Come on, you know you’ve thought of it. You’ve been scribbling names on your bridesmaids list since you were 10 and marking people off that list since you were 11. I’m right, aren’t I?
Well, in case you have lost that list somewhere along the way, here are some tips to help you choose your attendants.
But before we get to that, we need to talk numbers.
You should already have an idea of the number of wedding attendants you want in your wedding. But remember the “numbers” do not have to match up. It is ok if you have six gals and he only has five men. There are plenty of creative walking and photography options. Do not let this strict idea of having a matching number of men and women keep you from including all of your closest friends and family members. And now ... here are
1. Envision your Wedding Day
Bridesmaids play an important role in your wedding. They are called on to help with planning, stuff invitations and help you choose a dress. They are responsible for hosting a bridal shower and a girls night party.
You will spend a great deal of time with these girls, so you need to like them enough to want to be around them. They should bring out the positives in you and calm you when you are nervous.
I knew I wanted to spend the day of my wedding surrounded by my favorite people. I wanted to be with people who have a calming effect on me. I wanted people who relax me and who can make me laugh. But most of all, I wanted people who get along well with other people.
2. Make a List (yes, that is my answer for everything … just stay with me)
Write a list of everyone who you would like to be in your wedding. Then, write a list of everyone who should be in your wedding. This includes demanding cousins, your fiance's brother’s girlfriend and possibly married friends who asked you to be in their wedding.
3. Cross ‘em and Select ‘em
Put a star beside everyone you want in your wedding. Think about why you want that person to stand with you on your wedding day. Ask yourself
- How long have you known this person?
- How have they demonstrated their friendship and loyalty?
- Will you have to tell your children who this person is when they look at your wedding pictures in 20 years or will this person still be in your life?
Now look at the people who you think should be in your wedding and ask yourself why.
- Were you in her wedding and you feel you owe it to her?
- Did she or someone close to you ask if she could be in your wedding?
You don’t owe anyone a place in your wedding party. It is your wedding and you should have the people you want standing with you on your day.
However, consider the consequences of not asking someone. For example, even if you don’t know your fiance’s first cousin well, he may be really close to her. It is his wedding day, too and a good marriage should start with compromise. Is it worth it if hurt feelings never heal?
Choosing your wedding attendants is a tough job. When I got married, I had a relative who tried to insist that two or three of my cousins should be in my wedding. I had relatives call me and tell me they’d be “really pissed if I didn’t ask.” Even my mother tried to smooth the situation by asking me why I didn’t just add them.
The bottom line is that I wanted a group of girls who would all mesh well together. I was in a wedding once where there was a catty divide between the high school friends and the college friends and the whole experience was miserable. On the other hand, I’ve been in weddings where everyone’s personality meshed and when the wedding events were over, we’d made new friends. That is what I wanted. You decide what you really want for your day, consider the consequences and make your choice.
Once you have, the fun can begin!
Photos courtesy of Lan Bui