This is it! Part of your wedding planning where you need to pick your bridal party. Selecting your bridal party is one of the earliest parts of planning your wedding. It can be a source of so much drama especially when everyone feels like they need to help plan your wedding.
There are no set rules as to who should be in your bridal party, how many should each side have, and who should be a member of your bridal party. The truth is, you can choose anyone you want to be part of your bridal party. But here are some guidelines that you might want to keep in mind when choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Expectations versus Reality
When you’re planning your wedding, you often go through several photos and images online looking up inspiration. You’ll often see the perfect bridal party: an even number of men and women, little kids that make up your flower girls, ring bearers, and possibly a banner bearer. A few years back, one of the reasons for planning a wedding and choosing a bridesmaid was stressful was because there were wedding traditions and old rules that were being followed.
Another cause of stress was a lack of communication. Some bridesmaids are only in it for the photo opportunity, not knowing that being a bridesmaid entails responsibilities. And finally, when we’re doing our planning, we often overlook the possibility that our chosen ones aren’t able to make it on that day.
How Many Should You Have?
When choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen, you can have as much as you want, that’s for sure. While it’s aesthetically pleasing in photography to have an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you shouldn’t let that deter you from choosing who to join your bridal party. You might want to take into consideration how many people are invited to your wedding. If you happen to have about 50 guests, and half of them are in the bridal party, it might be a little awkward.
Although, you should consider the following:
- How much you need to spend for each wedding at the party if you will be covering costs
- How much space will be at the altar, and will you fit
- Size of families on both size
- The actual availability of your bridesmaid or groomsman
Who Do You Want To Be There?
This is probably the next most important question after you’ve settled on how many you can have. Ask yourself who you really want to have as part of your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and who you would want as your maid or matron of honor, and who your partner’s best man (or woman) would be.
Who Spends What?
It’s an honor to be asked to become a bridesmaid or a groomsman. Long after everything is over, your bridesmaids and groomsmen will be with you in your wedding photos on that special day. But the reality of spending money to make it to your wedding will slowly sink in as the days go by, and you have to admit, attending the wedding will really mean you need to spend money.
You need to consider if this person is at a financial capacity to afford to attend the wedding. It’s a great idea to make these plans a few months out so that they’ll have time to budget for travel, clothes, possibly checking into a hotel, and if they need to take time off work to attend the wedding. But no matter how far out, if they still can’t make it due to finance, you’ll need to know.
Ideally, you are asking people who are really close to you, and not just a colleague whom you met a couple of years ago and you figured might enjoy coming to your wedding. They would probably, as a guest. But as a member of the bridal party? You might want to hold off on that. This way, you could easily plan logistics, and help out where needed. Will they need some form of transportation to get to the wedding venue? If you’re asking everyone to be in a certain color, or if you’re ordering dresses and outfits, will they be able to foot the bill?
Is This Person Reliable?
If there’s one thing you want on your wedding day, it’s that everyone is on time. Assign someone in your bridal party to be responsible for any aspect of your wedding. Make sure that they’re up for the task you’ll be asking of them, and that they are able to make it early to the venue to take care of that task for you. If you know they are pretty irresponsible, then you can’t really expect them to handle certain important tasks or make it to certain appointments.
While this may sound discouraging, this is also not to keep you from including them in your bridal party. If you understand that your prospective bridesmaid or groomsman has this personality, and you are good to roll with that, then, by all means, extend them the invitation.
How Long Have You Known Them?
Do you feel like they will be with you in the far future? A lot of times we choose people to join special events in our lives because we currently roll in the same circle with them, or we have been working with them for a few years now. Some, you’ve had great times with, and others, you’ve simply enjoyed the company of. But the real question is, how long do you see your friendship going on? What if one of you moved to a different company, or even moved away to a different part of the country? Will you still keep in touch? Will you still make time for that circle of friends? If you’ve drifted apart, and it’s been a few years, then you don’t need to include them.
A good rule of thumb is if you’ve been really good friends with them for over five years, and you clearly see yourselves hanging out for more, regardless of what happens, then that’s a pretty good criterion for choosing a bridesmaid or a groomsman. It’s not entirely reliable, mind you, but if you’ve hung out with someone for over five years or more, you still see them on a regular basis, and you know you’ll be seeing each other for a long, long time, then that person would be a good bet as a part of your bridal party.
Family Member in the Bridal Party
Totally acceptable! Unless, of course, your parents or parents-in-laws-to-be are forcing this family member to be part of your bridal party. While the most practical question that needs to be answered is, “Who is paying for the wedding?”, perhaps you should also consider just how much this would affect your family negatively.
Some parents feel as if this is the last time your cousin might ever get to be in a wedding, or that it would be good exposure for your nephew to be in your wedding, or that it would be a great way to butter up to that side of the family. But you also need to discuss with the rest of your family just how close you are to this person. Granted you may have grown up together, but later on, you’ve drifted apart and you no longer know much about this person. Next, discuss the possible additional cost the bridesmaid or groomsman might have to incur. If they’re willing to foot the bill, is there still room to fit them in? If you or your partner don’t see any problem with it, then why not? A win-win situation for everyone.
But if you are not comfortable with the person your family is urging you to include, remember to voice this out and remind them that it’s your special day, and you just want to make sure that everyone who is there is really the people you love and you are close to.
Set Clear Expectations
Be very clear with your bridal party what you are expecting from them. Are you expecting to wear the same color or the same style dress? What are your arrangements when it comes to the dresses? Are you assigning them as one of the point persons for a certain part of the wedding program?
Do not just automatically assume that they are going to do all that. There is a high likelihood that they will help you out, especially since it’s going to be your wedding day. But there is also a high likelihood that they won’t want to help out, and on the day of your wedding, they might even be late. Make sure you communicate what you want to happen exactly, and work with them to get everyone’s agreement.
Keep Communications Open and Clear
No matter what happens, it’s important that you keep your lines of communication open. That not only means that you allow them to say no if they don’t want to accept, but this way you’ll be able to work out the details with the people you want to be included in your bridal party, and you can also set up logistics for them as needed.
Kara has been with Wedding Favors Unlimited for 2 years. She’s been giving wedding and style advice for the past 5 years from bridal magazines to bridal boutiques. Feel free to ask Kara a question below!