7 Important Things to Remember When Choosing Your Bridal Party

They're your support group, A-team and wedding-day crew. Here's what you need to know before drafting your ideal bridal party.
by The Knot

Bridal parties can range anywhere from a single maid or matron of honor to more than a dozen bridesmaids. (In fact, you're welcome not to have a wedding party at all, if that's your preference.) Think about how many guests you're expecting and the formality of the event. While old-school wedding experts might say there should be one groomsman and one corresponding bridesmaid for every 50 guests, this definitely isn't mandatory (your wedding is your wedding, not a mathematical formula). All this implies is that a large wedding party fits in well at a large, formal wedding, while a smaller bridal party feels more appriopriate at a small, intimate gathering—but to each their own, of course. Read on for important tips to remember—and assumptions you can forget about—when deciding whom you want standing up with you throughout your engagement and on your day.

1. More Isn't Always Merrier

You may have 18 besties you can't imagine getting married without—and that's awesome. But don't feel pressure to ask every one of your friends to be in your party if you're not 100 percent positive you want them to. The more bridesmaids you have, the greater the potential for complications. You'll need to get more people to agree on a dress, decide on a shower date and coordinate all the other responsibilities being in your crew. Plus, if you're on a limited budget, remember you're responsible for expenses like your group's bouquets, thank-you gifts, day-of transportation and accommodations and possibly their hair and makeup.

2. Family Is Family

If you're close to your sister and future sister-in-law, the thought of not including them in your wedding party probably never even occurred to you. But if you don't consider your sibling a bestie (it happens), the thought of asking your sister or sister-in-law to be in your party might make you groan. Even still, it's usually worth including family to avoid unnecessary conflict—it's always better to sidestep hurt feelings.

3. Don't Make Hasty Assumptions

Being a bridesmaid isn't always cheap, but you shouldn't write off some friends simply because you don't think can afford every bridesmaid expense. If you want to ask a friend you know is having financial difficulties, you can always tell her you'd love her to be a bridesmaid, but understand the financial difficulties. If she has to decline, either remind her she's welcome to skip an event or two—otherwise, if she insists on saying "no" (which she's allowed to do), promise to find something else for her to do in the wedding.

4. Your Attendants Don't Have to Be Female 

There's no reason why your best guy friend or amazing brother can't be in your wedding party. So many couples ask members of the opposite sex to stand by them. In these cases, a man on the bride's side is simply called an attendant or bridesman, while a woman on the groom's side can be called a groomswoman.

5. You Don't Have to Ask Someone Who Asked You

While you might feel guilty about it (which is completely understandable), as far as we’re concerned—and hear us out on this one—it’s okay to not reciprocate the bridesmaid offer. Just because someone invited you to be in her wedding doesn't mean that you must have them in yours. This isn't a dinner party invitation you need to reciprocate. But remember to treat the situation with care, compassion and sensitivity. 

6. You Can Have Two Maids of Honor

If you have two women you feel closest to, of course you want them both by your side on your wedding day. Just be sure to assign them maid of honor duties equally that play to their strengths.

7. It's Okay to Have an Uneven Wedding Party

There's no law of symmetry when in comes to wedding parties. Don't put yourself under the added pressure to fill positions just to even things out. Worried about how photos are going to look? Talk to your photographer. They'll have some great ideas about how to take some amazing photos with your mismatched party. What about walking down or back up the aisle? Shake things up. Two groomsmen can walk with one bridesmaid or vice versa. One attendant can walk with your puppy—or alone. Trust us, an even wedding party isn't necessary.

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