Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Party
If one of your first thoughts post-engagement is, "Oh my goodness, who is going to be my maid-of-honor?" then girl - you aren't alone.
Inviting friends and family to be a part of your wedding party is exciting, but should generally be done somewhat strategically. If you are concerned about ruffling feathers, making sure everyone feels included, who to choose to be your MOH versus bridesmaid, etcetera, keep reading!
First, let's define who makes up a traditional wedding party:
-Maid (or Man) of Honor: This person is most heavily involved with the planning and execution of your Big Day out of the entire group. They are the leader of the bridesmaids, making sure everyone stays in communication, orders dresses on time, knows where to be and when, and more. They plan the bridal show and bachelorette party, usually with the support of the bridesmaids. At the wedding, they often times make a toast, sign the marriage license, hold your dress while you pee, etc... The Maid (or Man) of Honor should be a historically organized and responsible person that you love and trust.
-Bridesmaids: These are the ladies that, next to your MOH, stand beside you as you say "I do" to your honey at the altar! Before the wedding, they help your MOH plan your bridal shower and bachelorette party. They also accompany you at bridal boutiques as you try on gowns, and are present when you are shopping for their gowns as well! At your discretion, they may be paying for part or all of their gown. If your wedding includes DIY, they generally participate in the big crafting sessions with you as well. Like the MOH, they are there to support you in planning events leading up to and including your wedding day.
-Best Man: This is the point person for the rest of the groom's party. They plan the bachelor party, help out at the rehearsal dinner, keep the rings until needed at the ceremony (find a super safe place for them!), and keep the group organized so that the groom doesn't have to! He helps the groom pick tuxes, and ensures that all of the groomsmen are fitted, even if that means chasing them down. Like the MOH, the duties for the Best Man are elevated, and therefore carry additional responsibility (don't forget the toast!). Whether it is a brother, cousin, or best friend, this person should also be very organized, dependable, and trustworthy.
-Groomsmen: Like bridesmaids, groomsmen are there to stand by their buddy on his Big Day + help with everything before, after, and in-between.
-Flower Girl(s): If you opt to include flower girls (or even flower grandmas!), they will walk down the aisle, often tossing flower petals as they reach the front, to signal that the bride is about to make her grand entrance.
-Ring-bearer: The ring-bearer is tasked with carrying the rings, often tied to a pillow, down the aisle just before the bride enters. He will walk either right before or right after the flower girls. Once he reaches the altar, he delivers the rings to the Best Man and Maid of Honor.
These are the individuals that are included under the "Wedding Party" term, in a traditional sense. They are going to be your go-to group before, during, and right after your Big Day, so choose wisely!
Tip #1: Don't rush into picking your wedding party. Take your time in pondering who your prospects are. Who are your siblings and/or best friends? Do you want an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen? Will you have a MOH, or no? Will he have a Best Man? Do you plan to involve them heavily in the planning process? If so, who can you depend on? Are you purchasing the attire for them, helping them purchase the attire, or will they have to pay for their gowns/tuxes? These are some questions that you will need to answer before making your selections.
Tip #2: Appointing your Maid of Honor can be simple! Traditionally, the Maid of Honor is the sister closest in age to the bride. If you don't have a sister, or if your sister may not be the right person for the role (which is 100% TOTALLY fine!), you can select a close relative, friend, or even a close male friend who can serve as your "Man of Honor." If you have several prospective MOH candidates, narrow down your pool by considering the following questions:
-How much involvement will this person have with the planning process? Think: bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, bachelorette party, etc. This person needs to be reliable!
-Who will mesh well with the group as a whole? If your candidates are particularly harsh or maybe a little dramatic, you'll want to consider this when picking your MOH, as that will be the go-to person for your wedding!
If you're afraid of hurting feelings, or if you are really torn between two candidates for your MOH, you can have two. Just make sure that, if you go this route, there are clear expectations from the beginning of which one is in charge of what! You don't want them butting heads or stepping on each other's toes trying to satisfy all of their MOH duties.
Tip #3: Invite in advance enough so your party has time to $ave up! Whether they will be paying for their own wedding attire or not, being a part of a wedding party can be expensive! Between the parties they will throw for you, the gifts, and everything else, it can get pricey. Give them several months to prepare or decline, so that you can exercise your backup plan.
Tip #4: If you want to include someone in your ceremony, but they don't quite fit the mold of any roles in the wedding party, there are other options! You can have ushers at your ceremony as well as to welcome everyone to the reception. If you have an artistically-inclined pal, maybe they can help you with some of the DIY! Something as simple as providing a reserved seat for them can also be enough of a gesture to make them feel included. The day is about you and your honey, yes, but sometimes a small act of inclusion goes a long way!
Tip #5: Don't feel obligated to include them solely because they included you. This is especially true if you want to keep your wedding party small. Pick the people who you are closest with to stand next to you on your Big Day, and if someone is obviously upset about not being included, have a very sincere and transparent conversation with them. Let them know that you would have loved to include everyone, but that you had to make a choice. If you really feel like you want to do something, you can have a matching corsage or boutonniere made for them.
Have any questions, comments, ideas, or maybe you need some help through your wedding planning process? Please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would absolutely love to help you make all your wedding day dreams come true!