Image source: Kirstie Garner Design
Now for some brides-to-be this decision is a no brainer, for others, a much harder decision.
I don’t come from a large family and have a modest network of friends, so when it came to picking my bridesmaid and maid of honor it was a simple choice. ;o)
I had many hypothetical conversations with my best friend about being my maid of honor…. Years before an engagement even occurred. (A-hem) So how she was still shocked and surprised when I sneakily asked her to be by maid of honour at the bottom of a cheeky greeting card, I will never know! My other bridesmaid, well we couldn’t coordinate diaries to meet in person, so I eventually asked her over the phone, to a delightfully high-pitched squeal!
There are just some people who have a strong presence or meaning in your life, so the choice seems obvious and effortless.
My girls and I | Image: JK Photography
For other brides, especially those with larger families or broader friend networks – the choice isn’t so easy and feelings of guilt can take over, with some brides easily racking up a bridal party as large as a football team. Now excellent – if this is your vision or if you have a never-ending budget. But for most, large bridal party’s are not always required or aren’t financially viable. Financial implications aside, choosing your bridesmaids should also be about ensuring your most treasured people are sharing your journey with you, NOT about feeling guilty over potentially hurting other people’s feelings by not asking them to be your bridesmaid.
Any of the following conversations sound familiar?
“If I ask this one, then I’ll have to ask that one, or that one will feel left out”.
“I’ll ‘HAVE’ to ask this one because they are family”
If you have already found yourself having these types of conversations. STOP.
I remember when I was a teenager when popularity was high up on any teenagers agenda and my mum always used to say to me that I will be able to count my TRUE friends on a few fingers on one hand. It used to really annoy me when she said this, because as far as I was concerned at 13 I had about 25 TRUE loyal friends (which I’ll have you know was considered a lot back then….this was pre-facebook of course; nowadays teenagers seem to find 300 “friends” quite easily) I am digressing – but, alas, as I grew into my late teens and early 20′s; when life journeys and opinions differed, the 25 friends soon reduced swiftly to about 4, I knew then my mum was right!
On your wedding day surely you want people on your ‘side’, who have been involved in your life through the ups and downs. Not the “sometime-ish” friends/family – (and I know you all know the type I am talking about!) or the people there purely out of obligation?
Who are your ‘true’ friends (including family) who you can call on and who you truly WANT to fulfill that role? Not who you think ‘should’ fill that role.
Your wedding day (in my opinion) should be a rather fabulous and momentous occasion and also a wonderful achievement. It is also a big deal. A new transition in your life.
Having a bridal party on board is not just about making the bride look pretty and fluffing her train every minute. (Come to think of it, I don’t recall my bridesmaids fluffing my train once! Sackable offence! lol! ) I believe a bridesmaids role is much, much bigger. They can play a remarkable role in the the run up to the wedding and on the day itself, they are a massive and almost ‘silent’ support in so many different ways to a bride. I think my own wedding brought our friendships even closer! So choosing the right ‘team’ to share such a sacred journey with you can be quite a task.
A few things you may find helpful to consider if you are struggling to choose:
♥ TIPS TO CHOOSING YOUR BRIDESMAIDS ♥
♥ SUPPORT – First and foremost (in my humble little opinion), choosing a bridesmaid who is supportive is sooooo important. Someone who is going to support you and be there for you during this journey.
Who is going to enjoy every moment of your journey with you? Be reliable, lend a listening ear about hideously dull topics like chair covers (for example) and still show you the biggest amount of love and enthusiasm? Who will respectfully reign you in when you need reigning in?
♥ HONESTY- Choose someone who is honest – having someone who is honest with you and who can give you a little perspective will help to keep you grounded during your euphoria (or in some cases dysphoria!) – Especially helpful during the wedding dress search. Having someone who is honest, yet decent, open and not just telling you what you want to hear will be hugely beneficial during your wedding dress search and throughout.
It’s quite common that if the tiniest planning detail doesn’t go to plan, it can feel like the absolute end of the world to some brides-to-be. Someone to bring you back down to: “I know it’s your wedding and you want things to be perfect, but it’s only a napkin holder, no-one has died, lets look at plan B” might be quite refreshing!
♥ ORGANISATION: Can’t avoid it my beauties! Planning needs organisation and preparation. If all of your bridal party, including you, posses the organisational skills of a goldfish, then seriously consider getting a wedding planner or a super organised relative on board to keep you on track. Organisation plays a massive key. Lets face it, our lives our busy – coordinating the diary frequently with friends (especially those with children) and family is not an easy task. Wedding dress shopping, wedding dress fittings, bridesmaid shopping, wedding dress and planning debriefing, compulsory lunch and dinner dates, DIY stationery and favour making, wedding shows, bridesmaid and guys fittings, planning and organising hen do (or do’S), coordinating several hens and their finances to pay for said hen do….re-juggling to allow for last-minute cancellations and people dropping out, the list is endless….
♥ GUYS – Don’t forget the guys! – Now this may seem odd to some people especially since the title of this post is about choosing your ‘bridesmaids’, but not to others. If you have male friends that you would love to be part of your entourage, don’t feel you have to leave them out because of their sex. We are in 2013 and it should be about who is important to you and who you want by your side on the day.
One obvious way to include a male friend in your wedding day would be to include them as one of your ushers, even if he is on ‘your side’ doesn’t mean the groom has to pick all of the ushers. Alternatively – there is nothing that says you can’t have a male friend as one of your bridal/wedding party. (No, I am not suggesting you put them in a dress, but whatever tickles your fancy) It’s perfectly acceptable for brides to choose male friends to take on these roles. Kitting them out in a smart suit and escorting the other bridesmaids down the aisle is just lovely.
♥ CONSIDERATION – Will this person feel comfortable in this role? GASP “But it’s not about them its ALL about me”, I can hear some of you shrieking! You’re probably thinking, ‘why on earth wouldn’t anyone want to be a bridesmaid!?’ But this could be a point well worth mulling over if you have friends with personalities that do not automatically lend themselves to being excited about dresses, themes and seating plans. As much as you may love them and want them involved in the day, consider if this it the right role for them or if using them in an alternative role would be more suited to you both – eg. doing a reading or helping behind the scenes.
♥ FRIENDs V’s FAMILY – Now I am not going to lie, this is a huge dilemma for some brides. Some choosing to use family to avoid politics with friends, or vice versa. There can be a very dominant pull to use family over friends, over family loyalty or delightful family politics. Think about the fundamental role you want your girls / guys to play in your bridal party and when you make a decision, make it wholeheartedly. The decision should be yours and not influenced by others.
♥ LITTLE MIXTURE – If you have friends or family who can complement each other with all of the above qualities then even better! The art of delegation means they can share tasks, responsiblity and the time, which will make for very happy and very loyal bridesmaids! Remember they are sharing this journey with you, but their lives don’t suddenly stop. ;o)
Whoever you ask – if they are true friends (and friends includes family too!) they will be absolutely honoured to be asked! Enjoy the journey and let me know how you get on! This was one of the most enjoyable parts for me. Have fun!
© Nu Bride 2013