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If you’re like most brides-to-be, you’ve probably had your bridesmaids picked out for a while. The daydream typically includes mimosas and all your best girlfriends in fluffy white robes. But once you’re engaged, the decisions get real and sometime’s there more than just your daydreams to consider. There are sisters, future sisters-in-law, college friends, childhood friends, and other important ladies in your life — how do you narrow it down? Here are some things to ponder as you go about choosing your bridesmaids.
You can have as many or as few bridesmaids as you like, but it’s not uncommon to see large wedding parties at larger weddings and smaller parties at more intimate affairs. Still, there’s no rule, so do what works for you. Also consider cost and coordination when deciding on the number of bridesmaids in your party. It’s much easier to coordinate bridesmaid dress shopping and fittings with three girls, as opposed to ten.
Once you determine the number, start with the obvious candidates: Family. How many siblings do you have? And your fiancée? If you each have one or two siblings (and an equal number of ladies and gents), it can be easy to fit them into the wedding party. If you’re outnumbered (say, the groom has five siblings and you have none), you might want to go a different route. Remember that you can always ask siblings to be ushers or readers — a part of the wedding, if not officially in the party.
Once you’ve figured out how to include close family members in your bridal party, it’s time to move on to friends. This seems like a no-brainer — just pick your best girlfriends! But it’s not always that simple. First, think about the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen you and your fiancée settled on. If you have seven best friends and he has two, you might have to pick the best of the best and forego the rest to keep things even.
Also, consider where your ladies are at in life: Are any pregnant? Raising a toddler? Living across the country? Traveling a ton for work? Though they love you and want to celebrate with you, don’t assume everyone you ask will jump at the chance to be in your wedding. Should any of your potential bridesmaids voice hesitation, be understanding of that decision and have a backup in mind.
Just as with family members, if you have a close friend you’d like to include in the wedding but don’t have enough space for her as a bridesmaid, think about giving her a different part to play. Beyond readers and ushers, many brides ask a friend to be their Personal Attendant: a fancy phrase for the person who does the bride’s bidding. But it’s not all giving orders — the right friend for the job would delight in being close to you on your wedding day and helping out any way she can.
A lot goes into being a bridesmaid. There are dress fittings, alterations, parties, showers, the rehearsal dinner, photos, and so much more. You’ll have to count on these ladies to be there for you, maintain a positive attitude, and be a worthy reflection of you on one of the most important days of your life. Choose wisely. Choose women who will build you up, go the extra mile, and do all in their power to make your wedding day one for the ages.