Remember when you were little and you thought, when I have my dream wedding I am going to have 12 bridesmaids in big puffy pink dresses, and they are going to fall at their feet and serve me on my big day. Fast forward to reality. Do you have 12 friends/family that you would like to have in your wedding? Pink is very 1985 (which is when you were probably planning that wedding)
There really are no etiquette rules how to choose your wedding party. It is a process that can strain friendships and hurt feelings. It's not easy, especially when you have a large social circle. Below are some 'guidelines' that you might find helpful during the process.
- Siblings. I had both my sister's in my wedding, but I adore both of them (even though they are polar opposites) so you may want to consider your siblings if you are close
- Friends. All of your friends will expect to be asked. Of course, this is not possible if you actually want to have some people sitting in the congregation. Who are closest too? Who were the first ones that you wanted to call when you got engaged? Just because your friends are not in the wedding party it doesn't mean that they cannot attend the bachelorette party or the bridal tea. They will love being included without the expense!
- Soon to be in-laws. Don't feel like you have to include them. Don't pass over a good friend to have your finance sister in the wedding if you are not particular close. Ask her to perform a reading or act as a greeter while your guests assemble for the ceremony.
- Married Couples. Just because your fiancé will be his best man, it doesn't mean you need to include his wife or girlfriend in the wedding (this works both ways) - in fact if they have small children, it's probably best that one is not in the wedding.
- Children. This is tricky. I don't think that children under 3 should be included in the wedding party. They are too young. They can be included in the pictures and even listed in the program as the 'ceremonial' ring bearer or flower girl.
*One more note on ring bearers and flower girls. They should not actually carry the rings, and they should be seated with either one of their parents or their grandparents during the ceremony, they will be more comfortable (and entertained) and less likely to steal the show!
How to ask someone to be in your wedding?
I would invite them out of drinks or lunch and ask them. Please make your intentions clear. Do you expect a bachelorette party in Vegas? Where will the wedding by held? Out of town? Make sure that you set expectations, that way if it is something they don't feel comfortable committing all that you expect, they can be up front with you.
If they decline to be in your wedding, don't take in personally. These days people don't always have the means to be in a wedding, with all the dresses, travel, and gifts that it involves. Give them a hug, and order another drink. It also doesn't mean that she doesn't want to go with you when you try on dresses, or help you with your registry, include her as much as you can!
I hope this helps, gives you something to think about as you make these decisions. As always, please feel free to drop me a line with any questions or concerns that you have during the planning process. Also, I have some great ideas on my Pinterest boards, held over there and check them out!