Choosing your bridal party is important. Who do you choose to have your back (and your veil) on the big day, and what should you think about before asking them?
For many people, choosing their bridal party can be a big stressor. You can invite your friends, but what about your sister or niece? What about your future partner’s little sister? Or what about your best brides-dude, is that OK?
There’s no one-size-fits-all, which is why some people opt for no-one, and others have a bridal party with ten bridesmaids. You have to do what’s good for you (and your budget).
How Do You Choose Bridesmaids?
Think about the people that could be in your bridal party. These should all be people you are comfortable around and can see them being in your life forever. Make a list of these people, remembering this can include people of any gender; there’s no rules about who you want in your life.
Your future spouse should also do this. This is where you need to think about numbers; do you want an even number of attendants on both sides? Also, you can expect each bridal party member to cost anywhere from $250 to $1,500 each. How’s your budget looking?
Think about any political expectations that you should take into consideration—your sister may not be your closest BFF but it could be wise to include them. For people who almost-but-not-quite make the cut, there are other roles in weddings. Maybe you can get them to do a reading during the ceremony or be the MC during the reception.
Now think about the people on this list. Is one of them a total hot mess who is constantly forgetting things and couldn’t organise anything if their life depended on it, yet you still love them anyway? You can include them but have a more organised bridal party member too, so that way it’s not just you chasing them around organising them.
Before you ask them, there are some things you should consider. If they are a broke student, for example, they’ll likely be concerned about the money aspect. So before asking, make some choices about who will be paying for what. That way, you can start off with clear expectations and they know what they are getting themselves in for. You will, at the very minimum, be expected to organise and pay for their bouquet and transportation to the wedding venue. Dresses are commonly paid for by you too.
Be prepared for a ‘no’ when you ask them. They may not have the capacity, funds, or health to be involved. If that’s the case, you can always ask them to help in less-demanding ways.
What Does the Bridal Party Do?
There are a few expectations of them, of which you need to tell them about if they aren’t aware.
- Organising your bachelor/ bachelorette party
- Ensuring you have support and help when required, whether it’s listening to a wedding related drama, or helping you fold 10,000 origami flowers
- On the day, things like carrying your makeup for touch-ups, ‘fluffing’ your train and veil, and ensuring you’re looking amazing the whole day. This includes making you eat and drink, which is something that brides in particular neglect to do
- Potentially paying for their own accommodation, makeup, hair, dress, shoes and other outfit requirements as previously agreed upon
What is the Maid or Honour or Matron of Honour?
These are the same role, it’s just the ‘maid’ is unmarried, and the ‘matron’ is married. So, feel free to completely ditch these titles if they seem archaic to you. Essentially, this is the chief of the bridal part on the bride’s side. They are in charge or organising the bachelorette party, they should keep the rest of the bridal party organised, and will likely give a speech at the reception.
What is a Bridesmaid Proposal?
This is an American thing which Kiwis are making their own. You could flick your potential BM a message going ‘yo, I’m getting married, want to be my bridesmaid?’ Or, you could plan something more fun and exciting. It really depends on your style.
- Make them a personalised ‘be my bridesmaid’ glass
- Give them this sweet ‘be my bridesmaid’ trinket dish with this cute ‘BFF’ necklace
- Get them their own ‘team bridesmaid’ bridal party robe
- There’s so many different jewellery options, you could bead your own ‘be my bridesmaid’ bracelet for a personal touch
- Make up a kit that you give them when you ask, with nice soap or nice toiletries, a scrunchie, all presented in a cute ‘bridesmaid’ cosmetic bag
Whether you ask them over for a meal and do a candle-lit proposal, send customised cookies, or a bouquet of flowers with a cute cheesy card, it can be a super sweet way to ask them to be a part of your big day, and the start of your married life.
Top Bridal Party Do’s
You love these people, don’t lose a friendship over your wedding. Keep these things in mind.
- Communicate your financial expectations clearly right from the start. It might be awkward but will save you stress later
- Involve them in choosing their outfit, they need to be comfortable in it
- Pay for their hair and makeup expenses if it is your expectation
- Chat about your expectations for the bachelorette party. You’ll be so disappointed if you want a massive blowout and they’ve arranged a cute high tea
- Include their spouse in the big day too, what is their other half going to be doing while they are off doing bridal party things?
- Have clear and easy communications
- Recognise financial limitations
- Ask about their availability. If they are pregnant, have a baby or children, a demanding job, or have a lot of personal commitments, they may not be able to dedicate the time you expect to their role. This is why when you ask them, you need to be very clear about your expectations and give them a chance to say if they’re keen or not.