You said yes—now, when do you pop your own question?
Credit: Meredith Jenks

Even if you've been dreaming of your wedding day for years, odds are good you haven't put too much thought into how—or when—you'll ask your closest family members and friends to be part of your special day. But now that the time has come (at least you think that the time has come), you might be wondering if you're asking your bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, and ring bearers to be part of the celebration at the right time. That begs the question: When exactly should you ask your would-be wedding party to be involved in the day? We asked wedding planners to weigh in.

Too Early

You may be over the moon when you ask your friends to be in your wedding, but if your estimated big day is still well over a year away, do not be surprised if they do not share in your enthusiasm. "Maybe they want to move to another state or country, or maybe a potential bridesmaid is planning on trying to get pregnant that year. Maybe a groomsman is thinking of changing jobs and won't be able to be involved," says wedding planner Tara Fay. Whether the date seems too far out to get excited about or they have their own plans on their mind, your family members and friends may not be be as willing—or even able—to say yes as early as you'd like.

Too Late

Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events suggests waiting until you've selected your wedding date and venue—and have officially signed a contract—before choosing your bridal part. After all, it's important that everyone knows exactly what they're committing to. However, you don't want to wait too long. "While you can certainly ask at any time, don't be surprised if you are turned down when asking only 30-60 days out," the pro says. "People may already be committed to another event, or it may be too short of notice to financially commit."

Just Right

There are many factors that influence a wedding-planning timeline, but on average people ask their bridal party members to join the party around one to two months after their engagement, or a few weeks after signing a contract with a wedding venue. Generally, the wedding will take place a year to a year-and-a-half after that point, according to wedding planner and DJ Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services. "This gives plenty of time for your friends and family to gauge whether or not they can make the commitment, as well as for them to be fully included in the planning process if they say yes."

While there will always be some scenarios where it is better to ask earlier (like if someone is talking about moving or if you're planning a destination wedding) or later (like if you become extremely close with a new friend during the planning process), you should already have a pretty good idea of how much notice your friends and family members will need. Of course, some people may have to decline no matter how much notice you give them, and others may have to step away from duties they have already committed to; for the most part, though, people will be excited and honored to be included in your big day.


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