The people in your bridal party are there to support you, help you prepare for and celebrate in your marriage. Too often though bridal parties cause conflict, drama, and stress for the engaged couple. It all comes down to who you choose to be in your bridal party. (And when I say bridal party I am speaking bridesmaids and groomsmen!)
Here are 3 things you should know:
1a Know your expectations
Planning a wedding puts the bridal party and the future bride/ groom under a lot of pressure. Before choosing your bridal party, consider who is up for the challenge. Only you know what responsibilities and expectations you hope to delegate to your party. Ask yourself:
Do I want them to help with the invitations? Dress shopping? Registry?
What type of “day of” events do I hope they will take care of?
Do I want them to help organize my schedule?
I would suggest not having more than a few (1/2 ) bridesmaids/groomsmen that live far away. This is especially true for bridesmaids. You need some people less than 4/6 hours away to help plan a bridal shower and be available to meet with you face-to-face.
Still do not dismiss your out-of-staters. Know when they can come into town for the wedding and let them help the week-of. Delegate things to them you know they can do long distance or that you won’t need until the week-of. They want to help even if they are not close.
1b Know your values
I have heard several couples less than five years into their marriage share they are no longer in contact with their bridal party. If you are a young couple, you have a lot of change down the road: moves, careers, children, all of this can cause separation from those you are close to when you get married.
So think about:
– In 10 years will I still be in contact with my wedding party? Will that matter to me?
-Is it important that my future kids know who they are/or that they are involved in their lives?
-Why do I want them standing next to me at the wedding and in my family pictures?
It may be old fashion, but I see the bridal party as literally standing with you in agreement of your marriage. They are the people who I can go to or them to me as accountability to the promise I made on my wedding day. I want my future children to either know who they are or I will be able to quickly tell them their importance in my life.
I would encourage you to include family in your bridal party. Even if you move far away, they will be around for holidays. There is a guarantee you children will know their aunts, uncles, your cousins etc. Also, if they grew up with you, they know your values, and expectations pretty well.
2. Know their personalities and character
A lot of problems and drama occur because the bride or groom do not want to hurt someone’s feelings by not choosing them to be in the wedding. But often friendships end after a wedding because of bridesmaid/groomsmen conflicts. You want people who are truly responsible and capable of being there for you in this important and stressful time.
So mull over this:
-Are they encouragers/can they tell when I need help or a break?
-Are they trustworthy/reliable/dependable/on time?
-Will they be respectful of my family and work well with the other bridal party members? (AKA Would grandma like them?)
-Are they apt to push their wants on my wedding? Or be impolite in expressing their dislike for my plans?
It is a privilege to be asked to participate in planning and/or being in someone’s wedding. The person has probably earned a special place in your life, gained your trust and respect. If you choose someone who is unreliable, disrespectful, or inappropriate then you will find yourself with unnecessary drama instead of encouraging help.
3.Know their experience and talents
Even if the people you are considering for your bridal party understand your expectations, are mature, and willing to help they may not know what to do. Once again, if you are a young couple then it is likely that your peers are not married, have not been in a lot of weddings, and very possibly have not been to many weddings. You may be surprised how many people don’t know what is included in wedding planning, or typical groomsmen/bridesmaid responsibilities.
-Have they ever been in a wedding before? Have they been to a wedding before?
(If no then ask: are they quick learners?)
-Are they creative and independent?
-Are they flexible and organized?
I would highly suggest choosing at least one married matron of honor/bridesmaid. Having one or two people in your wedding party who have “been there done that” is helpful. They have perspective, experience, and can help you prioritize. They will know what you are going through and are less apt to project their thoughts on your wedding.
Answer these questions honestly. Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in planning for the wedding and choose people who are strong in your areas of weakness. But be realistic, no one is perfect. Consider these questions and suggestions and you will be on your way to building a strong support team!