How to Pick Your Bridal Party

You already know how expensive it is to be a bride.

For example, you probably already know that the average cost of a wedding dress is a little over $1,200 (as of 2012). But what about your bridesmaids? You may be surprised to learn that after adding up the cost of the bridesmaid dress, accessories, travel expenses, wedding gifts, bridal shower, bachelorette party and more, it costs about $1,700 on average to be a bridesmaid. Because of that cost, as well as for other reasons we discuss below, it is very important to know how to pick your bridal party.

Of course you want to be careful when choosing your  bridesmaids. To help you with that task be sure to check out our handy point system for brides to use when choosing their bridesmaidsAnd once you have settled on the best way to ask your bridesmaids to be in your weddingyou want to make sure that you treat your bridesmaids well.   

One way to make sure that you treat your bridesmaids well is to not stick them with a lot of steep costs, especially when some of your bridesmaids are out-of-town bridesmaids.To that end, you should be aware of the costs that a bride should cover for her bridesmaids and maybe even consider hiring a professional bridesmaid for your wedding.

Here’s some great advice on how to pick your bridal party, from Savvy Deets Bridal: 

Happy Monday one and all! We have a great article to share with you today that covers a topic that many brides face: How to pick your bridal party. Guest writer Kristi Charter, of Giant Wedding Invitations, sent over this article and it’s full of great advice and insight. If you are in this area of your wedding planning, or will be soon, and find you might be struggling with deciding whom will be in your bridal party, this article is for you! We hope you find the advice helpful. Feel free to leave feedback in the comments section.

One of the hardest decisions for some brides when planning their wedding is who will their bridal
party comprise of. While from the outset it might not seem like a tough choice, trust us when we say it can be a lot harder selecting than you may first think.

So to ensure you select your bridal party with ease and minus the drama we’ve put together our top tips.

How many bridesmaids do you want, how many are you comfortable with and how many can you afford. Every bride has ideas of how many bridesmaids they deem as too many. So together with your fiancé pick a number and try to stick to it. This way you will have something to work to in helping make your decision. The larger your bridal party is naturally the more expenses you will have. Whether you’re paying for the dress, shoes, bouquet, hair or makeup the costs will add up. So consider your wedding budget before you get caught up in the excitement of selecting bridesmaids. Usually more relaxed and causal weddings will have fewer bridesmaids this however isn’t a hard and fast rule. Keep in mind the larger your bridal party is the more room there is for complications to occur. This is because the more people there are, the more opinions and the more there is to organize.

If you’re used to organizing plans with larger groups then this won’t be as much of an issue. For some however an array of differing opinions can simply make things confusing and stressful. Picking a number is all about deciding upon what is practical and what you are comfortable with, this will be different for every couple so don’t bother trying to make comparisons.

You should aim to select people you actually want involved in your wedding, people that will keep you positive, are reliable and will help you with the planning. Most importantly they will have fun with the role and make the process more enjoyable for you. When it comes to selecting your bridal party members the first considerations should be towards including a sister, future sister in law or cousin that you are close with – as they say blood is thicker than water. However this doesn’t mean that you can’t leave family members out in favour of your closest friends.

It is important that you don’t succumb to the pressure to return the favor and include someone in your bridal party only because you were in theirs. Friendships change as years pass by and you may not be as close to someone as you were two years ago or you are now actually closer to others. Perhaps you have a larger circle of friends than that of the person whose bridal party you were a part of. Weddings are not about doing anybody else favors bridesmaids should be people who you know will continue to play a role in your life long after the wedding.

The location of your bridesmaids can also have an impact on your decision. If they live far away it may be difficult to schedule fittings and for them to attend all of the pre wedding events. As such consider wisely when selecting bridesmaids that are from out of town. It can very easily get frustrating for brides when it becomes difficult to organise things around bridesmaids, especially as brides will have a never ending list of tasks that need to be planned. This means you need to evaluate your expectations for you bridal party and what you will need from them. How much time and effort do you require from all of your bridesmaids, be honest with yourself and decide whether your expectations are reasonable. Discuss your expectations with your bridesmaids from the outset so they know exactly what they are getting into before committing to being a member of your bridal party. Aside from their location your potential bridesmaids may have other lifestyle situations you need to consider, perhaps one of them has a new job or runs their own business, maybe they’ve just had a baby or their busy planning their own nuptials. These are all variables which may limit their availability in helping to plan your big day.

If you know one of your potential bridesmaids isn’t financially in the same place as the others, discuss this with them first to see whether they are financially comfortable in going ahead and being a part of your wedding. If you desperately want them involved in your wedding perhaps you can offer to pay for items to help them out but tread carefully, you don’t want to appear as if you are insulting them in any way. As an alternative perhaps suggest finding another role for them in the wedding. This could be simply having them recite a reading at your ceremony.

If you do feel that one of your potential bridesmaids may not be able to commit to your wedding, create an environment where they are comfortably able to decline your proposal. Do this by taking them out for coffee and let them know that ideally you would love to have them in your bridal party but completely understand for whatever reason that this may not be possible. Letting them know that you realise while your wedding is the biggest thing happening in your world it isn’t for everyone else can be all it takes.

Some of your friends or family may assume that they will be a bridesmaid in your wedding, if they in fact aren’t a part of your bridal party it is best to have a one on one discussion with them before it gets publicised who is indeed in your bridal party. Be considerate of others feelings it’s very easy for people to become resentful of your decision and moreover of your wedding. Of course you won’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so be sure to have rational reasons as to why they won’t be in your bridal party. One reason may be that you only want three bridesmaids for financial reasons. It’s all about keeping the peace and not unwittingly damaging friendships so take how people may react into consideration.

In putting together your bridal party the repercussions of who you select or leave out can actually be a factor in helping you decide. One of your friends might care more than another about being a part of your wedding or your future husband’s family may really want his sister in the bridal party. Of course don’t ever sacrifice what you want but if you have a long list of potential maids that you are trying to dwindle down this can definitely help. Also consider the rifts that may be caused by leaving someone out, will including your future sister in law actually ruin your day? On the flip side will leaving her out have long term effects for your relations with your in-laws? Keeping the peace can sometimes be more important. Of course having this kind of perspective in the midst of planning a wedding isn’t always so straight forward.

When it comes time to picking your all-important maid of honor select someone you completely trust – sisters normally trump friends for this role but if you don’t have a sister or prefer someone else your oldest and most loyal friend is normally the obvious selection. Picking someone your fiancé gets along with is also a wise move. At the end of the day picture your wedding, who is standing next to you? Trust your instincts and you will get your bridal party right.

Great advice here! I’ve suffered the loss of a few friendships during wedding planning, unfortunately. I was the bridesmaid and maid of honor in those situations. If you want to hear those stories, leave a comment to start a chat.
Reading this is helpful and can maybe steer you from entering a situation where a relationship you have with someone might be jeopardized. As Kristi pointed out “keeping the peace and not unwittingly damaging friendships” is key in this part of the planning process.
Do you agree with the above? Let us know your feedback. Our thanks to Kristi for sending over your tips on how to best pick the bridal party members.

Kristi Charter is an experienced freelance writer with a breadth of knowledge across an array of subjects. Captivated by the wedding industry, Kristi is currently the Content and Social Media Coordinator at Giant Wedding Invitations.

Top Photo Credit: Geni of Pink Owl Photography