Congratulations on your engagement! Now that the two most important people in the wedding have been confirmed, it’s time to start planning and choose your wedding party! You have a million decisions to make between cake tasting, dress shopping, bachelor/bachelorette party throwing, guest list-creating, and much more. You’re going to need some help! Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone — you get to have your best girls and guys by your side.
Your wedding party is there to help you nail every aspect of your wedding up until you’re standing at the altar. So, in theory, choosing your wedding party should be an exciting task. It’s the chance to bring all your favorite people together while you plan the biggest party of your life. But between siblings, cousins, sisters- and brothers-in-law to be, childhood friends, university roommates, and whichever other wonderful people you’ve picked up along the road of your life, you’re not going to be able to include everyone.
picking your bridal party is like a real life Myspace top 8— Kat McPhee (@katharinemcphee) January 27, 2019
So, how do you choose which of your friends and family are worthy of such important roles? It can feel overwhelming, but by taking a few simple questions into consideration, your choice will be a bit easier.
Who could you not live without on your day?
Who are the first people that came to mind – those you didn’t hesitate about including. Usually, these will be your very closest friends and family. This could be your best friend, your sister or a cousin. Maybe it’s someone in your fiancé’s family. Regardless of who it is, write down the first people who came to mind and think about who you would be disappointed not to have with you.
Keep in mind you don’t have to choose all your closest girlfriends for the bride and closest male friends for the groom. In 2020, we’re picking our side of the wedding party based on who’s right for the job, not their gender. Feel free to include bridesmen or groomsladies (or men of honor and best women) as you see fit.
Who would be a good fit for your wedding party?
Being in a wedding party is kind of a big job. They’re the people who will help you plan and be by your side for big events and decisions throughout the wedding planning process. Consider if your potential bridesmaids would be good at helping you pick a dress, or if your groomsmen would be happy to plan the ultimate bachelor party. Will they make a good speech? Keep you calm before walking down the aisle? These are all important things to keep in mind. You should feel confident that they’ll be able to step up for everything involved before you ask them to be a part of your wedding party.
Be mindful of everyone’s personal situations, too. If you have a sneaking suspicion your old roommate might jet off on a spontaneous trip to Madagascar in the middle of planning, you may want to choose someone else as your maid of honour. Has a close friend gone through a rough breakup recently and doesn’t seem like they’re in the mood to celebrate eternal love? Do you have friends you just can’t work closely with?
The day of your wedding and all the days leading up to it can be stressful. Surrounding yourself with a strong and engaged support system will make all the difference. Whatever you decide, communicate with your friends. If they’re expecting to be included, make sure you let them know your thought process. You don’t want anyone to be upset or to come to their own conclusions about why they weren’t chosen to be in the wedding.
How big will your wedding be?
The size of your wedding can help you figure out how big your wedding party should be as well. Generally, you’ll want to have 1 bridesmaid and 1 groomsman for every 50 guests at your wedding. So, if you’ve got about 200 people coming, you can manage to have an 8-person wedding party (4 on each side).
It’s also wise to consider the cost! A larger group means more flowers, more gifts to buy and more bachelor/bachelorette party and rehearsal dinner guests. The little expenses here and there can add up quickly, so if you’re on a tight budget you may want to consider limiting the size of your wedding party.
This isn’t paramount in your decision making, but if you’re looking to have a small intimate wedding with 50 people, you probably don’t need a 10-person wedding party. That said, if you absolutely need to have 7 bridesmaids, don’t let that stop you!
Is there another way to include them?
Now knowing approximately how many people you want to have in your party, you might need to narrow down your initial list. It’s never easy to actively choose to exclude people from your wedding party, so you might want to think about other ways you can include your best people without having a huge wedding party.
First thing’s first, you’ll need to select one maid of honour and one best man. These roles are especially important to be held by good planners! If your best friend struggles to make dinner reservations, you should probably consider another member of the wedding party to be your co-organizer.
Now, are any of your bridesmaids or groomsmen hilarious, good at public speaking and organized? Then they might make a killer MC! That could be a great way to shift someone out of your wedding party but keep them in the loop. And, if any of your friends are ordained, you could have them lead your wedding ceremony!
If you’re still struggling to narrow down your list, consider other ways to include people, like having friends usher your guests to their seats, having someone do a reading at your ceremony, or asking friends to be your official sanity saver or part of your house party.
Proposing to your wedding party
Okay, so you’ve narrowed it down to the core team and it’s finally time for the fun part, proposing! When you’re ready, find a way to make your proposal special. Choose personalized and stylish proposal cards and a meaningful gift for each of your girls and guys. If you’re struggling with ideas, check out my ultimate wedding party gift guide.
So that’s about it! You’re well on your way to putting together the best wedding party for you and your fiancé — and one step closer to the best day of your life!
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