Choosing your bridal party is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. You’re choosing the women who will be standing by your side on the most important day of your life, and it’s a place of honor. They’re also the ones who will be throwing your bachelorette party, attending your bridal shower, and getting excited with you on the morning of the big day.
Here’s a handful of tips on choosing a supportive sisterhood for the day of your wedding.
Do: Decide on a number ahead of time.
With your groom, figure out a realistic number of groomsmen and bridesmaids. You may have a mile-long list of girls to ask, but if he only has three ideas for groomsmen, you’ll need to do some compromising. Consider the size of your wedding, too—you might not want a 20-person bridal party with only 50 guests in the audience.
Don’t: Ask brand new friends.
Adding friends you’ve only recently met to your bridal party can sometimes be a decision you regret later. Even if a new pal has major best-friend potential, it’s hard to know how they’ll act in stressful situations like weddings if you haven’t experienced them with her before. With a brand new friend, it can also be difficult to see if you’ll still be as tight a year from now, or if they’re just the kind of friend who latches and leaves. For your bridal party, stick to friends you’ve known for at least a year. At the same time, just because you’ve known your childhood neighbor for 25 years doesn’t mean she deserves a spot in your wedding party. Pick friends who have proven loyalty and kindness, not just who you’ve known the longest.
Do: Consider costs.
At the end of the day, being a bridesmaid can get pricey. Most “who-buys-what” traditions have fallen by the wayside, and bridesmaids are often responsible for purchasing the dress, hair, makeup, gift, and travel costs—and that’s not even including the shower or bachelorette party! If you have a friend who’s super strapped for cash, don’t put that pressure on her. It’ll put her in an awkward situation and leave you feeling terrible for going with the more expensive gown. Be upfront when asking bridesmaids what your expectations are so they’re not left in the dark.
Don’t: Ask someone who doesn’t support your marriage.
If your groom thinks your college roommate’s quirks are obnoxious, that’s one thing, but if the friend you want to ask has tried to talk you out of your marriage? There can’t be a place for them in the bridal party. They don’t need to be best friends, but if your groom and your friend can’t see eye-to-eye, your groom has to win this one. It’s the day you two become one, and you don’t want any naysayers at the head table.
Do: Avoid negativity.
We all have that friend who complains about getting sunburned on beautiful days. You don’t want someone who will be constantly bringing down your mood around you on your wedding day. The last thing you want on the morning of your wedding is someone who’s whining about the short dress or questioning your makeup choices!
Don’t: Ask people just because they asked you.
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is an honor, but don’t feel pressure to ask friends simply because they asked you. As times change, who you surround yourself with changes as well, and you may not be as close to friends as you once were. Or maybe you’re having fewer maids, or you want to include every one of the groom’s five sisters (so nice of you)! The point is, don’t feel constricted by repaying favors.
The great thing about weddings? There are a million jobs that need doing. If your cousin or coworker doesn’t make the cut but you still want them to feel involved, give them another job, like a personal attendant or reader. There’s room for everyone on your wedding day—but keep your bridal party for the near and dear to your heart.
Style Me Pretty Contributor – Claire Swinarski is a writer and podcaster based in Wisconsin. When she isn’t writing, she can be found obsessing over football, eating a burrito bowl, or hanging out with her husband and son.
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