One of the hardest things I had to do when planning my wedding was choose my bridesmaids. I only planned on having two or three but I had five really close friends/family members and was agonizing over who to choose. Eliminating the problem by not having a bridal party (as many people seem to do nowadays) was not an option; I knew that the whole process would be much more fun with my girls there to share it all. Not that they wouldn’t have shared it if they hadn’t been my bridesmaids, but I dont think they would have felt as involved. I have been a bridesmaid and I know how special it is to be asked by someone close to you.
In the end I decided that I didn’t want to look back and regret the fact that I hadn’t chosen someone so I asked all five girls I had been considering. I am so glad that was the decision I made as I didn’t regret it for one moment. Each of the bridesmaids contributed in their own way to my experience of planning the wedding, whether it was by listening to my endless ideas, helping me make decisions, accompanying me on shopping expeditions or just offering me their ear when I felt like everything was getting on top of me.
Because of the number of bridesmaids I had I wasn’t able to pay for everything as I had originally planned, so I asked each of them to buy their own black dress and shoes while I paid for makeup, hair and hair accessories. As I was letting them choose their own dress that I knew they would be able to wear again I didn’t feel so bad about asking them to pay for it. They could also then decide how much they wanted to spend.
I realise I was lucky that all my bridesmaids were very easy-going and got along really well. I know that is probably not always the case and potential personality clashes may be a real consideration for some brides when choosing their bridesmaids. But my thinking is that if your bridemsaids really care about you they will make the effort to get along with one another. And maybe they will learn something about one another in the process. Nowadays so much communication can be done by email anyway – your bridesmaids don’t necessarily have to spend lots of time together if they don’t want to.
So, my advice for choosing your bridesmaids is, choose the people you really want to be there with you and who you know are going to be there when you need them to be, not only on the day but for all the things leading up to the day. (And afterwards too!) Choose people who you know are going to make life easier for you, not harder, and have a positive effect on you. Don’t discount someone just because you may not have been friends with them for a very long time – ask yourself, do I see myself still being friends with this person in 10, 20 or 30 years? If the answer is yes, then the fact you have only known them one or two years doesn’t matter. If you are the type of bride who wants to pay for everything you don’t necessarily have to let issues with your budget stop you from having more bridesmaids – they are your best friends and they will understand if you have to ask them to contribute to some of the expenses here and there (as long as you are reasonable about how much you are asking them to contribute!) And, finally, don’t feel that you have to make your decision based on having the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. No one cares anymore whether you have the same number or not and, in fact, if you are aiming for a more relaxed, non-traditional do, having odd numbers can actually help to achieve that.
The time leading up to your wedding is one of the most special times in your life. Make sure you are sharing it with the people who mean the most to you and who are going to make it fun, memorable and stress-free!
Thanks to the best bridesmaids in the world, Claire, Ilka, Tara, Mel & Jae. It was a blast! ♥
Images by Samm Blake