For some brides, choosing their bridesmaids is a cut and dry decision. They’ve known who will be standing beside them long before they’ve even met their special someone (I’m not even kidding)! I’ve come to learn, however, that there’s definitely another category of bride — particularly the social butterflies or ones with a large network of connections that have been part of many other friends’ weddings.
For some, choosing bridesmaids (and their dresses!) can be one of the more emotional, stressful decisions they have to make after getting engaged. We all come from different backgrounds with different needs and personalities, so there’s not one simple answer for everybody. However, after reaching out on Facebook and Instagram recently asking what helped in forming their girl gang, everyone’s answers seemed to quickly fall into about five categories. I’ve borrowed their words, summarized their messages and mixed in some of my own thoughts to hopefully help YOU as you make your own bridesmaid list!
For being one of the most meticulously planned days of your entire life, a wedding can easily be held up as one of the most fluid days of your life as well. The amount of variables in place subject to change based on time, weather and chance is HIGH. We all know at the end of the day, what you want is just to successfully have tied the knot. But in the middle of the day, what you’ll want and hope for is that no matter what’s running behind, what plans have changed and how the weather is behaving, there’ll be a network of flexible, optimistic friends around you to speak nothing but good. Select those friends who see the best in you and you’ll be choosing friends who will focus on everything going RIGHT on your wedding day. Choose bridesmaids you know will be there for YOU, to jump up and get what you need at a moment’s notice, to share in your joy and to support your decisions. Don’t add to the stress by who you have close to you all day; DISSOLVE it by who you have close.
Though your deepest friendships may not be your longest friendships, finding someone that you can pour your heart out to doesn’t come easily. You can wait 20+ years before finding a friend that you click with right away and can stay up ’til 2 in the morning with talking about everything under the sun. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t meet them until college or your work place a decade later, choose the friends with whom you have the deepest, most meaningful connection — even if they’re newer relationships than more superficial ones that go way back. And when you determine which will take the place of Maid-of-Honor, remember she will be the one working double time to help your wedding come together as second in command! Everyone else often expects her to know what’s going on. She can easily set the tone for the bridal party, so choose someone you know is up to the task.
Standing by your side as you vow your life to another is one of the biggest shows of support anyone could give you, so ask yourself, “Who do I know will support me in my relationship for the rest of my life?” Choose friends that have supported the relationship they are standing up for and will remain a vital part of your life for the next 5, 10, 15 plus years — friends that will be around to love and support you in keeping the promises you make on your wedding day AND during subsequent years of marriage. Think: quality over quantity. You want friends that have not only been there since forever, but looking into the future, you can’t imagine losing.
As soon as any girl is in the position of pulling together her own wedding day, she will quickly be able to relate to how difficult the “bride job” can be and how many details, people and feelings there are in play. A good friend will understand that the decisions you make are chosen with thoughtful consideration and love for everyone that will be a part of your wedding, not just the bridesmaids. Don’t feel obligated to include estranged friends because you were a part of their weddings or because they’ll feel bad if they’re not included in that particular way… there are many special ways for loved ones to participate in your wedding day and you may even find that your very best friend is better fit for another role. Only you can make those choices you know will work best in the end, so stick with who comes first in your mind for each role and pick the ones you can count on for the job.
Bridal parties are as varied as wedding days! While one bride may completely forgo having ANY bridesmaids, another may choose 10 — and you know what? Both are totally okay. The beautiful thing about planning your own wedding is YOU get to plan the day based on what will bring about the most joy as you celebrate your marriage. If you have a large social network, consider choosing the top friends from each walk of life (childhood, college, workplace, etc.) as sort of “representatives” of your journey up until now. Don’t worry about what others will think of your choices or whether your bridal party is smaller or larger than someone else’s — this is your day and these are your favorite people: friends who bring joy and happiness to your life, bring out the best in you, support the journey you’re on and will stick with you through thick and thin.
No matter who you choose, be sure to take the extra time and care to express to them WHY you’re choosing them. A little praise goes a long way in helping friends rise to an occasion! Communicating what you love about them and what you know they’ll add to your engagement and wedding experience will give them confidence and motivation to be energy-givers. Have fun with your best girls both leading up to and ON your wedding day!!
How did YOU choose your bridesmaids?! Do you have any tips you can share??
Special thanks to Rachel H., Breanna, Nicole, Julie, Rachel W., Ajla, Jenna, Marcelina, Ashley, Bryant, Analisa, Mikayla, Hannah and Michelle for taking the time to comment and message your words of advice!!