Choose Your Wedding Party Wisely

Yay, you’re engaged! How exciting!
Now I know what you’re thinking…

“Like, OMG – I’m going to have 12 bridesmaids: my three sisters, my college roommate, two of my sorority sisters, three of my cousins, my future-sister-in-law, my childhood neighbor and the only friend I know who can throw an amazing bachelorette party!!!!”

Hold up.

Choosing your wedding party can make or break your wedding planning process and your big day. It’s important to have those close to you stand up on the alter and support you as you pledge you’re love. It’s also important to have someone there to celebrate with you at the reception of your life. However, it’s even more important to have the support of your bridal party through the ENTIRE planning process.

When you get engaged you see the glitz and the glamour. You beam with excitement and joy. When the “WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!!” has been said to every family member, friend and covered on every social media platform you can think of – you have to start making decisions, creating budgets and figuring out seating arrangements. Not all glitz and glamour. (Take my word for it.)

Bridesmaids are the same way. They instantaneously say “Yes! of course I’ll be your Maid of Honor/Bridesmaid.” It isn’t until months later they realize the time and financial investment.

To avoid wanting to make your bridesmaid just a guest or have added stress at an already stressful time, consider the following:

1. More isn’t always merrier
You do not have to include every female you’ve ever been close to in your wedding. More people means more schedules to cater to, more opinions to take into consideration and more personality differences to deal with. Females can be petty, it’s just how we are. More females = more pettiness.

2. Females are also competitive
The worst bridesmaid to have is a bridesmaid who is competitive or jealous. Either of these types can lead you into harms way. For instance, you’ve narrowed your gown selection down to 2 choices. You ask everyone’s opinion on which they prefer. She votes for the one she doesn’t care for… (News flash, she’s going to do anything to outshine you on your big day.) Jealousy can also come from the fact that she thought she’d tie the knot first, or maybe she’s just always been a one-uper. Avoid having her ruin your wedding photos or be around for any decision. Rule of thumb: A jealous bridesmaid is NEVER a good one.

3. You do NOT need one more
Your groom has picked 5 groomsmen. You have 6 girls you would like in your wedding…. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD. (okay, my OCD hates admitting this, but it’s true.) Do not force your fiancé to scrounge up an old friend to even out your wedding party. There are plenty of ways to make wedding photos look even and have two girls walk with one guy. Problem averted.
(Remember, you’ll have your wedding pictures forever. Don’t have your husband despise you because you forced him to include his college roommate, Gary to be in the wedding! I’ve met couples who have been together 10-years and have shamfully admitted they wish [enter name here] wasn’t in any of their wedding photos because they haven’t spoken since 6 months after the wedding.)

4. There are other options
Again, not every person you’ve been close to has to be in your wedding party. There ARE other options. Many weddings have readers and ushers. Some people may even thank you for not asking because their financial situation or work load wouldn’t allow for it.

5. Pick those closest to you
Traditionally bridesmaids, female – groomsmen, male. These days  anything goes. If you brother is your best friend he SHOULD be your man-of-honor. Lets say you aren’t close to your future-sister-in-law, but it’s important to your fiancé that she is in the wedding… Groomsmaid it is! Years back it was also bad etiquette to have a pregnant bridesmaid. Now, it’s bad etiquette not to ask your best friend or sister because she is expecting.

6. You don’t have to return the favor
You were in cousin Phoebe’s wedding, so it’s only right she should be asked to be in yours. WRONG! Your wedding is not the opportune time to pay back favors. Especially if it’s not what you want. Sure, invite cousin Phoebe and her now husband. If she’s that upset she’s not a bridesmaid – she doesn’t have to attend at all.

7. Family over friends, or friends over family?!
So… which is it? In my personal opinion it’s friends over family (not all family, but some.) For me the bonds I have with my girlfriends is much closer than those I have with my cousins or family members. I will have friends before family at my wedding. However, most friends would understand if you chose a family member over them. Do what you think is best. Follow YOUR heart.

8. Communicate your expectations
Most importantly, communicate your expectations to your future bridesmaid when you ask her to be in your bridal party. This will avoid possible catastrophes down the road. There are really cute ways of doing this now. Such as a note that says:

Will you be my MAID OF HONOR?
Will you be my best friend, my sister, my counselor?
Will you hold my hand on my wedding day?
Will you help me pick out the perfect dress?
Will you answer all my silly questions, even the redundant ones, I send via text or Google Chat?
Will you help keep the other bridesmaids up-to-date with the plans, schedules, and my emotions?
Will you tolerate my venting?
Will you stop me from registering for crap we know I don’t need?
Will you wear your Chuck Taylors like they are the FIERCEST pair of Christian Louboutins you’ve ever seen?
Will you sit in front of your computer on Skype during my shower, cut Lisa and I off at the rehearsal dinner and ensure the DJ doesn’t play anything to make me want to drop it likes it’s HOT?
Lastly, but most mportantly will you hold my dress when I need to pee?
Please say yes!

There is no right or wrong answer. You could have a bridal party of 24 or 0. It’s all what you decide and what works best for your specific situation. Follow your heart and you will have individuals by your side that eliminate the stress, not add to it.

When you do figure out who you want to be a part of your special day, figure out a special way to ask them: ideas here!

Until you figure all the chaos of a bridal party out, a glass of red & a to-do list should get you through.