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Wedding 101: Choosing Your Bridal Party

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Wedding 101 is a series that we have created to help with all your wedding planning needs. Part four is all about the importance of your wedding party and how to pick who’s in your party.

From the time they agree to stand by your side, your bridal party is your support group, your biggest fans, and your wedding day front line, so who do you ask for such an important role? Here are our tips on how to choose your wedding party.

Think Twice, Ask Once

From the moment someone says yes and becomes engaged, it is incredibly tempting to ask that childhood best friend they haven't talked to since high school, those college buddies who moved away, and that favorite coworker who has been there for a month to have a larger part in their wedding, but it is safer to stop and think about it. The bridal party should consist of people you currently have strong relationships with and are incredibly likely to have years from now because they are the ones who will get everything ready for you before the wedding. You should also make sure that the people you choose are people you can rely on and trust with any task. It is best to avoid people you haven’t talked to in years, people who could create cause unnecessary drama within the bridal party, and people who have only been in your life for a short amount of time. This will allow you to have people you know you can rely on no matter what happens.

Size of Party vs. Your Budget

Sometimes brides and grooms forget that you can have expenses for your bridal party. Some couples give their party members gifts when they ask them to be apart of their day or give them a gift at the wedding rehearsal as thanks for sticking with them through it all. If you’re planning a destination wedding, you may have to assist your bridal party with traveling expenses and hotel costs. Couples may even decide to help someone in the bridal party pay for their outfits for the special day if they know that particular member is having financial troubles. Whatever the case may be, it is best to make sure you have a little money set aside to make sure you can afford however many bridesmaids and groomsmen you chose to have in your wedding.

Image Credit: Getty Images


Your Siblings and You

You will probably hear this from your family, but a great word of advice is to include your siblings in your wedding party. Your wedding is only one day, but your siblings have been there for you from the beginning and will be there for the rest of your life. Just because your sibling didn’t give you a birthday present 5 years ago doesn’t mean you exclude them from your special day. They don’t have to be your maid of honor or your best man, but just having them there is incredibly important and you will thank yourself for making sure they are involved. Some couples even decide to bring other family members into their bridal party. Many grooms choose to have their fathers as their best man, and many brides choose to have their moms stand with them too.

The Greatest Honor of Them All

The roles of best man and maid/matron of honor belong to the people you believe to be your most trustworthy friends. Your best man and maid of honor are the people who have your back no matter what and can perform any task you give them. They will do anything they can to make sure your day is extra special. These people tend to be the ones who plan your bachelor/bachelorette party or even a wedding shower. They also make sure all your other bridesmaids and groomsmen stay on task and make sure they get everything they are supposed to have for your wedding. You should take your time choosing who will fill these roles, and make sure they are okay with taking on this role. These roles come with a lot of responsibility, so make sure you choose someone you know will be able to handle it.

Image Credit: Fonda Photography


Do You Return the Favor?

One thing that always seems to become an issue when it comes to wedding parties is thinking that you have to have someone in your bridal party because they included you in theirs. This is not true! Your wedding is no time for to return the favor, especially if you and the other person barely talk to one another anymore. If they happen to ask why you didn't ask them, just be honest. Tell them it was a tough decision but you wanted to make sure the people who are closer to you at this point in life were more involved, and that there were other loved ones that had to be left out as well.

Swapping the Roles

What do you do when you’re the bride and you want your male friend or your brother on your side, or you’re the groom and you want your sister or female friend with you? The answer is simple: have a bride’s man and groom’s woman! There is nothing that says you have to stick to tradition and have just bridesmaids and groomsmen. If you want them with you then do it! You can even have a man of honor and groom’s woman. It’s your day, so do what you want!

Image Credit: Thomas Stewart Photography

Other Things to Do

Some couples run into the issue that there are too many people and not enough space amongst the bridesmaids or groomsmen. The easiest way to fix this issue is to add roles to your bridal party. Adding roles like ushers, registry attendant, and program attendant allow you to utilize the help of everyone you wish to have included. These roles are incredibly important when they are needed because they still keep everyone involved, and help make sure no one feels left out.

Think of the Children

A question that is becoming more and more common in modern day weddings is “do I need a flower girl or ring bearer?” The answer: only if you want to and have little ones available! Some couples are starting to just have bridesmaids and groomsmen and are skipping the flower girls and ring bearers. Some do it because they want to cut down on ceremony time, and others do it because they do not have any nieces, nephews, cousins, or family friends that have kids.

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