Choosing Your Wedding Party
You’ll be making a lot of decisions throughout your wedding planning process. One of the very first decisions you’ll make after accepting a proposal is choosing who will stand beside you on your wedding day. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing your wedding party.
There are a lot of questions you’ll be asking yourself as you compile a list of possible bridesmaids and groomsmen. What if I have 6 best friends but he only has 4? Do I have to have my cousins in my party? What if I ask someone and they say no? If my best friend is a guy, does he have to stand on the groom’s side? We have the answers for you, and they all follow one simple rule: There are no rules when it comes to your wedding party.
Compiling Your List
Your list of possible wedding party members will have multiple drafts. Friendships grow, evolve, and sometimes wither away over time, and that’s okay. Just because you promised your college roommate she would be in your wedding six years ago doesn’t mean you have to honor that if you barely speak anymore. Draft a list of everyone and anyone you would like to be beside you as you go through this process as well as the people you think “should” be included – like your cousin, your fiance’s sister, a friend of your’s who you were a bridesmaid for, etc.
Once you have that list, create another list. When you compile this list, close your eyes and imagine who you could not plan your wedding without. When you’re choosing your dress, who do you imagine being there to help you decide? When you’re stressing out over the budget, who clears their day and comes over with comfort food to help you figure it out? Who do you want to stand beside you, holding your bouquet or perfecting your train as you marry your best friend? This is what we call the “bare bones” list, and it’s okay if it’s only 2 or 3 people.
Your actual list of wedding party members will fall somewhere between these two extremes.
If having an equal amount of people stand beside both you and your bride or groom is important to you, now is the time to sit down together to discuss your lists and narrow down your options. Your partner may have opinions or bring up important people you may have left out of your list. Plus, if there’s anyone you’re wavering on, they can help you make the decision.
Eliminate anyone who won’t contribute to your happiness on the day of your wedding. If there is one friend of yours who you love dearly but you know will make some kind of comment about how uncomfortable their dress is or how hot it is outside, consider cutting them from the list. This day will be the happiest of your life, and you don’t want any Debbie Downers there to ruin things. We’re huge advocaters of eliminating anyone who you feel obligated to have. If someone is on your list ONLY because you were in their wedding or you know one of your parent’s would be disappointed if you didn’t include them, you may want to cut them. We do warn that you should weigh the consequences first, though. Is it more important to you to make your mother-in-law happy by including your partner’s sister in your party or would she make your pre-ceremony parties and wedding planning activities uncomfortable and unenjoyable? Discuss with your partner and weigh the outcome before making your decision.
Take this quiz to decide who should be asked to stand beside you and who should just get a wedding invite.
Do we have to have the same number of people in our parties?
When you and your partner are comparing lists, remember that you don’t have to have the same number in your respective parties. If you only want your two sisters to stand beside you but he wants to have his four best friends, that’s okay! We do recommend sticking to even numbers, though, as it will guarantee that you’re always in the middle of the photo.
If my best friend is a guy, does he have to stand on the groom’s side?
In cases like this, there really isn’t a norm. There is no right or wrong answer, so you can decide based on your opinions and beliefs! We suggest talking to that friend first to see how they would feel and where they would choose to stand. If they’re going to be getting ready with the guys on the morning of your wedding, they may feel more comfortable standing with them as you walk down the aisle. If they’re close friends with all of the girls in your party, they’ll probably be more comfortable standing with the bridesmaids. If you do have a member of the opposite sex in your party, we’d recommend that you don’t have the groomsmen and bridesmaids walk down the aisle together arm in arm preceding the bride’s entrance. Ideally, the “brides-mate” should be included in all of the typical bridesmaid traditions, like the bachelorette party and bridal shower. However, it would again be a good idea to ask what he would prefer.
How to Ask
Once you have your final list, it’s time to pop the question. You may think that spending money and time on custom gifts to ask your party is a waste, but it’s not just a trend that’s grown more popular in the past few years. It’s become a necessity. If you’ve never been a bridesmaid or groomsmen before you probably don’t realize just how much time and money they’re agreeing to devote to your wedding. Attending your engagement party, planning/attending your bridal shower , planning your bachelorette party, paying for any travel expenses, buying gifts, running errands, attending wedding planning events, buying their attire and accessories, etc. requires a lot of energy and funds. Plus, it’s no secret that brides can be a bit hard to deal with during this time. They will stick by your side even when you request they try on 16 different dress styles and they won’t complain when you ask for their help addressing all your invitations.
Here are some of our favorite ways to ask your bridesmaids and groomsmen to join your wedding party!
What if they say no?
While it may hurt your feelings a bit if a friend denies your request for them to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, try not to take it personally. Know that if someone says no it’s probably because they want your day to be as perfect as you do and they feel that if they are in the party, it won’t be. Timing plays a huge part in wedding planning, and sometimes it doesn’t agree with where your friends are in their life. If a friend doesn’t have enough money to buy a dress but doesn’t want you to choose a cheaper option just because of them, they may say no to your invitation. If they know they won’t be able to get off of work to attend your bachelorette party or leave their children alone to attend the rehearsal, they don’t want you to feel guilty or worry about them so they may say no. It’s not that they don’t want to be there for you. They – like you – want your day and every day leading up to it to be perfect. Be respectful of their answer, and try not to see it as a rejection.
Hopefully, choosing your wedding party isn’t a difficult decision (especially when compared to choosing a venue in beautiful Northeast Ohio or deciding which cake flavor to serve!), but it is one that is deserving of some thought and consideration. Though you don’t have to make this decision alone, don’t let anyone else make the decision for you! Have those who mean the most to you stand by your side when you say “I Do.”