Wedding Planning How to choose your bridal party without hurting anyone's feelings

Your wedding party will not only play a key role in the activities leading up to the wedding (and of course, behind the scenes at the wedding) their presence is also very sentimental.

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A bride and her bridal party play

A bride and her bridal party

(African-sweethearts)
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One of the important aspects of planning your wedding is choosing your bridal attendant who will be beside you as you make that life-changing journey down the aisle.

Your wedding party will not only play a key role in the activities leading up to the wedding (and of course, behind the scenes at the wedding) their presence is also very sentimental: these are the people that you and your fiancé have chosen to have closest to you on the day you officially start your life together.

However, when it comes to choosing some of your friends as your attendants, it might be a little difficult to do it without hurting the feelings of those who did not make the list.

Guilt, fear of hurt feelings and a sense of obligation can often creep into decisions of selecting your wedding party, so be mindful to really take emotional inventory. Perhaps you were a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding, that does not mean that you are obligated to ask them to stand in yours. If there are no small children in your family that you are close with, do not feel compelled to wrangle two toddlers to serve as a flower girl or ring bearer, just for the sake of having them. The decisions you make should be sincere and heartfelt, rather than couched in obligations.

As for concerns of having an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, it is a notion that serves to produce a good deal of stress and little else, it seems. If your best friend is a man, then who better suited to being your right hand? If you are extremely close to two friends and your fiancé is one of four brothers, then have at it - a perfect posse! The point is not to produce symmetrical photos. Do a gut-check: the crux is to mark a major milestone with those you can’t imagine not sharing it with.

According to Etiquette expert, Karen Cleveland, the following are some questions you should ask yourself before deciding on who to choose or not:

  • How long has this friend been in your life? Has the relationship stood the test of time?

  • Have they consistently been a solid, rather than fickle, friend?

  • Is your friendship a soulful one, or are you more social co-partiers?

  • What is their relationship to your fiancé? Do they see all the great things in each other that you see in each of them?

  • How logistically feasible is their bridesmaidship? Have they just embarked on six months of travelling? Do they have a baby due when you're getting married?

If this friend is a true blue, longstanding comrade that knows you as an individual, appreciates your soon-to-be-other half, and they're free when you're getting hitched, it sounds like they are just the person for the job.

If there is someone you love dearly, but circumstances preclude them from being in the wedding party, they can absolutely still play an important part in your big day. You could invite them to sit with your family and do a reading at the ceremony, include them in some special photos together or acknowledge them in a toast.

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