Choosing your bridesmaids can sometimes be a delicate task depending on a number of issues such as who’s angling for the job, who expects to be asked, who you are expected to ask and so on. These kinds of wedding issues tend to be in the same vein, as problems go: deciding who gets to come, who has what role, who sits where… They share the same core difficulty which arises from wanting to include and honour as many people as you can, while also being mindful of the fact that you can’t include everyone. To do so is really just a logistical impossibility
So how do you pick? As far as numbers go, it’s a good idea to make sure you and your partner have a similar number of attendants as this just looks more balanced and aesthetically pleasing during the ceremony. The next big question is who to choose and as a general rule, I would recommend that you begin with one simple task. Make a list of the people most important to you and start from there. Let’s face it, you want to use your head but you also have to use your heart and this is the best way to generate your first draft of a list.
Next, you might want to include any people who you may be expected to ask to be your bridesmaids. A good example of people on this list would be family members who your whole family assumes or insists should be bridesmaids. If it helps to keep the peace during the whole wedding process, you might want to consider including them.
Finally, you can add anyone who you think expects to be included. Perhaps an old friend you haven’t seen in some time who always wanted to be there for you on your special day; or maybe someone for whom you have been a bridesmaid and who expects some reciprocity.
If you’ve done the above, you now have a list of people which is probably more than you can afford to ask. Now comes time for pruning. First mark down the people you really feel are essential and put them aside. Next, remove anyone who you know will be okay with your decision not to make them bridesmaids. If your list is still too long, identify whether there are any people on the list who you know it will cause you real problems not to include. Then speak to the remaining people one by one and explain to them that you really wanted them to be your bridesmaids but for practical reasons (and you can explain yourself here) you won’t be able to. Make sure they know how much you respect them and how special they are to you and chances are they will understand and appreciate your call.
What remains is a list of your dearest friends and people you feel obligated to ask to be your bridesmaids. If the list is still too long, then its time to make the hard decisions. Try to make a balanced choice by asking the following questions about each person:
- Can they be relied on to fulfill their bridesmaid-ly duties?
- Will they be really hurt if you let them down?
- Will telling them no cause you disproportionate stress?
- Do they even want the job?
- Will choosing them make other people feel better or worse about not being selected? (For example choosing a family member is less likely to upset your friends, because most people simply accept that family come first).
Ultimately when making the final list, remember that the people who truly love you are happy for you one way or the other and only want for you to have a special day. If they can’t find it in themselves to accept your choices, then perhaps you each value your friendship differently and you need to figure out why that is. Don’t lose sleep over it. Honesty, sincerity and affection will keep your friends by your side in the long run.