Category: Planning & Etiquette
When it comes to the happiest day of your life, you undoubtedly want to be surrounded by all your loved ones—whether they’re filling the seats at your ceremony or standing by your side as you and your beloved exchange vows. But let’s face it: Choosing your wedding party isn’t a piece of wedding cake. So if you need a little help picking the ladies and gents who will help you to and through your big day, here are six things to consider.
- How many people you want in your wedding party.
Whether you’re sticking to tradition and determining the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen by the size of your wedding, you and your sweetheart need to pick how many friends and relatives you want in your party—and stick with that number. Setting this expectation at the start will help as you go through the process of choosing exactly who you want by your side.
- Consider your relationships.
Maybe you have four siblings, a dozen cousins and a wide friendship circle. Regardless, it’s important to think about these relationships and how much they matter to you. It may seem a little harsh to pick and choose your closest friends or to ask your favorite cousin to be part of the wedding without offering the coveted position to anyone else, but remember that it’s your day. You’ll want to ensure that the people filling your wedding party are the ones you truly couldn’t imagine going without—who’ve been there and who’ll be there for you forever and ever, amen. (So that means you’ll have to politely refuse adding all 12 cousins to the mix—there just isn’t enough room for every relative.)
- Don’t feel pressured to ask them simply because they asked you.
It’s a difficult thing, especially as you get older and witness more friends and family enter wedded bliss. It’s likely that you’ve been asked to stand up in a wedding (or two), but bear in mind that you don’t need to return the favor when it’s your turn to walk down the aisle. Not everyone will make the cut, which is perfectly fine, and many might actually prefer to be a member of the audience.
- Only pick people you trust with responsibility.
Being a bridesmaid or groomsman involves some inherent expectations and responsibilities. They’ll need to join you at showers, parties, dress/tux fittings and more. If a potential “chosen one” is so busy with their work or personal life that they wouldn’t be able to attend these events (or would be too stressed by the schedule), it wouldn’t be fair of you to ask them to shoulder another responsibility—and then grow frustrated at their inability to take on as much as the rest of your crew. Of course, you can ask them knowing their limitations (and make peace with those) or consider other special ways they could take part, such as greeting guests as they arrive to the ceremony, reading a passage or poem you and your beloved treasure or delivering a toast at the reception. Not every role needs to be time-consuming, and there are certainly ways to involve your friends and family beyond the bridal party.
- Be honest with expectations and take your time choosing.
Once there’s a ring involved and a date set, you’ll likely want to jump right into wedding planning—starting with picking your bridesmaids and groomsmen. Once you’ve determined the “how many” and “who” portions—and you’ve popped the question to your guys and gals—be honest with your expectations from the get-go. Tell your attendants what you want and need from them, what costs you’re planning to cover and what they’ll need to figure out on their own, as well as how involved you’d like them to be. Want your friends to help stuff and address wedding invitations when the time comes? Need the whole party at every pre-wedding function? Content with everyone showing up to the ceremony wearing whatever outfit you’ve chosen? Let them know when you ask them to be in your party—that way they know what’s expected of them and whether they’ll be able to participate.