Post by Amy Plass
1) How many is too many?
These days it is a trend to have large wedding parties. If you are really close to ten girls and you couldn’t dream of not having them all as bridesmaids, then go ahead and ask them all. However, keep in mind that trying to bring together that many different people and opinions can be a burden on you. Sometimes keeping it small and simple can save you a lot of stress later on. Also, think about your budget, can you afford to buy bridesmaids gifts, flowers, and dinner for all of them? Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the guest list. If you have only 80 people attending, having 8 bridesmaids may not be the best idea. The general rule of thumb is 1 bridesmaid for every 35-50 guests.
2) Bridesmaids obligations
Bridesmaids have many obligations, both in terms of time and money. Bridesmaids may be called in on to:
- Help with prewedding activities like DIY’s or addressing invitations
- Help pick the bridesmaids dresses and accessories
- Help the maid/matron of honor to host a bridal shower or bachelorette
- Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner
Being a bridesmaid can also be quite expensive. Bridesmaids are often financially responsible for:
- Their clothing to include the dress, alterations, shoes, and accessories
- Travel expenses to and from the wedding
- Travel to and from a shower or bachelorette
- Gifts for both the shower and wedding, and sometimes a joint gift from the bridesmaids
Usually the more formal the wedding is, the higher the cost is for the bridesmaid. If you think that for any reason the time or financial obligations may be prohibitive for someone who you really want to be in the wedding party, plan ahead to make accommodations. Let your bridesmaids select their own dresses from a color range, or tell your Maid of Honor that you’d much prefer a wedding movie marathon with the girls instead of a night out on the town for your bachelorette. Don’t be upset if someone turns down your invitation because they don’t think they can afford it or will be able to make enough time for it.
3) Rules to break
You should choose your bridesmaids from your closest friends and family, even if they don’t meet the traditional idea of an attendant. So if your best friend is a guy, don’t be afraid to ask him to be your “Man of Honor” (also don’t be upset if he turns you down). Unlike the days when it was considered embarrassing to have a pregnant attendant at a wedding, now etiquette dictates that it’s just bad manners to leave a friend out because she’s pregnant! If you end up with more bridesmaids than groomsmen, it’s not uncommon to have one groomsmen escort two bridesmaids down the aisle. Don’t let any “rules” keep you from having the people who are most important to you in your wedding party.
4) Outside Pressures
Don’t let anyone pressure you to ask someone to be an attendant. Your bridesmaids need to be people that make you happy, and who can support you on the big day and the time leading up to it. If your parents are insistent that you ask your long lost cousin or best friend from kindergarten to be a bridesmaid, discuss creating another role for her, like an usheress or a reader at the ceremony. Explain your desire to keep your wedding, or your bridal party, small and intimate.
5) When and how to ask
Your bridesmaids will appreciate advanced notice so that they can start to order their dresses and to arrange and plan any parties that they would like to hold in your honor. You may notice that soon after you get engaged, the first questions you will hear are “What are your colors?” and “Who’s in the bridal party?”. If you haven’t decided yet, it’s okay to say so. Just let people know that other tasks, like finding a date or a venue, are taking precedent. Still, the custom is to ask at least 3-6 months in advance, so don’t wait too long! While it’s always nice to ask in person, sometimes it’s just not possible. Instead of delaying contacting that person get in touch via phone, email, or mail. Let them know the date and location of the wedding, and some sense of the formality of the event so they can get an idea of the financial obligations on their part. Don’t push for an instant reply, even your closest friends may take a day or two to consider. It’s a big honor, and a big obligation, so give them time. If they do turn down your invitation, assume that they have made that choice because they are doing what they think is best for everyone.
Weddings can be stressful on everyone. Always be kind, and keep in mind that you want the people involved in your wedding to be around to celebrate anniversaries!