I am really struggling to choose bridesmaids and discern between who I really want and who I 'should' pick.... What are some useful factors to consider when choosing maids and is it better to explain to someone/apologise for not picking them?
This is a really touchy subject and one of the quickest ways to loose friends and make some new enemies.
Whatever you decide to do - diplomacy has to be your greatest friend and ally. Remember not to get upset or to respond to someone else's anger in a way that is going to escalate the situation or result in things being said that can never be taken back. That said here are five quick tips to choosing bridesmaids.
1. How Many Bridesmaids?
The very first thing to think about is how many bridesmaids you want in your wedding party.
Three things to think about:
- Number of Bridesmaid in relation to the whole wedding - 10 bridesmaids at a wedding of 50 people is going to look a bit over the top, three would be more realistic.
- However many bridesmaids you have the Groom is likely to want a similar number of groomsmen and so again you could end up with a wedding party which out ways the wedding guests. Not to mention all the extra costs.
- Remember a larger number of bridesmaids and groomsmen signifies a more traditional wedding so if you are planning a more informal wedding, which is the trend right now, then you are completely justified in having just one or two bridesmaids.
2. Blood Is Thicker Than Water... Sometimes!
Make a list of the people you are close to, who you can share your heart with and who keeps a secret. Friends from school you haven't spoken to for five years aren't really going to be in the running. Think of the most important secret in the world, who would you tell and you'd know it would be safe… that's going to be a very short list.
If you are close to your sister and future sister-in-law you may want to keep them on the short list. If they are really close to you that may be the easy option. Bridesmaids are only going to be immediate family, its an easy conversation stopper with anyone else thinking they ought to be included.
3. No Tit-For-Tat Bridesmaids
Just because your friend ask you to be her bridesmaid does not require you to ask them. She may have asked you for a million reasons all personal to herself, that was her wedding day, this is yours. There is no etiquette requiring you to return a favour.
4. What About Bridesmen?
We live in a less and less traditional world and so many more thing go than did just 10 years ago. We photographed a lovely wedding in the Cotswolds and the Maid of Honour was a guy.
He was absolutely brilliant helping the Bride getting ready and he stood by her all day long making sure her every need was cater too. An approach sadly lacking in many bridesmaids today, who are looking for a free pretty dress and to P A R T Y...
5. Honour Them In Other Ways
Don't start out this process of choosing bridesmaids by talking to everyone about their ideas for bridesmaids or who you should ask. You may unwittingly imply that you want them to be a bridesmaid or they may assume you are asking them. Then it becomes a lot harder to say "I don't want you as my bridesmaid' than it is to say "I have chosen so and so to be my bridesmaids."
Also there is more than one way to skin a cat (sorry cat lovers :) ). If you have made that short list and you now know who you are going to ask, you also know who you are not going to ask. This is good new because you can use that knowledge to great effect.
Remember word gets around like wildfire in these situations so once you ask whoever to be your bridesmaid then everyone is going to know in a matter of hours.
So before word gets out, those that didn't make it, honour them in some other way. So you could say to a friend you you don't want to offend, who may think she is in the running for bridesmaid "When I get married I have a reading that I really would like during the ceremony and I was really hoping you would do that for me!." Now no one is going to say "No, I want the bridesmaids job." They are going to be honoured to be part of your wedding and in the process you have diffused the bridesmaid issue.
There are dozens of ways of honouring friends; perform a song, be a witness at the signing of the register, lead prayers in church, say grace before food, if you think about it there are lots of opportunities.
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