The ideal wedding party should look something like a group photo of the people who are nearest and dearest to you. Family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers are the most common attendants, but this is not necessarily the case for everyone. We understand deciding who to include in your bridal party is not so simple, and we’re here to help. Follow our tips and you’ll live happily ever after…well, at least happily through the wedding planning process!
Behind Every Great Bride is a Great Bridesmaid!
Dependability is the most important characteristic of the best bridesmaid. A bridesmaid or maid of honor who forgets to show up for fittings, ignores your phone calls, and drags on the planning process is more than likely not the best choice. You’re probably thinking, “Isn’t that obvious?” but think about the candidates in your life for a moment. We all have friends who are close to us yet are careless and irresponsible. Do you want them involved in something as important as your wedding? Don’t worry though; those who have been there for you in the past and truly care about you will step up to help ensure that your wedding day is everything you imagined. Do your best to choose those that are reliable and play a big role in your life.
Be realistic and look into your past. As soon as the wedding is announced, relatives, old friends, and the like will come out of the woodwork to offer help, but not everyone will manage to follow through. Who came through for you before the wedding announcement? Who is closest to you now, and which of these women are most likely to be in your life in 10 years? Choose the ladies fitting this bill.
Unfortunately, many brides feel obligated to include family members in their bridal party because of tradition or pressure from family, but if they are not a part of your life, then maybe they have no place in your bridal party either. Be careful! There may be relatives who assume that they’re going to be in the wedding party and may feel stiffed without an invite. To save yourself some grief, it could be wise to give these relatives a more minor role in the wedding as an offering of appeasement. They could hand out wedding programs or bubbles or can oversee the wedding guest book at the reception. If they’re happy, you’ll be happier.
Groomsmen – Who Makes the Cut?
No matter what your family or friends say, there aren’t people who must be in the wedding party. You’ll want to choose the guys who are closest (same as the ladies) to you and have been there for you; not those you feel obligated to ask. Remember that some friendships are fleeting, so choose the people who have been with you through the good and bad times, not some guy, who seems cool, that you met down at the pub a couple weeks ago! Whether he’s a blood relative or close friend, when your wedding day arrives, you’ll be glad that you picked a trustworthy, deserving friend for your wedding party. These men care about you, and want to see you happy, so chances are they will do everything they can to ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch.
Now, let’s face it guys, we don’t know much about weddings, and neither will your friends. Make sure they know exactly what’s expected of them before they commit to being a groomsman because there’s much more to a wedding then attending the reception party and sitting in the front. The men in the bridal party cover their own travel and accommodations (unless it’s a destination wedding – in this case the bride and groom pay the lodging), attend the rehearsal and dinner, show up for tuxedo fittings, and rent one. In addition to these responsibilities, reliability (again – just like the gals) is absolutely key to choosing the best attendants. These “wise-guys” will be responsible for taking charge of everything from the marriage license to the ring. Although we all wish it were, the planning is not solely on the ladies! Your best man may not know that he’s responsible for the ring during the ceremony, so when you turn to him, and he doesn’t know what’s going on, you may wish you had talked to him before the ceremony.
Keep in mind that a lot of money and effort are being spent on one of the biggest days of your life, and you and your wife will look back on it forever. You don’t want your drunken frat buddies or creepy cousin winking at the maid of honor during the vows, or half of your bridal party showing up late to your wedding ceremony hung over! Your groomsmen / ushers are your ambassadors; don’t let them misrepresent you. If there’s any doubt about your bud, you probably shouldn’t ask him. If you and your bride follow these tips – and your hearts – we can guarantee STRESS-LESS wedding planning!
The Golden Rules of Bridal Party Selection
- Yes, there is such a thing as a male bridesmaid! Mixed gender attendants are perfectly acceptable. Brides are asking brothers to stand up for them; grooms are asking sisters. Their titles can simply be honor attendants. However, they should dress according to their sex. No women in tuxedos or vice versa.
- It is fine to have an uneven number of attendants in the wedding party, more girls than guys, or more guys than girls. Try not to have numbers that are too unbalanced. If an attendant drops put for some reason, please don’t try to replace them, it’s insulting to the new attendant to be second choice.
- Being asked to be in a wedding is not a socially reciprocal event. You are not obligated to ask someone to be your bridesmaid simply because she asked you to be one.
- Junior bridesmaids are young ladies age 12 to 15 years who can’t carry the responsibility of being a full attendant. They are part of the wedding party and need to be treated accordingly without dressing them up like miniature adults (Please, no strapless dresses or gowns slit up the sides).
- Flower girls and ring bearers are 4 to 6 years old. Children three and under, though adorable, are typically not able to cope with all those wedding expectations. Consider the size and maturity of the child before asking – and remember- children of this age can be fickle. Be prepared for the unexpected and be willing to find humor in behaviour that’s less than perfect.
- Brides – please be kind to the bridesmaids. This means asking, not demanding; choosing gowns that flatter every size, and consideration of expense and budget limitations. And, just becuse the word “maid” appears in bridesmaid, don’t treat your attendants like slaves. Remember, these are the people you most care about so treat them well.