Every couple planning a wedding has to make a decision about whether or not to have a wedding party stand up with them during their ceremony. If you do decide to have attendants, you then have to make decisions about how to incorporate them into your day, what they should wear, in what order they should walk, who gives a toast…the list goes on.
If you decide NOT to have a wedding party, then you can still include your friends and family in your wedding! Whether it’s asking them to do a reading or be an usher, mentioning them in the program, inviting them to get ready with you, asking them to give a toast, or having them plan a shower or party, a small gesture could be plenty to let your special people know that they are special.
I find a lot of couples grapple with the decision of who to include in their wedding party. I came up with some tips for choosing who to include in your wedding party, if you decide to have one.
- Consider your siblings and your partner’s siblings first. It’s not necessary to include them, but worth the thought and they’ll appreciate the consideration. Good karma, you know?
- Don’t get too carried away. Big wedding parties are super fun, but also a lot of work (think about all those “reminder” emails you have to send) and expensive (yes, bridesmaids gifts are a thing.) Big wedding parties can also lead to “too many cooks in the kitchen” syndrome where everyone is trying to be helpful but really just overwhelming and suffocating you.
- Symmetry doesn’t matter. Some people think there is an expectation to have an even number of people standing up on both sides during a ceremony, but your wedding party does not have to be symmetrical. You can have a mix of genders, a mix of outfits, and an uneven number of people. There is no right way.
- Reciprocation is not necessary. Just because you were in someone’s wedding doesn’t mean you have to ask them to be in yours. Really. Let it go.
- Have a variety of tasks and events for people to participate. Remember how it feels when there are “too many cooks in the kitchen?” Well, let me assure you that it’s overwhelming when six people are trying to bustle a wedding dress. The most successful wedding parties I have seen are ones where each person has a specific task assigned to them. Everyone felt important, had a role to play, and there was no stepping on each others’ toes.
- Go for dependability over the life of the party. When you’re thinking about who to include in your wedding party, an instinct may be to ask your most fun friends. But really, you want the friends who are the most reliable, patient, and supportive to be with you on your wedding day. Great wedding attendants notice what you need without you having to ask, they anticipate emergencies, they know who to call if you forget something, and they care more about your experience than their own.
- Be true to yourselves. You know who your best friends are.
- You don’t have to wear matching robes while you get ready, but it is freakin’ adorable.