Selecting your bridal party can be a lot more difficult than you anticipate! It’s a pretty big decision, so don’t pick up the phone and start calling all of your best buds just yet! We encourage you to wait until you’re closer to the wedding (six months out or so) before extending the invitations; life changes, friendships change, and the last think you want to have to think about four months before the wedding is how to un-invite a bridesmaid.
Most people say you should consider size first off; we don’t agree. Modern day custom no longer states that you should have 1 bridesmaid and 1 groomsman for every 50 guests, and in our opinion it’s more important to have the people you most care about standing by your side than to have the ‘proper’ number of attendants. Below are the things we think you should consider first:
• Siblings. They’ve been in your life for your whole life, and they’ll continue to be for the rest of your life. They might not be your best friend or your favorite person, but they should be in your wedding party. Don’t forget about his sisters and your brothers; it’s more common to leave them out of the bridal party, but remember that after the wedding she’ll be your sister too.
• Significance. It’s one of the biggest days of your life; make sure you’re surrounding yourself with those that mean the world to you, the ones you can’t imagine getting married without them being there. And think into the future too; it’s not always fun to think about what friendships will end in the coming years, but you want the people standing next to you when you say ‘I Do’ to be the people that will be in your lives for years to come. And don’t choose these people based on gender! If your closest friend is a guy, he should be standing next to you when you marry the man of your dreams! It’s become a very common practice to have mix-genders on both sides of the bridal party.
• Dependability. If one of your close pals is notorious for flaking, or if your fiancé’s buddy has a reputation for getting wasted at every wedding he goes to, you might want to reconsider asking them to be in the wedding party. You can always think of other ways to include these special people in the day, but your attendants are there to support you and make your day that much more special, not add unneeded stress and headache!
• Honesty. You’ll want to ask girls that are going to know when to shut up and be happy for you, and when to tell you that you’re turning into a bridezilla!
By now you probably have a rough idea of the people you want to invite. Before you start asking, there are a few more things to think about.
• Size. Now is the time to start thinking about how many. Remember that you don’t have to have any attendants at all, or you can just have a maid of honor and a best man! The more attendants you have, the more it costs you in the long run: there’s bouquets and boutonnieres to order, thank you gifts to buy, transportation to provide, and if you’re paying part or all of their dress and tuxedo rental costs…you can see how it starts to add up. Larger numbers also require more coordinating and scheduling headaches. That being said if you absolutely can’t get married without your 10 fave sorority sisters by you side, go for it!
• Finances. Being in a wedding is a big financial commitment, especially if they don’t live in the same city. A person’s ability to afford being in your wedding has no reflection on how much they care about you. But please don’t assume whether or not someone can afford to be in your wedding; talk to those you want to invite first and see if it’s something they can (and decide for themselves to) swing.
• Desire. Once you’re ready to start asking, remember that you’re doing just that: ASKING. An invitation to be in a wedding is not an obligation to say yes, and if they decline it’s for the best, so try not to hold it against them. Aside from the financial commitment, weddings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and if they don’t want to be in your wedding, you probably don’t want them to be either; there’s nothing worse than a grumpy and reluctant attendant!
• Commitment. Be up front and honest when asking everyone about what is expected of them; both in terms of money and time. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, rehearsals, bridal luncheons, dress shopping, invitation addressing, favor-making…be sure they know what all they can expect to be doing to help you get ready and to be there for all of the important events (especially if they live out of town).
If you’ve gone through all of these steps and find you have six groomsmen and only five bridesmaids, that’s okay! Don’t panic to find a sixth girl to ask just so you can have even numbers; that just means that your lovely maid of honor gets to walk down the aisle flanked by two hunky men! Uneven numbers are becoming more and more common these days, and in our opinion it’s better to be surrounded by those you care the most about (and only those people) than to be surrounded by a wedding party that’s pleasing to the eye!