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7 Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Party

Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Party

By Jeffrey House Photography



We get to experience weddings from "behind the scenes."  The dynamics of a wedding party can sometimes be a little.................Um, how do I say this......interesting.  So, we thought it would be great to provide you with 7 tips for choosing your wedding party!

When we think about weddings we tend to think of everyone smiling, laughing, crying (tears of joy of course), and having a great time!  But the truth of the matter is, it isn't always rainbows and butterflies.  In our experience, we don't find much tension or issues with the guys.  They're typically too busy trying to figure out how to put on their bow ties and cufflinks - no offense guys.  The ladies, however, are a little different.  And I'm not trying to pick on the ladies but when the 'tudes start to show, it's usually on the girls side.  We've seen brides that are absolutely miserable because of the altercations and drama taking place.  This is your wedding day and this is the last thing you need to be worrying about.  

But They're My Friends

When it comes to selecting your bridal party it's very easy to choose them for all the wrong reasons.  And what makes it even more difficult is the wrong reasons often feel like the right reasons.  And there's the rub.  Brides's and groom's will often times ask people to be in their wedding party because they feel obligated. For example, last year one of the bride's friends asked her to be in her wedding, so now the bride feels obligated to ask her in return.  Or your mother is pressuring your to ask a distant cousin because she feels it would be nice to include her, but you hardly know her.   

This is your wedding day and you only get one chance to experience it.  When it comes to choosing your bridal party it's wise to think twice before asking anyone because you can't  take it back.  I'm a big fan of etiquette but when it comes to choosing your bridal party throw it out the window.  This is one day you get to have things the way you want them.  You don't want your wedding day to be miserable because you chose your bridal party for the wrong reasons - they're not responsible, they're not helpful, and they are all irritated with one another.  Too much stress!!

Won't I Offend Those People I Exclude

Maybe, but I've seen weddings where I'm sure the bride, if given the chance, would have kicked a person or two out of the bridal party.  This day is about the bride and as a bride you deserve to have people around you that are supportive, truly happy for you, and have your best interests in mind.  If you elect not to include a longtime friend because you don't feel she is responsible enough or for any other reason, she will need to respect your wishes.  If it's really making you feel guilty to exclude someone from the bridal party, then think of another task they can be part of so you can include them.  You can make them part of the day by having them hand out programs to guests as they arrive at the ceremony or ask them to do a reading.  If they are musically inclined, ask them to play some music during the ceremony.  There are many unique ways to involve people you care about.  

7 Tips For Choosing Your Wedding Party

There are definitely some considerations that need to be made when choosing your bridal party and some of them may be things that never crossed your mind.  We are going to talk about some of the "do and do not" aspects of selecting your wedding party and hopefully help you avoid those lovely personality conflicts that can arise!

1.  Select People That Are Truly Happy For You

This might seem like a little detail, but it's one that requires some attention.  You might even notice how I stressed truly in the title?  What's the difference?  Here's a great example - last year when the bride's maid-of-honor got married she couldn't get the DJ she really wanted, but guess what?  The bride did.  The maid-of-honor is a little competitive and is feeling jealous, and unfortunately this reveals itself throughout the day.  The maid-of-honor tends not to be very helpful, she's "edgy," etc.  The bride is certainly sensing this and it's causing her to feel stressed.  

People that are truly happy for you are glad you got the DJ you really wanted.  They're happy you found your dream wedding dress for $600.  They're glad you are marrying someone that makes you extremely happy.  They're not jealous or resentful, and they want to do whatever they can to make your wedding the best it can be for you!

2.  Don't Choose Anyone Out Of Obligation

We've already touched on this already, but this is one of the biggest mistakes people make when choosing their bridal parties.  It's one of those I need to ask her because she asked me situations or that distant cousin you hardly know because mom is making you feel guilty.  If they want to speak with you regarding why they aren't included in your wedding, don't hesitate to be completely honest with them.  It wasn't an easy decision but ultimately you chose people that you feel closest to and unfortunately you're not able to ask everyone.  If you want to include them suggest one of the options we discussed earlier in the article or come up with another alternative.  

3.  Clearly Communicate Your Expectations

When you agree to be part of a bridal party it comes with a certain amount of responsibility.  It may include dress shopping, stuffing envelopes to mail the wedding invitations or arranging the bachelorette party.  If you are not willing to happily participate then it's probably best to respectfully decline.  

The people you consider for your bridal party should have a clear understanding of your honest expectations. And let them know that if they don't want to be part of the duties they can certainly pass - no hard feelings.  It's certainly not uncommon for people to accept being part of the bridal party and then find excuse after excuse to avoid the obligations, and the tension begins to mount.

4.  Choose Responsible People

This might seem a little obvious, but do you really want to place the responsibility of holding onto something important - say the wedding rings - with someone who is forgetful and irresponsible?  Or maybe you choose one of those people who will be late to their own funeral.  Every time the bridal party is getting together to go dress shopping or do a wedding project, this person always seems to be an hour late.  If the bride can't rely  on her attendants it only causes her stress.  If for some reason you can't avoid including someone that is not responsible, be sure to avoid giving them any important duties.  

5.  Less Is More

The average wedding will typically have a total of 8 people in the bridal party.  However, if you're having a smaller wedding, 50-75 people, it's probably best to keep it around 4.  If you're having a minimum of 150 people you could probably go as high as 12.  Keep in mind these are strictly general rules.  If you're looking for simplicity, low stress, and less drama smaller is the way to go.  In may situations less is definitely more!

A large wedding party requires more coordination with dress or tux shopping,  more scheduling issues (bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc.),  a more complex wedding processional, more bridal party gifts to worry about, etc.  As you can see it can become quite the scheduling nightmare.   

6.  You Don't Have To "Even It Out"

Someone has either told you or will tell you that you need to add or remove someone from your bridal party to "even it out," to make your photos look better.  Please disregard this advice.  Don't add someone (or remove) just to make the numbers even.  If there are 4 guys and 3 girls everything will still work out great and your photos will still look beautiful.  As a wedding photographer we are not concerned with having even sides, so there's no need to stress and drive your self crazy fussing over the numbers.

7.  It Should Be Easy, Fun, & Exciting

Choosing your bridal party should be easy, fun, and exciting.  It should consist of sisters, brothers, and life long friends who truly care about you and will be an integral part of your life long after the wedding day.  Negative people, drama queens, and the "everything is about me" types need not apply.  This day is about you and you want to surround yourself with people who understand this.  They're supportive, encouraging, helpful and they go that extra mile to make your day better, easier, and more fun.  

When Should We Ask Our Attendants To Be In Our Wedding

While there aren't any hard and fast rules for when to ask your attendants, I would recommend addressing some other relevant details first.  I would wait to ask them until you have settled on a wedding date and you have a firm grasp on your expectations.  During the initial conversation it will be important to clearly communication your expectations so they understand the level of their commitment.  It might even be a good idea to give them the option to think about it for a couple days so they don't feel pressured into an answer.  Be sure to communicate to them that if they would rather not commit to being part of the bridal party it's okay and there will not be any hard feelings.  

One thing that planning a wedding will teach you is that you can't make everyone happy.  Don't lose sight that this day is about you and it should be built around what you want for your wedding.  As always we wish you the best of luck with your planning and don't forget to enjoy it!


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