How to Choose Your Wedding Party; From Bridesmaids to Ushers

bride standing in front of a wall
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Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right people to be by your side at your wedding

You’ve already picked your spouse, now you have to pick the next most important people for your wedding: Your bridal party. These are the attendants that include your maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl, ring bearer, and ushers. Some people even have large bridal parties that include junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen.
For some people, the choice of who to ask is easy. You just ask your best friends and your closest family members. Done! For others, the choice is a little harder. Should it be your best friend from high school or your best friend from college by your side? Should your cousin or your close friend fill out that last bridesmaid slot?

Consider Your Relationship

Some situations are easy. Of course, you’re going to ask your best friend since first grade to be your maid of honor! Who else would it be? But if you don’t have one of those easy situations, you’ll need to think a little more carefully. Say you have two people who are equally close to you. You can either split the job, such as having two best men, or you can find an equally important job for both, such as asking one to be best man and one to be the honorary officiant.

Also, think about couples that you may want to involve in the bridal party. Will one be upset if they are not paired with their spouse? These are just some of the considerations you’ll need to make before approaching couples.

Typically, the most important positions go to the most important people in your life. You can save some of the jobs like ushers or junior bridesmaids for younger brothers or sisters, cousins, and other relatives or friends who aren’t incredibly close but are still important.

Think about the Size of Your Wedding

If you are only going to have 50 people at your wedding, you don’t want to have 10 attendants on each side of the aisle. That will be nearly half of your guest list! Think carefully about the size of your bridal party compared to the overall size of your wedding. This can make the selection process easier or harder.
Having a smaller bridal party may make it easier since you can focus on the most important relationships in your life. Having a larger bridal party may make it easier since you have more slots to fill and can ask more people to be a part of your special day. Just make sure that the number of attendants works in proportion to the number of guests.

Be Realistic about the Person’s Responsibility

Being in a bridal party is about more than putting on fancy clothes and being able to walk down the aisle. There are a lot of responsibilities, such as attending the fittings, planning parties, giving toasts, managing vendors, and so on, depending on the role they have. You need to be sure that, whoever you ask to fill the role, will be up to the tasks required. You don’t want to ask that party crazy cousin who shows up late and unprepared to EVERYTHING just because you’d feel guilty if you didn’t!
Is this a person who is usually on time? Will this person be able to handle the job, such as managing conflicts with a vendor if they arise? Will this person be there when you need them to be? The answers should be yes for whoever you are asking to take on these roles.

When it comes to the flower girl, ring bearer or any other kids you plan on involving – think REALLY hard! Are they well behaved? Will it interfere with nap schedules? These are big deals to the little people, so talk in depth with their parents before asking!

Be Thoughtful about Costs

Being the maid of honor or best man is no cheap job. They both have to buy wedding attire, host parties, and much more. Even the bridesmaids and groomsmen have to buy their wedding attire, they may have to fly in from out of town, and they may have to chip in for parties or even pay for airfare to attend festivities, such as a destination bachelor party.

Don’t ask a friend who you know is struggling with money to take on one of these roles. They will want to step up to be there for you, but they will struggle to pay for it all. It will put them in a hard position. If you still want to ask and they still want to be in the role, come to some sort of compromise that will make it more affordable. For example, you might let your maid of honor choose her own dress, so she can get a bargain.

Another “don’t”, is; don’t get talked into asking someone to be in your bridal party that you wouldn’t ask to begin with. Family members and even close friends can sometimes impose THEIR wants on the bride and groom, even though they may not intend to. Suggestions are welcome but getting pressure and guilt from these trusted loved ones can lead to nothing good!
Make sure you talk with each member of the potential bridal party to make sure they understand what you expect. Also be certain not to expect TOO much of the people you ask to participate (it’s not like they are getting paid!) Don’t be offended if they turn you down, it is a duty that people take seriously!

Choosing your wedding party is an important decision for couples as well as those that are asked. It can be time-consuming for everyone involved. Think through each of these things to make sure you are getting the right people standing up for you on both sides of the aisle.

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Author Heather G

Heather is serious about weddings. She is also the senior writer for two annual magazines, and prides herself on quality work with fast results

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