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How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

"Who do I want to be my bridesmaids?"

If you’re newly engaged, one of the first questions you might be asking yourself is, “Who do I want to be my bridesmaids?”

Some women seem to already know who will be in her wedding party long before she’s even engaged! Maybe you have a list of friends and siblings already picked out, yourself. But it’s normal to not have it all figured out, too- especially if your engagement was a complete surprise!

Having the right people with you on your wedding day is important. It’s not just about the wedding photos—these are the people who will be there for you as you’re making a big life change! Who will you pick? And how and when will you “propose” that they be in your wedding? 

Read on for our do’s and don’ts on how to choose your bridesmaids.

Do choose someone who you know well.

Your bridal party can consist of whoever you want—but it should consist of people who you know well. Additionally, think about the people in your life who have been through it all with you—through happy times, through tough times, and especially the people who have seen the progression of your relationship with your future spouse! 

This doesn’t mean you can only choose the friends you’ve had since kindergarten, but it does mean you should choose your bridesmaids carefully. Resist the urge to include friendly acquaintances or people who you feel like you “should” include, but don’t really want to. 

Choose someone you know well

 Iris Studios Photography

Don’t choose right away.

Put some thought into who you’d like to choose as your bridesmaids. Draft up a list of maybes, but then put it away for a few days or a few weeks and see if you still feel the same way. Like we mentioned above, think through who will support you through this major life change, and surround yourself with those people.

Take the time to talk through your bridal party choices with your partner. He or she may be able to suggest someone you may have forgotten, or help you talk through who you’ll choose and why.

When you think of who to include in your bridesmaid team, do you automatically think of people whose weddings you’ve been in? Stop this thought in its tracks and remind yourself that you don’t have to invite someone to bridesmaid just because you were theirs. Of course, it’s a good idea to consider these friends, but don’t feel pressured or obligated to include them!

When you do decide on your dream team, check out our blog post on ways to propose to your bridesmaids. There are so many fun and creative ways to invite your tribe to Team Bride! 

Short bridesmaids dresses

Hello Dolly Photography 

Do feel free to include both men and women.

Traditionally, the bridesmaids were all women and the groomsmen were all men. But modern weddings don’t need to abide by this rule. Mixed gender bridal parties are becoming more acceptable these days. If you have someone in mind who’s a good fit for the bridal party, there’s no need to limit yourself!

Talk with your partner about who you’d both like to include, and think about whether a mixed gender bridal party is right for you. It’s your wedding, after all!

Include both men and women in the bridal party

Whims and Joy Photography 

Don’t worry about having an even number.

So your partner chose 6 groomsmen, but you only have 5 bridesmaids. Is this a problem?

If you’re struggling to come up with an even number on both sides, it’s time to give up the ghost. There’s no need to balance the bridesmaids and groomsmen, especially if it means inviting someone you don’t really want in the bridal party. It’s better to include only the people you want to include, rather than fake it for the sake of a balanced wedding picture.

Do think about other ways to include loved ones in your wedding.

Many brides choose to include their siblings in the bridal party, but it’s not required. If you don’t want to include your sibling as a bridesmaid, there are plenty of other ways to get him or her involved. 

Here are a few roles a non-bridesmaid can help you fill (these roles can apply to friends or loved ones you didn’t choose for the bridal team, as well). 

Role ideas for non-bridesmaids prior to the wedding:

  • Is there anything your sibling or friend can do to help you with planning or prepping for the wedding?
  • While this isn’t a “role” or “job,” per se, do feel free to include your sibling or friend in the pre-wedding parties, such as a bridal shower or engagement party!

Role ideas for non-bridesmaids on the wedding day:

  • Will you need readers to present certain parts of the ceremony? 
  • Can you use an usher (or usherette)? 
  • How about a personal attendant to help you with odds and ends on the big day?
  • Will there be any special live music or performances your sibling or friend can participate in (if he or she is musically inclined, that is)?

If you’re really struggling to come up with extra roles, don’t be afraid to simply let your guest be a guest. He or she is still included in your wedding day and will get to relax and enjoy the ceremony.

Additional roles beyond bridesmaids

Hello Dolly Photography 

Before and after the wedding day

Bridesmaids are so much more than just people who stand with you on your wedding day. They are your support group as you plan your wedding and, after the big day has come and gone, transition to married life. 

Once your bridesmaids are selected, have fun getting ready to marry your best friend! But don’t forget to make room in your life for the friends you had before getting married, and have a great time celebrating your engagement with the group of humans close enough to be your bridal party! Although it may be stressful deciding who to ask, your bridesmaids are an important part of your wedding process. 

Bridesmaids will be there for you before and after the wedding

Sophisticated Grace Photography

What are your do’s and dont's for choosing your bridesmaids? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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Leave a comment

December 10, 2020 10:44

I have had the hardest time choosing!! I have 10 bridesmaids and 4 are sisters!! I know who all I want but trying not to hurt feelings even though it’s me and my fiancé’s decision.

Katie Mullikin
October 11, 2020 18:35

I thought that this article was really interesting because where I come from it’s kind of expected that the sisters of the groom are bridesmaids as well even if the bride doesn’t know them too well it’s seen as the proper and polite thing to do.

May 11, 2020 10:34

Love the part where there are “other roles”. Picking your bridal party can definitely ruffle some feathers, but ultimately it is up to the bride and groom!

June 11, 2018 10:54

Love this!

Sarah Pupkes
May 08, 2018 16:09

Is it common to have female Ushers? If so, what do they wear??

Thank you!

May 07, 2018 22:33

I love part about not having even numbers. My fiance has 6 groomsmen and I only have 4 bridesmaids. I thought it might be awkward but its more important to have meaningful people in our wedding and not just asking random people because you have to have an even number. Too many brides stress over this! It doesnt have to be even! Ask the people that mean the most to you. And if you have uneven numbers….who care?! Its your special day that you’re sharing with people you care about.

April 08, 2018 22:33

Hi Kathy — not sure if you’ll end up seeing this, but have you or your fiance had a chance to talk to his friend about why he won’t be groomsman with someone other than his girlfriend? Maybe he has a misunderstanding of what the role entails, or how much time he’d be able to spend/interact with his girlfriend during the ceremony/reception. If he thinks that it means his girlfriend can’t attend the wedding, or that he’ll have to be “partnered” with your bridesmaid the entire event, that might explain his reluctance.

I hope that things get cleared up for you! I know it’s really difficult when the woman you WANT to be your bridesmaid can’t or won’t. I am dealing with the same challenge myself at the moment. :/

Kathy Wolf
March 20, 2018 18:35

I only have a few friends ones married and lives in Manitoba and one is moving there this month and getting married there and they both wouldn’t come to Mexico just for my wedding and my fiances friend won’t be groomsman with someone else than his girlfriend and I don’t like her and we’re not close at all I want my cousin to walk with him but if he doesn’t do it I don’t know what ‘cause she’s the closest person to me and we don’t want our siblings and I might have my other cousin ‘cause my fiance want his friend and there getting married 2 months before we do I just can’t figure out what to do my mom and the few people I’ve talked to don’t seem to really give me advice or they just say I know so maybe you could help me

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