Your bridal party; the group of people you ask to stand with you on one of the biggest days of your life. These are often your closest friends and family members, but when you have a large family or dozens of important friends, how do you narrow the list to determine who will stand with you? And what do you need to communicate with them to ensure everything goes smoothly?
Choose those who have built you
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your bridal party. From friends to family members to workmates and university friends; everyone wants to be included, but you don’t have to include the whole world. Simple invite those you feel closest to at the time and expect to still be friends with in the next five years. Often these are the people who have encouraged you, built you and walked the journey of your relationship with you.
There can be a token one or two who need to be included based on histories such as a sister, a sister-in-law-to-be, a cousin or childhood friend. However, it’s your day! You don't have to invite the person you promised could be your maid-of-honour at age five, and you don’t have to pick siblings or future in-laws if you’re not close or even estranged. This can result in some tension so if you need to keep in their good graces, consider including them elsewhere in the day; they could give a toast, act as an usher or help you with getting ready if they’re skilled in hairstyling or make-up.
Be upfront about your expectations
Those who are invited to join the bridal party are often honoured and excited to be a part of the chosen few, however, a major concern can be the cost and time commitment. Are they paying for their own dress and accessories? Are they contributing to the planning of the engagement party? What are the plans surrounding the bachelorette and how much will it cost? To avoid the awkward conversations halfway through, let them know early on what your expectations are of them surrounding the wedding so they can be honest about their ability to participate.
Balance personalities in the group
Depending on how involved you’re asking your bridal party to be in the planning and preparation process, you will need a balance of personalities and skill-sets. Having an organised and proactive maid-of-honour is incredibly beneficial both during the planning and during the wedding day itself. This is the friend who will think to fetch you a drink of water or plate of food as you mingle, or will check if you need a hand with your dress while in the bathroom. As much as we value this friend, they can become distracted with the logistics of the day and so, you need to balance this with someone who brings life to the party and can keep the dance floor rocking while you mingle.
While matching these personalities, consider a mix of those you have history with. Having five family members and one university friend in your bridal party can quickly lead to cliquiness and inside jokes being shared while one person sits sidelined and smiling awkwardly. Being intentional about the histories in the group ensures everyone is getting to know at least two other people, or that they all already know each other.
Your bridal party doesn’t have to be girls only
Do you have a best guy friend or a really close relationship with your brother or a male cousin? That’s great! Being the bride doesn’t mean you can only have female attendants and it doesn’t mean you can’t invite them to be a part of your bridal party. The term “bridal party” refers directly to those who stand with the bride during the wedding ceremony and does not necessarily dictate the gender of the group, despite tradition and assumption. If you want to invite your brother to stand with you on your wedding day and walk down the aisle with the rest of your party, go for it!
A flower-girl or petal-patrol?
Having a child come down the aisle dropping rose petals in white tulle is an adorable picture, but kids are easily distracted and overwhelmed by crowds. To mix it up a bit, consider your other close relationships. You could ask a grandparent to act as “flower grandma” or a close guy friend to dance down, flinging flower petals to and fro.
You could also have a flower-boy in a tiny bowtie and suspenders. Be creative and have fun with it, but keep the age at about four-years-old and up to ensure they actually make it to the end of the aisle in one piece without tears.
Until next time, keep making your moments unforgettable x