How To Choose Your Wedding Party: The Complete Guide
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How To Choose Your Wedding Party: The Complete Guide

Your wedding party helps with the details, gives you support, and overall makes your wedding planning process just that much more enjoyable. The fun parties, the trips, the matching robes – you want it all. And you want it with the right people.

How to choose your wedding party isn’t rocket science. Still, you need to take your time and consider the overall dynamics.

So before you start planning your adorable bridesmaid invitation gifts…read on for information on all you need to consider.

#1 Choosing Your Wedding Party Starts with Family

You may not be particularly close to your family-in-law to be, but extending them an invitation to be in the wedding party is the right move.

Siblings are a no-brainer to invite to be in the wedding party. Even if you don’t know your future sister-in-law well now, you’ll likely be around each other for many years to come. This is a great opportunity to get to know each other better and have her join in the fun.

Step siblings may also warrant an invitation. However, there are some additional considerations. For example, how close is your fiancé to his step-siblings? How long have they been related? What is the overall family dynamic? 

Have an honest conversation with your fiancé on what they would prefer.

(Wondering how your crew might stack up as a bridesmaid? Have some fun reading our Mean Girls: Bridesmaid Edition!)

#2 Take Your Time in Selecting your Wedding Party

Don’t rush to make invitations the moment you are engaged. Post your ring shot then step away from the phone.

The size of your wedding party will likely vary on how extravagant your overall wedding will be. You’ll want to discuss overall expectations with your intended, gauge potential wedding party sizes on both sides and hear each other out on any concerns. 

You might be surprised how many “Congratulations!” texts are followed up with – “Can’t wait to be in your bride squad!” Be up front. For anyone who makes assumptions, let them know you’re still making decisions, along with your fiancé, on how large to make the wedding party.

Remember, there’s no reason you have to invite someone just because they invited you to be in their wedding party. Every wedding is different. And being one bridesmaid in twelve is very different from being one bridesmaid in five. (And you don’t want to end up in any Bride vs Bridesmaid war like these gals!)

#3 The Ideal Wedding Attendant: Ignore Gender

Feel free to rewrite the rules when it comes to how to choose your wedding party. 

There’s no reason females can’t have a male in their wedding party and vice versa. Is your brother your best friend? Have him be your right hand. Have a fabulous gay best friend that can plan the ultimate bachelorette party? Ask him to join in the fun.

Bridesmen and groomsmaids are increasingly popular. Whatever the dynamic, be mindful of your fiancé’s feelings on the matter. A family member may be one thing, but a former flame turned friend is another. 

#4 More Isn’t Merrier When it Comes to Your Wedding Party

You may imagine that more hands on deck is a good thing. But that might not be the case.

The larger the wedding party, the more for you to manage. You’ll need additional time to consider what colors and dress styles are flattering to everyone. There will be more people to communicate plans and details to. 

Use the size of your wedding as a guideline. Smaller, more intimate weddings calls for wedding parties of three on each side. A typical wedding is 150 guests, with about 5 attendants for each person. For grander affairs, you may be looking at a wedding party of 12 attendants on both sides.

Still, keep in mind you don’t need an even number for the bride and groom when it comes to wedding attendants. 

#5 Make Sure Your Wedding Party is Ready for the Work

As fun as being in a wedding party can be, it’s still a job. You’ll need them to help with the pre-wedding events and support you in tasks like wedding dress shopping. (Need help organizing your shopping day? Visit our Wedding Dress Shopping Ultimate Guide and put these Austin bridal shops and San Antonio bridal shops on your list!)

You’ll be relying on your wedding party to help coordinate event details, make decisions about the wedding, and take up small tasks along the way. You need people who can be just that – reliable. 

If you know your favorite cousin will be the life of the party at your shower and bachelorette weekend, invite her along. It doesn’t mean she should be an official member of your wedding party. There are no rules saying that these additional events can only include members of the wedding party. You just may not want her to help manage the guest list.

Even if you do ask someone you know isn’t good with details to be in the wedding party, balance it out. And if you give them a task, assign them a more organized buddy to see that task through. This way, you’re not left worrying if the sparklers make it to the venue for your send off. 

Not sure what to expect from your bridesmaids? Check out this Two Page Letter of Expectations one bride sent.

#6 Allow People to Say NO

As excited as you may be to invite family and friends to be in your wedding, they may be less enthusiastic.

Being in a wedding party is both a time and financial commitment. And it may be more than some people are ready for. Whether they’ve just started a new job that requires extra focus, or have just found out they’re pregnant, there are a lot of reasons someone may say no to being in your wedding party.

Let anyone know you’ve invited to be in the wedding party, that’s it’s ok to say no. Show your enthusiasm for their participation, but understanding if they’re not up for it. This will preserve your relationship post-wedding far better than pressuring someone to be involved.

#7 Avoid the Wedding Party Backup List

Whatever decisions your friends and family make on being a part of the wedding party, avoid the temptation to have a round two of invitees. 

Anyone who is a second round invite will eventually find out. They’ll notice others posting on social media a week prior, or the story will come out during the bachelorette party. You’ll feel guilty when they find out, and will need to deal with the aftermath during an already stressful time.

You’ll be spending a lot of time with your wedding party. Parties, showers, even week long vacations. If you weren’t close enough to that person to include them in the first round, trust your gut. 

As we said, there’s no reason the wedding party needs to be even on both sides. If you or your fiancé get a no, don’t sweat it.