How to Choose Your Wedding Party
Who Makes up the Wedding Party?
When trying to figure out who is in the wedding party, you have to navigate first what cultural or religious traditions you wish to uphold. For example, for many christian weddings a candle lighter will light candles at the wedding alter before the mother of the bride is seated. If you decided to include this tradition as part of the ceremony, the candle lighter (usually a pre-teen; ages 10-13) is a member of the wedding party. Or in a Jewish wedding you may have Huppah carriers, and they would be considered a part of the wedding party, or since in many Jewish weddings it is not traditional to have an official wedding party, then they would be a part of the Shushavim (those close to the bride or groom that help with the wedding – for more information see Attendants: A Glossary of Who’s Who in the Wedding Party). For a more basic wedding party, the members will include: The mother and father of the bride,mother and father of the groom,maid of honor,best man,bridesmaids, the groomsmen, junior bridesmaids/groomsmen, pages/train bearers, the flower girl, the ring bearer, and ushers. Overwhelmed? Don’t Be!
SO Whose Who?
- Mother and Father of the bride and groom: Don’t sweat it, this one is decided for you! However, if your parents are divorced and remarried you can feel free to include their new spouses and if you were raised by your grandparents or another relative, they would stand in here. It is up to you!
- Maid-of-Honor: The maid-of-honor is exactly how the movies portray her. This is your bestest and closest girlfriend or sister. She has been by your side through the thick and thin, perhaps is the friend you grew up with or the one that makes you feel like she has always been there. She is the sister you compete with, but when the bomb drops she is there picking you up and planning revenge on whoever dropped that bomb! If your she is actually a he, that works to. The maid of honor is also considered and called the honor attendant or the best person. Using one of these titles allows for any gender to be the bestie you have at your side throughout all the wedding planning.
- Best Man: The best man is basically the male version of the maid of honor. He is the brother or the guy you consider a brother. Or just like the maid of honor, he could be a she and would then be that best person or honor attendant.
- Bridesmaids: These are your best gals. The ones you trust to be a support and help through the wedding. They will be the ones that help you address invitations, navigate through the florist crisis, and plan that wild bachelorette party. You can consider the maid of honor as the CEO of the bridesmaids.
- Groomsmen: Again, groomsmen are like the male version of the bridesmaid. Their most obvious task is to plan that bachelor’s party, but they also have the task of keeping the bride from murdering the groom before the wedding; ie. making sure the groom isn’t late, doesn’t miss appointments to pick out ribbon colors, and isn’t hung over during the ceremony.
- Junior Bridesmaids/Groomsmen: These are your bridesmaids and groomsmen that are on the younger side (Aged 10-17). Junior meaning quite literally junior. They can match the bridesmaids and groomsmen or you can dress them in a younger and more modest look that still coordinates with the rest of the party.
- Pages or better known as Train Bearers: These are the cute kids (age 6-9) you have that walk with you down the aisle carrying your dress train. If you don’t have a train, or do not need someone to carry it for you, then you will not need a page.
- Flower Girl: You can have 1-2 flower girls (Age 5-9). Some will just walk the aisle with a bouquet, or if you want they can carry baskets with flower petals and scatter the petals as they walk. Either way, they help make your grand entrance, so just remember that the younger the flower girl, the less control you have over her choice to or to not eat the flower petals.
- Ring Bearer: The ring bearer will carry the ring down the aisle and hold it for the groom. This can be a young boy (age 5-9), but like the flower girl, you want to be careful he won’t decide to eat the rings. Another option for this is to have the honor attendants carry the rings.
- Ushers: If you have a large guest list, you may include ushers. These will be those who you have help guide the guests to their seats.
How Many Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Should I have?
We would suggest having no more than six for each group, making a total of twelve, but even that may be too big. Try trimming it down to three or four each. Perhaps have your two honor attendants, and then six bridesmaids and groomsmen total.
What about my cousin and my brother’s girlfriend and my brother’s girlfriend’s sister?
STOP. Only choose bridesmaids and wedding party members based on their relationship to you and your groom. If you have best friends that fill the list for potential bridesmaids, you don’t even have to ask your sister. Granted, you may want to sit her down and let her know, but it is not a requirement. Only ask those who will be able to support and help you through the wedding and who you have a close relationship with. Many people even consider bridesmaids to be a role specific to friends of the bride and that a sisters role is simply sister of the bride.