7 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Party
Chani with her wedding party pre-ceremony, 2017. Photo courtesy of Tony Contini Photography.
Take your time
This isn’t a race! We definitely know that getting your gals (and guys!) together and asking them to be by your side while you say “I Do” is one of the most fun parts of the early wedding process. But don’t pull the trigger too soon! You want to be intentional, careful, and remember that while it’s an honor to be in the wedding party, it’s just as much an honor to be there at all. So go forth, and remember…
Once you ask, you can’t go back (within reason – drama or otherwise)
Feel free to break tradition – guys don’t only have to be on the groom’s side!
A la last week’s blog post – when I look at these photos down the road, will I still be in contact with this person and/or be happy that they were there with me at that time?
As long as you are giving your wedding party adequate time from the time they say “yes” to when you walk down the aisle, take as much time as you need to determine who you want to stand by your side.
Make sure you know exactly what you want from your wedding party
Everyone has read them – the lists of every MOH responsibility, what they are in charge of, and everything they have to do once you ask them. But for every bride that wants (or needs!) that, there is one that doesn’t. So think a little harder about what you are expecting of your wedding party before you ask them – and make sure you are all on the same page!
Are they only required to stand by you on your big day, or will you need all the
assistance they can give?
Chani: “This was especially important when I chose my wedding party because I didn’t mind having a huge group. However, I was mindful of who was in a good position to take on any aspect of bridal party responsibilities. One of my best friends is a mom, and she and I discussed many options, even having my sweet nephew be our ring bearer! But ultimately he was a little too young and fussy, and we opted to have him (and ultimately her!) happier in the audience than trying to chase him down in a dress.”
Do they live out of town? It’s completely fine to have a bridal party that is spread out all over the country, or even the world. However, keep in mind what types of events you want them to attend leading up to the big day. Do you want to see them in their bridesmaid dresses in person? Should they be there for the engagement party, bridal shower, or bachelorette party? Will you need them at the venue a day before for the rehearsal dinner and run through? Consider all of these events and whether or not it would be okay having them there potentially just for the day of, or if you’d rather have your tribe by your side through the whole process.
Size doesn’t matter!
Whether you have one or two best friends, or the whole sorority, the size of your wedding party is entirely up to you! We believe that there is no real rule besides what makes YOU happy. 1 bridesmaid or 20!
Melia: “My husband and I chose to have no wedding party since we decided to not invite a majority of our friends. However, I still wanted someone to get ready with, and someone to help me plan our wedding. My sister, Chani, ended up being not only the only member of my bridal party, but also the person who walked me down the aisle. It was perfect in every way because I was able to spend the months leading up to, and the day of, our wedding with the person I wanted to the most.”
Additionally, a big wedding doesn’t require a big wedding party, and vice versa! There isn’t any equation to determine how large your wedding party is in relation to how many guests you have. If you have 10 friends you want to be by your side, and you have a 40 person wedding – that’s great! Want your three closest gals to stand with you in a wedding of 200? Go for it!
And remember, the size doesn’t dictate the size of the celebration, and the sides definitely don’t need to be even! If you have way more or way less than your spouse in your wedding party, that’s okay! There are so many ways to take pictures to have everyone in it, no matter how many, and the entrance order can be moved around to accommodate any amount.
Don’t choose out of obligation
Just because someone asked you to be in their wedding party doesn’t mean you need to ask them. Lots of us have been in weddings, and maybe by the time YOU get married, you aren’t as close! This happens! And it isn’t a reflection of how much you may still love and care for them, it just means you’re choosing from your heart, not from of a feeling of obligation.
While we strongly support having your sibling in your wedding party (Because, of course, we were each other’s MOH! So, we may be bias…), there is no rule that states they HAVE to! The same goes for not only being IN the wedding party, but as the Maid of Honor/Best Man! Some siblings are closer than others, and that’s okay. No need to exaggerate for this day. The same goes for the sibling(s) of your soon-to-be spouse! While it is always a nice gesture to include them in your wedding party, if you aren’t close, don’t feel like you have to. Still feeling pressure to include them in some way? See tip #6 for some ideas!
Surround yourself with positive people
They’re there. They probably aren’t going anywhere. But do you need to have them right next to you? Definitely not! We know that it can be hard to say “no” to someone being in your wedding party, however we think these are some deal breakers to consider when you’re teetering back and forth on the decision…
Do they make you feel good about yourself and your future to-be? This is a must!
If they don’t support your relationship, that’s an instant NO.
Who you choose to stand with you can set the tone for the day, so make sure you choose people who are going to take the stress and drama AWAY from you, not bring more to you.
They might be in charge of planning your bachelorette party and/or bridal shower, so make sure they know you and what you like and are excited to celebrate YOU!
Do you have two friends who don’t get along and want both of them to stand with you? It might be time for a heart-to-heart. If they can put aside their differences and celebrate you on your big day, all the better! However, if it looks like drama is on the horizon, consider saying “no” to one or both (for your own sanity)!
Consider other roles
Not wanting someone in your wedding party (for whatever the reason) definitely doesn’t mean that they can’t be involved. There are so many ways to include someone that still makes them a special part of your big day. Consider these “day of” duties…
Giving a reading at the ceremony
Officiating the wedding itself!
Walking the flower girls/ring bearer down the aisle (especially if these roles are filled by younger children or even pets!)
Mother-of-the-bride or mother-of-the-groom escort
The first toast
Be prepared for someone to say “no”
It happens! Being in a wedding comes with its own set of expenses and it’s reasonable for someone to not be able to afford it. While it sucks in the moment, just remember… This has no reflection on your friendship. They still love you and treasure your friendship, and their bank account has no connection to that.