While there are many things we cannot control in life, the type of bridesmaid you are is not one of them. This is an example of how brides think about their bridesmaids and I think Stephanie does a great job of succinctly summarizing the subtle differences.
Spoiler alert: There is no one-size-fits-all bridesmaid reaction. After the excitement wears off and reality sets in a number of things could happen. We all know people respond to stress in different ways; it’s part personality, part personal history and part situational. Some people ignore the stressor until it’s too late to deal with it (not recommended) while others overcompensate and try too hard. There’s a good in-between, I promise! I call it the Goldilocks Bridesmaid — you’re not too pushy, you’re not too aloof, you’re juuuuuuuust right. Before we get there, let’s look at the type of bridesmaid you want to avoid:
The Flaky or Nonchalant Bridesmaid
No one wants to be either type of bridesmaid; it would be like wanting to be the mean step-sisters in Cinderella. The negative reactions are definitely not intentional and may not even conscious. Maybe you’re under a lot of stress at work and that’s being reflected to your bride as wedding-related. Whatever the cause, you don’t want anyone to refer to you as a “Debbie Downer”— especially your friends and family! To keep your reactions in check, make sure any response you have to the bride is positive, even if you’re not feeling upset. Give her a heads up if you’re going through something (but don’t unload on the poor girl) so she understands where you’re coming from.
The Party Bridesmaid
Have you seen The Bachelorette? It was a seriously awesome movie that Bridesmaids kind of eclipsed. The Party Bridesmaid is Isla Fischer in The Bachelorette. This is an extreme version of the stereotype, but she hits the high points: her heart is in the right place and she’s the life of the party. While she’s awesome to have around when the music’s bumping or she’s buying the bride something fun for the bedroom, it’s important to remember when and where to tone it down. You should definitely feel free to be this bridesmaid at the bachelorette party or at the reception (if it’s that kind of wedding), but it would not be appropriate at the wedding. It’s considered bad form to be hungover when you walk down the aisle.
The Eager Bridesmaid
This is a nice way to say “back off it’s not your wedding!!” If the Flaky Bridesmaid is at one end of the spectrum, the Eager Bridesmaid is at the other end. She’s going an over-enthusiastic, Type-A personality who only knows one speed: fast. She’s pinning to your shared wedding Pinterest board like crazy and has an opinion about absolutely everything.You do not want to be this type of bridesmaid. There is a difference between being helpful (see below) and being judgmental or pushy. It is very possible the bride could make a bad decision and if your bride says she is going to be wearing one of these dresses then you may express your horror (friends don’t let friends flash the audience in her wedding dress). However, do your best to be respectful of her decisions and remember this is her special day. We all have those friends who make every situation about themselves; you do not want to be that friend. It’s great to show enthusiasm, just try to be selective about where and how you show it.
The Anxious or Unprepared Bridesmaid
Though they respond in different ways, these two share the same root issue — a lack of information. The Anxious Bridesmaid sends her bride a million texts about every small detail, overwhelming her with questions that could be solved via Google. The Unprepared Bridesmaid does not know what she needs to do and is therefore surprised by everything that happens. Neither type of bridesmaid are helpful. Given that you’re reading this, it’s likely that you won’t be the Unprepared Bridesmaid (high five!) and you won’t be anxious because you understand what’s coming up. You’ve got this.
The Other-Bride Bridesmaid
As a bride-bridesmaid, you understand all the work that goes into a wedding. You’ve god this wedding thing down pat so the questions are minimal. You check in with each other a lot to see what the other is doing. You could be a real asset for one another because you’re there in the trenches too. The only downside to this is if you’re both getting married around the same time and have similar themes. Remember that weddings are not a competition and you are not trying to one-up each other. Girls gotta stick together. We’re all part of Team Bride.
The Helpful Bridesmaid or The DIY Bridesmaid
You’re the Goldilocks of bridesmaids! It’s more of a scale than a specific girl. You’re not too eager, but you’re not too aloof. You vacillate between knowing what you need to do and asking how you could be of service to your bride. You ask what you could do to help and you get ‘er done. You don’t take on more responsibility than you can handle. You don’t try to impose too much of your own personal style onto hers. You’re knowledgable, capable and kind. You make appropriate suggestions, but you tone it back when you feel you it’s needed. You’re the best type of bridesmaid ever. (Or you’re trying at least.)