Here’s our advice for selecting your bridesmaids: choose people you love. Period.
If there’s one thing that weddings bring out, it’s tradition. Suddenly there are tons of rules you’re expected to follow: you have to wear a white dress, you have to register for gifts, and you have to include your cousin Kaitlin in your bridal party – even if you’ve only met her a handful of times.
We’ve said it before (many times!) and we’ll say it again – your wedding is YOUR wedding, and you don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do. And despite what your family and friends may tell you, that logic applies to selecting your bridesmaids as well.
Many brides feel obligated to include certain people in their bridal party for a variety of reasons. But we promise you – she shouldn’t be a bridesmaid unless you love her and want her by your side.
“She’s my family member.”
Great! Are you including every female relative in your bridal party? If not, the fact that she’s a family member shouldn’t matter. If you’re very close with certain family members, then by all means – tell them to get a dress and time off for the bachelorette trip! But simply being a member of your family isn’t enough reason to include them (that is, of course, unless you want to include them).
“She’s my fiancé’s sister/cousin/best friend.”
There’s no reason your fiancé’s close female relatives or friends can’t be in their half of the bridal party. If they’re closer to your fiancé than they are to you, wouldn’t it make more sense for them to be by their side instead? And as a reminder: the time has passed where gender norms dictate who can and can’t be included as a brides-person or a grooms-person.
If you personally have a close relationship with your fiancé’s relative or friend, or you just want them to be a part of your wedding festivities, then yes – consider them as you go about selecting your bridesmaids.
“She was my best friend in high school.”
Is she your best friend now? Listen – one of the harder parts of growing up is the realization that our relationships change over time. The person you once shared every waking moment of your life with is now someone you haven’t talked to in years. And that’s okay. You may have promised to be each other’s maids of honor during freshman year math, but you also promised to marry that boy in pre-school whose name you can’t remember. If your current friendship is almost non-existent, then she shouldn’t be a bridesmaid.
“I was a part of her bridal party.”
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to “pay back” anyone for being a bridesmaid. And just being real here – if she’s already gotten married and been a bridesmaid before, she may be relieved to NOT be in your bridal party (remember what a commitment it was to be in hers?).
Again – if you love her and want her by your side, then she should be included. But “I was one of her bridesmaids” shouldn’t be the only reason why you’re asking her.
“She’ll be mad if I don’t ask her.”
This reasoning may require some hard questions. Why will she be mad if she’s not included? Why is “she’ll be mad if I don’t” the only reason why you’re asking her? Depending on your own reflections, you may need to sit down and have a conversation with her. Honesty is always the best policy, and if you can have an open and honest conversation, you’ll both be in a much better place to address any issues and move forward.
“I need one more bridesmaid for both sides to be even.”
Respectfully – no one will notice if your bridal parties are uneven. And even if someone does happen to notice, we guarantee they won’t care. Weddings are a celebration of love and commitment. They’re not proof that you can pick an even number of people to wear matching suits and dresses.
“I’d rather have my male-identifying/non-binary friend in my wedding party, but I have to ask her instead because bridesmaids are traditionally women.”
Remember what we said above? Your brides-people should be those in your life that mean the most to you. If your best friend in the whole world is male-identifying or non-binary, there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be standing by your side.
Bottom line: your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and it should be shared with the most important people in your life. Don’t let outdated traditions, supposed familiar obligations, or any other reason determine who you should select as a bridesmaid!