Whether you have a massive group of family and friends, or just a couple of close confidantes, choosing your bridesmaids can be more complicated than you think! Here are our top tips for picking out your bridal party…
Bear your budget in mind
Although you may immediately want to start jumping in and asking all your female friends and family to stand up with you on the big day, it’s important to have your wedding budget sorted before you do this. When you factor in dresses, accessories, bouquets, hair and makeup, gifts and accommodation, the cost of bridesmaids can quickly begin to stack up, so be 100% sure you can afford it before you ask anyone to be your bridesmaid!
Don’t ask too early
If you’re not tying the knot for a couple of years, you may want to hold off on choosing your bridesmaids too early. It sounds cynical, but unfortunately relationships change, and there’s nothing worse than wishing further down the line that you’d never asked. You’re probably safe with lifelong best friends and family members, but what if you ask your close work friend and then she changes jobs? You might ask someone you’ve only been friends with for a year, only to find that her personality will clash with the rest of the bridal party. Just bear these things in mind before popping the question!
Think about distance and lifestyle
Your maid of honour may have been your best friend for years, but she’s going to struggle to organise a hen do if she lives in Australia! Consider appointing a co-maid of honour to help with the planning if you have a long-distance maid of honour. Even if they’re based in the UK, you might want to take bridesmaids’ locations into consideration, as they’re not going to be available for last-minute wedding dress sales or DIY disasters.
Similarly, you should bear in mind your bridesmaids’ lifestyles before putting any wedding pressure on them. If they’re new mums, working a couple of jobs, or studying for their PhD, then they may not have time to dedicate to your big day, and it would be unfair to ask them to do this. Younger bridesmaids may not be able to take time out for your wedding during school exam time, too.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss immediate family members from your bridal party. You may not be as close to your sister (or your fiance’s) as you are to your best friends, but leaving them out may result in some uncomfortable conversations with parents. It doesn’t mean you need to ask them, but you may want to have a discussion with your family first.
Don’t forget your guy friends!
Who says that your maid of honour has to be female? If your best friend is male, then he can still be a part of your bridal party! A dress may be a step too far, but plenty of brides these days are including their guy friends as men of honour or bridesmen, to help them plan the hen do and party with them on the big day.
Make your expectations clear
Once you’ve popped the question to your bridesmaids (perhaps with one of these cute proposal ideas), you need to be clear with your girls what your expectations are so that there are no communication issues later down the line. Let them know if you expect them to help out with lots of DIY, or attend several dress shopping appointments and wedding planning evenings, or whether it’s just a case of plan the hen and show up on the wedding day.
The role of the flower girl
Traditionally, the flower girl’s responsibility is to lead the wedding party up the aisle and to drop petals. Although they’re sweet, multiple young flower girls can become more difficult to coordinate, so if possible resist inviting too many! You’d also want to avoid inviting very shy children who will be too intimidated to walk down the aisle alone. However, it’s a lovely job to offer your own children, nephews and nieces, and the children of close friends.
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