10 Things to Do to Help Out the Couple-to-Be Before a Wedding

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There are many, many tasks that must be undertaken to pull off a wedding successfully. Too many for just a handful of people. When your BFF gets engaged, one way to show her how much you value her friendship is to volunteer to help with the planning and execution of the wedding. The average engagement lasts a little over a year. Although this seems like a long time, you will be surprised how quickly the days and weeks fly by.

There is, of course, a difference between helping and butting in and the line between them probably depends on the nature of your relationship with the bride and her family. If you are close enough to volunteer your assistance, you will likely be welcomed with open arms. But some friends feel more comfortable waiting to be asked for help. Some wait until they have an official title, such as bridesmaid. Every year, weddings involve more than 20 million bridesmaids and groomsmen. There is no single recipe for how you might become involved. However, once you are involved, here are ten ways you can help out the couple-to-be before the wedding:

Be Supportive

You never know what you may be called on to do. Unless the request seems completely off the wall, you should try to be a supportive friend and pitch in. For example, your friend may be stressed out from work, wedding planning, and her other responsibilities and may just need to vent over coffee. She may ask you to take sides in making decisions. And the time may come when you are actually tasked with actual wedding planning responsibilities like being asked to host a bridal shower.

Regardless of your exact role, you can help by merely understanding that this is both a happy time, but also a stressful time, in the bride’s life. By being empathetic and being there when your friend is overwhelmed, is upset, or just needs to vent, you are helping more than you will understand. Hopefully, when the wedding is over, you and the bride will look back on this time and laugh.

Keep the Bride Sane

As the wedding planning progresses, more decisions need to be made and more work has to be accomplished. One of your roles may be to monitor the bride’s stress levels. The stress can build until you may need to remind the bride to take care of herself and practice mindful wellness. This means that she needs to listen to her body. It also means eating healthy, exercising, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

In fact, when this point is reached, you may need to step in and intervene, so to speak, to make sure that your friend does not suffer mentally or emotionally. One proven way to relieve stress is massage therapy. This is not merely anecdotal. Scientific studies have established a link between massage therapy and a measurable drop in physiological effects of stress, including secretion of the stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol can have many negative effects, such as elevated blood pressure, increased blood sugar level, and insomnia. Long term exposure to cortisol can cause depression, anxiety, and even difficulties with memory and concentration.

Helping the bride deal with stress, whether it be a trip to the spa for a massage, a visit to a museum to view whimsical art, or a night out for tumblers full of craft cocktails, may help keep her spirits up and stress levels down.

Document the Wedding Planning

The wedding planning process can feel like such a whirlwind of activity that it may be impossible to focus and keep everything organized. As someone on the outside, you may be able to contribute by documenting the planning process. Documenting the wedding plans can have many benefits:

  • A scrapbook of all of your photos of the wedding planning can be included with the couple’s wedding pictures and other wedding memorabilia.
  • Photographs and social media posts can keep friends and family in the loop.
  • Records, videos, and photographs can help the bride keep track of what has been taken care of and what remains to be done.
  • Receipts can help the bride and bride’s family keep track of spending for their budget.
  • Contact information and photos of order sheets can help wedding planners ensure that the florist, caterer, photographer, and other service providers show up on time on the day of the wedding.
  • If worse comes to worst, your documentation may help resolve disputes with vendors and venues over the services requested and paid for.
  • A spreadsheet of all the service providers can provide you with a resource when you or another friend need to plan another wedding.

While you do not necessarily need to be an accountant to help document the wedding plans, it will help to be organized. Most of these records can be maintained on your phone or tablet in a folder specifically for the event. You can also keep a real-time record by posting photos online and documenting the plans in social media posts.

Dress Shopping

As a valued friend, the bride may ask you to help choose a wedding gown and dresses for bridesmaids. This might be one of the most important, and fun, tasks that you are asked to help with. However, you need to remember this is still a job.

You might want to subtly discern what your role on the dress shopping trip is. If the bride has already made up her mind, your role may be strictly as moral support. However, if your input is expected, it may be worthwhile to do some research beforehand.

There are many resources online about bridal fashion. You may also want to ask the bride about her budget since financial considerations may play a defining role in which dresses may be considered.

Above all else, you should remember that this is the bride’s day. You may look at a lot of dresses, and you may air your opinions tactfully. However, the ultimate decision lies with the bride. If the bride ultimately chooses a dress that you find dreadful, it might be best to keep your opinion to yourself.

However, when it comes time to choose dresses for the bridesmaids, your input may be given more freely. After all, you will be asked to wear the dress the bride chooses, so you may feel less guilty about expressing your opinion. Nevertheless, the final decision for choosing the bridesmaids’ dresses is the bride’s responsibility, so defer to your friend. It is her day and she wants it to match the way she has envisioned it all her life.

Host a Bridal Shower

Now we are getting down to crunch time. Things are actually happening now and you will need to take responsibility to make sure your contributions are being carried out. While tradition places the responsibility to host a bridal shower on the maid of honor, many wedding parties bypass the usual hierarchy and simply identify all the bridesmaids with the same title. However, if the bride is a close friend or relative, you may volunteer to host a bridal shower.

Or, more accurately, you may volunteer to plan the bridal shower. Before using your place to host a bridal shower, you may want to get a handle on the number of guests, as well as the timing of the bridal shower. It may turn out that your place is too small to host a bridal shower or that the timing does not work out for various reasons. For example, you may live in an apartment, but the bridal shower may take place in the spring when it would be more appropriate to host a bridal shower outdoors rather than indoors.

Thus, one of your first tasks is to pick a date and develop a guest list. Once that is done, you can decide where to host a bridal shower based on the timing and guest list. If you plan to host a bridal shower somewhere outside your home, you will want to make sure the venue is available for your chosen date.

After you have chosen where to host a bridal shower, you can move on to planning the bridal shower. Most bridal showers will include food and activities. You should consult with the bride to determine if she has any special requests, but for the most part, this is your responsibility. Again, research online can help with some ideas.

Do not forget to send out invitations letting the guests know where and when you have chosen to host a bridal shower. And do not forget to collect RSVPs to determine who will be there so you can plan accordingly. As the host a bridal shower’s guests are your responsibility, so make sure all the guests are engaged. It can be difficult when you may be hosting a range of guests, from the groom’s grandma to the bride’s school-age nieces. While being asked to host a bridal shower is a huge responsibility, it is also a great honor.

Bachelorette Party

The flip side of being asked to host a bridal shower is being asked to plan the bachelorette party. This is where you can go anywhere from mild to wild. However, unlike the responsibility to host a bridal shower, this is all up to you and the more surprises you have in store for the bride, the better.

On the mild side, you can plan dinner at a nice restaurant and drinks and dancing at a local nightclub. On the wild side, you can commemorate the event with bachelorette party custom apparel designs with wildly inappropriate images or sayings. You can paint the town red or even take a road trip. And if your bachelorette party is on the wild side, remember to order coffee beans because you may be partying until dawn.

Coordinate With the Other Bridesmaids

As the wedding day approaches, stress may begin to build. Now that you have met the other bridesmaids from the bridal shower and bachelorette party, you can now take the role of liaison responsible for coordinating communication among the bridesmaids and between the bride and her bridesmaids.

Again, the goal is to relieve the bride of as much stress as possible. This means making sure that the bridesmaids have their dresses, make it to the rehearsal, and, above all else, keep any complaints to a minimum. The last thing the bride needs as her wedding approaches is to referee a dispute among the bridesmaids.

Final Preparations

Now that the wedding day has arrived, the bride is probably running around like a chicken with her head missing. She may have re-prioritized other responsibilities or simply forgot to take care of anything that is not related to the wedding.

If the couple plans to live at the bride’s home after the wedding, you might want to surprise the couple with a deep cleaning of the house while they are away on their honeymoon. There is nothing more appreciated than coming home to a sparkling home after a long and tiring trip.

If you are up to it, you may want to help make other last-minute arrangements for the wedding and reception, such as lining up volunteers to mind the guestbook or seat guests. You may even want to be on hand to greet guests as they arrive. However, be sure to find out from the bride where she needs you because you may be needed in the dressing room helping the bride with her hair and makeup.

Be Prepared

One of the most helpful jobs you can perform is to make sure nothing is forgotten. On the day of the wedding, you might want to be prepared with extra makeup and hairstyling tools in case the bride forgot something, pens in case the pens at the guestbook run out of ink, and even a safety pin or two to make last-minute alterations to the wedding gown. Basically, you can act as the safety net to catch anything that might be forgotten.

This task may seem impossible. However, there are online wedding planning resources that can be helpful. With a little bit of research, you should be able to assemble an emergency kit that should address any exigent circumstances that may arise.


This is a day that the couple will remember for the rest of their lives. They do not need someone with a cloud over her head to ruin their day. This process may have paced enormous stress on you and even strained your relationship with the bride, but when the day comes, it is time to relax and have fun.

There are some traditional roles that you are supposed to play, such as dancing with the groomsmen and toasting the bride. Be yourself. If the bride did not have faith in you, she would not have asked you to perform these functions.

Whether your role as a bridesmaid is limited to supporting the bride in the decisions she has already made or is more hands-on, you should accept your role with dignity and aplomb. Remember, as a bridesmaid, this wedding is not about you. It is about making the event as perfect as possible for the couple. Any way that you contribute to that will be appreciated by the couple forever.