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How to Choose Bridesmaids Without Hurting Feelings

When I think about picking bridesmaids and the maid of honor, it starts stressing me out. How in the world do you accomplish this without hurting feelings?

Someone is bound to be offended, it’s almost completely unavoidable. Being asked to stand with someone at their wedding is considered an honor that is reserved for the brides’ closest friends. So, for the person not asked to stand there, they think it means you don’t see them as a close friend.

I remember being in that position. I had a friend who I was really close to, but about a year before she got married we drifted apart. Of course she didn’t ask me to stand with her at her wedding and I was a little sad. But then I realized that I hadn’t really talked to her much in the past year I can completely understood why she picked other people. It really wasn’t that big of a deal after all.

Here are a few things I would consider when choosing bridesmaids.


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Family First

I come from a very close knit family so I would most certainly want to have my sisters and my husband-to-be’s sisters stand with me. I understand that this might get difficult if there ends up being six sisters between the two of us. For younger sisters, I might consider having them be junior bridesmaids or flower girls.

If I ended up having way too many bridesmaids because of the number of sisters, I’m not sure I’d be able to pick. I would probably choose the sister I’m closest too, either in relationship or in age, then ask one of his sisters, and have one or two other friends.

Consider the Friendship

We’ve all had friends throughout the years that came and went. Like my story above, we were close for a few years and then just drifted apart.

I would consider the friends that I have now, who have I been friends with the longest, and who do I expect to remain friends with for the foreseeable future?

Yes, there are friends from the past that asked me to be in their wedding, and I was. But I probably will not ask them to be in my wedding simply because we grew apart over the years. Honestly, I don’t think they even expect me to ask them or would want to stand with me if I did.

When asked about choosing bridesmaids without hurting feelings, one person online said,

I would keep it simple. Ask who you would call in the middle of the night to help you move a dead body. Ask those people and don’t worry about asking anyone else out of obligation. source

How Supportive is the Person and Will They Just Complicate Things

Some people are just cantankerous and difficult to please. Planning your wedding is stressful enough without someone there complaining about every decision you make.

I also want to make sure that the person I’m asking to stand with me is one who supports our relationship and life goals.

Personally, I also want to choose ladies who will be there for me even after the wedding to support and encourage along the way. For this reason, I would love to have at least one married lady by my side. Someone who’s already been through it all and can help along the way and afterwards.

If the person you want to ask is a faithful friend who knows you on a personal level, loves and supports your soon-to-be husband and is available on your big day, you’ve got the perfect person to be a bridesmaid!

If they freak out that you didn’t include them as part of your wedding party, you probably made the right decision. I’m guessing their the type of people who will want to object all the time.

Other Roles for Other Friends

A great way to avoid hurting feelings because you didn’t ask someone to be a bridesmaid is to give them other roles on your wedding day.

By asking them to fulfilling a task, they feel like you still value them and trust them with something. It gives them something more to do than just be a guest. It’s the perfect way to include everyone with out having 20 bridesmaids by your side.

Here are a few things you could ask your other friends to do on your wedding day. Make sure to hand out tasks that work with each person’s strengths. Don’t give them a job they’ll hate or that will just make it worse.

  1. read a passage, poem, story, etc. during the ceremony

  2. make the wedding cake

  3. sing a song during the ceremony

  4. play an instrument at the ceremony

  5. ask them to sit with your family

  6. help decorate the church and/or reception venue

  7. oversee the guestbook

  8. oversee the gifts

  9. pass out programs to guests

  10. watch over the ring bearer and flower girls during the ceremony

  11. be the photographer

  12. liaison to the photographer

  13. be the videographer

  14. run a photo booth at the reception

  15. include them in a girls-only dance at the reception

  16. ask them to help put together floral arrangements

  17. include photos of them

  18. mention them in a toast

  19. plan and/or provide transportation

  20. witness on marriage certificate

  21. day of coordinator

  22. lady in waiting to run errands on the day off for whatever is needed

What Non-Bridesmaid Should and Should Not Do

There are certain lines that a non-bridesmaid should and should not cross. After all, the bride most likely already has a maid of honor and a few bridesmaids that are already on top of the big wedding planning tasks. However, there are a few things that are great for non-bridesmaids friends and should be done when and if the bride requests her help.

Here are a few DOs and DON’Ts for non-bridesmaids:

Non-Bridesmaids SHOULD

  1. Listen to the bride complain and stress about everything from how expensive everything is to the headache of the right finding vendors.

  2. Help throw the bridal shower; come up with ideas, purchase supplies, plan, and host.

  3. Join the bride in dress shopping, but only if she is asked to tag along.

  4. Attend the bachelorette party and spend the night celebrating the bride.

  5. Help out with whatever she is good at and has been asked to do. This could be anything from baking, addressing/sending invitations, making slideshows and videos, joining in the fun, etc.

  6. Help the bride get ready on the day of. This could include going back for items that were forgotten, running for coffee, helping with hair and makeup, etc.

  7. Support the bride and help her relax when she’s tempted to go bridezilla on everyone.

Non-Bridesmaids SHOULD NOT

  1. Wear the same dress as the bridesmaids in the wedding party. She should wear her own dress instead.

  2. Get her hair and makeup done like the bridesmaids. She shouldn’t look just a primp and proper as the bridal party. She knows how to look beautiful without going over the top.

  3. Carry flowers like the bridesmaids. The bride may do something special for all her help such as get a corsage for her, but she should not carry a bouquet.

  4. Stand in front of the guests with the wedding party. However, the bride may give you a spot in the front rows with the family to honor you for our friendship and help.

  5. Overstep the bridesmaids. Non-bridesmaids should only step in where the bride asks for her help. She likely already has specific tasks lined up for her maid of honor and bridesmaids and will ask for the non-bridesmaid help as needed.

What To Do if a Friend is Upset Because She Wasn’t Asked to Be a Bridesmaid

First, it’s your wedding and you are free to choose whoever you want to be a bridesmaid. You shouldn’t have to explain yourself and why you made that decision. In fact, if the person in question is demanding an explanation, are they as good of a friend as they think they are?

However, if you want to try to keep the peace, you may want to have a heart-to-heart chat with your upset friend to explain.

Let them know that you value their friendship and don’t think anything less of them just because you didn’t ask them to be apart of the wedding party. You can share your reasons for why you chose who you chose. You can even give them a role as listed above to make them still feel special and needed.

If you’re giving your friend another role, such as reading in the wedding or something like that, don’t approach it as “instead of being a bridesmaid, will you ________”. Just ask her to do the task, don’t bring up the bridesmaid issue. If she has a problem with it, she’ll surly let you know.

Additionally, you could make sure to invite all the friends that you think might be offended to the bridal shower and bachelorette party so that they still feel included.

How to Choose A Maid of Honor Without Hurting Feelings

Your maid of honor does not have to be a sister. However, if you’re afraid your friends would be hurt that you chose one of them over the other, picking a sister might be the better option.

You should also think about the maid of honor’s responsibilities and who would be able to carry them out the best. Some bridesmaid simply might not have the time, resources, or know how to fulfill the roles and it wouldn’t make sense for them to be maid of honor.

You should also think about a friend that you’re the closest to. She should be a time-tested friend that has supported, encouraged, and been by your side through the good and the bad.

Whatever you do, don’t state that you’ve chosen so-and-so to be your maid of honor because she’s your favorite. Eeek! That won’t go over well! Say that you chose her because of her amazing planning and organizing skills. This way less emphasis is place on her being better than the others and more emphasis on the practicality of her taking the role.

If it’s just too difficult to decide who should be your maid of honor, its okay not to choose one at all. Let all of your bridesmaid help you and divide the tasks accordingly. The other option is to have more than one maid of honor. If one of them is married, call one the matron of honor and the other the maid of honor.

Traditional Wedding Party Alternatives

Call out your important people on your wedding website. Tell the world about all your closest friends and family how they are helping with the wedding. You can even share the stories behind how you met.

Don’t have a wedding party. Some couples have simply decided that it’s too much drama and it would be better to have no wedding party at all. And this is okay… it’s your wedding and you have the right to do it this way.

Have a kids only wedding party. Just like the British tradition that Prince William/Kate Middleton and Prince Harry/Megan Markle followed, you can simply stick with a child only wedding party (although Kate did have her sister stand as maid of honor).

Have a family-only wedding party. Most people expect that your sisters and brothers will be part of your wedding party. If you’re afraid of hurting your friend’s feelings, simply state that your wedding party is family only and leave it at that. You could give your friends other roles as listed above, but don’t include them in the wedding party.

Give corsages, boutonnieres, or special jewelry to your favorite people. This is a great way to honor them and set them apart from your other guests.

Have a large wedding party. If you really want all of your friends in the wedding, just include them all. As long as each of them can afford to pay for their own dresses and accessories, why not. It won’t cost that much more to include them all in the wedding. Don’t worry if you end up with more bridesmaids and less groomsmen. It’s not uncommon to have uneven sides.

Have honorary bridesmaids. Honorary bridesmaids are ladies who are important to the bride but don’t actually stand with her in the wedding. Honorary bridesmaids should be listed in the program and given special places to sit, but do join the rest of the wedding party. They are there to help the bride if she calls on them but does not wear a matching dress or act as part of the wedding party.

Have a “something blue crew”. Perhaps you’re having an only-family bridal party but you have a bunch of friends that you’d like to honor too. Have your “something blue” be your crew of ladies that all wear blue dresses and ‘stand with you in spirit’.

Hold a competition. Ask your friends to compete for a spot on your bridal party! Make your list of demands and give positions to those who agree to meet them. Okay, this is totally a joke and so not a good idea, but it’s pretty funny and has actually happened.

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kristin-the-wedding-blogger-2020-300x300.png

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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