Your wedding day revolves not only around you and your future spouse, but also the people you pick to have by your side. Of course there’s your guest list, filled with loved ones you're eager to have present to help you celebrate. But it’s those who make "the bridesmaid cut" — who you ask to be part of your bridal party — who will truly influence your mood, your stress levels, and your overall air of confidence throughout your entire wedding journey.
When you eyeball your list of close friends and family members, you might find a lot of people you think very highly of and adore. However, making them all bridal attendants could result in a wedding party as long as your guest list! (Not to mention, your photographer would need an extremely wide-angle lens in order to squeeze everyone into the photos.)
While we're all for choosing a party size that's right for you — no matter how large or small — remember that the bigger the group, the more potential for scheduling and personal conflicts. So, we encourage you to take this decision seriously, and once you have landed on the handful of chosen people, it’ll be time to let the public know who made the cut and who was left off.
Wondering how to go through the process without hurting anyone’s feelings? Here are five tips.
Spend Quality Time Making the Decision
As we've said: don’t rush to decide on your bridesmaids (or bridesmen!). Instead, take time to think about the top people you know you can count on to be there when you need them, keep you calm, and also be excited about taking on the role. If you clearly define what it is you’re looking for in your bridesmaids, you’ll have an easier time figuring out which friends are right for the job, and which should just support you by coming to the wedding as a guest.
Ask One by One
Once you’ve decided on your bridal squad, go about asking each person solo. That way, you can make people feel special, and can also fill them in on their responsibilities, answer questions they have, and be open and honest about why you picked them to be a part of the crew. Setting expectations while mostly focusing on why your friend is so great will kick-off the bridesmaid experience on a positive note.
Keep It Secret at First
As you ask people to be your bridesmaid, also ask them to also stay hush hush about it until you give the go-ahead. They might be eager to turn to social media or text everyone they know, but asking them to keep it private until you’ve had all the necessary conversations with those who did and didn't make the cut may save you some drama. Those attendants you haven't had a chance to talk to yet might assume your order of asks indicates a ranking system for your "favorite" friends. Meanwhile, those who aren't part of your line-up probably won't appreciate feeling like they found out from someone other than you.
Reach Out to Those Who Didn’t Make It
While it will be a whole lot more fun to tell those who made your bridesmaid list over those who didn’t, if you know a few people will be expecting an ask and you’re going to have to let them down, having an honest and sensitive conversation about it can prevent further damaging the friendship.
Give those close friends, family members, or soon-to-be family members (like a partner's sibling) a call or meet with them in person. Start the conversation off by letting them know how much they mean to you and how tough of a decision it was to narrow down your attendants. Then give them a reason, whether it’s because you decided to ask mostly family, or because you know how busy they are with work or grad school and didn’t want to stress them out. The goal is to end the conversation in a positive place, so your friend still feels loved and appreciated — which leads us to tip number five...
See more: The Zero-Drama Guide to Bridesmaids
Assign Alternative Roles
Depending on how the above exchange played out, you could ask them if they’d still like to be involved. Perhaps they are relieved that they aren’t a bridesmaid but still want to help plan the bridal shower games or come on the bachelorette party. They may also want to lend their talents to your special day by helping you DIY beforehand or offering to do a reading or perform as a musician during the ceremony. Make it clear to them that you still want them involved and close by throughout your wedding adventure, and you'd love their input on how to make that happen.