10 Tips For How To Choose Your Bridesmaids

You’ve decided on where and when you’re getting married, and now it’s time to figure out how to choose your bridesmaids. Most brides will have the dilemma of deciding who’s going to stand by them at the altar on their special day. Of course, it’s natural to want everyone you’re close to and love involved in celebrating your nuptials. But, depending on how big your wedding is, you might not be able to have everyone you want amongst your bridesmaids. It’s also important to think about whether the people you’re choosing will know how to help you out during your planning and who will be able to support you in case of any last-minute problems. Remember, they’ll be your support group from start to finish! So there are a few things you should consider to help you make your final decision.

Your wedding will be one of the best days of your life! Avoid any drama on your special day, and follow these 10 tips for how to choose your bridesmaids.

1. Make a Shortlist

It’s totally normal to feel overwhelmed when you begin to choose your bridesmaids. So start visually by getting a pen and paper out (or iPad and Pencil) and jotting down some names. Write down the names of your best friends, sisters, cousins and any other close family members. Going through your Facebook or Instagram friends list and seeing endless names might make you feel more anxious when narrowing your list down. So, set some time aside to sit by yourself without looking through your socials. The first people that come to mind are probably the most important. Think of friends in your life that have had an impact on you and your relationship. These are the people that will be there for you during the upcoming highs and lows of wedding planning. You’ll find that it helps if they know both you and your partner well so that they can give you the best advice when you need it. Next, add some comments by each name, such as what they mean to you, how long they’ve known you, how close you are to them, and how well you know them.

2. Think About Your Size and Budget

Two vital things to think about as you’re selecting your bridesmaids is the size of your wedding and your wedding budget. Although it’s common to have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, this isn’t a set rule. Talk to your fiancé to see what they prefer, and make sure you’re both happy with the size of the bridal party. You’ll also have to discuss how your bridesmaid selection will affect your wedding budget, especially if you’ve chosen to pay for the majority of bridesmaids’ expenses. There are several costs to consider when it comes to what you and what your bridal party should pay for. So think about whether you will be able to afford a long list of bridesmaids, and take into account your bridesmaids’ financial situation. Some friends and family might find being a bridesmaid an economic burden. This will be an important factor to think of if your bridesmaids need to pay for their parts of the wedding. Keep in mind that no one else decides how many bridesmaids you should have, only you and your partner. So if you only want one or two, then go for it!

3. What Are Your Expectations?

Another key element you’ll need to reflect on when you choose your bridesmaids is your expectations. Do you need them to be 100% hands-on and help you out a lot? Do you have a list of specific tasks that you want your bridesmaids to carry out? For example, helping you prepare invitations or working on any DIY decoration projects. Or will you only ask them to help out now and again? You might even have a wedding planner and coordinator, so you’ll just need your bridesmaids to help with the bachelorette and on your wedding day. Having thought about your expectations, then you’ll need to consider whether you need your bridesmaids to live nearby. If you need lots of assistance but certain people you want to choose live far away, then you could give them virtual tasks.

4. Feeling Obliged to Choose Certain People

Most brides will feel that they have to choose certain people to be in their bridal party. This is common and can include family members, childhood friends or your fiancé’s sister. There might a couple of people who you would just really rather not choose, so don’t! Maybe there are people that you don’t think will carry out the role well, or that you just aren’t close to. You also don’t have to feel obliged to ask someone who asked you. Of course, it’s easier said than done, but it’s your wedding. This is a huge day for you and your partner so you shouldn’t have to worry about having to do what other people want. Also, remember that your bridesmaids and maid of honor don’t have to be women. If you have a super important close male friend that you want next to you when you say ‘I do’, then choose him! The most important requirement is that the people in your bridal party mean something to you, irrelevant of gender and traditions.

Photography: Daniel Milligan Photography | Styling: Staple Creative | Florals: Vagary Creative

5. Consider Different Personalities

When you choose your bridesmaids, take a moment to think about their personalities. Consider friends and family that have different qualities that you’ll need throughout the planning process and on your wedding day. You’ll want to make sure you have people that are responsible and reliable when it comes to certain deadlines, tasks or if there’s a sudden emergency to solve. Another type of personality you’ll want is a positive and uplifting bridesmaid for when you’re feeling stressed and nervous. The people that know the right thing to say and who always make you smile. Think about friends that have been there for you when you’ve been through a tough time in your life. In contrast, it’s easier to choose people who don’t have other important responsibilities going on. Maybe it’s best not to choose your friend that is 8 months pregnant. Unless you don’t need them for specific tasks. Also, take care when choosing bridesmaids who have already been brides. It could be the best idea because they’ve already gone through everything and they’ll have great advice, or the worst because they’ll constantly compare your wedding to theirs.

6. Choosing Your Maid of Honor

Selecting one person to be your maid of honor can be tricky too. Usually, it’s the bridesmaid you feel closest to and trust the most. This person will be the chief bridesmaid, who will coordinate your other bridesmaids to make sure that everyone is in the right place at the right time. They’ll also be the person to arrange the bridal party and bachelorette. So make sure you’ve chosen someone that is fun yet organized. You might find that you really can’t decide between two people, so choose both! Make sure you know what you need from each of them, and that they get along! Just as with your bridesmaids, you can choose a man of honor if you prefer. If that’s the person that you’re closest to then why not?

Photo: Courtesy of Show Me Your Mumu

7. Ask for Help

Whether you’re struggling to choose your bridesmaids or not, always ask for help. Your fiancé should be the first person you talk to about the topic, as they know you best and know exactly what you need. In fact, they might have suggestions for you. Your partner will probably be friends with those closest to you, or there might be a situation where they don’t get along with one of your potential bridesmaids. So consider your fiancé’s feelings, as it’s their wedding too. Also, consult your family on their thoughts. Your nearest and dearest can be a great support to help you make your final decision. The whole planning process can be stressful, and this is one of the main decisions you’ll have to make, so don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.

8. Roles for Other People

If there are people that won’t be one of your bridesmaids but you still want them to form part of your wedding, then think of creating a special role for them. For instance, these might be people who can’t commit to being a bridesmaid, or that are new in your life but you’d still like to honor. Think about what qualities or talents they have. For example, they could be awesome at DIY and help you out with decoration, or they could sing beautifully. They might be super organized, and they can be the person to usher your guests to their seats. Maybe they love children, and they can help you out with the little ones on the day. There are plenty of additional wedding duties that your friends and family can carry out.

how to choose your bridesmaids
Photography: Heather Waraksa

9. Dealing with Hurt Feelings

One of the hardest parts after you choose your bridesmaids will be dealing with hurt feelings. Everyone should be happy for you no matter what you decide, and if you’re lucky, no one will feel disappointed. In theory, no one should expect to be selected, and those who aren’t should understand. But there might be a situation where someone broaches the subject with you. It’s best to have an explanation prepared so that you communicate your thoughts well. Avoid comparing them to other people, and tell them how much you value them. The important thing is to keep the conversation positive. Similarly, if someone is unable to accept your proposal to be a bridesmaid, don’t feel let down. Understand their reasoning and accept that it’s not the best moment for them. You can include people that you weren’t able to choose or those who weren’t able to take on the role of a bridesmaid, in other parts of your wedding so that they feel appreciated. For example, you can still invite them to your bridal party, bachelorette party or other fun events.

10. Announcement

Once you’ve refined your list and you’re certain of who you’ve selected, it’s the moment to make your announcement. Be sure that you’ve taken a while to properly think about who you’re choosing. You can’t take it back! A month is a good amount of time to consider your options. You’ll also need to make sure that you tell your bridesmaids with plenty of notice, so tell them as soon as possible. Brides used to just meet up and tell their bridesmaids in person, or over the phone. But recently it’s become more and more popular to be creative with how you tell them. It’s an exciting moment for both you and your bridesmaids so have fun with the announcement! Maybe tell your maid of honor first, and have them help you think of a way to tell your bridesmaids. It’s common to send them a gift, or invite them to a cute event. For example, a personalized piece of jewelry, a personalized care package, a special spa day or even a scavenger hunt!

bride and bridesmaids
Photography: A Sea of Love

Although choosing your bridesmaids can be a daunting task, remember that it’s your wedding! You need to be happy with how your special day goes, and your loved ones will be excited for you no matter who you choose. Discover more tips to do with your bridal party over at WedBoard. You can also find out How To Choose Your Bridesmaids Dress Theme, What Your Bridal Party Should Pay For and 12 Bridesmaid Dress Ideas for your big day!

Featured image: Jamie Lee English

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