I choose YOU!

Over the past few posts, I have been sharing some tips & tricks I have picked up in party planning; specifically when it comes to weddings.  When I was young & bright-eyed I had a passion for weddings.  While I still do; when it came time to pay the bills life took me a different direction.  Having a wedding planner is a luxury, not a necessity so there just wasn’t a demand for my career interest. 

Today we are going to cover a sometimes very sensitive topic.  I hate to admit it, it’s even going to be an issue for me…

Don’t let other people pick your wedding party!

Whose wedding is it? Your moms? Your grade-school best friends? Your partner’s older sisters? Nope! It’s YOUR wedding! Your wedding means you are the one narrowing it down to your closest friends and family members regardless of gender, family ties, and other factors.

Let me tell you a great story that the bride still regrets over a decade later. I went to a college friend’s wedding. She didn’t have any sisters, and her mom told her that her female cousin was going to be her maid-of-honor. The groom’s sister was a bridesmaid, along with a high school friend. The ceremony went off great! It came time during the reception to give speeches, the cousin didn’t think she was close enough to the bride that she could give a speech. As in…she didn’t prepare one! The bride was mortified! The wedding was 99% flawless, but what does she remember, the maid of honor that didn’t have a speech. The bride can’t look at certain wedding pictures because of this. eh! Can you say cringe-worthy?

You have the right to choose who will be standing next to you if you choose to have a wedding party. When you think back to this day are you going to wince when you see cousin Jane standing next to you in pictures because your mom said you had put her in the wedding party? Or is a smile going to grace your face because you wanted your best friend to be apart of your wedding party; who happened to be a guy! Your best friends, your nearest and dearest; should be apart of the day, standing next to you.

Here are some things to consider:

  • More isn’t always merrier-the the more bridesmaids you have a higher risk of having a conflict. Not to mention, the more difficult it will be to find a dress to agree on, compromising on a shower date, coordinating duties. Let’s not forget your budget! You have to factor in the cost of each person’s bouquet, thank you gift, transportation, accommodations, hair, make-up, etc.
  • Don’t make assumptions– In today’s world, being a bridesmaid isn’t always cheap! But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write off someone simply because you don’t think can afford the expenses. If you want to ask a friend you know is having financial difficulties, you can always tell her you’d love her to be a bridesmaid, but understand the financial difficulties. If they decline, either remind them they are welcome to skip an event or two—otherwise, if they insist on saying “no” (which is allowed), suggest something else like scripture reading, or something else in the wedding.
  • You can have 2 maids of honors– If there are two people (male, female, or both) that you feel closest to, of course, you want them both by your side on your wedding day!  Just make sure to assign them equal duties that play to their strengths.
  • You are not obligated to ask someone who asked you– It’s understandable to feel guilty about this, but it really is OK to not reciprocate the bridesmaid offer.  I mean of course unless it’s the final scene of 27 Dresses, but let’s be real!  This is real life!  It isn’t a dinner party invitation you need to reciprocate; just remember to treat the situation with care, compassion, and sensitivity.   
  • The attendants don’t have to be ladies– Where in the world does it say your best guy friend or awesome brother can’t be in the wedding party?! As gender fluidity becomes more common, more couples are asking members of the opposite sex to stand by them. For the record, a guy would be a bridesman while a female would be a groomswoman; or just attendant for gender-neutral.
  • An uneven number is OK– No one ever said you are required to have symmetry when it comes to your wedding party.  Don’t add unnecessary pressure on yourself to fill positions to even things out.  It’s ok to have two bridesmaids walk down the aisle with one groomsman or vice versa.  They can even walk down the aisle solo or with a pet.  If you are worried about things looking odd in pictures talk to your photographer; trust me they have ideas because they’ve dealt with it all before.  
  • Family equals family– If you are incredibly close to your sister(s) and future sister-in-law(s), the idea of not including them in your wedding party probably never occurred to you. If you don’t consider them a BFF (it happens), the thought of asking them to be in your party might make you groan & roll your eyes. But, it’s usually worth including family to avoid unneeded conflict to avoid hurt feelings.

For me personally, I was the maid of honor as my sister’s wedding & am expected to have her be my matron of honor at my wedding; but I want nothing more than my best friend to fill the role.  At the same time, I have two older future sisters-in-law to include in our special day.  So how do I include all four special ladies without losing control?  Easy!  The sisters-in-law who are over nine years older than their brother and I will have special parts in the wedding ceremony while my sister and best friend will both be matrons of honors with only one additional bridesmaid.

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