As wedding planners it’s common for couples to ask us just how to pick a few important people from a large group of loved ones and VIPs that will ultimately make up the wedding party. While we know it may seem overwhelming to narrow it down, selecting your wedding party is all about following a few important guidelines, and above all, your gut instincts. Read on to learn how to draft the perfect wedding party team.
Think twice before asking
In all of the initial engagement excitement, it will be tempting to ask all of your favorite friends to be in your wedding party. Don’t. Trust us experts, and take time to think through who is the best fit for your party. The first question to consider, who can you see in your life in five years time? Who will grow with you as a couple through the next life stages such as eventually starting a family. Make a short-list, and give yourself a month’s time to weigh the options in your mind. If you are on the fence about someone, think about how this person may mesh with the rest of the group, or even where they are located, and whether or not they may be able to help in the planning process. If you truly can’t decide between two people, why not just ask them both? (Hint: you don’t need to have the same number of people on either side of your wedding party.)
Include your brothers and sisters
Including siblings in your wedding party may not be so clear cut for every couple, and for others siblings are the obvious first choice. Consider this, even if your sibling isn’t your first choice - your sibling will most likely remain a presence in your life for 10, 20, 30+ years to come. If you are not super close, it’s possible you will become closer over the years by including them in one of the most meaningful experiences of your life. If you come from a very large family and cannot include everyone, you can ask some of your younger siblings to participate in your day by seating guests, or reciting something special during the ceremony.
Consider the size of your wedding and your budget
First take a quick look at your guest list; is your wedding smaller with less than 50 guests, or are you planning a larger celebration with 150+ people? The size of your wedding naturally will guide how many people will be included in your wedding party. For smaller weddings, you may only want three or four people on each side, and for larger, it’s not uncommon for brides and grooms to have more than ten or twelve people. Keep in mind, more isn’t always merrier. Each person adds to your overall budget when you consider gifts for your party, bridesmaids bouquets, boutonnieres, suits, dresses, etc… Further, you will add another layer of complexity with each person. For example, consider organizing details for bachelor and bachelorette celebrations, or finding dresses that flatter many different skin tones and body shapes. If you feel that your list is too long, but you still want to include you “B-Listers”, find a special role or assignment that they will happily embrace.
Don’t ask someone just because they asked you
Be honest. If you have been a bridesmaid or a groomsman in the past, and are no longer close friends with that person, the thought has crossed your mind about how you can get out of returning the favor. Let us alleviate some needless social stress. Weddings are no time for a game of tit for tat. Don’t feel pressured to ask your a former colleague, roommate, or college friend if you haven’t spoken in five years just to return the favor. If someone approaches you about why they were not included, just be open and keep true to your personal reasons for making the choices you did. Explain that the decision was very difficult, but that you chose those who you felt closest to, or who could help with organizing plans, or who needed to be included due to family commitments. You can also share that there were others who you genuinely wanted to include but couldn’t for various reasons. Don’t get defensive if you find yourself in this situation; just keep a calm open nature, and hopefully your friend will understand that you still value their friendship.
Wedding party “rules” can be broken
Here are some traditions that you can completely rewrite for your own wedding. You don’t need to have the same number of people on either side of your wedding party. It’s ok if you have a few more or a few less than your partner. Also, it’s absolutely more than ok to have bridesmen or groomswomen! If you are a bride and have a brother or a male friend that you are close with, we encourage you to follow what feels right regardless of gender. Remember, this is your special day, and only you know what is the right decision regardless of other people’s expectations.
The final detail you will want to take into consideration is to determine which roles exactly you’d like your wedding party to play, and whether or not they will be able to meet your expectations. For example, are you hiring a wedding planner? If so, you will need less help from your crew than if you are hiring someone who is a professional like us. Consider details like addressing the invites, assembling center pieces, and helping you find the right venue. These details can seriously stack up for the average bride, groom, or wedding party guest.
We at Sip and Twirl are always here to help. We get more than a bit excited about helping couples with these and all other details in the wedding planning process. We are located in Scottsdale, Arizona, and have many years of experience in wedding planning. We’d love to hear about your dream wedding day, and learn how we can help make this vision a reality. Contact us at (480) 648-0663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.