Other than family, the second most important people to attend your wedding will be those you select as your bridal attendants. Those individuals that will walk down the aisle with you on your wedding day. Here are some tips for making your choices easy.
SIZE OF THE BRIDAL PARTY really does matter. From “none” to a bakers dozen, there is no etiquette that dictates how many should be in your wedding. With that said, couples who have a very large wedding party must realize their expense goes way up for things such as the rehearsal dinner, gifts and personal flowers (and yes, your paying for their flowers), and all the other events that have to be managed to get your entourage of people all together on the same date for dress and shoes purchases as well as tux rentals and then, you still have the fittings!
I have Officiated small intimate weddings were the bridal party was as big or bigger than the number of guest that were invited. It looks…well honestly..weird. Why? It almost has the feeling of the guest being “excluded” or needed only to fill empty chairs or worse yet…the appearance of “no body came to the wedding“.
WHAT TO DO:
Have your bridal party attendants and your guest stand up, circled around you the couple. Let them “embrace” you the couple so to speak. It’s intimate, it’s sweet and it’s memorable for all the right reasons. Don’t add people just to make even numbers. It’s not necessary. You can always adjust by how you place people in the processional and the ceremony itself.
WHO CAN BE A BRIDESMAID AND GROOMSMAN. Anyone! Plain and simple. A girl can be a groomswoman and a guy can be a bridesman. Two maid or matron of Honor? OK. Just let them know so there is no “issues”. Two bestmen? OK. Just figure out who will do what. Will one hold the rings and the other give a reading? Nice touch for either of the two bestmen or the maid or matron of honor attendants. It’s OK to gently bend tradition. Many times our traditions are nothing more than patterns of behaviors that were begun years and years ago and we have no idea why were still doing them!
CHILDREN IN THE WEDDING. See my article on this topic for more information but the important issue here is to be aware of their age and their maturation level. They have limitations. An 18 month old as a flower girl will be a gamble on her ability to perform her duties and that’s OK, just be ready to “scoop” her up and out of the way if she has a meltdown.
Children are not usually standing with the couple and bridal party attendants during the ceremony.
Ceremonies are twenty-five to forty minutes long and no matter how much we bribe them, their attention span is very limited. Have the parent pick them up at the end of their walk down the aisle and sit with them for the child’s comfort during the ceremony.
OBLIGATIONS. You have none other than to family. You do not need to reciprocate to every girlfriend and guyfriend who had you in their wedding. They don’t expect it I promise. Chose your attendants based on who your close to at this time in your lives. Who has been an important contributor in your life? Who’s been there for you when you were at your lowest.
Great thought has been given over your Guest List but even greater attention is paid to your bridal party attendants list. Just who will stand next to you on your very intimate and personal day? Will they still be around in ten years? Will they be apart of your married life’s adventures? Do you feel loved by them? Do you feel at ease in their feelings for you? Can they aford to be in the wedding? Weddings are expensive and we forget sometimes that we could be placing financial burdens on those who need to buy the clothing, gift for you the couple, pay for travel expenses and food for the weekend of your wedding.
PERSONAL ATTENDANT. And finally, once your bridal party attendants are chose you still need to select a personal attendant for each of you. This is someone special, not in the bridal party and who has the ability to run errands on the day of the wedding for the bride and the groom. Make sure they are able to drive! He or she will be with you all day. Need something to eat or drink? Forgot your grandmothers pearl necklace you were going to wear down the aisle? He or she is will be at your disposal.