They’ve had your back through thick and thin, and now you’re ready to take that relationship to the next level by asking, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” Honestly, this could really make or break your bond, so here are some things you should keep in mind when choosing your bridal party.
1. The Later You Choose, The Better
Think back to high school or college – how many of the friends you had back then do you still stay in touch with? There’s really no telling what might come up in your life or your friend’s lives, and people change, they move, they travel, they settle down and have kids.
It may be tempting to ask all of your friends to stand by you on your wedding day as soon as that ring is on your finger, but resist! If you’re engaged two years before your wedding date, you have some time to wait and see who sticks around.
2. There Are No Rules
Don’t be fooled into following tradition. Some places will tell you that it will look awkward with an uneven bridal party, but we say phooey. If you want to have ten attendants on your side and your fiancé only wants one, do it!
3. You Don’t Want No Drama, But…
You may walk those eggshells when it comes to selecting friends because you know a few of them don’t get along. And while your attempt is admirable, avoiding drama entirely is going to be near impossible if you have a bridal party.
As the bride, you’ll have to stay above the fray. If your attendants are having issues and getting catty with one another, let them. Unless someone is being extremely condescending or rude to one of your attendants, they’re adults and need to learn how to handle themselves. Step in only when necessary, and don’t be afraid to kick out an attendant if he or she is being way too overbearing. Otherwise, you might lose the other members of your bridal party.
4. Take No Offense
Now that you’re all grownups, people have lives, and yes, that means your wedding may not be top priority to every single person within a fifty-mile radius. If a friend declines being in your bridal party, don’t take it personally – chances are, they’re busy with work, school, house hunting, or all of those other ‘adult’ things, including maybe even planning their own wedding!
5. Less Is Sometimes More
Do you really want your entrance to be ten minutes long because all fifteen of your bridesmaids have to make the trek down the aisle? Do you really want to deal with all of the drama that comes with having a bigger bridal party?
Having fewer attendants is less hassle, less fighting, and less money for you and everyone else to spend. Think of some other roles where friends can help you out and save the bridal party for those nearest and dearest to you.
6. Forget Etiquette, Follow Your Heart
When you’re reading magazines with advice on how to plan your wedding, you may read “Oh, blood is thicker than water – your family will always be there for you, so all of your brothers and sisters between the two of you should be in the wedding party” … yeah, we don’t buy that.
While family is important, it’s not always the best choice for some people. If you have a sister you grew up with who turned into an absolute monster to deal with, but your fiancé has the sweetest sister ever, do not, we repeat, DO NOT, feel guilty about having the sweet one in your party and not inviting your evil one.
It’s YOUR WEDDING. Make it what you want!
7. Keep It Affordable
Being a bridesmaid is a whole lot more involved than carrying some flowers and looking pretty at the alter. Taking on the responsibilities of being in a bridal party is expensive!
Do your best to keep costs down for your bridesmaids as much as possible. While you may love the dresses for $500, chances are if you search around a little, you will find something comparable for at least half the cost.
8. Have Expectations, But Not Demands
Part of having a bridal party is to know you have some helpers for the planning process and the day of the wedding. But these people are not your slaves. They have lives to live outside of planning your wedding, and giving them forty linens and three hundred napkins to press the week of your wedding is not what they signed up for.
There are more traditional roles the bridal party will play for you, and it doesn’t hurt to ask for help if you really need it. Just don’t be overly demanding, or they may not talk to you after the wedding.
9. Revenge Is Sweet
You picked an outdoor ceremony but are forcing your bridal part to wear four-inch stiletto heels the entire day… Oh, revenge will be sweet. Just remember: if some of your bridal party members aren’t married, you may one day be in their wedding parties.
Keep comfort, money, and style in mind when it comes to selecting things for your wedding party. Otherwise, you may get a dose of your own medicine in the future.
10. And Guess What: It’s Okay to Have NONE
Maybe you aren’t sold on having a bridal party – that’s completely okay! Some of the most elegant weddings and elopements don’t have bridal parties standing up beside them, and they look like they turned out just fine.
Your friends and family can help you in other ways on the day of your wedding even if they aren’t in the bridal party. And after you read some of the horror stories out there, you may reconsider having a bridal party all together!