How To: Select Your Bridesmaids

by Lauren J Sharkey

One of the best things about weddings is being able to share the experience with those you love.  Unfortunately, this can also be one of the more stressful components of the wedding experience.  Bridesmaid selection and the guest list can lead to headaches, which is why we’re here to help!

Step One: Take a Breath

You just got engaged!  Enjoy the moment and take everything in.  Just because you’re engaged doesn’t mean you have to make every wedding decision in the next 24 hours.  Take some time to think about the important people in your life, and who you’d like to have by your side on the big day.

Step Two: Set Your Expectations

Consider how involved you’d like your bridesmaids to be.  Do you want them present for dress shopping, helping with favors, and supporting you through this process or is it okay if they show up at only the important events (bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.)?  If you’re looking for a really present and supportive bridal party, perhaps think twice about asking friends who live out of state, or who have extremely demanding jobs.

Not sure what a bridesmaid is supposed to do?  Check out this infographic:

Ever_Pretty_the_wedding_partyPresented By Ever-Pretty Dresses

Step Three: Don’t Kill the Vibe

Think your maid of honor and bridesmaids will butt heads?  Worried that Jess hasn’t forgiven Emma for stealing her kindergarten boyfriend?  Carefully think about how each of your bridesmaids will interact with each other.  Weddings are stressful enough as is – you don’t need any extra drama!

Step Four: Bigger is not always better

While there might be a lot of names on your list, just keep in mind that the bigger your wedding party, the more people you need to coordinate with and keep track of.  Sometimes less is definitely more!

Step Five: Consider Family

Even though there’s no hard and fast rule that states you must include your (or your significant other’s!) siblings, think twice before you cross them off your list.  Chances are, they’re already going to be around for a lot of the festivities (dress shopping, rehearsal dinner, photos, etc.) – it might feel awkward if they’re not included in the wedding party.

Step Six: Talk to your fiancé/fiancée

If your fiancé is really close to his sister and would like for her to be included in the bridal party, this may be your first wedding planning compromise.  And while you may not be besties now, chances are you’ll grow closer over time!

Step :  Be sure!

Once you ask, that’s it – so be 100% sure about anyone you ask to be in the wedding party.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t be disappointed if someone refuses to be in your wedding party.  Being part of a wedding can be extremely expensive, and not everyone may be able to afford it when you ask.
  • You aren’t required to ask someone just because they asked you.  This is your wedding, and you decide who you want to share it with.
  • Be up front about your expectations when asking people to be in your bridal party (especially when it comes to cost!).  Let them know what you foresee needing help with, and how involved you’d like them to be so they know exactly what they’re getting into.
  • A helpful thing you may want to do when it comes to bridesmaid selection is outlining what you expect them to be financially responsible for, and how much you are able to contribute to costs.  Are you going to cover their mani/pedi as a gift?  Will you cover the cost of alterations?  These are things you might want to have in mind when you pop the question to potential bridesmaids.
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