While the two of you are the most important people at the wedding, half the fun is being able to celebrate and anticipate your big day with your closest friends by your side serving as bridesmaids and groomsmen. While you might think you can just grab your friends, assign them a bridal title, and call it a day, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider before you assemble your wedding party.
Our experts have five key tips that will help you choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen—and make sure your wedding party is one for the ages.
Start With Siblings
Including your siblings is the perfect way to start choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen. If they’re much younger, you may prefer to have them serve as ushers or junior attendants, but if they’re close to your age, definitely give them the full-blown honor. And there’s nothing stopping a bride from making her brother a bridesman or a groom from making his sister a groomslady.
While you may not need your bridesmaids or groomsmen to participate too much in planning your wedding, there will be moments when you’ll need to know you can count on them. If your friend almost never calls you back, or constantly shows up late when you have plans, they may not be the right person for the job, especially with bridesmaid dress order deadlines and tight timelines the day of your wedding. Instead, lean toward friends who you know will answer your emails, show up when you need them to (or a few minutes early), and probably be more prepared than you (hello, bride brain).
Before you send out those “Be My Bridesmaid?” gifts, think about how your wedding party will get along. That doesn’t mean everyone has to be the best of friends, but if one person on your list has a stronger—or even abrasive—personality and tends to rub people the wrong way, that’s potential drama you’ll want to avoid if you can.
Aim for a group of bridesmaids and groomsmen who are friendly, cordial, and can transition easily between groups to quickly cross “fights between friends” off of the list of things to worry about on your wedding day.
Be Mindful of Budget
We all know being a bridesmaid or groomsman is expensive. Even if you’re paying for their accommodations or chipping in for the suit or dress, between flights, gifts, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties, the bill can add up. If you know a friend is in a tough spot financially, call them up to talk it over before making the official ask. Let them know you’d love to include them, but also have a few alternative ways for them to be involved if joining the wedding party might be too expensive. Close friends make fantastic readers, give great toasts at the rehearsal dinner, and could also hand out programs or serve as ushers at the ceremony.
Think About Feelings
Sometimes, having fewer bridesmaids or groomsmen is the easiest way to make sure no one’s feelings are hurt. If your choice is between having just your sister and your childhood BFF stand beside you or expanding into two or three friend groups and ten or more ‘maids, the smaller group could save you a lot of stress in deciding who does and doesn’t make the cut. On the other hand, if you’re committed to the idea of a huge wedding party, and there’s one friend on the fringe, you might be better off including one more than leaving them out.