What to Consider Before Selecting Your Wedding Party

When newly engaged, you are tasked to choose some of your nearest and dearest people to stand by your side on your wedding day. With that privilege, however, comes added responsibility.

bride and bridesmaids
Photo: Jessica K Feiden

Before you start popping the champagne and letting everyone know who's made it onto the big list, there are key things you should consider first. Read on for insider tips about gathering an A-Team that will make every moment leading up to “I do” as stress-free (and fun!) as possible.

"Choosing your wedding party is, first and foremost, all about the relationship. Who you choose to be by your side should be the person or people to who you are closest. It doesn’t matter the pronouns they use, how old they are, who they are, or how long you've known them. It's about choosing your 'best friends' to support and stand with you during this huge life choice.

"Every person’s situation is different, so it's important to consider your potential wedding party member's time, financial situation, and life situation. Depending on their situation, they may or may not be able to be very involved in the planning or the wedding. Or they may not be able to afford what you have in mind. If being a part of your wedding party has requirements you're looking for them to meet, then choosing the right person(s) who are able and willing is going to be important so that you don't put anyone in an uncomfortable or unhappy position." —Jamie Chang, Owner and Destination Wedding Planner, Mango Muse Events

"Ask yourself, what tone do they set? Are they the life of the party, and can they help get it started? Are they that friend you need to help keep calm in the face of stress? Are they that caretaker who will help fend off unwelcome visitors to the bridal suite and organize your herd? Maybe they are the one that causes all the trouble, but it's worth it? Think about their personality and how they'll affect your mood and the party vibe that day. Choose with your heart and your head since you will be affected by those around you." —Wendy Kidd, Owner, Each & Every Detail

"One thing you will want to take into consideration is how to select your party without hurting others' feelings. This can be difficult if you want a party of three on each side and have ten really good friends throughout. You will need to determine why you are selecting who you are so that others do not feel bad. Or a great workaround is to have a wedding squad. These individuals can be all the people you might have asked if you were having a larger wedding party. They can get ready with you, and have a group photo with you but not be a part of the wedding party or ceremony." —Tonya Hoopes, Owner, Hoopes Events

"Talk to each potential bridal party member about their availability and willingness to commit for a period leading up to the wedding. Weddings usually require many hours of planning, rehearsing, and attending pre-wedding events. Therefore, think carefully before making your selections so you are sure that each attendant can commit to being available and reliable.

If a potential attendant seems to lack enthusiasm or excitement in participating, it’s likely best for you to look elsewhere for your bridal party. On the other hand, if the individual is enthusiastic and passionate about the wedding and their role, they are likely a great fit." —Jacqueline Vizcaino, Founder, Tinted Events Design & Planning

"Consider the person's demographics and personal and work life. For example, they may not be a good choice if their life is hectic with significant events, like having a baby or getting divorced." —Joan Wyndrum O’Hear, Founder & Owner, Blooms By The Box

"One of the few forgotten things you might consider is who you could spend all day with, knowing you would still have a good time and feel supported! For example, you might spend up to 6 or 8+ hours with your wedding party, and if you get on each others' nerves (while that can still happen) — do you want to spend all day with them on this important day?" —Jen Sulak, Lead Wedding Photographer, Weirdo Weddings

"This is often a big area of stress for couples. Do not let it be. This is one time when you deserve to focus on yourself and what works best from your vantage point." —Betsy Scott, Owner, The Hill Weddings

"Give each person asked a low-pressure way to say 'no!' While being asked to be a bridesmaid or groomsman is an honor, it's also a large commitment in other ways. Aside from the wedding day itself, financial and time commitments are often larger than expected. Ensure that the person you're asking understands these obligations and agrees, too. When proposing to wedding party members, include realistic estimates of time and money that could be expected. If it's not in the cards for that person, give them a way out that makes them feel included without feeling embarrassed." —Bethany Crispell, Lead Event Planner, Twickenham House

"No rule says you have to have a wedding party! The last few years have been a little crazy, and couples today want to simplify their wedding and stick to what is most important — their marriage and the party! That means they are reducing guest counts and forgoing anything that may cause friction, including a large wedding party. We are seeing couples scale down to including siblings, skipping a wedding party, and keeping it to the two of them and their officiant." —Nora Sheils, Co-Founder, Rock Paper Coin and Owner, Bridal Bliss

Selecting your wedding party is not always easy, but it is important to remember that this is your day. There are many factors to consider when making your decision, but in the end, you should go with your gut. If someone doesn't seem like they would be a good fit, or if they may cause more stress, it is probably best to leave them off of the list. This day is all about celebrating your love and commitment to each other — so make sure to surround yourselves with people who will make that possible.