A fab guest post for you today from Jessica Socheski….Finding the Right People for Your Wedding Party
After you’ve settled on a date for the big day, one of the first decisions many couples face is choosing who to include in the wedding party. Grooms select brothers and best friends to stand up with them, and brides ask their closest friends and sisters to help them say, “I do,” too.
At first, this can seem like an overwhelming process, weeding through all of the important relationships in your life. For couples ankle deep in this decision and wondering if it would be easier just to walk down the aisle alone, here are some realistic and reassuring tips for navigating the bridesmaid and groomsmen dilemma.
Where to Start
Rather than worrying about how asking one friend will lead a whole other set of connections to expect invitations, start with what you do know. Who are those couple of people that have been there since the beginning as your companions and rocks? Who are the people that you know will stay beside you for the rest of your lives as well? These might be your siblings—the only people you are technically stuck with.
Next, begin to branch out to your close group of guys or girlfriends. Some brides have a group of three friends that meet for coffee or go walking once a week. Some grooms have a set of five friends that always do things together on the weekends from watching games to going surfing. Perhaps these tight knit friendships began in college or even earlier in high school. What you are trying to do is identify the relationships that have supported you in the past and will continue to hold you accountable in marriage.
After this, consider the few people who you might want to include because of family connections. Perhaps this is your fiancé’s brother or your sister-in-law to be.
Who and How Many?
Finding an even number of groomsmen and bridesmaids might seem like an important factor, but in reality, this is probably the least of worries for engaged couples. While it does look nice to keep things proportional on both sides of the altar, choosing attendants based on perfectly symmetrical wedding photos is really not an ideal method. It is completely acceptable for groomsmen to walk two bridesmaids down the aisle if that is how things work out.
What proves most important is having the people whose support you value. And this might result in a gigantic wedding party of 15 bridesmaids. Or it could mean just a small number like two or three attendants each side. Choosing the people who mean the most to you can even involve attendants of the opposite gender.
Am I Obligated?
Many brides and grooms feel concerned about “obligations” when it comes to choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen. Wedding blog discussion boards are peppered with questions like, “If I was a bridesmaid for a friend do I have to invite her to be in my wedding, too?”
The good news is that in most of the cases, the answer is, “No.” the only thing you are “obligated” to do is make sure that you and your fiancé make decisions which you are both comfortable with and that reflect what is important to the both of you.
Just because you were a bridesmaid for a friend, does not mean that you are stuck in a position to “return the favor.” Most likely, your friend will not storm off in tears. In fact, she will probably understand your decision because she has been in the same place trying to juggle decisions without hurting feelings. And to show how special she still is to you, find unique ways to involve her with the wedding preparation.
Saying Thank You
At the end of the day, you will hopefully find the right group of guys and girls to stand beside you at the altar and through the rest of your marriage. The fun part comes in finding cool groomsmen gift ideas and nice bridesmaid presents to thank them for helping you on your big day.
When choosing wedding party gifts, it is important to keep in mind that your friends have done a lot to help you throughout the engagement and wedding. This includes:
•Planning bridal showers
•Hosting bachelor and bachelorette parties
•Purchasing tuxes, dresses and shoes
•Helping set up and tear down the event
•Perhaps even flying into town to be there
All this doesn’t mean that the gifts have to cost an exorbitant amount. But they should be thoughtful, maybe even personalized tokens to show how much you appreciate all their love and support.
With these tips for finding the right people to be there on your big day, couples can have a party of groomsmen and bridesmaids that will be there to back them up at the wedding and for the rest of their lives.
Jessica Socheski is a freelance writer who loves wedding planning. You can connect with her on Google+.