Choosing your bridesmaids can either be the easiest or most stressful part of your wedding planning process. If you feel close to a lot of friends and family, it can seem like a daunting task to narrow your choices down. You may also be unsure of what etiquette surrounds choosing your bridal party–you surely don’t want to offend anyone by excluding them! The short answer: It’s up to you to decide what’s right for you! The long answer: Read on and we’ll guide you through some helpful considerations and rules of etiquette for choosing the perfect bridal party!
First Thing’s First
The second you announce your engagement, your friends will begin texting and calling you. One of the first questions they’re going to ask is presumably: Who are your bridesmaids going to be?! Some friends may even ask you upfront if they’re going to be one of your bridesmaids, or they may just assume. Before you commit to anything or give anyone an answer just yet, take a minute to breathe and think. We suggest you give yourself anywhere from a week to a month, depending on your timeline, to consider your options. Take your time, there’s no rush! We know your friends may get a little antsy, but they’ll understand when you tell them you just need a little time to finalize things. Once you tell someone they’re going to be your bridesmaid, you can’t take that back.
Important Questions for Your Bridesmaids
Who will make you the happiest? This is your big day! You want to be surrounded by your very best friends who will make you smile, laugh, and truly enjoy every part of your day. Your wedding day should be full of positive vibes, so you should choose positive ladies to stand by your side.
Who can stay calm under pressure? We all know that wedding days are prone to some stressful emotions: Making sure everything comes together, dealing with last minute issues, and warming up those cold feet! Choose the friends you know will be there to calm you down, take your mind off the stress, and calm any wedding day jitters.
Who will be most excited about everything? Which of your friends are the most supportive of you and happy for you? These are the girls who will be just as excited as you for your wedding preparations, bachelorette party, and big day. You want your bachelorettes to want to be your bachelorettes and have fun along the way!
Keep the Peace
If you’re on the fence about someone, consider how they’d fit in with the rest of your bridal party. If including someone would cause drama or tension among your other bridesmaids, it’s probably not worth the added stress on your wedding day. This also applies when deciding on your bridal party size. It might be a better experience to have just a few of your closest friends who you know would all get along and have a good time together, rather than a larger group of friends who wouldn’t get along as cohesively.
Set Your Expectations for Your Bridesmaids
How involved do you want your bridal party to be in your wedding planning process? This is an important factor to consider if you’re expecting a lot from your bridesmaids. This would mean potentially ruling out ladies with super busy schedules or who don’t live near you.
How much do you expect your bridesmaids to spend? Being a bridesmaid can add up to a costly position by the end of it. Between the bachelorette party, dress, and accessories, things add up quickly–even if your plans aren’t particularly elaborate. If you know one of your friends has been struggling a bit financially, it may be something to talk to her about. Tell her you want her to be a bridesmaid but want to be sure she can handle the costs. If it means a lot to you that she be in your bridal party, you may consider covering part of her expenses. Of course, be sure to keep her financial situation between you and her.
Blood is Thicker Than Water
At the end of the day, it’s your decision and yours alone who your bridesmaids are. However, it’s important to have a conversation with both your family and his at the beginning of this process to determine if either side has any expectations of who should be part of the wedding party. Maybe you’re not particularly close to your cousin or your brother’s wife, but sometimes avoiding family drama may be worth including them. Family is forever!
Consider Your Wedding Size
The average wedding party size is four bridesmaids and four groomsmen. If you’re having a large wedding, you may want to increase that number. Remember that the more people you include, the more difficult coordinating will become. At the end of the day, choose the size that will make you happiest. If you only want three bridesmaids, go for it! If you wouldn’t be happy with any less than ten bridesmaids, by all means make it happen!
Don’t Feel Obligated
Just because you were the bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding, doesn’t mean you have to feel pressured to ask her to be your bridesmaid as well. If you haven’t spoken to your old roommate since you were in her wedding five years ago, you don’t have to ask her to be your bridesmaid. Choose the people you truly feel closest to. If you’re feeling worried about what message that will send to your friend, have an honest conversation with her to clear the air and explain that you had to make some difficult decisions. She’ll understand!
Include Your Best Guy
Channel “Made of Honor” and choose your best guy friend to be part of your bridal party! The most important thing is that you’re surrounded by your closest friends who will support you and make you happy. Throw tradition to the wind and make him your “bridesman” or “man of honor”!
Symmetry is Overrated
It’s perfectly okay to have more or less bridesmaids than groomsmen! Don’t feel pressured to call up your distant relatives just to bulk up your bridal party, and don’t cut out some of your best friends just to narrow down the numbers. Your wedding portraits don’t have to be of everyone standing in a line–mix it up and make it fun! You and your man should both include the number of friends and family that’s right for each of you.
For Your Other Gals
If you feel bad about cutting someone who is either a close friend or who expected to be a bridesmaid, consider giving them another role in your wedding. They can read something during the ceremony or serve as an usher. You can even expand the boundaries for traditionally bridesmaids-only events to include even more of your best gals! Invite them to your bachelorette party or include them in the getting ready activities before the wedding. They’ll know you appreciate them, and they’ll love getting to be part of your big day!
Already narrowed down your list of bridesmaids? Check out our blog about a unique Austin bachelorette party!