresh.
Q-Tips or Cotton Swaps
If you need to touch-up your makeup after the ceremony, Q-tips come in handy—especially for around your eyes.
Clear Nail Polish
Not only is this a great go-to item to help fix chipped nails, but it can also be a quick fix for runs in stockings or buttons that are about to pop off.
You’ll come to the rescue when someone (inevitably) breaks a nail before walking down the aisle.
This is a great little tool to have by your side for any last-minute alterations on clothing or to address any errant hairs.
Keep your breath fresh without having to chomp down on gum while the couple exchanges their vows.
Grab a handful and stick them in your evening bag. You’ll need them, lots of them—it’s just a matter of when.
A Small Umbrella
In case the weather takes a turn for the worst, come prepared with a mini umbrella.
Even if you’re not supposed to get your period, you never know. It might make a surprise appearance.
Ibuprofen, allergy medicine, stomach relievers: having these on hand will be useful. Even if you don’t use them, someone within the bridal party will!
Whether it’s a headache or cramps, stock up on some Advil and Tylenol in case a pinch of pain is trying to crash the wedding.
You’ll be running around all day long—give your immune system a boost.
Whether it’s a late night at the rehearsal dinner or tears at the ceremony, your eyes might be irritated by the time the reception rolls around. Have eye drops on hand to alleviate any redness.
An Extension Cord
Because there’s never enough outlets for everyone or every curling iron, have one of these handy, and you may win an award for the bridesmaid of the year.
A Pair of Scissors
Chances are, someone will need ’em. Store a mini pair at the bottom of your purse.
Uber or the Number of a Taxi Service
Drinking at the reception? Don’t wait for the end of the night to know how you’re getting a lift home or back to the hotel. Have Uber—or the number to local taxi service—stored on your phone.
A Bottle of Bubbly
Coordinate with the other bridesmaids and see who will be bringing the orange juice and who will be bringing the champagne so that morning mimosas can be made.
A Handful of Straws
That way, you and the rest of the bridal party can sip down some water or champagne—without kissing off your lipstick on a cup.
If you have a pair of mini speakers handy, bring them along and serve as the pop-up DJ while the bridal party is getting ready. Listen to our ultimate getting-ready playlist here.
Your Best Dance Moves
Now is the time to show them off and help the newly married couple celebrate.
The Bridesmaid Duties Checklist Every ‘Maid Needs
Bridesmaid duties include being there for the bride (within reason) during the wedding planning process, the bachelorette party, bridal shower (and other pre-wedding celebrations), the ceremony, and reception. While that sounds like a lot, don’t worry — we’ve got the bridesmaid duties checklist you need.
Consider this bridesmaid duties checklist your ultimate cheat sheet to slaying those bridesmaid responsibilities.
Bridesmaid Duties: Before the Wedding
Be there for the bride.
We all know planning a wedding can be stressful, so a big bridesmaid responsibility is simply lending a helping hand or attentive ear to the bride when she needs it. She might need a bit of planning assistance — or just a good vent sesh.
Be there for the maid of honour.
Some people might not be aware of everything that the maid of honour is supposed to do for the bride and wedding. It’s a lot — big things like planning the bachelorette party and smaller details like holding the bride’s bouquet at the wedding. A major item on the bridesmaid duties checklist is offering to provide help to the maid of honour if she ever needs it.
Be positive and offer to help with planning (within reason).
It’s not your wedding, so we understand if you don’t want to get into the nitty-gritty of the planning process, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help the engaged couples search for wedding vendors or with other planning-related tasks. Just try not to let helping the bride plan her wedding take over your life.
Find and book travel/hotel accommodations for you (and your plus-one).
For destination weddings, the couple will usually provide a hotel room block for guests, just make sure you make travel reservations as far in advance as you can manage.
Buy your bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories on time.
A big thing on the list of bridesmaid duties is just simply being on top of it — especially when it comes to your attire. While there are several reasons why you shouldn’t wait until the last minute to order your bridesmaid dress, shoes, and accessories, the biggest is that if you do, it probably won’t all arrive in time. An upset like this will not only stress you out but also the bride and other members of the wedding party. Avoid the drama (and the potential that you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in the photos), by ordering your bridesmaid dress.
Go wedding dress shopping with the bride-to-be.
Wedding dress shopping is a unique experience for every bride, and the number of people in the entourage will likely differ from bride to bride. If you’re asked to join, it’s important to follow a few etiquette rules while shopping — and, while you’re at it, study up on the latest wedding dress trends, so you’re an informed audience.
Help plan and organize the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner.
While planning most of the pre-wedding events falls onto the maid of honour, keeping track of details can be incredibly overwhelming, so add “offering event planning assistance” to your list of bridesmaid duties. For example, if you’re helping to plan a destination bachelorette party, volunteer to coordinate flights and hotels for other members of the bridal party.
Chip in for the parties if you can.
While you shouldn’t have to shoulder the costs completely on your own, consider splitting the cost of the pre-wedding activities among the bridal party.
Attend pre-wedding events.
One of the best items on the bridesmaid duties list is celebrating with the bride-to-be. So try to be available to participate in the bridal shower, bachelorette party, and especially rehearsal dinner.
Buy a wedding gift.
It’s a proper wedding etiquette for guests to buy the couple a wedding gift. With all the other details of being a bridesmaid, try not to let this fall by the wayside. Head over to their wedding registry and pick a gift you think they’ll love.
Bridesmaid Duties: Getting Ready and Pre-Ceremony
Show up on time for pre-wedding events.
Just like with buying your bridesmaid dress and booking your flights, a major item on the bridesmaid duties checklist it to be punctual on the day of the wedding. This will allow for everything from hair and makeup to wedding photos to be completed without stress.
Be prepared with dress, shoes, and accessories.
Before heading to the venue, make sure you’ve checked, double-checked, and triple-checked that you have every piece of your wedding attire. You don’t want to be dressed and realize you forgot your shoes. The best way to avoid this is to pack everything ahead of time and use our handy bridesmaid packing checklist to ensure you’re good to go.
Keep the bride calm and happy.
This bridesmaid responsibility goes without saying. The couple is expected to be nervous on their wedding day. If you can keep the stress and tension to a minimum, you’ll be golden. Whether it’s telling a funny story, playing favourite tunes, or just keeping meddling mothers-in-law out of the picture, do your best to help the bride stay calm.
Don’t forget the snacks.
In a rush to get ready or because of nerves, the bride may forget to eat before the wedding. A super important bridesmaid responsibility to tack on to your checklist is to make sure she has some of her favourite goodies to snack on (and lots of water!) while getting ready. It’s a surefire way to help her avoid getting hangry (or too drunk from all the pre-ceremony mimosas!).
Help the bride get dressed.
Getting into an expensive and intricate wedding dress can be a challenge. So that means all hands on deck to make sure the bride looks and feels her best.
Lend a hand to the MOH.
The maid of honour may have to do a bit of coordinating to ensure that the wedding stays on schedule. Assist her as best you can—meaning — and don’t be putting last-minute touches on your makeup when you’re supposed to be in the limo heading to the ceremony!
Have an emergency kit.
A major to-do on any bridesmaid duties checklist — help the maid of honour create a wedding-day emergency kit. While hopefully, you won’t need any of these items (stain remover, sewing kit, etc.) on the day of, it’s important to be prepared.
Bridesmaid Duties: Ceremony
Know your cue.
It’s time for the couple to say “I do”. To keep the whole thing from having any hiccups, know when you’re supposed to walk down the aisle and where you’re supposed to stand. These details should be discussed and practised during the wedding rehearsal.
Mind the kids.
If the couple is including children in their wedding, you might need to keep an eye on the little guys and gals before walking down the aisle. Kids aren’t always the best at sitting still and being quiet for long periods of time, so don’t be afraid to use bribery.
Stand with the bride at the altar.
Even if you weren’t super-involved in the pre-wedding activities or planning, the real reason you were asked to be a bridesmaid was to stand by the bride’s side. Stand up straight, hold your bouquet low, and smile (but don’t be afraid to get emotional!).
Bridesmaid Duties: Reception
Mix and mingle with guests.
The newlyweds may not immediately make their appearance at the reception, in which case it falls on the wedding party members to make sure the guests are entertained. Introduce friends and family members of the couple who may not have met before the wedding.
Dance your heart out.
Once the couple performs the first dance, it’ll be time for guests to join in the fun. A major bridesmaid duty is to lead by example. Grab your plus one or a few friends and head to the dance floor. If the wedding party looks like they’re having a blast, other guests will soon follow.
Make sure the couple eats.
Just like getting ready, the reception can be a bit chaotic. With the couple greeting and thanking all their guests for attending, they might forget to have anything to eat. If the couple isn’t having a formal seated dinner, it’s the bridesmaids’ responsibility to make up a plate or two and have them sit away from all the commotion to enjoy their meal.
Help the maid of honour pay/tip vendors.
At the end of the night, vendors will need to be paid and tipped. If there isn’t a wedding planner, this task may fall on the maid of honour. It can take quite a few vendors to make a wedding happen, so try and lend a hand to speed up the process.
Help send off the newlyweds.
Your final bridesmaid duty is to send the newlyweds on their merry way at the end of the night. Whether they’re going home or straight to their honeymoon, give them a send-off they won’t soon forget!
Learn what to pack in your wedding emergency kit, find out what to do if your wedding vendor cancels at the last minute, learn if you should hire a social media liaison for your nuptials, and discover unique videos to help relieve stress while planning your vow exchange.
A perfect, problem-free wedding is never promised, and sometimes minor issues make for better memories to look back on and laugh about. However, by stashing these items away in a travel bag, you’ll help secure a stress-free ceremony and reception. If any issues do arise, you will be the go-to girl who saves the day! And as the saying goes, better to be safe than sorry!