#WeddingWednesday: Selecting the Wedding Party
Getting engaged can be one of the happiest times of your life. It can also be one of the most stressful times as the wedding planning begins. One of the first things you may want to decide on is the wedding party. How many of your friends do you want beside you at the altar? Which of your friends will stand beside you at the altar? These are all decisions that you will have to make during the wedding planning process. It may be one of the most overwhelming tasks that you have to take on. Some people may be excited about your choices and some people may get hurt in the process. All you can do is make the right decision for yourself.
There is no set rule on how many people should be in your wedding party. It all depends on what is right for you. The idea of having a large wedding party comes from ancient Roman times. Back then it was required by law to have at least ten witnesses in the wedding party. Now, some couples don’t even have a wedding party!
Let’s say you want a wedding party. I can’t tell you how many people you need to have in your party. All I can tell you is that the least amount of people you need is one. Yes, that’s correct. ONE bridesmaid. That one person can do a lot. You will be able to bounce all of your ideas off of them and get their honest feedback without any crowd psychology interfering. If you want multiple opinions I would suggest going with at least two bridesmaids. Typically a younger bride (age 34 or younger) will have a larger wedding party than an older bride. Younger brides tend to travel in packs whereas older brides go out with two or three people.
Only you will know the amount of people that you want in your bridal party. On average the typical wedding includes four bridesmaids and four groomsmen. Depending on the size of your wedding as a whole you may want to have more or less people in your party. Just be aware that the larger the party, the higher the cost. The more people in your party, the more bouquets and gifts you will need.
Don’t ask all of your friends to be in your wedding party the second you get engaged. Give yourself at least a month to make a thoughtful decision. You will want a group that will help you throughout the stressful wedding planning process. People who will help to guide you and not complain every second along the way are perfect for this role. If you do not think you will be close to someone five years from now then it is probably best that they are not included in the wedding party.
Your significant other’s siblings and your own siblings should be included in the wedding party. If you are on the fence about including someone in the bridal party think about how they will fit in with the rest of the bridal party. Don’t include him/her if their personality will clash with the rest of the party. If they will be a match made in heaven, include them.
If there are people who you still want to include in your wedding but they didn’t make it into the wedding party there are other roles that they can take on. These people can still help with wedding preparation such as putting the invitations together or creating the centerpieces. The more hands you have the better. They could also pass out programs at the wedding or direct guests to their seats. This takes some pressure off of you and the wedding coordinator if you have one. Other roles include being ceremony readers or candle lighters. They will still be a special part of the ceremony even without a titled role.
After choosing who you want in the party you will have to decide who the Maid of Honor (MOH) title will go to. Typically brides choose their sisters to tackle the role over their friends. If you do not have a sister or she is not your top choice then go with your oldest and most loyal friend. This is the friend who will tell you what you want to hear when needed but will be brutally honest if necessary. Make sure that this person’s brain is organized and not scatterbrained as they will be helping you a lot with the wedding planning process which requires a great deal of organization.
Your MOH does not need to be a female; the role can go to a male if you are better friends with a male and instead be called the man of honor. The person in this role will plan the shower and bachelorette party. They will ensure that all of the bridesmaids go to all of their fittings and do anything else the bride requests. At the wedding, the MOH may be asked to make a toast at the rehearsal dinner.
Grooms, your half of the wedding party is nowhere near insignificant. Your groomsmen and especially your best man have important roles for your big day. Your groomsmen should include old friends, cousins and both the bride’s and groom’s brothers. The groomsmen will help with seating guests if needed, help throw the bachelor party with the best man and dance with the bridesmaids. They are the life of the party and will stand strongly by your side. They also should be responsible enough to help you out throughout the wedding planning process and during the wedding day itself.
Your best man is typically your brother or your best friend. When choosing the correct person for this role, select someone who will not party too hard following the rehearsal dinner. You will want them to attend the ceremony which they can’t do if they can’t responsibly make it there looking put together. The best man will take care of all of the bachelor events and provide support of the groom. The most important role that the best man will have is to keep track of the wedding rings even if there is a ring bearer. You really do not want to assign that big of a task to a three year old. As with the MOH, the best man does not have to be a man. Instead you can have your close friend that is a woman or your sister as your “best woman.”
Other important roles within the wedding party include the flower girl and the ring bearer. These roles are traditionally given to children but from time to time you may see a pet in this role. If you have children you will most likely want them to have the role. When choosing a child for one of these roles you may want to stick to the age range of three to eight. Those under the age of three may throw their props or be upset on their way down the aisle and those over the age of eight would be better suited for the role of junior bridesmaid. The flower girl will scatter the flower petals as she walks down the aisle and the ring bearer brings the rings down the aisle. These two will walk down the aisle together.
You don’t have to have just two children included in your wedding party. You could have two or three flower girls or two or three ring bearers. It is up to you and your partner to decide how many, if any, children will take on these roles. You do not need to have children in your wedding at all; you could bestow the title to your dog or do without the roles entirely. Even if you want children to take on the roles but also want to have an adults-only wedding you can still have the children play their roles at the ceremony and not allow them to come to the reception. You could set up a room with a babysitter during the reception to keep the children occupied and their parents at ease.
Make sure you listen to your fiancés opinion throughout the wedding party selection process. You both may have differing opinions when it comes to how many people and who to include in the wedding party but there may be some middle ground to help you in the process. Just talk to each other and ensure that you are both on the same page. This will help to avoid any potential arguments and keep everyone happy on the wedding day.
Anyone who is included in your wedding should be one hundred percent supportive of your marriage. You don’t want someone standing beside you who does not agree with what they are bearing witness to in front of all of your friends and family.
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