How do I pick my bridesmaids?
Updated: May 4
He popped the question, but now it’s your turn! You’re about to be a bride but who is going to be standing by your side? Deciding this is not an easy task. You love all of your friends and you would have them ALL standing next to you on your big day if you could so how do you narrow down and decide who you are going to ask?
Photo Credit: Katie James Photography
Maybe you have a tight knit group of people you hang out with and picking bridesmaids is a simple task - if that's the case, this blog might not be much help for you. On the flip side - maybe you are involved in a lot of things which means friends in different places and just the thought of narrowing down your friends makes you sick to your stomach! To start, try to picture your ideal wedding party number - there is no right or wrong answer. Maybe you can't stand an uneven look at a ceremony or in wedding pictures, so whatever your Fiancé’s number is you will have to match it! Once you have that number (or an idea of a number), you are ready to dive head first into thinking about people in your life. To help simply the deciding process that, we've listed out some people you might want to include in your day that are in your life along with a suggested order of how you should consider thinking and asking people to join your wedding party. We know this can look different based off the bride, but here is how we would start thinking of things:
Family. Maybe your sister is your best friend and you couldn't dream of a scenario where she isn't your Maid of Honor or maybe you two are estranged. Or you don't have a sister but you have a cousin who is like a sister to you. Perhaps your Fiancé has sister that you need to involve in your day. Family is forever - so picking people who you love through blood is always the first place to start when building up your girl gang.
Forever Friends. These are most likely friends that you've known since childhood. Who stood by you through those awkward middle school years. Or maybe you've told some deep and dark secrets to. Regardless of how you know them or the memories you have, these people have impacted your life drastically. Sure, your friendship might have changed over the years, but these friends have been in your life while helping and shaping you into the person you are today. Maybe you don't talk to them every day or aren't as close as you once were, but when the two of you get back together conversation picks up as if no time had passed at all!
Close Friends. This list is the hardest to narrow down! You have high school friends, college friends, church friends, roommates, work friends, etc! We could name scenarios for days. These friends you might not have known for long but they make up the everyday portion of your life. This is where you want to look back at that ideal number you initially wanted in a bridal party. Narrowing down and making the decision in this “category” of people is not going to be easy and will probably take some time.
Obligated Friends. This sounds so bad but we all have people in our lives that look up to you, seek you for advice, you've known for a long time, or even asked you to be a bridesmaid in their wedding! It's nothing against them, but maybe you do not instantly envision them as part of your bridal party. In instances like these - always remember that the decision is yours. Never feel obligated to ask someone just because they would ask you. Another thing to realize is that being in a bridal party is more than day of the wedding - you have showers, bachelorette, rehearsal dinner. Think about if you would want these people at all of those events leading up to wedding day or if they would want to be that involved.
Photo Credit: Ashlyn Cathey Photography
We can see why this makes your head spin! You are afraid of leaving someone out or hurting their feelings - which is totally understandable! Jot down names of people in your life - whether you feel obligated to include them in your wedding or not. Start crossing off people who are only situational friends - maybe they are a work bestie but if one of you switch jobs you might not talk to them again.
Next, circle the ones who your day couldn't go on without! For example, Your best friend who not a day goes by that you don't speak in some capacity or your sister who has helped you get through tough times. They are non-negotiable.
So here you are, a list of crossed off names, circled must, and a bunch of in-betweens. And you feel no closer to the final answer then when you began - and honestly, you might feel worse. But this is the hardest part. Now visualize your day. You are getting hair and makeup done, you are putting your dress on, you are waiting anxiously to walk down the aisle. Who is there with you? Who cares for you like you are a part of their family? Who would drop everything to come to your side if you need help? Start boxing in those people (you can absolutely put boxes around people who are already circled).
Hopefully this is a shorter list now - more manageable. Talk it over with your Fiancé, he has thoughts that might make choosing easier. This always seems like the very first thing that needs to be done (after you get engaged people ask you when you are getting married and who your bridesmaids are - like you’ve had time to think about that two seconds after there is a ring on your finger). Brainstorming is a good idea even before you get engaged. But just know that there isn’t a rulebook that says you need to ask your girls a month after you get engaged. It isn’t the most important decision you will make for your wedding, but it isn’t the least important either.
Regardless of who you end up asking (or not asking), parties don’t have to begin and end with these friends. Engagement parties, showers, idea sessions, and your bachelorette party can include all the friends you love!
We know there is a lot of deep consideration that goes into picking out your wedding girl gang, but now comes the fun part. It’s time to “propose” to your future bridal party! Whether you ask each girl in a one on one setting or invite all your girls over to have a little asking party, you will see how the tough decision making was worth it - your girls will be overjoyed to stand by your side. For ideas on specific and unique ways to ask your bridal party to be part of the wedding, check out our Pinterest board for some bridal party proposal inspiration: bridesmaid proposals
Pictured above: Marmaros Co-Owner, Megan (right), asking her business partner, Mallory (left) to be in her wedding
-Megan & Mallory