How To Choose Bridesmaids

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Choosing your bridesmaids is an important step to consider early in your wedding day planning. And sometimes, it can feel like an overwhelming task. You may have had a clear idea of who you imagined standing next to you on your wedding day for some time.

Or you may be agonizing over the possibility of hurt feelings if you don’t include specific people.

One thing’s for sure: choose responsible friends who will complete assigned tasks! Ones that turn up on time can attend all pre-wedding events, including the bridal shower and rehearsal dinner.

Young bridesmaids clinking with glasses of champagne in hotel room. Closeup photo of cheerful girls celebrating a bachelorette party. Females have toast with wine.

How to choose bridesmaids

As many tasks are involved in creating the wedding of your dreams, the right bridesmaids will make this seemingly overwhelming assignment feel like a fun and exciting time. Choosing a potential bridesmaid may come down to making a list. Perhaps your sisters, best friend, childhood friends, or closest family members. Perhaps your future sister inlaw if you have a close relationship.

From this list, you will need to choose who you consider to be the right people for the task. Consider each maid’s personality when choosing your final group. This group of ladies will spend some extended time together, so they should get along.

A bridesmaid’s job is to support you at all stages of the wedding planning and during the wedding. The bridesmaids need to be able to help plan and attend all pre-wedding events. Events include choosing dresses, dress fittings, rehearsal dinners, planning your bachelorette party, and helping you get dressed.

There’s also providing emotional support, holding the bouquet during the ceremony, and ensuring you look and feel like a princess on your wedding day.

Remember, the financial aspects of being a bridesmaid may be something you or your bridesmaid need to consider when accepting the request to be a bridesmaid. The costs regarding purchasing the bridesmaid dresses should be transparent, so each person knows their financial responsibilities around accepting this role.


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bridesmaids lined up holding bouquets at wedding ceremony.

Choosing your maid of honor

Choosing your maid of honor is important, as this person will be your right hand when planning your wedding. The maid of honor is typically assigned to your closest friend. If she’s already married, she would be the matron of honor.

You could also choose to have two maids of honor. This is especially recommended if your closest friend is often unreliable. The second maid of honor can ensure tasks are still completed and your special day goes smoothly.

By choosing to have two maids of honor, you can minimize the stress of planning by delegating jobs to both maids to complete together or individually.

A maid of honor is usually your first point of call when deciding your wedding choices. From your wedding dress, hair, and flower arrangements, she gives emotional support by being a sounding board for all your ideas and concerns. A maid of honor helps you get dressed on the day and assists with your veil and dress train. She’s there to help you stay calm and sort out any last-minute issues that may arise.

It is usually expected that the maid of honor will speak at the wedding reception, telling stories about the couple and wishing them well for their future years together.

bride with bridesmaids

Including siblings in your bridal party

Including your siblings in your big day is a great way to start when choosing your bridesmaids.

If you have younger siblings, you may give them the role of junior bridesmaids, flower girls, or ring bearers.

Duties required of a bridesmaid

  1. Help the bride with the wedding planning process: Bridesmaids are often asked to help with wedding preparations, such as choosing dresses, arranging flowers, and selecting decorations.
  2. Attend pre-wedding events: Bridesmaids are expected to attend bridal parties, bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners. Related reading The Ultimate List of Naughty Bachelorette Party Games.
  3. Assist the bride on the wedding day: On the wedding day, bridesmaids are usually responsible for helping the bride get dressed, holding her bouquet during the ceremony, and assisting with any last-minute preparations.
  4. Walk down the aisle: Bridesmaids typically walk before the bride and may be asked to carry flowers or other decorative items.
  5. Help with post-wedding tasks: Bridesmaids may be asked to help with post-wedding tasks such as packing decorations, returning rental items, and assisting the bride and groom with other needs.
Flower girls for wedding in a line with bride and groom.

How many bridesmaids should you have?

The average number of bridesmaids is 4-6 bridesmaids. However, this depends on a few factors. The wedding size, the number of groomsmen your future partner has, and the size of the wedding venue may all play a role in the number you choose. There are also the financial implications of having multiple bridesmaids.

If you expect your bridesmaids to purchase their own dresses, be sure they are all in the financial position to do so. Alternatively, offer options such as choosing a dress they can hire or wear again. An off-the-rack dress option may cut costs too.

An old wedding tradition stated that a groomsman and bridesmaid should exist for every 50 guests present.

You should never feel obliged to ask some friends to be part of your wedding party. You can have fewer bridesmaids or even zero! On the other hand, if you have ten besties and want to add them all, go for it. The number is entirely up to you.

Wedding Bride cheers with guests.

“Bridesmaids” can be men too.

You may of course choose to have a man of honor as part of your wedding party. Play around with gender stereotypes and mix things up from the traditional! Remember, this is your day, and you should do what feels suitable for you and your partner. If your BFF is a man, don’t be afraid to include him in your big day just as you would your female friends.

Please don’t feel you must include someone because you were a bridesmaid at their wedding.

Remember, this is a massive milestone in your life, and you want your nearest and dearest standing next to you at your wedding ceremony. There are no rules that say you must return the favor just because you were a bridesmaid for a friend or relative.

You can avoid hard feelings by being honest, but you are not required to explain your choices to anyone. The important thing is that who you choose feels right to you.

What if someone declines your request for them to be a bridesmaid?

It’s disappointing when a friend has had to turn down your request to have her as a bridesmaid. Remember, there could be many personal reasons someone may need to decline your request. Financial concerns may be a concern.

Being transparent about the financial requirements around accepting this request is a good idea.

Your planned day may coincide with a prior arrangement they have made or a particular date in their own lives. Please don’t take this rejection to heart; there will usually be a good reason behind it.

Young smiling woman opening a present at her bridal showere n her home. Pink bride balloons in background

How far in advance should I choose my bridesmaids?

Getting engaged can be exciting, and you may be desperate to share this excitement with your closest friends. Take your time choosing who you would like to be by your side. It’s a big decision!

If you have time, please give yourself a month to consider who you want as part of the bridal party. If timing permits to ask someone to be your bridesmaid 6-9 months before the wedding.

Ways to ask your friends to be bridesmaids

There are many exciting ways you can pop the bridesmaid question.

  1. Have a wine night with the ladies you plan to ask
  2. Meet for brunch or lunch
  3. Present your potential maids with bridesmaid robes
  4. Say it with a T-shirt
  5. Organize a mani-pedi afternoon
  6. Host a games night, pop the question during Pictionary or scrabble
  7. Register you all for salsa lessons
  8. Say it with fortune cookies

What other roles could you assign if you feel you’re leaving someone out?

It can be hard to determine who should be part of your bridal party, and there will always be friends you will feel hurt by leaving out.

Think of how you could include these close friends in your day. If a friend is musically talented, you could ask them to sing at the ceremony or play an instrument as you walk down the aisle. Or they could read a poem or reading. Make them your MC, or ask them to give a speech. This is a perfect way to make them feel a part of the day.

Final thoughts

Asking someone to be your bridesmaid can be exciting, but approach it thoughtfully and carefully. You want to feel secure in your choice, so be careful when asking. The last thing you want to do is tell someone you have changed your mind and no longer want them to fill this role.

Be clear with your expectations, be understanding of their response, show appreciation for the task they have chosen to take on. But most of all, have tonnes of fun.

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