Saturday, June 18, 2011

Choosing Your Wedding Party

Choosing your wedding party can be one of the most complicated aspects of putting together your wedding. Some brides and grooms will decide quickly since they've had the members of their wedding party planned out for ages, but many will find the process to be very difficult. There are many things to keep in mind when deciding what roles will be featured on your wedding day, and who will fill these responsibilities.

Before deciding on whom to choose, consider how many people you would like to be involved in the wedding. How many bridesmaids/groomsmen are you having? Are you having a maid of honor/best man? Are you having flower girls, ushers, or a ring bearer? Putting restraints on the number of people in the wedding party may help narrow down your options.

Here are some general qualifications that should be considered when choosing the wedding party:
1)   No matter how formal or casual your wedding is, at some point your wedding party will be bestowed their share of responsibilities. You have to be able to trust them to not only complete the task you asked of them, but also support you on the day.
2)   You may make some choices that members of the wedding party don’t approve of. Maybe the dress you chose doesn’t match her skin tone. Maybe she would rather go to Vegas for your shower than have an intimate party at home. If their presence in the wedding party will only cause you more stress, then it may be wise to reconsider their involvement.
3)   Your bridesmaids are going to be there during your most intimate pre-wedding moments. If one is not in support of your union, then it would be wise to talk to him or her – find out why, and discuss whether he or she feels its appropriate to participate in your marriage.
4)   If your bridesmaid lives far away from you, then they will not be able to physically participate in most of the planning. If you expect your entire wedding party to be there when you try on dresses, decide on invitations, and all of the other key moments, then you might want to look for bridesmaids who live close-by, or perhaps reconsider what you expect from them.

It is true that there may be some people (close friends, family, and the like) that will be offended if they are not chosen to participate in the wedding party. Although you can bet that there will be drama when they find out they are not going to be a bridesmaid or groomsman, it is your wedding and you should do what feels right for you. However, there are many options to avoid the stress and panic of not inviting someone into the wedding party:
If you already have your bridesmaid roster filled, but still want to honor this extra person – then do it! The number of bridesmaids and groomsmen does not have to be even (did you see the end of 27 Dresses?) If you feel that you do not want this person to be a bridesmaid, there are still many more roles available. He or she can do a special reading during the ceremony or help usher guests to their seats.

When choosing your wedding party, there are a couple of things to keep in mind that may help you decide who to include and how many members of the wedding party you would like to have:
1)    ‘An eye for an eye’ does not apply. Just because you were a bridesmaid in her wedding does not mean that she needs to be in your wedding party.
2)    Although many believe that the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen should correspond to the size of the wedding (meaning that a small intimate ceremony and reception should have significantly fewer members of the wedding party than a large ceremony), there is no sense leaving out loved ones on your special day just to have an acceptable ratio of wedding party members to guests.
3)    Your wedding party does not have to be all family, and it definitely does not have to include your fiancé’s family. Although formal wedding tradition has any female siblings of the groom to be in the bride’s wedding party, three of your four designated bridesmaid slots do not have to be his sisters.
4)    On that note, if the groom wants to include his sister in the wedding party, or the bride her brother, then the sister can be a groomsman and the brother a bridesmaid. “Bridesmen” and “groomsmaids” are becoming more popular and are a radical way of involving opposite-sex friends and family members in the wedding party.

The Bottom Line: Go with your gut. If you feel that you could not get married without a certain person standing by you, then outside variables should in no way influence your decision.

A quick tip for any wedding guests: Do not assume you’re included in the wedding party until the bride or groom tells you that you are. Asking ahead of time if you can be involved can often create an awkward situation if (a) it hasn’t been discussed yet, or (b) the answer is not what you expected. Understand that the bride and groom have enough on their plate, and they don’t need this as an extra stressor.

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