How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Wedding Planning

December 5, 2018

Tough Questions Series

#ToughWeddingQuestions: How can you limit your bridesmaid number without hurting feelings?

If you’ve been keeping up on my Instagram, this is my second tough wedding question I’ve answered. Click here if you want to read my post: How do you handle family photos with divorced parents?

Today, we’re continuing the series with an important wedding day question that I think most brides struggle with to some degree! As I started typing, I realized there’s A LOT to say on this topic, so a blog post is necessary.

The Issue Behind The Issue

I’ve heard girls consider having 12+ bridesmaids or just get rid of all bridesmaids to avoid hurt feelings. I’ll start by saying, if you’re considering these options, you may be falling into a people-pleasing mentality, which goes much deeper than just choosing bridesmaids!

I have a friend who used to struggle in this area. For years, I never felt like we were very close. I wasn’t sure where I stood with her because I saw myself as “another friend” like dozens of others she was being “intentional” with. Eventually, she started tackling her people-pleasing issues and started limiting her time with certain friends while spending more time with those she deemed her closest friends. I quickly realized, I was one of the close ones! This entirely changed our friendship and allowed it to go deeper.

For the Photos!

Now, let’s get a little more practical! From an objective, photography perspective, I would suggest having 4 or 6 bridesmaids. This means you would have an even number of girls on each side of you in photos AND you would all easily fit in vertical photos. (Yes, I’m getting that practical with it). 

Note: If it rains on your wedding day, most of your photos will be taken on porches. There aren’t many porches that can fit 12+ girls, their dresses and bouquets!

Also, typically, girls take a LONG time to do things. Our hearts are fully present which is GREAT for the emotions of the wedding day, but tough for staying on time! Your girls mean well, but oftentimes each bridesmaid wants a special moment with you and this makes moving through the day difficult.

Extra note: if you are someone who struggles with anxiety (usually an issue for people who struggle with people-pleasing), having a lot of people around on a day like this could be difficult!

Okay, but how?

I know some of you are stressing and running the names through your mind of who you can cut out to get down to only 4 or 6?! Hang tight! I’ll give you some easy suggestions on how to manage this!

Let’s start by thinking objectively & being honest with how we feel:

1. MUST HAVES. Take a piece of paper and write down 2-3 names of girls that HAVE to be a bridesmaid. No one is going to see this list, so don’t feel guilty for leaving someone off that doesn’t fit in this group for you!

(Example: For me, it was my sister, my best friend in college and my childhood friend I had known since I was 3)

2. REALLY WANT. On a separate sheet of paper, write down 2-3 names of girls you really want to spend the entire day with you.

3. COULD BE FUN. Now, on another sheet of paperwrite down the remaining names of girls that would be fun to have in your wedding party.

Choose One Of These

Once you have your lists, it’s time to choose an option for narrowing down! Be HONEST about what your “could be fun” list is really like. For some of you, this list will still be people who mean the world to you. For others, this list will be people that you’ve had fun memories with, but not many meaningful moments.

Option #1: VIP Wedding Guest

This option is for you if your final list includes people you haven’t had many meaningful moments with. If this is you, I suggest keeping your first two lists and having a conversation with the last list of people that goes something like this, “Hey! I’m so excited for you to come to my wedding! I’m making a special request to my photographer to get a photo of us during the reception and can’t wait to break it down on the dance floor with you!”

This makes it obvious that they will not be in photos earlier in the day, but it also shows them that they aren’t just any wedding guest – you are making a special request for a photo with them!

Option #2: Keep It Simple

This option is for you if you have lots of very close friends on those lists! My suggest is narrow it down to only your first list. This should include bridesmaids that are obvious to everyone – sister, childhood friend, etc.. Keeping it to just this list means your other girls understand, you’re simply trying to keep it small and simple!

Option #3: Big Bash, Small Group

If you enjoy having a lot of people around, this option is for you! Keep your bridesmaids limited to 5-6 people (your first two lists), but invite your other list to your bachelorette weekend, bridal shower and maybe even some photos before the ceremony!

You can schedule a 15 minute slot before the ceremony for photos with these girls so that they know they are special to you, but you simply wanted to narrow down the amount of girls getting ready together.

You could also give these girls a special role or task on the wedding day such as scripture reading, handing out programs, helping decorate, hair & make-up etc. It’s important to choose something they would feel honored to do, not burdened by.

You’ve Got THIS!!

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