Believe it or not, choosing your wedding party is a lot like everything else in wedding planning: there are do’s and don’ts, it can be lots of fun, and in the end, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. But we have some tips to help you so when you look at your album in 20 years, you recognize everyone in it!
DON’T ASK TOO QUICKLY
Often, in all the excitement of getting engaged, a couple gets caught up in the emotions and starts asking too many people to be in the wedding. Be careful — you won’t easily be able to take those invites back, and you don’t want to ask too many, or those you aren’t close with. (Remember, along with asking them to help with certain tasks, these people will be a part of all events leading up to the big day.)
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do I want to be with this person at my shower, bachelorette party, etc.?
While there are no mandatory rules for who attends these pre-wedding events, you really should include those in your bridal party. You also might ask your bridesmaids to help make favors or help put together welcome bags for out-of-towners, so make sure you’re asking people that you think will be willing to take on these extra tasks.
- Is this someone that I envision being a part of my life for a while?
You might have people in your life now that you’re close to because of certain circumstances (a job, a class you’re taking, etc.) and while you’ll want them at your wedding you don’t need to include them in your bridal party just because they might be hearing about your planning on the daily.
- Is this someone I can rely on with certain tasks?
Just because they say they are responsible doesn’t make it so. You don’t want to ask your flighty college roommate to keep track of your veil only to find out it’s missing come wedding day.
REMEMBER FAMILY WHEN CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PARTY
While you might not be super close to siblings now, these are people that will (most likely) be in your life forever or at least way beyond those that you share a work pod with. It’s also courteous to consider sibling-in-laws-to-be. So in choosing your wedding party, make sure you think a bit long term.
CONSIDER THE SIZE OF YOUR WEDDING
If you’re having fewer than 100 people at your wedding, having a bridal party of 20 people will seem odd. While you want to include those most special to you, consider scale. Also, remember your bridesmaids will either be in the same gown or the same color, and having a large bridal party will look a bit weird if the party is very large and the overall guest list isn’t. On the other hand, a large wedding party makes for super fun photo ops and won’t look out of place if you do have a long wedding guest list.
RECIPRICATION ISN’T MANDATORY
Just because you were in a friend’s wedding doesn’t mean you have to ask them to be in yours. You should make sure you are choosing people that really mean a lot to you, and picking people for payback isn’t the most sincere of reasons.
At the end of the day, choosing your wedding party is a personal decision about who you want by your side as you tie the knot. We’re seeing more couples incorporate mixed-gender wedding parties — think Man of Honor, Bridesman, Best Woman — and even choosing to forgo bridal parties altogether.
Also, remember there are many ways to honor people you aren’t having in the bridal party. From having them read a poem at the ceremony to asking them to be a witness when you sign your marriage license, you can give them a special honor that might be even more meaningful to them. We’ve got more tips (like how to have your bridal party walk down the aisle) so read up on how to make the best of the “choosing your bridal party” moments.