How to Decide Who Should Be a Bridesmaid

Who should stand by your side during your wedding, and who should attend as a guest.

How to Decide Who Should Be a Bridesmaid

Photo: Maya Myers Photography

how to choose who should be a bridesmaid, picking your bridesmaids

Photo by Maya Myers Photography; Bridal Gown by Monique Lhuillier; Planning & Design by Sterling Engagements

For those who have had the same tight-knit group of friends since kindergarten, deciding who should be in your bridal party is an easy task. The same is true for women who have several sisters, all of whom have a close relationship. However, it’s not always so simple for everyone. Perhaps you moved a lot, either as a child or as an adult, and have accumulated several groups of friends as a result. If you’re among the last of your friends to get married, maybe you’ve been in so many weddings that it’s not feasible to reciprocate to everyone. Do you pick the friend you’ve known for over 10 years but have been growing apart from, or a newer friend you haven’t known as long? Read the tips below to help make your decision on who to choose as a bridesmaid. 

People often talk about someone not seeming responsible enough to be maid of honor (or even a bridesmaid), or even picking someone precisely because they’d be helpful in planning the wedding. You should avoid selecting members of your bridal party based on these factors, except for in extreme cases of flakiness where it’s a legitimate concern that they might not even show up to the big day. An organized person is great to have by your side, but not if that’s the only thing you value about the relationship. Bridesmaids should be close to you.

In some cases, you may feel tempted to add someone to your bridal party because you think their feelings will be hurt if you don’t. While it’s nice to be considerate of other people’s emotions, this day is still primarily about you. If you think it will cause drama to not ask this friend to stand by your side during your nuptials, there’s a strong chance she will start drama somewhere down the line anyway – better to just nip it in the bud. Keep in mind it’s easier to leave out those who may expect to be part of your wedding party when you have a small out. Not being chosen as one of the five is an easier pill to swallow than not making the cut when there are 12 bridesmaids.

Not making this decision as soon as you get engaged gives you time to gauge who would be a good pick. A new friend might seem super excited and supportive at first, but then start to pull away after a couple of months. Being patient won’t guarantee a perfect batch of bridesmaids, but it will lessen your chance of making a choice you regret.