I love weddings so naturally I was delighted when a few of my close friends recently got engaged.

Life Moments Media
Picture by Life Moments Media.

And I was even more over the moon to be asked to be a bridesmaid. I've only ever been a bridesmaid once before and my role was purely ornamental - I was young at the time

 Praise Mutara
Picture by Life Moments Media. Praise Mutara
and the bride was a mature relative who was supported by friends and family members outside the bridal party. My main duties were to wear what I was told to and stand where I was told to. But this time around I'll be playing a much more active part, and because I know how stressful weddings can be, how much organising they require and because I care so much about my friend's happiness and well-being, I want to do everything within my power to help.

But the more I thought about how important it was for me to be a bridesmaid, the more I questioned what the role of a bridesmaid was in the 21st Century and, more specifically, how it differs if you're a Christian.
Primrose Moyo Chibika
Picture by Life Moments Media. Primrose Moyo Chibika carried by her bridal party.

After spending a little too long browsing bridal websites, I've discovered that the list of a bridesmaid's duties are seemingly endless. From organising the hen party to keeping a constant eye on the bride during her ceremony and reception, there are so many ways that you can provide assistance to the bride in the lead up to the wedding, on the day and afterwards.

The following four duties should be a part of every Christians bridesmaid's remit.

Help the Bride Get Ready
Generally speaking, when bridal magazines write about the bridesmaid's duty of helping the bride get ready on the day they're referring to the physical preparation – the make up, assisting the bride as she puts on her dress; and managing the emotions – reassuring the bride if she has any last minute nerves, creating a calm environment.

Acqualine Chimbiro Mugwagwa
Picture by Life Moments Media. Acqualine Chimbiro Mugwagwa getting ready.
All of these things can play a part in the role of a Christian bridesmaid but there's a spiritual side too. Spiritual preparation can take the form of praying with and for the bride, studying Bible verses, and exploring the meaning of marriage from a Biblical standpoint.

Make sacrifices
A Google search of "do bridesmaids have to help" will be pre-empted by the following sentence endings: "pay for bridal shower" and "pay for the bachelorette party". Because weddings can be so expensive for guests, never mind the happy couple, the financial sacrifices that we have to make play heavily on many people's minds. For Christians, serving others is a fundamental example of faith in action. You have a great opportunity to serve in a significant way as a bridesmaid. But don't just get caught up with thoughts around money, think about what else you can sacrifice to serve – time, comfort, the spotlight.
Picture by Life Moments Media. Spotlight is on the bride.
Picture by Life Moments Media. Spotlight is on the bride.


Listen
In the lead up to their wedding,most brides will need to sound off about anything from the choice of food to the choice of groom. Actively listening to the bride's concerns or dilemmas will enable you to respond with possible solutions and advice that will help her navigate her long to-do list. If the bride is a Christian, her approach to marriage will be founded in Scripture so make sure you use this great resource to find appropriate and wise words to respond with.
Nomsa Nyauchi Mugwamb
Picture by Life Moments Media. Nomsa Nyauchi Mugwambi speaks to her bridal team.


Ask the right questions
Weddings can force some tough decisions upon a bride and with all the demands of the preparations it can be tempting to avoid facing up to certain issues or fail to recognise them altogether. Don't be afraid to ask the bride some difficult questions, doing so might just give her the confidence to ask for help she needs or bring a previously unconsidered point to her attention. Express an interest in her marriage preparation course - or any other aspect of her marriage prep - by asking what she's learning or where she needs help.
By Allanah Francis.