Bridal Party Q&As

Guidelines about the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, from maid of honor on down.

Q: My fiancé and I have 14 nieces and nephews between us, ranging from 1 to 11 years old. We don't want a huge bridal party of friends because we want all of the kids to participate in some way. What are some recommendations?

A: I love your idea of including all your nieces and nephews in the wedding. I once went to a friend's wedding and she, too, had decided to have all her nieces and nephews in the wedding in lieu of a traditional bridal party. It was wonderful to see all the children walk down the aisle!

Depending on their ages, you can do the same. The little ones can be either flower girls or ring bearers (They are usually between the ages of four and eight). The older nieces/nephews can be junior bridesmaids and groomsmen. It's really up to you what they wear although I do think tuxedos would be appropriate for the boys. If your wedding is less formal, then suits will be fine. The girls don't have to wear the exact same style, especially if this poses some difficulty in finding a dress for both the little ones and the older nieces. You might suggest that they choose a dress of their liking in a particular color. That way, there will be some cohesiveness in that they will all be wearing pink or peach or lilac. The one-year-old may be a little too young to have walk down the aisle, so if you plan to light a Unity Candle, you can ask all your nieces and nephews to gather round as you do so and the one-year-old's parents can bring him/her to the altar as well. You can also ask any of the older ones to do a reading for you and include everyone's names in your wedding program.

One last thing, your nieces and nephews will be thrilled to receive a keepsake of some kind like a book on being a ring bearer or flower girl or perhaps a flower girl doll. There are plenty of companies who specialize in wedding gifts for kids which are easily accessible via the Internet. You also might consider having a special kid-friendly menu for them at the reception and some games/coloring books to keep them occupied.

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Wedding etiquette is a popular subject because they are so many horror stories. It's expensive to be in a bridal party, and it's expensive and stressful to have a large one. One budget line item that often gets overlooked by the future Mr. and Mrs. is the THANK YOU gift for each bridal party member. You should plan to spend at least half the amount of the cost of the bridesmaid dress/suit rental for each person. So if the dress they bought is $300, then be prepared to thank each one with ~$150 worth of gratitude. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, flights/hotels, hair/shoes/makeup/hair styling -- all these things add up, and some bridesmaids spend over $1000 just to be in your wedding party. These are your most important witnesses to your wedding. And chances are they supported you before, during, and after the big day. Thank you gifts are not the area to skimp. Good luck! Lisa |

I've selected my matron of honor (and asked her) who is engaged and was supposed to get married before me but then had to postpone her wedding. Can she still be my matron of honor??