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18 Tips for How to Choose Your Wedding Party

Choosing your wedding party is one of the most important (and possibly most stressful) parts of wedding planning. Here are some great tips to help along the way.

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Start with Your Closest Family & Friends

Make a list of the people you are closest to. This can be family or friends. Don’t get stuck on only choosing single people to stand with you. Just make a list of the people who mean the most to you. This could include:

  1. siblings (both yours and your future spouse’s)

  2. best friends

  3. friends you talk to every day

  4. your longest friendships

  5. a mentor

  6. a parent

If it’s someone you or your fiance haven’t talked to in over a year, they probably shouldn’t be in your wedding party. These should be the people who have been and you are confident will be by your side for the long run.

Choose a Manageable Wedding Party Size

Your wedding party can be as large or as small as you want it to be. However, you will want to think about everything involved in having your nearest and dearest stand with you.

While bridesmaids will likely pay for their own dresses and groomsmen will chip in for the tuxes/suits, there are other expenses you may need to cover. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have the more you need to spend, such as:

  1. bouquets and boutonnieres

  2. hair, makeup, and nails

  3. bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts

  4. rehearsal dinner meals

Make sure that you can financial afford to have as many bridesmaids and groomsmen that you want.

You Don’t Need an Even Number on Both Sides

Traditionally, you have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, you don’t have to stress yourself out of having an equal number.

It’s not uncommon to have more bridesmaids than groomsmen or vice versa.

If you plan on having the groomsmen walk the bridesmaids down the aisle together, have one groomsmen walk two bridesmaids down, for example. The other way you could do it is have all the groomsmen walk down the aisle after the groom and then have all the bridesmaids walk down before the bride.

There are plenty of options to seamlessly have an uneven wedding party so it’s definitely not worth stressing over.

Having Kids in Your Wedding Party

Having kids in your wedding party can be a lot of fun, or it can add more stress to the day. It’s completely up to you to have kids or not.

If you plan to have junior bridesmaids, flower girl(s), and/or ring bearer(s), think about what you expect them to do and what to do if something goes wrong.

Depending on the age of your flower girl(s) and ring bearer(s) you’ll want to make a plan for when the spotlight becomes too much and they simply can’t handle the pressure.

If you plan to have a junior bridesmaid, you could make them responsible for taking the younger ones to a caretaker. You can also plan to have someone seated in the front row whose job is to watch over the kids.

Don’t Stress Over Picking a Maid of Honor or Best Man

Choose your maid of honor and best man shouldn’t be a stressful decision. If it is, you’re making it too complicated.

If you have a sibling, you can easily pic them to be your maid of honor and best man so that you close friends aren’t offended that you choose one of them over the other.

Also keep in mind that it’s okay to have more than one maid of honor and best main. For example, if one of your ladies is married, you could have a matron of honor and a maid of honor.

Think about who can handle the responsibility of being the maid of honor and best man.

Lastly, choose people who have and will continue to stand by you in life. You don’t have to pick some one just because you were their maid of honor or best man at their wedding. The choice is you, it doesn’t have to be complicated. 🙂

Make Your List, Check it Twice

You don’t need to rush to make your decision and ask your friends and family to stand with you. Make your list and then take some time to think on it. Be confident with who you’ve chosen and take some time to be sure.

If you’re planning on a long engagement, you can wait three months to ask your people to stand with you.

You may want to include a few extra people on your list if you think some of our first choices might turn you down.

Choose Responsible People to Stand with You

The wedding party is responsible for helping with various tasks. You’ll want to make sure that the people you choose are responsible enough to do the tasks they are asked to do.

You’ll be asking your attendants to do some pretty important wedding planning tasks, so they should be people you trust to get the job done efficiently and effectively.

If you are on a budget, it would be a good idea to think about how well your trusted attendant handles money. Try to ask someone who is financially savvy to help with any research of spending.

Know the Roles

Here are a few of the responsibilities that each person is responsible for. If you don’t feel that the person you want to ask can fulfill these roles, you may want to give them a smaller, simpler job.

  1. Maid of Honor – Plans the bridal shower and handles many of the wedding day details. She helps the bride get dressed before the wedding. She adjusts the bride’s train at the altar, holds her bouquet during the vows, and holds the grooms wedding ring. After the ceremony, she signs the marriage license and gives a toast to the newlyweds.

  2. Best Man – Plans the bachelor party and supports the groom on the day of the wedding. He makes sure the groom gets to the ceremony on time, gives the wedding officiant their fee after the ceremony, signs the marriage license, and holds the bride’s wedding ring. Lastly, he’s responsible for a toast at the reception.

  3. Bridesmaids – They support the maid of honor, helping with prewedding tasks and stand with the bride on the day of. Bridesmaids are often expected to keep the dance floor running and be hosts to the wedding guests.

  4. Groomsmen – They help the best man plan and pay for the bachelor party and stand with the groom on the day of. Groomsmen may also double as ushers. They’re also responsible for decorating the getaway car and act as hosts to the wedding guests.

Be Upfront About Your Expectations

To avoid any future issues, it’s best to be upfront with what you expect from each member of your wedding party at the time you ask them.

For example, if you expect your bridesmaid to pay for their own dresses, tell them up front.

It’s a good idea to have print out for each person detailing what they will need to pay for and what roles and responsibilities you expect them to do. If any of your wedding party feels they can’t financially do it or have time constraints, they should be upfront with you about it.

Encourage the people to ask to be honest with you and indicate that your feelings won’t be hurt if they need to turn you down. You could simply assign them some day-of wedding tasks (such as moving the guest book from the wedding venue to the reception hall, helping with cleanup, etc.)

Think About if These People Will Be in Your Life for Years to Come

Where will your maid of honor, best man, etc. be in the next year? Do you foresee your friendship fading away?

It’s best to pick people that you know will be by your side for the long haul. This is why it might be best to choose a sibling or family member, unless you have a long time friend that has always been there for you.

Be Okay With Someone Saying No

Most of the time, if you ask someone to be a part of your wedding party and they say no, it’s because of things out of their control. Whether it be finances, time constraint, conflicting schedules, etc. they are not denying you because of personal hardship.

It probably pained them to tell you no as much as it pained you to hear it. Be understanding with them and let them know that you still wish they could be a part of your day. If they are still able to make it to the wedding, see if there is a way you could have them be apart of the day such as making them an usher, helping with small tasks, etc.

There may be some people that can be there to stand with you on the day of but can’t help much with the planning process. They just need to be upfront with you and the rest of the wedding party understands the issues (wouldn’t want any fighting or issues that someone didn’t help as much as everyone else). There is no reason, if you’re okay with less hands helping, that they can’t still be a bridesmaid or groomsman on your wedding day.

Talk About it Before Choosing

You and your fiance need to communicate and agree on the wedding party together. Not that you might not need a little compromise on either side, but both of you should be happy with who was chosen.

Also, it’s okay for the groom to choose a few ladies that he wants to be bridesmaids and for the bride to choose a few groomsmen. Perhaps there are brothers or sisters on either side who should be part of the wedding.

The biggest thing is to communicate and come to an agreement on the wedding party before asking anyone to be in it.

Don’t Choose Out of Obligation

Just because you were Melissa’s maid of honor doesn’t mean Melissa needs to be your maid of honor. Never choose someone to be in your party because you feel obligated. This is you and your future spouses wedding and you should have the people you want standing with you.

When you’re making your list of people to ask, literally write down why you want each person in your wedding. What is it about them that made you write down their name? If it’s only because you were in their wedding, move their name to the bottom of the list.

Assign Small Helpful Tasks to Those You Didn’t Ask

There are plenty of little things that people can chip in and do. If you suspect that someone might have hurt feelings because you didn’t ask them to be in your wedding, here is a great list of small things they could do to help. Making them feel needed and having them do a task for you is a win-win on both sides.

  1. Transportation for the wedding party

  2. Pickup people from the airport

  3. Get clothing, flowers, and other wedding day necessities to the venue

  4. Help do hair and makeup

  5. Read, sing, or play an instrument at the ceremony

  6. Look after the flower girl(s) and ring bearer(s)

  7. Pass out programs to guests as they arrive

  8. Move flowers and decor from the ceremony location to reception

  9. Baking and cooking for the wedding reception

  10. Be the DJ for the reception

  11. Help assemble bouquets and centerpieces

  12. Help decorate the venue(s)

  13. Run the photo booth or polaroid guestbook

Consider the Finances

Being IN the wedding isn’t cheap. Consider how much it’s going to cost and if the person you want to ask can really afford it. Depending on what you are paying for and what you expect your wedding party to pay for, this could vary. Here are a few of the things they might need to cover:

  1. Travel costs – If they live out of state, travel costs can get pretty expensive. Plus, they might need to stay in a hotel, which adds up depending on how long they plan to stay. If they’re helping with the wedding, they’ll need to come a few days before and probably stay a few days longer. They might also want to travel in for the bridal shower and bachelorette/bachelor party.

  2. The dress/suit – The cost of bridesmaid dresses and suits/tuxes average around $150. You’ll also need to factor in alterations, shoes, lingerie, ties, and other accessories. The price can quickly double to $300 or more.

  3. Hair, makeup, and manicures – Not all brides pay for hair, makeup, and manicures. Therefore, bridesmaids could end up paying an additional $100 or more.

  4. Gifts – By the time they purchase a wedding gift and a bridal shower gift, they’ll likely spend $150 to $200. Wedding guests would likely spend this much too, but it’s still worth budgeting for.

  5. Throwing the bridal shower – As part of the bridal party, bridesmaids may be expected to help pay for the shower (invitations, food, favors, and décor). The cost varies depending on how many guests you have, but $50-100 should be budgeted for gifts.

Limit the Potential for Drama

Some people live for drama (and for creating it). If you think someone on your list of people to ask to be in your wedding might be drama prone, consider moving their name to the bottom of the list.

When it comes to picking out dresses, food, decor and colors, the last thing you need is arguments and too many opinions.

Try to get people who are going to support you, your desires, and what is best for your day.

You might also want to consider the relationships of the girls standing with you… if you have two women who hate each other’s guts, it might not go so well 😉

Space At the Altar

When considering the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, think about how much space you’ll have at the altar. You might not have the exact venue picked out, but you probably have an idea.

At some places, 12 bridesmaids and 12 groomsmen might be a bit much for the space available.

Don’t Stress

The last and more important tip is don’t stress! Your wedding is meant to be memorable and fun. If picking your wedding party is getting too stressful, revert to making things simple.

It’s not against the rules to only have family as your wedding party. You could even choose to have no wedding party. This is your wedding, do it the way you want and however makes you and your future spouse happy.

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Hi, I’m Kristin. While I haven’t found my Prince Charming yet, I’ve been dreaming of getting married for a long long time. I started this site as a place to record all the things I’ve found and researched in preparation for my own wedding someday. I can’t wait to share it all with you!

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