Always the Guest Book Attendant, Never the Bridesmaid
Sep 10, 2009
The Wedding Party,
As you’ve probably been noticing, choosing your wedding attendants isn’t always easy. I’ve often wished for enough siblings to be one of those lucky women who can set a strict “sisters only” rule and be done with it with no hard feelings.
But I don’t, and you probably don’t either. Assuming you do want bridesmaids, it becomes a dilemma. College friends? High school pals? Favorite cousins? This work friend but not that one?
First, let’s take a moment to acknowledge that having too many wonderful people in your life is a fantastic problem to have. Then let’s acknowledge that it is, in fact, a bit of a problem – you don’t want to hurt any feelings and you do want as many people as possible to feel included in your wedding.
So should you ask loved ones who didn’t make the attendant cut to take on other duties? A quick survey of wedding etiquette books and the OneWed team showed a pretty sharp difference of opinions. Some felt that asking someone to be a guest book attendant or in charge of passing out birdseed bundles was a nice way to include them in the ceremony… and some felt that giving someone a chore in addition to an obvious second place to the attendants was adding insult to injury.
I can see both points. I do feel like asking someone to sing or do a reading is an obvious honor that most people would be proud to accept, but, yes, I understand that being asked to tie bows to the pews might not be received well.
A lot of how the request is taken may depend on the person and on the asking. Your girlfriend who likes to feel like a lifesaver may enjoy being asked to be the point person with the caterer at the reception, and your guy pal who considers himself a diplomat may love being tapped to help make sure nobody is “overserved” at the bar. And, yeah, birdseed and guest books are chores… but knowing that you trust them and need their help may help your friends see them differently.
Or maybe your buddy would really rather dance. Just do a quick reality check before asking them – maybe ask a mutual friend how your potential Flower Dog Handler will react.
In the end, though, there’s no rule that you have to have a wedding party at all, and grownups – even ones who are close to you – need to understand that not everyone can be included if you do. You don’t have to make up a task (or include your sister’s freeform jazz explorations on the xylophone in your wedding) just out of obligation.
If you have someone in your circle who likes to stand by things in a helpful manner, make him or her the guest book attendant. If not, I’m pretty sure your guests can figure out how to work the pages by themselves.