Wedding Planners Share Their Best Advice for Choosing the Right Bridal Party

There are many things to consider when selecting the people who will stand beside you on the big day.

Choosing your bridal party is undoubtably fun and exciting—after all, these are the people who will be by your side during all of the events leading up to the wedding and on the big day itself. However, like most wedding-related tasks, it can also be surprisingly stressful. How do you know who to pick? What if your friends do not get along together? Should you ask your cousin instead of your college roommate? It can all begin to seem very overwhelming.

bride smiling with five bridesmaids wearing various style and colored dresses
Abby Jiu Photography

To help you make sense of it all, we talked to two wedding planners and asked them to share their best advice for brides struggling to select their bridal party members.

Remember That It's Supposed to Be Fun

If you are torn between picking your girlfriend from college and your childhood best friend, experts say that the best woman for the job is going to be the one who you enjoy spending the most time with. "At the end of the day you will have a much better wedding experience if you are surrounded by the people you will have the absolute most fun with," says Janessa White from Simply Eloped. You will be spending a lot of time together in the foreseeable future, including high-stress moments, so you want to choose someone you genuinely like to be around.

Obligations? Just Say No

If there's someone you feel obligated to have in your wedding party but you don't feel especially close with them, consider giving them another job on the big day. "Perhaps you can select a special reading for them, or still have them make a toast," says Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events. What's more, the pro says to imagine how you would feel if the person you are considering was not in your bridal party. "Take a look at who played a role in your relationship over the last few years and ask yourself—who would you miss if they weren't standing up there next to me?"

Size Does Matter

Limiting yourself to a manageable wedding party size, our experts agree, is important. "Some couples feel pressure about having the same exact number of attendants on each side, and that's entirely unnecessary," says Sullivan. "Your planner will be able to advise on the processional and recessional. And believe me when I say that a wedding photographer typically has seen everything and can make it work." Do not feel compelled to ask friends to be a part of your big day just to hit a quota.

Consider Your Expectations

The last thing you want to do is set friends and family members up for failure by choosing people who do not have the time or financial resources to participate in your wedding. "Being in a wedding party can come with lots of expectations and it's important to only invite people who are excited to take them on," says White. "Be really honest and upfront about what you want from your bridal party, what kind of time commitment you are asking from them and what they will be financially responsible for."

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