How to Choose Your Bridal Party without Hurting Feelings
Four years after I got married, it was my maid of honor’s turn to say “I do.” Only, she didn’t ask me to be her maid-of-honor. I wasn’t even in the bridal party. My invitation came in the mail like everyone else’s, announcing her soon-to-be nuptials without including a request for help or a “how ya doin’?” Ouch. When her bridal party trotted off to take photos in the snow with fur and flowers, I sat next to my husband feeling very dejected and a little bitter. Life went on, and our friendship survived just fine, but it’s not the type of moment you’d like at your own wedding.
No one wants a guest or close friend to feel hurt at their wedding. But selecting friends to be on your A-team and power wedding #squad is tough to do without not selecting other friends. And those friends? Well, they may feel excluded and hurt. That’s okay and totally natural, but there are ways to lessen that hurt and handle feelings with care.
Selecting the Wedding Party
There are no rules for selecting the perfect entourage, but decisions should be carefully thought through. Make a list of everyone you might like in your bridal party, and begin narrowing down. What friends and loved ones stand the test of time? Who gets along with each other? Who can’t stand each other? Who will be excited to help you no matter the task? Who can afford the kind of dresses or pre-wedding events you’d like to have? Who are you willing to help purchase the dress or Vegas bachelorette party ticket if they can’t?
Once you’ve narrowed down the list, don’t immediately pick up the phone and tell all your friends. Wait for a week or two and see if you still feel the same way. Also, keep in mind that you don’t need the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen. Don’t place arbitrary restrictions on yourself; creating the list is stressful enough. Just go with what feels right for you
Be Clear About Your Bridal Party Wishes Early On
If you’re planning on a small wedding party, make that abundantly clear from day one. You don’t want to raise someone’s expectations needlessly. Right after you get engaged (maybe at your engagement party or a typical hangout sesh), let people know the kind of wedding party you’re expecting. Say something like, “I’m not going to have very many bridesmaids.” It’s not a “yes, you’re in” or a “no, you’re out,” but it sets reasonable expectations for your besties, friends, and friends of friends, and cousins…and sister’s friends, and whoever else is expecting a bridal party invite.
Break the News
No matter how big or small your wedding party is, there will be folks that expect to be involved that might not be. Make sure you are upfront, understanding, and kind when you tell friends and family that they won’t be sharing the aisle with you. Also, break the news well in advance to friends that won’t be getting a wedding party proposal. Don’t ghost friends or say nothing at all.
With this in mind, be honest with close friends and explain your logic. Expect that they’ll be upset, but trust that honesty, understanding, and kindness can go a long way for you and your friendship. Most people will be okay once you explain the reasoning behind your choice. If there is someone you feel should be included, but you’re not sure how, consider asking them to help host the wedding. They can dress in the wedding colors, help with specific tasks, and attend all the pre-wedding activities.
Prepare for Pushback
Depending on a bunch of factors (like personality, relationship to you/your partner, etc.), you may get some pushback on your bridal party choices. Sometimes this pushback comes directly from the person you didn’t select to be in the bridal party. Other times, it comes from family members and other friends. Listen to the feedback; don’t immediately write it off. Be open to changing your position. If you decide to stay the course with your selected bridal party, graciously accept the feedback but explain that your decision has been made. If you decide to change things up, be honest and understanding with the friend that is now going through an emotional roller coaster.
Above all else, remember that you’re in charge here. So, if you want men and women in your bridal party, go for it! If you want 10 bridesmaids and 3 groomsmen, go for it! If you want no wedding party at all, go for it! This is your special day, and it should reflect what matters to you. In the end, as long as you make decisions with understanding and grace, your friendships will survive this complicated tradition. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a versatile and stunning space to host you, your wedding party, and your entire guest list, schedule a tour at NOAH’S Event Venue. There’s a lot that goes into wedding planning. Let us lift some of it off your shoulders.