Photo: Julia Franzosa
Here are some key things to bear in mind when it comes to outlining responsibilities and juggling personalities.
"The first thing you should do is create a wedding party budget. While ideally, this is something you should do before you even ask your wedding party (so that they can decide with all the info), this often doesn't click with them about what to expect. Gain feedback to see what they're comfortable with. From there, the group can collectively use this to understand what to look for, whether it’s attire or a wedding shower." —Jamie Chang, Mango Muse Events
"Set up a casual dinner to break the ice and rekindle old friendships. This is when everyone gets out their calendars to see what dates work best for group activities. Remember, it's okay if a wedding party member has a schedule conflict for an activity. It's standing up for you on the big day that counts." —Michael Vernon, Conch Wedding Concierge
"Collaborate well in advance on the responsibilities of each wedding party member. And make sure he/she is comfortable about the commitment. Co-hosting is a great way to divide the planning responsibilities of a shower or bachelor(ette) party." —Peter Mitsaelides, Brooklake Country Club & Events
Determine what's required and what's optional. "When asking your wedding party to participate in your event, be clear with them about what you expect. Sometimes, all the travel, attire, and events are way too much, but there is so much guilt involved that friends and family feel obligated and put themselves financially in a bad place. You should cover that cost if you require something beyond the attire, such as a specific hairstyle, makeup, or pair of shoes. Otherwise, give your wedding party flexibility!" —Nora Sheils, Rock Paper Coin / Bridal Bliss
"Attire is important, so decide on the attire and make a trip to go shopping. This way, measurements can be taken, and attire ordered in a timely manner." —Claudia G de Velasco, A Day To Remember
"Plan a celebratory game night and dinner! Honestly, you are just so excited to start wedding planning and everything — if you can, plan something fun for you all to enjoy together. Not everyone may know each other yet, giving you plenty of time to bond and make many memories before the day arrives.” —Jen Sulak, Weirdo Weddings
Hosting a destination wedding? Here are a few additional considerations:
"It's important to decide on and communicate certain expectations for your wedding party as soon as possible. This may include letting them know if you want to have a wedding shower and/or bachelorette party. In addition, many destination wedding couples decide to forego certain traditional elements of the wedding planning and celebrations, so it's better to establish clear communication early so your party knows what to expect."
"Since planning (and attending) a destination wedding can be a bit more complicated than a traditional wedding, couples should provide their wedding party and any other VIP guests with direct access to their travel agent/wedding planner if they're working with a professional. This will help provide peace of mind that they're being taken care of, without burdening the couple with various logistical questions throughout the planning process." —Jen Avey, Destination Weddings Travel Group
Remember, while this is an amazing bonding experience for you and your closest family and friends, it's still important to communicate and be clear about expectations. For many, this may be the first time they're participating as a wedding party member! Make sure that you're setting everyone up for success so that your big day goes off without a hitch.