Happy mid-November, friends!

I have been slowly beginning to deck the halls while trying to resist the urge to crank the Christmas tunes. (I try my best to wait until after Thanksgiving – but no promises!) This weather is a welcome break from the heat of summer and I have had my fair share of pumpkin spice lattes to prove it!

Today’s topic is something I’ve touched on before, but wanted to circle back on as it is engagement season and many couples these next few months will be choosing who to have on their A-team. This decision is not an easy one and sometimes causes some hard feelings, upset friends, and emotions to flare – but no fear! There is a way to handle this choice with grace and respect while keeping your friends involved and happy. Here’s how.

As I mentioned in my last blog on where to start when planning your wedding, your wedding party is not a reflection of who your friends are and are not. Think this choice over! Though it can be tempting to run to your close friends as soon as you’re engaged, remember what these duties entail. Ask yourself if you think these friends will still be in your life 5 years from now. Will they get along with the others in your wedding party? Are they a solid choice to stand by your side?

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Photo by Tracy Townsend Photography

Just as equally, remember that not everyone can commit to this commitment – but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you just as much as someone that can. It is a big commitment! In fact, between engagement parties, bridal showers, bachelor and bachelorette parties, bridesmaid and tux rentals, and time invested, the average cost of being a bridesmaid or groomsmen is about $500 – $600. This is a big ask to make for someone already tight on funds.

My suggestion to my couples is to give yourselves some time to enjoy this season before making this choice. Use this time to research what all goes into planning a wedding, what bridesmaid and groomsmen duties usually consist of, and what costs are entailed. Once you’ve taken this time to understand what exactly it is you expect from your crew, you can confidently ask this question to the friends in your life up for the challenge. Do you want their help with planning the various celebrations involved with a wedding like the bachelor party and bridal shower? Would you like help choosing colors, attending dress fittings, and hanging decorations or would you prefer they simply stand by your side in the attire you choose for them. Do you expect them to purchase their own clothing or will you provide this for them to wear? Do you want your bridesmaids purchasing professional hair and makeup for wedding day? All of these questions can help you firm up your decision on who best to have in your wedding party. If you want a more involved wedding party, choosing local friends versus your best friend for 20 years who lives 3,000 miles away may be a better bet.

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Photo by Winship Photography

Another small note I feel is worth mentioning – just because someone chose you does not mean you need to choose them. If you are uncomfortable not asking a friend you haven’t spoken to in 5 years, just be honest with them if they ask. Explain that this was a hard decision but you’d rather have people you are closest to now, and there are so many other special people in your life you just couldn’t pick them all.

Once you have selected the people you think will fit best together in your wedding, consider the size of your bridal party. Though you are not limited to any select number, the average is about 5 to 6. Just keep in mind, the larger the bridal party, the more details to iron out, and additional costs that probably accompany those details like bridal party gifts and the like. Whatever you decide, remember there are no set in stone rules to choosing your wedding party. If your husband to be has a sister he is super close with, best woman is totally accepted and allowed (and encouraged)! This is your wedding, and your choices that you get to make.

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After you’ve finalized your wedding party, for those friends you have not chosen consider other important roles you could use some help with. Ushers are always helpful during your ceremony for the elderly guests you invite, as well as some help distributing programs and finalizing last minute details like lighting candles or setting up ceremony florals. If you have not hired a wedding planner (oh, hey!), you may need someone lining up your wedding party for their walk down the aisle. Having a friend who could not commit to being a full bridesmaid or groomsmen partake in this position might be the perfect way to include them day of.

Overall, just remember that this decision – like many others while planning your wedding – is important! You will thank yourself more than once by giving yourself time to really think about what your expectations of your wedding party are and choosing the best individuals for the job. Just remember there are plenty of other places your loved ones can help out with your big day, and any friends that just can’t make the commitment love you just as much as the others.

You’ve got this!

Brittani

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