Image by Sarah May of Stealth Photographics


Out there on “the Internet” there are a lot of articles about how awful it is to be a bridesmaid. Um, bridesmaid anxiety anyone? Over here at Sparkle Burlesque bridesmaids are our PEOPLE. We love to meet all of the lovely men and women who come and do a burlesque hens party with us! Why? Because everyone we meet, especially the maids of honour or the hens party organisers, are there because they want their friend to have a great night. But we also know that whole jam is STRESSFUL. Like, it’s a lot of pressure. It’s a pretty big deal to be entrusted with making your girl or boys’ night the BEST NIGHT EVERRRR (on how to do that, we have another blog post here at the Sparkle Burlesque website). Plus, it’s only one of your many responsibilities.

We get it. So for this post we want you to sit back, relax and take a deep breath so that you can practice some self care. You know how on planes they tell you to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others? That’s the vibe of this post. I want you to take a moment to chill out. This will help you be the best friend and bridesmaid you can be.

Image by Leslie Liu


Follow the guide below to make sure you look after yourself in the lead up to the big day (and hens night!). Don’t expect to find any friendship-torpedoing bridesmaid horror stories here. We are all about the sparkly, positive vibes.

  1. Get enough sleep

It goes without saying that you are probably feeling a little bit anxious about all of your bridesmaid duties as well as everything else in your life. There are more demands than ever before on bridesmaids, because there are also huge demands on brides! This can translate into lost sleep and ripple out effects on your health. Even though you love your friend and want the hens night, the organising and the big day to be as magical as possible, it’s just not worth sacrificing your mental and physical health.

In fact, if you get enough sleep you’ll find it much easier to handle any challenging tasks. There are no hard and fast rules on how much sleep you should get and individuals really do vary. Some people need to get a solid 9 hours to feel normal, while others can do just as well on 6 hours. It’s a good idea to sit down and write out a “sleep plan” by looking ahead to your week and the months leading up to the big milestone events that are part of your bridesmaid role. Aim for consistency above all, especially in the weeks with more than usual stress factors.

Of course, it’s easier said than done but writing it down is a great first step to giving you a restful night. It’s also good to develop a sleep hygiene routine – again, consistency is key. Perhaps have a shower or bath 1 hour before bed or practice yoga (there are plenty of free bedtime yoga classes on YouTube!) as a way to wind down. Make sure you turn off all of your devices as the light from screens can interfere with sleep. You may have to change things around but through trial and error you should find the right balance – you’ll be a dewy eyed bridesmaid in no time!

Image by Leslie Liu

  1. Let go of being perfect

Or at least, try to be perfect at things which are fun and low effort for you. Maybe it’s really easy, and even relaxing for you, to be the ‘planner’ of the group and get everything down in a spreadsheet. Perhaps you love to research party supplies and find great deals with a laser like intensity. Do those things to the best of your ability and let others take on tasks that they are better at or which they find low effort. You can always be there as a helping hand whenever anyone asks!

For everything else, aim for ‘good’. Everyone wants to have a beautiful and memorable day, which sometimes translates into perfectionism. The thing is, sometimes it’s actually the little imperfections that make for amazing memories. Try to keep things in perspective and to laugh at the small stuff! Remember that you are here for your friend and that’s the most important thing.

  1. Set boundaries

This is a tricky one because sometimes it is difficult to recognise when your boundaries are being crossed – especially when it’s a close friend or family member. It’s also hard for some people to say ‘no’ when you feel like you are obliged to do everything because you care about the bride. Like the oxygen mask, it’s much better for you not to feel overwhelmed.

Also, I would hazard a guess that being a bridesmaid is not your full time job. You are probably juggling your role with work, family, your significant other, a social life, maybe parenting responsibilities. To ensure that you can perform all of the other important roles in your life you should sit down with the bride to be and the other bridesmaids to talk about what you can and can’t do as part of the role. This will help everyone stay on the same page from the beginning and makes it easier for you to keep your boundaries in place.

Image by Leslie Liu

  1. Keep the communication lines open

Following on from the above, the whole bridal party should keep the communication lines open – “communicate until it hurts” – so that everyone feels like they have a say and understands one another. This also helps to set expectations and means you can clear up any issues as they come up more easily. Don’t forget that bridesmaids are often a mix of different special people in the bride’s life, who may not always know one another.

Each person has a different communication and learning style, which should be accounted for when you are working out who is going to do what. For example, some people in the group may be introverts and need a little bit of space. Others may be high energy extroverts who need a lot of people around them to get things done. Facebook groups, Whatsapp, WeChat, text messages or plain old email should be set up early on so that there is a consistent way of talking to each other. It’s great if everyone can feel like they can be open and trust that they are able to speak their mind.

  1. Choose to practice mindfulness

Finally, you’ve probably already got some self care practices in your life without even realising it. Things like going to the gym, doing yoga or having a dance lesson are all things which can help keep you grounded. Being a bridesmaid is something extra in your life and so you might need a bit of extra help during this time. I personally love listening to podcasts on mindfulness (The Mindful Kind is a favourite) and also trying to meditate for at least 10 minutes everyday. There are some great free resources out there which can bring you that little bit of extra calm throughout the day and during your bridesmaid duties. Who knows, you might even love mindfulness so much you decide to make it a regular part of your life!

Image by Leslie Liu

At the end of the day, everyone is there to support the bride and it’s not really about the big day – it’s about the journey and how you get there. Whether it’s a bumpy ride or smooth sailing is all about making sure you keep the big picture in mind: friendship, family and the love of two people tying the knot. It’s also about taking care of you and being gentle to yourself.

Ms Zebra Says: Thanks Ms Sparkles for this wonderful post to keep bridesmaids sane during a pretty hectic and stressful time! Although we love our brides, it’s definitely a good reminder to take time for yourself & aim for happiness, not perfection!

About Sparkle Burlesque: Sparkle Burlesque offers glittery burlesque parties and divine dance classes for groups large and small for all types of occasions. Ms Sparkles is a former Burlesque dancer and believes that burlesque can transform lives through body positivity and embracing diversity.