When it comes to choosing your bridesmaids, there is so much to consider and it can easily become overwhelming, especially if you have a lot of close friends and are finding it hard to choose among them.
A group of my married friends were sitting around the other day and chatting about the bridesmaids we chose for our weddings. Two of us have been married for awhile and neither of us even see or socialize with the ladies we chose to be our bridesmaids. Another has only been married for a year and still hangs with all of hers, but it sparked a conversation about how, as wedding photographers, we often witness what happens when our beloved brides make poor choices for their bridesmaids.
Here are just a few of the examples (some funny, some not so much) of the things we’ve witnessed at weddings we’ve photographed:
I’m not making this stuff up! And, unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all too often because brides just choose their buddies to be their bridesmaids but don’t really understand what a bridesmaid is supposed to be and do. So, I thought it would be a fantastic idea to send some advice out into the world for newly engaged ladies who are trying to choose their bridesmaids. It’s understandable that this topic isn’t talked about very often or is only addressed after the fact—it’s a tough aspect of the wedding-planning process to address because most brides just want their friends to feel included, even if a friend isn’t an ideal choice!
Do you know that the idea of bridesmaids originated in biblical times when brides were helped into their wedding day attire and helped down the aisle by their maids or their Ladies In Waiting? History is chock full of all sorts of folklore, bible stories, and anecdotal evidence about the bride’s attendants and their origin. There are even historical accounts of chinese brides whose attendants wore the exact outfit and face paint the bride did to fool would-be kidnappers from rival clans.
The point is that, in all the stories and historical evidence, bridesmaids were meant to help the bride on her wedding day. Of course, in today’s world, bridesmaids are often chosen from the brides friends and family with very little thought going into choosing who will be best suited for the role.
So before you call up your 10 closest girlfriends and ask them all to be in your wedding party, consider these tips for choosing your bridesmaids first:
If the answer to any of these questions is no, they are most likely not a great choice for a bridesmaid or Maid/Matron of Honor. To prompt you to dig even deeper:
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, they are most likely not a great choice for your wedding party.
The more bridesmaids you choose for your big day, the more work it is to wrangle them, the more expensive it is to outfit them (if you are paying for their dresses), and the tougher it can be for all of them to keep the peace. (Let’s face it, ladies, we sometimes get a little weird and catty when we spend time in groups!) Ask yourself if it would be easier—on you, your budget, and your psyche—if you chose one or two bridesmaids instead of all of your friends. You might be surprised at your answer!
Can I afford to have a lot of bridesmaids? Can my bridesmaids afford to be part of my wedding.
Most brides don’t really think about this aspect of their wedding, but the more people in your wedding party, the more gifts you have to buy them to thank them for sharing and helping in your day, the more mouths you have to feed at dinner, the more money you have to dish out for dresses (if you are purchasing the dresses). On the flip side, if you plan to ask your friends to buy their own dresses, there is a chance that you will be putting people out because they don’t have surplus cash to buy a bridesmaid’s dress, but they may say yes anyway because they are worried saying no will upset you.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you have a friend who doesn’t seem to love your fiancé and often makes remarks about them or causes strain when the three of you are together, they are probably not the best choice as a bridesmaid.
If you get through this list and realize that there are many on yours that you no longer wish to consider as bridesmaids, that’s okay. Also, if you are worried about hurting their feelings by not inviting them to be in your wedding party, there is a really simple fix! Instead, ask them to be your MC or to help decorate or to participate in other wedding activities before the big day. For example, invite them to come over and hang out with you and your bridesmaids the night before the wedding so they know you love them and want to make them feel included.
Whatever you decide to do when you choose your bridesmaids, remember that your wedding day is 100% about you and your love and it is completely your choice how to do it. It’s not about making your friends or family members happy, it’s about celebrating your love in a way that makes you happiest. If your friends love you, they will respect and support your decisions, whether they are your bridesmaids or not.
Now, go find your wedding tribe, lovely. You’ve got this!
Meet Rohana. A legacy wedding photographer and fine art portrait photographer based out of Duluth, MN.
When I’m not tearing up during wedding vows, or having endless belly laughs with my family’s, you’ll find me drinking coffee with a surprise of fruit snacks from daughter, dancing in the kitchen with my husband, or adventuring with my little family.
I’m a photographer, educator, and encourager with a heart of spreading more kindness into the world.
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