Choosing The Wedding Party

Weddingplanningchecklist (3)

Guide to Choosing your Bridesmaids and Groomsmen

So, you have picked your groom or bride (hopefully haha), you’ve told your parents and those closest to you, and now you need to ask others who you are close to, to play an important role in the biggest day of your lives.  I personally think it is a great honour to be asked to be part of someones wedding day and it goes deeper than just asking them to go dress shopping, or to organise a hen party.  You are telling them that they are important in your lives so if they are lucky enough to be asked, they should take their role seriously.  Well, that is how I view it anyway..  Maybe I expect to much but I think not.

If you have not set the date yet, you might want to read my blog first. Setting the date

As per usual, I have compiled a list of things worth considering before you choose your bridal party.  It is based on both my own experience, the anecdotes of brides I have worked with and also I asked some current brides who are in the throws of planning their wedding what their thoughts on choosing their wedding party were.

Hope you enjoy it.. and most importantly I hope it helps.

Don’t Rush Into It
My first and biggest tip is do not rush into it, even from my own experience I feel I rushed into asking certain people to be involved in my wedding too quickly and, given my time again, most, if not all would be not included. That is not to say that I don’t like the people who were in my wedding party, far from it.  But, since being married, I have learned that they weren’t as close to me as I first thought and I got carried away with who I had been friends with longest and genuinely thought that we would play a big part in the important times throughout both our lives.  This has not been the case.  I am not bitter about that, but had I known, my choices would have been largely different for sure.  These people are in all of your wedding pictures for the rest of your life. You are also telling them that they are important to you so it should be clear, in my opinion that they feel the same way about you. Do you want to chose bridesmaids, a best man or groomsmen who then get married and don’t include you in their wedding or forget they were ever told indirectly they were important to you? Once you ask, you cannot un-ask.. So think carefully.  It should be someone in my opinion who is there for the long haul.. not just the nice dress, a good knees up and to be in the pictures.

How Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen?

When you are thinking about how many bridesmaid and groomsmen to ask, it is worth considering at least two things in my not so humble opinion.

Firstly, how big is your wedding? If you are having an intimate wedding of say, 40 guests, you shouldn’t really have 8 bridesmaids and 8 groomsman as this would look largely out of proportion. It wouldn’t, however, if you had 100 or more guests. It is important to have proportion.  I don’t have a guideline for this, but I think as long as it is not too heavy one way, it should be good.  This may seem obvious to most, but it can be easy to get carried away when asking.

Secondly, are you paying for everything? This can include dresses, suits, flowers, hair and make up, jewellery and shoes, not forgetting the thank you gifts.  If you are keeping to a strict budget, one or two bridesmaids might be better than 6-8 as the added extras can soon add up.  You could do one or two really well or 8/9 and exclude all the bits.. or if you are not on a budget you can do it all.

**Bonus tip ** too many bridesmaids or groomsmen are more difficult to keep happy and on the same page with lots of issues such as suit and dress fittings, dates of hen and stag parties and general wedding planning shenanigans.

A great atmosphere is so important on the day to create fab memories. If you have two bridesmaids fighting for attention from you, this is going to cause you stress on the lead up and will not be condusive to a calm and happy lead up to the big day.  However, if everyone gets on, your day is going to be the day to remember with minimal stress.

What to expect from bridesmaids and groomsmen

Are you expecting the stag to do a great funny speech or the hen to organise a fun hen party that you don’t have to get involved in? If you are, choosing the right personality is so important. I personally think that if you are chosen to carry out this duty, you should take on these activities with great enthusiasm but this is not the case with a lot of people, and to be fair not everyone is capable of doing this, I know people who would choke at a speech but it doesn’t make them any less of a friend so you may have to either compromise some things for the sake of a great friendship.

Some chief bridesmaids are happy to let the bride organise her own hen party without offering any input, some best men (and I have seen this with my own eyes), actually choke when doing a speech.   Think carefully about personality types for this one. However, on the flip side, some brides and grooms like to organise their own hen parties and stag dos so personality may not be as important, Something worth considering though.

Overall, it is probably a good idea to chat to them about what you expect from them so that they know from the beginning.  If you are happy with them to have a minimal input because their personality type dictates that is how they are, then there should be no problems but if you think they are going to turn into someone else just because you are getting married, you might be in for a bit of a shock.

Think about others
Have you been a bridesmaid or groomsman for someone else? It might be nice to ask those people to be involved in your wedding as you were clearly an important person to them. Obviously if you don’t see them, that would be difficult but if you do, their feelings could be hurt if you do not ask them to be involved in the same way they asked you. I hear the phrase ‘it’s your big day, you can do what you want’, but if others are really excited to share the occasion with you, would it be that bad to have them involved? Ultimately though, this is a sensitive issue and the decision is completely yours.  Remember though, once the day is over, you could have cast a shadow over a friendship you never intended.

Are they easy to please?
You are going to need to chat to them and get excited about what to wear, how to have their hair, what jewellery to add, what to do on the hen party etc. A great bridesmaid will get excited about all this stuff with you and have some great ideas but at the same time won’t be a yes man.  You need someone to be honest about your make up trial and not let you walk down the isle looking like someone out of the rocky horror show.. they’ll be excited about their own dress without being a diva.  Someone who will give you positive advice and get gooey over the little things with you will really add to the excitement of the planning and not roll their eyes every time you mention the ‘W’ word! . And, this is the sort of person that you should want around you during all the girly planning stages, not someone who puts obstacles in the way (there are some of those about although thankfully that was not my own personal experience).

For more advice on wedding dress shopping, check out this blog. Wedding dress shopping tips

How to ask them.
I will be doing a full blog on different ways of asking bridesmaids, groomsmen, flowergirls and page boys but that is for the future.  But, for now, you could check out our own WYBM (will you be my) collection on the website.  Yes, I know it’s a shameless plug but a girl’s gotta eat..

The Sarky Cow Bridal Collection

Now, these are just my pointers and I apologise if  some do seem negative.  These really are based on stories I have heard along the way.  But, just to make sure and to add some lovely positive stories in, I have taken advice from real life brides who are well into their wedding planning. I asked how they chose their bridesmaids and what they would differently if they had their time again.

Below is the answers directly from them. Names have not been included for privacy.

What the ‘Real Life’ brides had to say.

” I have very few friends, so my choices were simple. I chose the 3 people I am closest to, didn’t choose family so there was no jealousy, I also don’t have any sisters but if I did they would be in my bridal party. I made sure that the girls I chose could also afford to be in the wedding, and that could handle all the responsibilities that go with being in the wedding party. “

“I did have a 4th bridesmaid, but because she didn’t show up the 2 times I went dress shopping for myself, and then when we went bridesmaid dress shopping either, so I made the decision that if she couldn’t commit to attending these things that I didn’t want to have her in the wedding party.”

“Everyone says to wait until your wedding is closer to pick, I didn’t. And I really wish I had. Things change so much, relationships and etc. I didn’t think they would. If I had waited like 6mo before the wedding I could have saved some awkwardness.”

“Dont have too many. Every member needs more than just a dress. We personally wanted to pay for our bridesmaids and everything we wanted them to have we thought was our job to pay for as they were doing us the honour on the day. Some people choose loads of bridesmaids then have to have more flowers more presents. Bigger hairdresser bill. Extra car. The list goes on and on”

 “My sister’s was a no brainier. I also choose my daughter and three best friends. My two sisters are my MOH and we are really close. My daughter is 24 and I wanted to include her. Two of my friends were definites but the third I chose her because I knew I would never hear the end of it.”

“I chose mine based on who are there for me and my son since he’s been born- who makes effort with us both.. I chose 2 of my sisters ( didn’t have my other sister or his sister ) cause an argument but who cares, my wedding ?゚マ‍♀️ and then I picked my two best friends and sons god mothers. I have no regrets as I’ve picked who I wanted, not my fiancé, not anyone else! Xx”

 “I’ve known since I was 16 who was in my bridal party and I’m now nearly 38, get married in August and nothing’s changed. My sister & 2 best friends Jamie and Josh will be walking down the aisle ahead of me. The only addition is my friend Hayley who I’ve known for the last 5 years and she’s been there for me no matter what x”

“I pickex my 2 sisters we actually came up with i was moh for my sis last yesr my baby sis my moh and other sis will be hers 2 years. I picked his youngest sister and then when he said 4 each i picked my bro gf (coz even if they broke up we wud still her alot)”

” I chose my 3 closest friends and my future sister in law as bridesmaids. I waited until almost a year to the wedding which worked well, and we all get along together which is great ?”

“Mine are my best friends from uni. Since graduating 7 years ago we’ve always made time to stay in regular contact and see each other regardless of our individual lives (distance, work, marriage, children) I couldn’t pick between them so I have all 5. I knew they were perfect for the job and they all have been  xx”

“My problem ia with my bridesmaids. I made a promise when I was in highschool, that all my friends are going to be my bridesmaids. Now, I tried to keep my promise, so I ended up with 12 bridesmaids, but I do not feel that I am so closed I used to be with all of them… it is hard because they fight all the time and I wish I could tell them not to be my bridesmaids anymore.”

“My tip is… don’t have a wedding party! I have yet to figure out what purpose they serve apart from stressing out the bride and groom.”

So, I hope this helps you choose which people to choose for your big day..

Oh and if you need some ideas of how to ask them, you can always check out our ‘will you be my’ range on our website.

Finally, enjoy it!

Check out my other blogs on wedding planning, wedding dress shopping, wedding checklist and choosing your venue.

Choosing your venue

Wedding planning checklist

Ttfn and thanks for reading