Choosing Your Bridesmaids

Bridesmaids can be an incredibly valuable resource, or a serious source of drama. Making a few simple decisions about bridesmaids can help make the whole bridal party experience stress-free.


Your criteria for choosing bridesmaids is quite simple- people you feel very close to, and people who you think will be willing to help you prepare. It may be difficult if you have a large family or group of friends to narrow down options, but don’t cave into pressure to include bridesmaids that you don’t know very well, or those who will cause more problems than they solve. If you want a stress-free wedding, trust your own instincts about who to ask.

How Many:

This may depend on the size and formality of your event or the size of your circle of friends and relatives. Just remember, adding more bridesmaids can lead to a bigger chance of stress- about dresses, parties, tiffs, bridesmaid’s gifts- that will ultimately end up driving a bride nuts. While you can certainly have a bevy of beauties, consider limiting your bridal party to the most essential people, just to cut down on stress.

Who pays for the dress:

Since you’re choosing your best friends and closest relatives for this task, you should be able to have a frank talk about money. If you really want a friend to be in the wedding, but know she can’t afford the dress you want, see if you have room in the budget to assist her. If the situation is reversed and you’re on a shoestring budget, make sure you let the gals know upfront that you can’t pay for the dresses, and that it’s no problem if they want to bow out because of the expense. When everyone is on a tight budget, consider looking at clearance sales or using non-wedding specific dresses to cut down on expenses.

They’re Called “Bridesmaids” for a Reason:

The job of the bridesmaid is not simply to wear a dress and stand in for pictures; ideally they should be trying to help the bride put the wedding together. To take an enormous load of detail work off your mind, consider asking each bridesmaid to take care of a simple, specific task, such as organizing the stuffing of invitations, picking up the alcohol for the wedding, or planning the wedding shower. At the wedding, have your maid of honor or a particularly reliable bridesmaid stay in charge of the schedule, so that you don’t have to keep stealing watches and worrying about cutting the cake on time.


It’s traditional for a bride to present her attendants with gifts, though they don’t need to be large or expensive. Consider killing two birds with one stone and paying for all the girls to get manicures for the wedding, or buying them each a pretty bracelet or necklace to wear on the day.

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