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Susan Vernicek Headshot

To Be a Bridesmaid or Not

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I was planning on sharing my experience with being a MOH (Maid of Honor) all along, but my thoughts have evolved into providing some tips on how to behave (in my opinion) as an adult when being a bridesmaid. I can only hope that sharing my experience will help those of you who are part of a bridal party in the future.

Have you been asked to be a part of a wedding party? It can be a bittersweet moment. Of course you want to celebrate your dear friend's next chapter in her life, but you may not have the budget, you may not like the other bridesmaids or maybe you just don't like the stress of being part of a wedding party. Being a MOH or a bridesmaid can be stressful for many reasons.

Those stressors can cause some pettiness within the bridal party. The good news is, no matter what happens during the planning process, the bachelorette party and the bridal shower, the wedding always end up being a success.

I have had the experience of being a MOH twice. One time was smooth and the other... well, it was not so smooth. I can honestly say that it was a much more challenging and exhausting role than I had expected.

As the MOH, it's extremely difficult to make everybody happy and patience is tested when planning the bachelorette weekend and bridal shower. Some need to have control and have everything planned and in order as soon as possible. Some are so laid-back and go with the flow. Others commit, then back out last-minute. There are so many thing that can go wrong.

When I accepted the role of MOH, I assumed that everyone who made the commitment to be part of the bridal party was fully aware of the expenses involved, especially since the bride gave us well over a year's notice. I've been involved in many wedding parties and none of them are inexpensive. In the words of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, "Don't Make Assumptions," and boy, is he right.

I assumed that the bridal party would be game for my ideas because our bride did so much for all of us when we got married. She traveled to other states for bachelorette parties and was involved in destination weddings, which aren't cheap. She did all this while she was going to law school full-time and not working. So I assumed that we would give her all that she gave us. This was when so many of our true identities started to shine through.

I knew when I accepted this role that I wanted to keep in mind what the bride's wishes for her bachelorette celebration were -- wine, dancing, pool, spa and spending time with friends. My goal was to deliver. Despite any drama that may have occurred, I tried to keep in mind that it's all about the bride-to-be. All the celebrations were a success in the end, so that was a victory in my book.

As someone who has fulfilled the role of MOH, I've compiled a short list of tips to make the bachelorette party and bridal shower planning a smooth process. I am not an expert; I'm just speaking from an unforgettable experience. The main takeaway is that committing to be a MOH or a bridesmaid is an expense that you need to come to terms with the minute you say yes... so start saving.

1. For the MOH: You are the chosen one, so most of the planning and organizing is up to you. Nowadays, many bridal parties all plan together, but it can be a headache with too many cooks in the kitchen. I highly suggest planning the bachelorette weekend by yourself and when you have everything set, present it to the rest of the bridesmaids. As for the bridal shower, that's easier to plan together and have the others lead the way if they are inclined to do so. You usually have the mother of the bride to help out as well. The best option is to make a list of what needs to happen and delegate, or share the list and have the other maids claim which duties they would like.

2. For the Bridesmaid:
I was working on an awesome surprise for the bridal party. They couldn't be patient to the point where they went over my head and called the resort, which ended up confusing the resort with our room status and such. It was extremely frustrating because I told the girls I was taking care of everything and knew the budget to work with. As a bridesmaid, you are just as important as the MOH. So help out where you can, but don't make it more stressful for the MOH and her planning. Offer your help, and if she needs it, she will definitely ask.

3. Appreciate the Journey: It's easy to get caught up and not appreciate the journey. I certainly had this experience and am saddened by it. Everybody has to remember it's an honor to be part of a wedding party, and appreciating the journey and having fun makes it so much more enjoyable. I take responsibility for allowing others' actions to bother me and push my buttons. I know better than to take anything personally. I felt the need to take it personally for my bestie, the bride.

4. Keep in Mind: If you haven't yet been the bride, you will soon have your turn and everyone will be celebrating you. If you've already been a bride, keep in mind that you've had your turn and it's time to give back. I know situations change, but I believe you still try your very best to give all the love, support and time that you've got. Maybe it's the Scorpio in me, but I firmly believe that.

Overall, remember to have fun when you are part of a wedding party, try to keep peace with everybody, and remember that it's all about the bride-to-be!

*Photo Copyright and originally posted on IdentityMagazine.net