Even though weddings are some of the most joyous and happy times in people’s lives, it’s no secret that the wedding planning process is stressful. If you’ve seen any episode of Say Yes to the Dress, you know that even the most well meaning loved ones can make decision making tough when opinions don’t align. I always say weddings can bring out the crazy in people, but it doesn’t have to be all stress and drama! I asked brides and grooms from around the country for their best tips for choosing who should be in the wedding party and this is what they had to say!
- Choose people you love who will support and respect your decisions.
Whether you have a large group of friends or small circle of friends, it can be difficult to choose who to have in your wedding party when you want to include all your besties. But sometimes different personalities clash, and that can make getting everyone to agree and get on the same page more stressful than intended. In a situation like this it becomes even harder when you need to lean on your girls or guys for advice or help getting everything done, especially if no one is willing to come together. Instead of choosing everyone for the sake of inclusion, choose those people who you know will support your vision for the day, work well in the group, and have your back when you need to lean on them.
- Consider the other commitments your wedding party picks might have, and whether they will have the time to be as involved as you need.
I remember when Ted and I were getting married, everyone we knew was at a different stage in life. Some of our friends were already married and starting their families, some were graduated and moving on with their careers, some had moved away, and some were still in college like we were. No doubt whoever you ask will feel so honored and want to say yes, regardless of whatever else is going on in their lives. But before asking your favorite girls and guys to stand with you at the top of the aisle, try to think about what kind of commitment you need, and if they can foreseeably be as involved as you want them to be. Do you need a wedding party who will go with you to all the bridal shows and wedding expos, be at all the dress/suit shopping and fitting appointments, and help you get all the last minute to-dos done the week of the wedding? Or do you simply need people who will be there on the wedding day to field questions, manage the inevitable hang ups of the wedding day, and keep you stress free so you can enjoy your day and have a great party by the end of it? Consider what you need from each of your wedding party members, and ask yourself if they will have the time to be as involved as you want. This also brings us right to the next point, which is
- Communicate your expectations to your wedding party so that they are aware of what you need from them before they commit.
I think a lot of people are wary of coming across as overbearing or as a bridezilla, which leads to not asking for help or communicating when things aren’t going how you’d like them to. One of the brides I asked brought up this point, and I loved her thinking! Sharing your ideas and expectations is a great way to help your friends and family know how much involvement you want during the planning stages, the weeks leading up to the wedding, and on the day of. Not only does it give your wedding party members an idea of what you need from them, but it also lets them know if they will have the time to be as committed as you need.
- Choose people who will still being an active part of your lives in 5 or 10 years.
I think this is excellent advice, not only for the wedding party, but also who you invite as wedding guests. One of the biggest questions I see asked in bridal groups is whether someone should be invited into the wedding party because they feel an obligation to include them. But your wedding day isn’t just a fun party. It’s one of the most special days of your life, and it’s the beginning of the life you will live with your spouse. It’s a memory in the making that will last the rest of your life! So before you pop the question to your girls and guys, ask yourself if these are people who are close friends, who will still be in your life 5 years down the road, 10 years down the road, or even 15 years down the road. Are they involved in your life now? Or do you only see them regularly because of work, school, or other social obligations? If they aren’t people you can see yourselves still being friends with throughout the next stage of your life, it’s okay to leave them out of the wedding party.
- Small wedding parties, uneven bridesmaids and groomsmen, and not choosing people out of obligation -> all a-okay!
This last point goes to all the “should be’s” and “should have’s” that people will give you advice on. The hardest part of wedding planning, I think, is sifting through what everyone else wants and the compromises that people will tell you need to be made, and deciding and sticking to what you and your love want for your wedding day.
-Want to have a small wedding party that only includes two or three of your best friends? Do it! That’s perfectly fine!
-Want to have a bridal party that includes 8 people on each side because you have a huge close knit community of friends? Awesome! Do it!
-Want to have 3 bridesmaids while your groom only wants two groomsmen? That’s great! You don’t need an even number of people in the wedding party anyway (and trust me, it won’t effect the photos)!
-Don’t want to include your mom’s best friend’s daughter or your fiancé’s second cousin because you really don’t know them that well? That is totally valid!
And you can (and should) feel completely comfortable in your choices because at the end of the day, the people who stand up with you in support of the vows you and your fiancé will make should be people who love you, love the two of you together, and want to support you and continue to be in your lives beyond the wedding day. At the end of it all, remember that it’s your wedding day, it’s a celebration of your love and life together, and you want to surround yourself with people who have your best interest at heart, even if they don’t necessarily feel the same way you do about blush and gold and peonies. 😉
Happy wedding planning!