Choosing Your Bridesmaid…

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Choosing who you want to include in your bridal party with who you’re expected, requested, or even told to include can seem like an ordeal. With friends and family anticipating or assuming they’ll be asked, it’s easy to get confused and resentful. After all, this is supposed to be your day, your way, right? Relax. Choosing your attendants needn’t be a nightmare. Prioritising what’s important is the key to arriving at a list that pleases everyone—even you.”What’s important is that you include those people to whom you feel closest,”

Start by writing your wish list of attendants. Next, add your fiancé’s picks, and those who would make political sense(your brother’s wife to make him happy, for example). See if there are natural groupings that would make choosing easier: all sisters, all school friends, just one sister and one friend, etc. If your list is still unwieldy, consider the following to help you eliminate people or decide their role.

First, think about their responsibilities. The maid/matron of honor is generally the bride’s right-hand woman before and on the day of the wedding. Her main duties include planning the bridal shower and helping the bride select her gown and address invitations. The bridesmaids assist the maid/matron of honor and bride. All typically pay for their own dresses and travel expenses.

If there’s someone you want to ask but are concerned she’ll feel pressured by time or money constraints, create a scenario in which each of you would feel comfortable backing out gracefully, suggests Danielle Claro, author of How to Have the Wedding You Want (Not the One Everybody Else Wants You to Have). Let her know she’s one of your top choices but you understand if she has other commitments that make it difficult for her to take part. If you’re willing to cover expenses, ask her how she feels about that. If she knows how important she is to you, she’ll probably feel flattered, not insulted.

Popping the Question

Now the fun part—asking people to be in your party. Some brides try to avoid disappointing anyone by asking people they don’t really want to participate, assuming they’ll say no because they’re too busy or won’t be able to afford it. Big mistake: This approach can easily backfire. Some people are so honored to be included that they’ll move the world to make it happen. Only ask those you’ll be thrilled to hear a “yes” from.

If you expected a friend to say yes and she doesn’t, don’t be offended. Chances are it’s no reflection on you. Your friend is simply doing you the favor of being upfront and honest about the time and money she wants to devote to your event, an occasion she respects enough not to ruin. “It’s important to keep perspective,” advises Claro. “Your wedding may not be the center of everyone else’s year. So try not to let it come as a shock if you get turned down.”


Blood Ties

Resolving conflicts with parents and in-laws isn’t always so simple. Sometimes an edict is handed-down and that’s that. For example, you may be told your sister will be your maid of honor, whether you like it or not. If you have a big enough party, it may not matter—a lot of your friends are included anyway. If you were planning on a small party, consider making it bigger to keep the peace.

Even if you can enforce your will and leave out a family member who expected to be included, consider the effect your stubbornness will have on family harmony. “If you deliberately leave out someone your parents or in-laws want included, you may be making a bigger statement than you intended,” notes Claro. Their conspicuous absence is a visible declaration of your rejection. When it comes down to it, would including this person really ruin your wedding day? Or will the repercussions of leaving her out sully family relationships for years to come?


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