Bridal Party Q&As

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

Q: I have invited my 10-year-old cousin to be in my wedding party. She is too old to be a flower girl, but I am not sure if she should be considered a "junior" bridesmaid. What is the standard age for a junior bridesmaid, and are there any special responsibilities I should give her?

A: A junior bridesmaid is between the ages of 8 and 16, and her only responsibility is to attend the ceremony rehearsal and walk in the processional. She is not expected to give showers or contribute to the bride's gift from the attendants, unless her parents choose to do so for her. Also, she need not stand in the receiving line.

You can position your junior bridesmaid before the maid of honor in the processional, whereas flower girls walk just before the bride. Try including your cousin in as many pre-wedding activities as her age allows. She is just as much a part of your wedding party as your other attendants and will appreciate the special attention.

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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??