After Joe and I got engaged and began the wedding planning process, we knew we had an important decision to make, and soon! We needed to decide who will stand by our side when we say "I do"?
Okay, now! Deep breaths. I know that making the decision on who will stand up with you on one of the "most important days of your life" may seem a tad daunting. Don't worry though - I put together a list of tips I learned when selecting our wedding party that will not make it seems as tough of a decision as it does.
To kick it off...
Remember, there are no set rules!
There is no official rulebook you must follow stating how a wedding MUST be planned. You write your own unique rulebook for your day. It is whatever you and your partner decide to do. There can be a man of honor or best woman; there can be guys who stand with the bride and women who stand with the groom; there can be two best men, and the wedding party can be whatever size you'd like. The decision is entirely up to you two, and you two only! All that is important is that you include your favorite people, regardless of gender or the amount you are told to follow.
Considering the sizing of your wedding party
It became a common theme when planning our wedding that people would "suggest" the number of and who we should have as our wedding party. However, at the end of the day, it is not their wedding. You can have as many or as few bridesmaids and groomsmen as you wish. For us, we chose to do a smaller wedding party since we were already having a small wedding with under 100 guests attending.
On average, the wedding party size is roughly five people on either side - you can use this as a starting baseline number. Then, depending on the formality, you can go larger or smaller. For smaller weddings, with guests around 50 to 100, it is suggested to go no more than four. For larger weddings of 150 guests or more, you could go up to 12 if you really wanted to. Just keep in mind and consider that a larger party also means organizing around 12 busy schedules, wedding party gifts, and so much more. If there are a lot of people you want to include in your wedding party but can't, you can give them other roles, such as ring bearers, ushers, or other ceremony duties.
Do not rush
Once you have asked someone to be a part of your wedding party, you cannot undo it. While it is exciting that you are engaged and you are ready to start planning as soon as possible, do not rush into decisions. Take your time and think thoroughly. Mull over your options and consider this question: "Will I still be close with this person five years from now?" I know the future can hold anything, but if you are certain the answer is yes, they may just be the person to fill the spot.
Set honest, but realistic exceptions
Consider what sort of role you want your party to play. Do you expect them to help with the prep for the wedding day, shop with you for your day-of attire, or attend all of your pre-wedding festivities? Or is it just enough for them to wear what you picked out and show up on the day of the wedding?
If you want a very involved wedding party, it would be beneficial to consider their lives and hectic schedules. You don't want to set yourself up for disappointment. We suggest being open with the people you choose. Let them know what you and your partner will be needing their help with, or what you would like them to do or attend. Perhaps, don't expect all events to be done as a whole group, but break up the duties among selected people. If someone on your list is already known as being unreliable and, in harsher terms, selfish, they may not be the best pick for you.
This being said...
Choose responsible honors
The people you select as your best man and maid of honor (or best women and man of honor) should be people who are responsible. You are going to rely on them for the fun stuff and the hard stuff, such as some big wedding planning tasks, or for emotional and logical support during any pre-wedding hiccups or meltdowns.
As listed above, it is important to let these honorees know what you expect from them and the duties you would like for them to help out on. Additionally, these people will also be the people responsible for planning your bachelor and bachelorette parties. Do make sure they know what YOU want or you will end up getting a party they plan with only their interest in mind.
Above all, it is your day
One lesson we learned about planning a wedding is that the bride and groom should do things however they see fit for their day. Some rules are meant to be broken, right? We continued to push the traditional boundaries of a wedding by having a small wedding party, which included two girls on the bridal side, two best men, and three-ring bearers (one person to represent each ring in our journey: the engagement ring and the two wedding rings.)
Whether you are going the very traditional route or making up your own rulebook, the main thing to keep in mind is that you are happy with all your decisions. This is a very personal day, and every couple has to do what works for them. If you want 15 bridesmaids and groomsmen, go for it. If you only want two, you can do that as well.
- Amanda and Joe
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