So, you’ve been asked to be your friend or sister’s bridesmaid. You’re excited and ready to get to work. But planning a wedding–and everything that comes before and after–is a lot of work and even more stress.

Becoming a bridesmaid is as much a part-time job as it is an honor. As one of the bride’s go-to people, you must know how and when to help and when you should get out of the way. We’ve created a perfect set of guidelines so you’ll be ready to do your part in creating a dream wedding experience.

Pre-Wedding Day Expectations
Always be willing to volunteer. Contact the bride regularly and ask how you can be of service. If she’s reluctant to ask for help, have some ideas ready. By offering to help early on, you can show the bride you’re there for her without getting stuck with expensive or inconvenient obligations.

Offer to help choose the bridesmaid dresses. This makes it more likely you’ll end up in something you don’t hate. Just remember that the final decision belongs to the bride. So, even if you hate the dress, you must wear it happily and graciously for a few hours.

Be willing to assist the other bridesmaids and the maid of honor with anything that comes up. If someone else is spearheading the bridal shower or bachelorette party, but tasks are piling up, step up and help. Come up with fun ideas for those events and then help implement them. These events should be a source of fun and celebration to ease the stresses of wedding planning.

Attend any pre-wedding events such as the bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, etc. It is very important the bride feels supported during this stressful time. This is also an excellent way to bond with the other bridesmaids. You may even make new lifelong friends.

Listen and be patient, no matter how much complaining occurs. No wedding takes place with zero flaws, so when those obstacles happen, the bride is going to need to vent. Make sure the bride knows you are always available, and step in when she seems overwhelmed dealing with vendors or decisions about floral arrangements.

Chip in financially where you can. In many cases, the bridesmaids pay for the bridal shower, but there are other ways you can help financially that will allow you to feel more included and relieve some of the bride’s stress.

Your Job for the Big Day
On the morning of the wedding, offer to take care of any last minute errands. This will allow the bride to remain calm and focused on her wedding day.

Keep dancing! Make sure the reception remains lively, deal with issues as soon as they arise, and socialize with guests to ensure they are having a blast.

Offer to give the maid of honor a break throughout the reception by holding the bride’s gown train and making sure everything’s running smoothly.

Set up your own means of transportation to and from the wedding. Don’t rely on the bride or other bridesmaids to provide transportation for you. Everyone has a million things on their mind that day, so make sure you find a way to get home at the end of the night.

Take a million pictures. You’ll want to remember this day forever, and the bride and groom will appreciate any photos you take during the reception. Also, take photos of the shower, dinners, and salon visits and put them into a keepsake album for the bride and other bridesmaids.