How to choose your bridal party: picking bridesmaids and groomsmen

It’s a good idea to start thinking about your bridal party early in the piece, because the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen you have will affect your budget – especially if you’re going to cover the cost of their clothing. For some people, the decision of who is going to be their bridesmaids and groomsmen is an easy one, but for others, it’s awful as it can potentially mean hurt feelings. So how do you choose your bridesmaids and groomsmen?

What should you consider when choosing your bridesmaids and groomsmen?

The main thing to consider when selecting your bridal party are your expectations about the role you want your bridal party to play. There is no ‘have to do’ in wedding parties, so what duties they may have are up to you. You need to decide up front what support you want, so you can pick the right person for the role you have in mind, and communicate what your expectations of that role will be.

Here are some things to consider, in no particular order:

  • How many groomsmen and bridesmaids make sense for you? It’s not necessary to have an even amount ‘for photos’
  • What skills do each of your close friends bring, and how can they be utilised? Do you want a bridesmaid that’ll help you with all the details and jobs that need done (emphasising the maid in bridesmaid), or are you happy for someone that’ll turn up on the day and go with the flow?If you’re on a tight budget and/or doing a lot of DIY, then you will probably rely even more heavily on your friends for help, and so your bridal party choices will be particularly important. Give them the jobs that suit their skills. Perhaps your particular detail-orientated friend would stress you out in close quarters, but would be an amazing day-of coordinator. Your flaky arty friend may not give you the support you want but would be amazing at decorating.

  • It’s not necessary to stick to the same gender – groomsmaids and bridesmen are totally a thing! If they’re a close friend and you want them there, that’s more important than if they’re a girl or a guy.
  • Do the people you are considering have the spare time to commit to your wedding? I’m not saying they should be offering up 10 hours of labour a week… but if your expectations are that they’ll take an active role in planning the wedding, then you need to communicate this at the outset, so the potential bridesmaid/groomsman can decide if it’ll work for them.
  • How will the potential group of bridesmaids/groomsmen work together? You don’t want to be dealing with any infighting, tension or drama on your wedding day.
  • The bridesmaids and groomsmen are not the only roles you need to fill, so consider if you feel guilty about a friend who doesn’t ‘make the cut’, could they be suitable as your MC, an Usher, doing a reading during the ceremony or even acting as Witness (signing the register).
  • You may be stressed and anxious in the lead up to the wedding and on the day. Will your potential bridesmaid/groomsman help calm your nerves, or cause more stress? Who will be best able to take care of you on the day? Who will be able to support you and help you leading up to the day?
  • The Maid of Honour and Best Man typically give speeches at the wedding reception, so keep that in mind if you’re weighing up between friends too.

The size of your bridal party affects your wedding budget too:

  • Are you after someone that will pay for their own dress/suit and shoes, or will you cover that?
  • The more attendants you have, the more hair, makeup, flowers (bouquets or buttonholes) you’ve got to arrange. This is an added expense, but also adds to the prep time beforehand.
  • You’ll need to get everyone to the wedding venue and around for photos, so the more people in your bridal party, the more cars you’ll need to source and the longer it’ll take to get anywhere (getting in and out of cars, posing for photos, toilet stops)

Choosing your bridal #dreamteam can be a stressful hurdle, but once you’ve got your lineup sorted, you then have a group of people you can call on for support, advice or just to lend an ear as the wedding planning cranks up.

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