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How Should I Choose Bridesmaids?

By Sherry Holetzky
Updated May 23, 2024
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Choosing bridesmaids may seem like one of the easiest decisions you will make while planning your wedding, but there are some issues that need to be addressed. While you may assume that you can just pick your favorite people to serve as bridesmaids, it does not always work out quite that simply.

You will need to make sure that the people you choose as bridesmaids are available and willing to stand up in your wedding. Sometimes things like logistics, previous obligations, or expenses play a role and keep people who would otherwise love to accommodate you from doing so. If you are able to help with expenses or sort through other issues, you might be able to come to a mutually satisfactory conclusion. If not, you may need to ask someone else.

There are also personality issues to consider. If your sister and a friend that you would like to serve as one of your bridesmaids do not exactly get along, asking both to be bridesmaids may prove awkward. While most people assume that loved ones will be able to manage such conflicts for the duration of one special day, you need to determine whether or not this is true of the people you have in mind. You don't want to risk spoiling one of the most important days of your life due to unresolved differences between your bridesmaids.

In addition, consider your own comfort level and that of your groom. It is best to avoid asking anyone that makes your beloved uncomfortable, since it is his day too. As far as your own comfort is concerned, don't let anyone manipulate you into asking her or someone else to be a bridesmaid if you'd rather not. For example, if your mother-in-law-to-be insists that you ask her daughter, find a way to politely decline if the idea makes you uncomfortable. If you and your sister-in-law are not particularly close, inform her mother that you have already asked long time friends and your own family members to be bridesmaids.

Choose bridesmaids that will able to help you with last minute details and those that will make you feel most at ease. Surrounding yourself with those closest to you is the surest way to make sure your wedding is the magical day you want it to be.

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Discussion Comments

By anon947727 — On Apr 26, 2014

@Anon282: There is a major problem in society as a whole and it shows in weddings. To put the issue simply, it's selfishness and entitlement. The problem is not with the bride in your family's situation; the problem is with your family. You all feel you have some say about whom she chooses as her attendants, but that is not the way it is supposed to be. We wouldn't know this based on the way things tend to work out, but the fact of the matter is, there is no rhyme or reason for there to be "upset in the family." It must be nice to get your way so often as a family that you feel the need to be upset. However, you all need a reality check because the world does not revolve around your family. And by being upset as a family during the most exciting time during their lives, you will end up hijacking it and holding it hostage for a bridesmaid spot. What an awesome way to welcome her into your family.

Now that aside, I am getting married in a few months and it is super stressful. Here I am, this generally carefree person when it comes to friends, but all the drama due to the selfishness in most people, I'm stressed to the point of not enjoying this time.

I have four sisters, but I only want one of them to be a bridesmaid. I know this is going to cause an issue so I haven't asked the first person yet. In reality, I shouldn't ask any of them because not even one of them respects marriage since they have all cheated and done messed up stuff to other marriages. But my oldest sister has calmed me down and made me feel OK by reminding me that this is my and my fiance’s day. So I will ask her and not the others. Then I have a friend I met when I was nine years old, so we've been friends for 19 years. I am actually closer to her little sister now though.

I want to ask the younger sister and not the longest friendship because she is my closer friend now. But this will cause an issue so I am asking both. Then I have another friend who is getting married and she skipped me to ask her hubby's best friend's wife, supposedly so they can walk together. We were going to ask her and her fiance to be in ours but it kind of made me think, why increase my wedding party to include them if they aren't doing the same? Her fiance and mine are good friends and she is my friend so if they are comfortable without our involvement, why shouldn't we be? I'm not going to be upset about it. It’s one less dress to buy, less hair and make up for photos. Why get crazy about it?

The way I see it is this: the people beside me when I get married are the people I need to have in my wedding photos. They are the people who have contributed to my relationship in some way. And the same goes for me as their bridesmaid.

People need to chill out and stop trying to dictate how others plan and spend their day. She does not owe you anything more than an invitation, and if you do not let it be and be content with that, you may just ruin your chance to take part in the day of your loved one. Look at it like this: when one person includes someone in their wedding based only on obligation, how many future events will be guided by the same? Will the niece include the bride's child? Or her nephew? When will your family just be OK with other people's choices?

By anon199614 — On Jul 24, 2011

@anon282: Grow up and tell your family to do the same. It is the bride's choice who is to be her bridesmaids. It is not an arena for the family to have their say, or throw their toxic insecure garbage around cause they didn't get chosen or think they should have a say or cause grief when things don't go their way. It is not your family's decision for a niece to be a bridesmaid. It is for the bride's personal friends and family, not yours.

Grow up and shut up for the sake of your brother's happiness. Why on earth would you and your family choose to be so selfish and ruin the start of a happy family? The bride is not the one being petty and selfish; you and your family are.

By amypollick — On Sep 10, 2010

@Anon110138: I see your dilemma. However, there may be a solution. How about saying, "I'd love to have Sally as my flower girl. Would you like to keep the bride's book?" That's a role that doesn't require a special dress, and Sally could "help" mom with the task. As a bridesmaid, your friend might not be able to look after her daughter as she needs to, but if she kept the bride's book, that would solve the problem. You could also ask her and Sally to help distribute the rice/birdseed bags or bubbles, or whatever you're using in that capacity.

Good luck!

By anon110138 — On Sep 10, 2010

I'm having a hard time deciding if I should ask someone to be in my wedding. She is a person I grew up with and I wanted to ask her daughter to be the flower girl.

I know that she is struggling financially and I think it would be too much to ask her and her daughter. I also can't afford to pay for her dress and I wouldn't want the other bridesmaids to feel bad who are also not in the best place financially.

Does it seem okay to only have her daughter? Should I mention the financial reasons? I know that if I left it up to her she would not say no because she would feel obligated. But I also don't want her to feel slighted if I don't ask her. Is there some other role I could have for her that wouldn't cost anything? Any advice is appreciated!

By toothpick — On Jul 12, 2008

anon15459: do you care more about not being asked, or because you truly would love more than anything to be in your brother's wedding? i totally understand that you feel snubbed, i probably would too. but ask yourself this question, and you'll probably feel a lot better. if you don't know her all that well, and don't really care, then you shouldn't be upset. and just think of all the money you'll save on all those bridesmaid's expenses!

By anon15459 — On Jul 11, 2008

My brother is getting married, and he has chosen our other brother as one of his groomsman. I wasn't expecting to be a bridesmaid as I do not know his fiance that well. Now I have found out that they've asked our other brother's girlfriend to be a bridesmaid, and she knows the fiance even less well than I am. They say it is only for the purposes of "pairing them up" that they asked her, and they never said why they didn't ask me. I wonder if I am overreacting to this? Something doesn't feel quite right.

By anon10035 — On Mar 18, 2008

I don't know where you might find something saying the spouse is not required to be a member of the wedding party, as I'm unaware of any hard, fast rules. Yet, clearly, there are limits to how many people can be in the wedding. Perhaps you can help him understand that no slight is intended toward his spouse, and it's a simple matter of doing the math. Best wishes.


By anon9650 — On Mar 10, 2008

My brother is getting married and asked our brother to stand up in the wedding. He said he would, but then called and said no because his wife is not in the wedding. Is there some rule that you have to have your spouse in the wedding too? We have tried to tell him that she doesn't have to be in the wedding for him to be. The rest of us kids are in the wedding and some of our spouses are not. He has really caused a fight between all of us. We think he is being unfair and he thinks we are against his wife. Could you please let me know where I could find a passage saying your spouse does not have to be in the wedding.

Thank you for your time and help.

By anon282 — On Apr 20, 2007

my brother is getting married and my family think his niece should be a bridesmaid but his wife to be hasn't asked, she told us she is only having one close friend, now we find out she is having 5 people it has caused upset in the family

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