Planning your wedding involves making many decisions: the venue, the dress, and the guest list. But one of the trickier choices you'll have to make is deciding who will be in your wedding party.
When you choose your wedding party, you're deciding who will keep you sane and smiling from the engagement to the after-party and stand up with you on one of the most important days of your life.
Here's my best advice:
Determine the Size of Your Wedding Party
While there is no set rule for the size of your bridal party, you can start with the approximate size of your wedding to figure out the size of the bridal party to start. A wedding with 50 guests does not need a dozen bridesmaids, but a wedding of 400 could definitely use more than one.
Don't get me wrong: You can have as many (or few) people in your wedding party as you like. The average size is roughly five on either side. But, keep in mind that more isn't always merrier. The more people you have, the more details to organize — clothing that everyone can agree on, wedding party gifts, a bachelor or bachelorette party with a large group of people who all have busy schedules, and so much more.
Consider Your Relationships
Your siblings, the groom's siblings, and other close relatives like a favorite cousin get priority. These kinds of inclusive gestures are greatly appreciated and may help avoid any potential conflicts or hurt feelings with current and soon-to-be family members.
When it comes to friends, consider the nature of the relationship and the person's role in your life. Think about whom you genuinely want to be there to support you on the big day or who would be happy to do so. A childhood friend may have close ties to your past, while more recent besties from college, work, or other phases of your life as a single gal may know your present self the best.
Also, consider how the women you're considering get along with each other. Two women who don't get along may make matters difficult for the rest of the bridesmaids (and you).
Set Honest Expectations
How involved do you want your wedding party to be?
Is it important that they help address wedding invites, shop for getting ready outfits with you, and attend all of the prewedding parties? Or will it be enough for them to wear what you choose and show up on your wedding day?
If you want your bridesmaids to be involved every step of the way, it may not be the best idea to ask friends who live far away or have busy schedules. You may be setting yourself up for disappointment.
For friends who can't commit lots of time to help you plan, invite them to a few wedding prep activities, like an invitation stuffing party and girls night with wine and pizza.
Be Aware of Budgets
We all know that being a bridesmaid or groomsman is expensive. Between flights, gifts, the suit or dress, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the bill adds up quickly.
If you know a friend is in a tight spot financially, talk it over with them before officially asking them to join your bride tribe. Let them know you'd love to include them, but also have a few alternative ways for them to be involved if joining the wedding party might be too expensive. Your friends can still be involved with roles like usher, ceremony reader, or candlelighter.
Don’t Feel Pressured
Tailor the bridal party to what you think is best, not because you feel obligated to invite a certain someone into the mix. Before you give in to the fear of hurting someone's feelings, think about what you want, and figure out a way to make that happen. Most importantly, don't let anyone invite herself into the bridal party. After all, it's your wedding.
Be Quick and Considerate
Of course, you'll want to spread the good news of your engagement before you even think about the bridal party. But most brides have had an idea of who they would want to include for, oh, forever.
Do not extend any official bridesmaid invitations until you have given it some thought and are absolutely sure of the decision, but don't put it off forever, either.
Friends and family who suspect they're in the running will want to know whether or not they should start practicing their processional walk — and you'll be able to put any bridal-party anxiety behind you and move on to other aspects of wedding planning.
Bridesmaids are so much more than just people who stand with you on your wedding day. They are your support group as you plan your wedding and, after the big day has come and gone, the transition to married life.
Once you've chosen your wedding party, have fun getting ready to marry your best friend! Although it may be stressful to choose who to ask, your wedding party plays an important part in your wedding process.