A few weeks ago, my husband and I sat around the table eating and talking (it’s what our people do best, no?) with my sister-in-law and her boyfriend who, according to my crystal ball (and the boyfriend) will be engaged in the quite near future (hooray!). Soon, SIL will be another bride who scours wedding blogs (and we all know which one will be her favorite, right? RIGHT???), and she will be tasked with the millions of decisions that go into planning a wedding.
During our dinner table chat, we were discussing the difficult choices of selecting a wedding party. For SIL’s boyfriend, the options were pretty simple and easily assumed. For SIL, the situation was different: should she pick bridesmaids who she has history with and has known a long time, but isn’t currently close to? Or should she choose gals who she knows are true friends right now, but maybe don’t have seniority compared to others? Naturally one of her options is easy (ahem!), but rounding out the rest of her party requires more thought. And then, it dawned on her, should the amount of bridesmaids equal to the amount of groomsmen? This round table conversation went in spirals as we analyzed the ins and outs of choosing the wedding party.
I don’t necessarily think there’s one right or wrong answer. But for discussion’s sake, I’ll share our conversation and what it came down to.
The bridesmaids are part of an exciting time in a bride’s life. They definitely have a required presence on the wedding day, but usually play parts in the months leading up to the chuppah as there are dress shopping, bridal showers, and bachelorette party dates to add to the calendar. Since that’s a pretty hefty commitment, it’s in the bride’s best interest to choose women who will be around for a long time, preferably, ya know, for life. So, the tennis partner du jour at the country club is probably not the best option.
We also agreed that friends come in many different categories. Friends from the category called We’ve Known Each Other Forever And Passed Notes In Sixth Grade During Math Class And You Were There For Me When I Got My First Period And We Saw Each Other During Our Breaks Home From College But Don’t Really Talk As Much Anymore, well, as nice as it is to know people from that far back, probably don’t belong in your bridal party either.
So there’s a fine line. The Way Backs and the Right Nows. SIL and I decided that the Right Nows who will certainly turn into In The Long Runs are the best option. They are excited for your bridal adventure and they know you best as a bride and, most likely, your husband-to-be as well. The odds are in your favor that you have more in common with them during this stage of your life and that the quality of friendship is equitable on both sides. If you are a lucky girl to have that lifelong friend that you’ve stayed closed with through all the stages of life, then by all means, that is a girl who is going to be one rockstar bridesmaid. But don’t let nostalgia take over your wedding party. Embrace your current friends and tell them that they mean so much to you and you’ll enjoy the experience even more with them by your side on your wedding day, but also throughout your marriage.
As for the equal amount of ladies and gents in the wedding party: personal preference! SIL and her boyfriend were pairing up their potential bridesmaids and groomsmen together to walk down the aisle two by two, but when their amounts didn’t even up and there were some men without a lady, they scratched their heads — conundrum!– and I said “Feh! Why do they need to pair up? Give each one their time in the spotlight and let them do a solo mosey down the aisle!” Eureka! So, there’s that. Don’t have an equal group? That’s so okay. Pair some up? Sure! Make them all go solo? Fine! Do a three-way saunter, linked arms, Wizard of Oz-style? Why not!
And then we realized there are no rules. When it comes to picking out your bridesmaids or choreographing who walks with who and when, just remember, it’s your wedding! It’s going to be unique anyway because there are no two people like you and your lovey in the world. So, why should your wedding be like every other wedding in the world? Make decisions that suit you best, that you feel comfortable with, and that will make you happy for years to come as you look back on your wedding day.