After you get engaged, one of the biggest and most exciting decisions that you’ll make will be deciding the key people in your life that you’d like to ask to be by your side as your bridal party. They'll be there throughout the wedding planning adventure and on the biggest day of your life—the people you’ll turn to for the big things, like what style dress you should pick out and where you should go to celebrate your bachelorette party, and of course, for the little things, like what wedding band will fit perfectly with your engagement ring, and whether you should have a donut wall or cake pops for dessert.
But picking out who those key people are can feel like a bit of a headache, especially if you have a large friend group or you’re looking to keep things drama-free. When it’s time to pop the question to your closest friends and family members, here are some fool-proof ways to make sure you are picking the best bridal party.
1. Don’t Rush the Decision
Even if you’re tempted to pick your bridal party the second you get engaged, wait. Let the excitement of your engagement settle down a little bit so that you can make the decision over who you want as your squad of bridesmaids with a clear head. If you make the choice too quickly, you might be stuck with a year (or two) until the wedding happens, when you might drift away from those people or realize they weren’t the right picks. Depending on how far away your wedding is, wait anywhere between three and five months after you get engaged to ask you closest friends and family members to be in the bridal party.
2. Put Your Friends to the Test
Start to notice which one of your friends is there for you around the time of your engagement. If you hear radio silence from some people you thought you were super close to after you announce the engagement, it may be an indication of how they will act during your wedding planning process. Acknowledge the people in your life that seem to be there for you, excited for you, and offer their help right from the start. They are already proving to you that being by your side before and during the big day will come easy to them and feel easy on you.
3. Forget the So-Called Rules
Just because one person made you a bridesmaid in their wedding does not mean you have to return the favor. You might have been a member of someone’s bridal party seven years ago and now you are hardly friends. Or, you might have more BFF’s than you can count on both your hands and your feet, and making all of those people your bridesmaids would just be a headache. It’s perfectly OK to make your bridal party small and still invite the rest of your friends who didn’t make the cut to your pre-wedding celebrations, like your bridal shower and bachelorette party. You can also give friends honors outside of being a bridesmaid, like asking them read a poem or passage during your ceremony or being a witness for the signing of your marriage license.
4. Imagine Who You Want to Be Stuck With
A good litmus test: Think about the people you’d be OK being stuck in an elevator with. Think about it. Because sometimes your wedding day might feel a little similar to being stuck in an elevator. There are parts of the day when you’re nervous, hungry, anxious, and cranky. The people who would be beside you in that elevator, making you feel calm, making you laugh, and pulling snacks out of their purse, are the people who will make your wedding experience drama-free and make you feel supported and stress-free throughout the entire adventure.