By definition a bridesmaid is one who attends to the bride at a wedding, or helps. For us seasoned wedding goers, we know that the title carries many specific roles that aren’t necessary included, and aren’t often elaborated on. So how do you choose your bridesmaids, and how do you get the experience you want, pre-wedding, without cracking a bridezilla whip and ordering their every detail to your liking? There are many things to consider.
A few things to you should know:
1. More Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Merrier.
When picking several bridesmaids, you have more people to consider every step of the way. More people’s schedules to work with for events. More people to check up on to make sure dresses are ordered. Also, potentially the opportunity to have to mediate when different personalities have different ideas and plans for your pre-wedding festivities, bridesmaid dresses, etc. It’s not going to ruin your wedding to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen (it’s become increasingly more common, actually), so don’t feel pressured to pick anyone out of guilt or pick anyone that you don’t really want to share that day with just to balance our your groom’s football team of groomsmen.
2. Bridesmaids Are Helpers.
It’s important to pick people that you love and that you can imagine being in your life for the long haul. With that being said, it’s important to pick people that you know will assist you and not take away from the experience. Let’s be real here, some friends are givers and some are takers. As much as you love her, your diva-of-a-coworker having her feelings hurt that you didn’t ask her to join is not a good enough reason to include her, allowing her to make the best season of your life about herself. Ideally, we’d like to assume that everyone would know that a bride’s wedding is the one thing that no one should sabotage; but the truth of the matter is, there are many opportunities for an unruly bridesmaid to disappoint you, from lack of interest and participation in showers and events to tantrums about the dress that looks amazing on her but isn’t working for everyone else, and to the one who fails to recognize that you’re paying for an entire wedding and still drops hints that your wedding is a financial burden to HER. Consider the personality types of those you pick.
3. Pick At Least One Seasoned Bridesmaid.
The first-time bridesmaid, in most cases, doesn’t know the extent of their role. They don’t know that aside from the specific duties, there is much more they can do to contribute to the time of your engagement and wedding planning. As willing as they may be, they may not know to research the duties and expectations and traditions that make that time so memorable. If at all possible (if there is anyone that close that you would consider), select someone who has been a bridesmaid, a maid of honor, or even a bride before. Not because the inexperienced care for you less, but because someone who has been through the process knows what a difference it makes to have a supportive team around you. This one experienced person in the mix can throw out suggestions spurring ideas for the others, and indirectly teach the others how to be a helpful and contributing member of the wedding party!
4. Pick Someone Who Knows You.
Someone who knows your taste in decor, and someone who knows your personality and perspective. In some situations, a bridesmaid becomes a buffer. Whether it’s distracting your crazy friend from trying to make a toast by asking them to dance, or trying to round out a situation where no one agrees on a bridesmaid dress, you’re gonna need an advocate who you can trust... one that won’t let you be the bad guy. Conflict can quickly turn a blessed event into chaos, so have a peacemaker in your corner, able to deflect in a moment’s time.
5. Be Straight Forward With Your Bridesmaids.
Let them know that you’re hoping that they become friends (if they aren’t already), or that you hope that they can set aside any differences they have and work together and be happy for you. Let them know that you want memories with them through the process, not just memories with your groom, and that, to you, it’s a big deal to have them in your wedding. They’re not there as a formality but because they mean a lot to you. On a practical note, let them know exactly what you DON’T want (strippers at the bachelorette party, an all inclusive lingerie shower-so you can avoid your grandmother watching you unwrap wedding-night accessories). You may not want to be a control freak, but it’s much more light-hearted to let them know ahead of time than to end up resenting them or end up in a meltdown later on because nothing went your way. LET THEM KNOW. They love you and will want to do things in a way that makes you happy!
Being a bridesmaid is so much more than just standing with you on your wedding day. It’s a big and important job. Make sure you choose the people who will be considerate of you and the others, and add to the experience for you.