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The Bridesmaids Barometer: How to Choose Your Ladies

How many un-engaged ladies up in here already know who their bridesmaids will be? Any engaged ladies up in here already regretting their choices? How many married women up in here are 100% content with each lady who stood by their side on your special day?

Choosing bridesmaids can be a struggle. For some it’s all about symmetry, while for others it’s sentiment. Some feel the pressure of asking those who have asked them, whereas others end up losing friendships because of those they don’t ask! It’s a tricky, t r i c k y situation, and I’m hoping this article helps you navigate this process. I’m going to be as honest as possible—this is the honest Shruth, after all.

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Lindsey Mueller Photography

How do you figure out who to ask to be a bridesmaid?

These days, bridal parties are huge. It’s probably because we have the ability to be connected to so many people at once thanks to modern-day technology, plus more people are going to university/college. Research has shown that you cannot actually have more than ~five best friends, but that doesn’t mean you need to ask only those five to be in your wedding. Here’s the way I did it:

  1. Are you one of the first people I would text/call with good/bad news?
  2. Were you an important person in my life while I was dating/engaged to my husband?
  3. Would my husband have confided in you about our engagement plans?
  4. Have you met my family?

So if you’ve noticed, something I considered crucial was the fact that we were genuine friends when I was proposed to and that they had a friendship with my husband. I’m not someone who holds onto the past unnecessarily, whether that’s with past friendships or regrets. I wanted the people who knew the two of us BEST to be up there, supporting us as we made the commitment of marriage for life. Sure, there’s the very real possibility that I won’t stay in touch with all eleven of them for the rest of my life, but I know 100% in my heart that they were each a part of our love story in the four years that we were together before our wedding.

That’s another thing: the longer you date, the more friendships you create together with other people. If my husband and I had gotten married after only a year of dating, you can bet our bridal party would have been smaller. But I’m not going to complain about God’s generosity with friends and opportunities to grow in community.

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Shelby Nickel Photography

When should I ask my bridesmaids?

I would wait until halfway through your engagement. Sometimes friendships change once you become engaged. I ended up growing closer to my roommate when we lived together (two months after I was proposed to), and I wish I had asked her to be a maid of honor. I had an honest conversation about it closer to the wedding, and she understood that at the time I was proposed to, our relationship wasn’t very good. We were really close at one point, drifted apart slightly as I got more serious with my guy and she with hers, and then we came back together stronger than ever during my year-long engagement. I asked her to do a special reading at my wedding, and till this day I am so thankful she did that because I wanted to give her a place of honor.

What if I forgot to ask someone and my day is coming up soon?

The no regrets thing is huge, guys. If there’s someone you wish you would have asked, and you still have time before your wedding day, ask them! Two months before our wedding day, I asked a friend. I told her that we had been close before, but in the ten months following, we had become so close that I couldn’t see my wedding day without her as a part of it. She didn’t give me a hard time for asking her so late, but rather joyfully accepted to be a bridesmaid. If she had taken offense, she wasn’t who I thought she was in the first place, so really, I had nothing to lose.

What if someone has asked me to be in their wedding? Do I have to ask them to be in mine?

There is no need to feel pressure to ask someone to be in your wedding. Want to know why? Because you aren’t marrying that person. Sounds obvious, but when you really think about it, so many women make decisions based on other women’s approval. I put a lot of thought into asking women, not because I had to, but because I wanted to. So I don’t feel a sense of guilt, and neither should you!

If you are using this process of asking someone to be a bridesmaid as leverage so that they may ask you one day, don’t. You might not be as close to them as they are to you, and you shouldn’t expect anyone’s friendship. As time moves on, so do some relationships. The ones that stand the test of time are super special, but they’re rare. Just keep them all with open hands, don’t expect anything of anyone, and certainly don’t make decisions based on someone else’s approval.

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Shelby Nickel Photography

How do you decide the order?

Different criteria people use to create an order for their bridesmaids might include:

  • How close each bridesmaid’s relationship is with the bride
  • Height order
  • Age order
  • Alphabetical order
  • Years the bride has known each bridesmaid
  • Friendship the bridesmaids have with significant other (my husband)
  • Who has “been there for you” during the engagement season
  • Pairing up with groomsmen if they are married

Figure out what works for you. It could be a combo of the factors above or just one. I had two maids of honor, so they went first. These two were most involved in my life pre-engagement. For the rest of the ladies, I chose a combo of all of those things and ended with my unique order. I also knew if I asked any one of them to be last, any of them would have done it in a heartbeat.

At the end of it all, some might say I overthought it, some will say I had too many. All I have to say is that we are coming up on our anniversary next week and I am still well connected to all of my bridesmaids – even after I moved across the world! Intentional thought can be tiring. But when you choose those standing next to you on your wedding day, remember that these ladies are a) here to support you and your husband in your marriage, and b) the party people you will always share the most special day in your life with!

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

Lindsey Mueller Photography

What is a “house party”?
Do I have to invite people who have invited me to their wedding?
All on the blog next week.

Cheers,
thehonestshruth signature