When you’re planning your wedding, one of the most daunting tasks to check off your list is choosing your bridesmaids. With childhood friends, school friends, work friends, sisters and cousins, narrowing down the list to just a few key people can seem impossible. Not only is it tough choosing who you want to stand by your side on your big day, but the last thing you want is to hurt anyone’s feelings or make an etiquette faux-pas. Have no fear though: we’ve got the selection process down to a science. Follow the five easy steps below to choose the best bridesmaid crew in history:
1. Decide how many bridesmaids you’ll need.
First things first, you’ll want to come up with a solid number of bridesmaids that you can stick to no matter what. One reason to do this is so that you and your groom can each coordinate an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen so that your photos will look symmetrical, and also so that each maid has a male escort to walk her down the aisle during the ceremony. This will also help you lay down the law and stop yourself from asking adding people in the eleventh hour. Whether you decide on one bridesmaid or ten, the important thing is that you decide, period!
2. Figure out who your non-negotiables are.
Sister? Check. Best friend since birth? Check. This step is pretty straightforward; all you have to do is make sure you save a couple of spots reserved for your ride-or-die chicks.
3. Decide on a few other good friends who will be positive and uplifting on your big day.
Unless you’re capping your list with your non-negotiables, it’s always nice to have a little extra support on your big day, especially if your wedding is on the larger side. When choosing these gals, it’s best to stick to those friends you always have a good time with, and who you know will go out of their way to make sure you have a good time. Whatever you do, make sure you don’t pick the Debbie Downer of the group to be a bridesmaid; this will only lead to drama and bad vibes, neither of which you want anywhere near your wedding.
4. Add in the obligatories.
This is where the process can get a bit tricky: there are always a few stragglers who would love to be in your bridal party, or who chose you for theirs, but who you’re just not that close with. There are also those who you know you should choose to be in your party, like your groom’s sister or an old friend from high school you rarely see anymore. In situations like these, it can be helpful to invite them to join the party to have an extra body around, especially if your groom’s party is on the larger side. That said, you never want to do anything that could jeopardize your good mood on your wedding day, so don’t feel obligated to choose anyone that would bring the party down. Keep in mind that there are other meaningful ways you can include friends and family in your celebration without including them in the bridal party.
5. Refine your list and send out your proposal gifts.
Once you’ve made a rough list of your maids, go through it again and cut out anyone who you feel won’t mesh well with the party. Be ruthless here: you’ll want to know you can count on these people to help out with everything from DIY decor projects to bachelorette party planning. Once you’re sure of your list, put together a small gift like a card with a mini champagne bottle and pop the question!