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We’ve already talked about wedding day regrets and how to be the best bridesmaid ever, so to keep with the honesty brigade, we figured we’d tackle mistakes that can come with picking your bridal party ((because those of us who have been brides before, definitely have a few)). If we stop even just a couple of you from making them, we’ve done our jobs!
Read on for a collection of what not to do when it comes to choosing your crew. And for any of you who have already gotten married, and have some vivid memories of your own mistakes, less us know about them. We’ve been there. We get it. It sucks. Just an opportunity to share some sound advice with all of our currently engaged sisters/besties/cousins. Whether it’s taken or not….
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Asking too soon.
Okay, sooo this was a big one for me. Which ended in me having to un-ask two of the girls. And you should never. Ever. Ever do that. Like ever. Of course, you’re excited after getting engaged, and want to share the news and ask your boos to stand up with you right away. But before you do, don’t. Be engaged for a little while, take care of the all the things you need to do right after there’s a ring on your finger, and think really hard about who you want to outfit your wedding day entourage. If you’re too amped up and act impulsively, asking a friend who ends up moving away and ✌️completely on your relationship, asking friends-ish who just happen to be with you at brunch when you want to ask your other girls, you’ll end up regretting it later. For real. So, instead, give yourself some time (at least 3-4 months, we’d say, unless you're planning a quick wedding) to revel in your new bride-to-be bliss, talk things out with your partner, and maybe even wait to see which friends have kept up their ride-or-die status since you got engaged. Those are the ones you want.
Thinking a balanced bridal party is the best bridal party.
Nope, this is what got me in trouble. I worried that it’d be weird for me and my fiancé (now husband) to have uneven amounts of people on our respective sides. So, I ended up not having one of my best friends as a bridesmaid, because I’d have one more girl to one less guy in his group. Stupid. Truly stupid. There are no rules about how balanced your bridal party should be. Yeah, it’s nice to have comparable numbers, looks good in photos, but it’s by no means necessary. If you have 4 girls and your partner has 6, or if you want a bridesman and/or he wants a groomsgirl, then just let it happen. It’s your day, you can make the decisions. And leaving someone out, just because things don’t ‘match up’ like you want them to is not right. It’s also something that can stick with you, when you realize just how great of a friend that person was/is and all of a sudden get that guilt and lots of ‘OMG what did I do’ feels.
At the same time, the whole ‘balanced’ thing also points to pressures of parity. Don’t subscribe to a ‘well, he/she had me in their wedding, I should do the same’ point of view. It’s very possible that you were in their wedding years ago, and might not talk or see each other as much now. You shouldn’t feel obligated to include them, just because they included you.
Setting your expectations a little too high.
I have ridiculously high standards for people in my life - and yes, sometimes I totally need to chill. But when you’re planning a wedding, it’s easy to think that everyone is going to rise to the occasion and make sure they’re giving their 💯 at every turn. The reality is, no matter what you put in as a friend, it might not be returned. And you can find yourself feeling so so sad when one of your bridesmaids doesn’t make it to your bridal shower because she ‘has work things going on’ or you get hurt when another few of your girls cancels on your bach weekend, because out of the blue, they had something pop up that needs their attention. It’s good to expect your squad to be solid, it means you are too, and would show up to all of their wedding+events like a rockstar (if the shoe was on the other foot). But don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Kind of a ‘expect the worst, hope for the best’ scenario. Remember, some bridesmaids actually have the idea that their role only requires them to wear the dress and not be drunk, so you can’t be thatttttt upset if they don’t do that much more. It’s sad, but it’s a very real struggle.
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Not considering everyone’s current life/circumstances.
On the flipside, it’s also important for a bride to think about her group as a whole, and who may or may not show up to things/be a model bridesmaid because of her unique set of circumstances. If you have a friend who will be going abroad for a fellowship, maybe someone who just got pregnant (and might have a roughhhh time fitting in that less-than-forgiving dress you have your eye on --- see below, another mistake), a friend who can barely ever put the work down, or someone who might have just lost their job, you have to understand how they might struggle with the roles and responsibilities that come with being a bridesmaid. This is where you need to exercise flexibility and not freak out when your bestie says she can’t break the bank with your destination bachelorette or asks you to consider a different dress, because she’ll be extra pregs by the time your wedding happens. And if you DO make time to think about how everyone will fit in your perfect bridal party, then you can leave anyone out who might not sound good on second thought. That means not including friends who are exes or having two girls who have fought over a boy (and might still be) coexist at the same time … because it probs won’t end well.
Pressuring your partner to pick someone.
This is awkward. I remember for my own wedding, my sister, my mother and I all asking my fiancé if he’d be asking my sister’s boyfriend to be on his side of the wedding party. Well, he did ask, and her BF was in all of our wedding pics. And now she’s engaged and getting married to someone else. At the time, it was definitely a nice gesture of goodwill - and made us all feel so good about my guy and hers all being besties. But we shouldn’t have forced it, because now we look back at our album and pics and say hmmm maybe that wasn’t the best idea. Long story short, don’t put pressure on your partner. You each should have control over your respective sides of the squad. And if you’re feeling like that particular person is soooo important to your flow, then ask them to be on your side! Screw conventional his side/her side rules. They don’t matter anymore!
Not showing how much you care.
The people who you ask to be in your bridal party should mean a lot to you. So, there’s no reason you shouldn’t at least ask them in a way that feels special. Doesn’t warrant a gift (although we know a few places that can help you put some killer bridesmaid ask presents together), but shouldn’t be a defaulted decision. I say that because I so vibrantly remember telling my sister 10+ years ago that she’d be my MOH “you know, by default.” It was a joke and we both laugh at it now, because we’re best friends through and through, but that should NEVER be a reason. Whether you write your ask in a card, deliver balloons that can help you pop the question, or just call your girls individually to ask them, you can show some effort and not phone it in (and no, that doesn't mean just doing it over text). This goes for the dresses, too, show that you care about your bridesmaids by having them go shopping with you for their dresses. Ask for feedback, consider their body shapes, don’t just pick something that you love, but know won’t make each of them feel their best. You have loyalties to them, too!