You’ve shrieked “YES!!!”, your left ring finger is newly sparkling, you’ve been scrolling through Pinterest in the middle of the night like your life depends on it, and you’ve high-tailed it to the newsagency to buy yourself a copy of White Magazine. Baby, you’re getting married! No doubt from the moment that ring landed on your finger, it has become an open invitation for a barrage of wedding-related questions. “When’s the wedding?” “Have you picked your colours?” “Found your dress yet?” “Who are your bridesmaids?”
Maybe you’ve been firm on your bridal party since before you and your fiance were even a thang, or maybe the very thought of selecting your bridesmaids is giving you conniptions. If you’re in the latter situation, we are here to help!
Your bridesmaids are such an important part of your big day. Whether you need emotional support, someone to hold up your dress when you pee (it’s a cliche for a reason!), someone to clink a champagne glass with before all the action, or someone to inform you of the spinach in your teeth right before the photographer snaps, they’ll have your back. They’re your team, and your big day will be as important to them as it is to you – that is, if you choose the right people.
So before you make any firm decisions, consider these guidelines for selecting your bridesmaids!
Take Your Time
Breathe, lovely. A month ago you were happily going about your life and maybe dreaming of getting married “someday”. Now that day is in the foreseeable future, your brain is no doubt in overdrive. Your bridesmaids are going to be alongside you every step of the way, planning your hens night and bridal shower, and standing in all the photos of the big day. It’s not a decision that should be made quickly, because you don’t want to ask the wrong person and end up regretting it. Take all the time you need.
You don’t need to pick someone just because they picked you for their own wedding
There’s no rule about that! And while we’re at it, here are some others you don’t need on your team if you’re not feeling it:
- Someone who you promised, years ago, would one day be your bridesmaid
- A sister, cousin or future sister-in-law that you’re not super close to
- If you’ve been married before, a previous bridesmaid (also applies to bridesmaids you commissioned during a previous engagement that didn’t work out. Hey, it happens!)
- Someone who you’re pretty sure is expecting you to ask her
Friendships change over time, and what seemed like a perfect fit once just might not work out now. It may require an awkward conversation, but that’s better than having someone on the team who you would have preferred to simply have watch from the sidelines with all your other friends and extended family.
Weddings are stressful enough without your nearest and dearest adding to it, so try to avoid friends who are flaky or who thrive on drama. It sounds harsh, but it’s smart in the long run. It doesn’t mean they’re not great friends, it simply protects you from being let down when the stakes are high. Agreeing to be a bridesmaid is more than just agreeing to a title – it’s a promise to help and support the bride however she needs it, and sometimes that can be hard work. You want bridesmaids you can rely on to show up, to be organised and to all get along, even if they don’t know each other very well.
It’s awkward to bring this up, but if you’re planning a big, flashy, no-expenses-spared wedding and expect your girls to pony up for designer gowns, louboutins and an all-expenses-paid (for you) girls’ weekend to Bali, consider that some of your friends may struggle to afford that kind of commitment. Don’t get me wrong, plan the wedding of your dreams if it’s important to you, but if you have strong expectations that the bridal party will need to be dropping a lot of dollahz, it has the potential to hurt your relationship with a bridesmaid whose expectations of reasonable expenditure don’t match yours. At the very least, it’s worth a conversation to check in and make sure the ladies you choose are financially comfortable with your vision. If they’re not, it might be worth compromising your expectations, or risk losing the bridal party you truly want by your side.
Above all else, choose girls that you just love
At the end of the day, none of the rules above apply if you have your heart set on someone. She might not meet the standard requirements, but she’s your girl, and you wouldn’t dream of getting married without her by your side… and that alone makes her the perfect bridesmaid for you!
PS Once you’ve chosen your team, don’t forget to buy them a little something to say thank you – here are our wallet-friendly suggestions!
The photos in this piece were all from my gorgeous sister Hannah’s wedding last November, and were all snapped by the exceptionally talented Michelle Karas Photography (as linked at the top). Permission was obtained from each individual in the photos prior to publishing.