The Best Way to Avoid the Infamous Bridesmaid Hierarchy
It can be hard enough to narrow down your list of girlfriends to a reasonable amount of bridesmaids, and when you finally do, it may seem like the hard part of avoiding hurting people’s feelings is over. And it can be! Sending your bridesmaids down the aisle based on how close they are to you can work out if everyone is very understanding and the delineations are pretty obvious. However, that can be rare, and it’s easy to find solutions that avoid hurt feelings. So what happens when you have four sorority sisters who all feel they should be second after the maid of honor? Read on for our suggestions!
While it’s best to make sure one bridesmaid doesn’t feel she is less important than the others, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a maid of honor. If you have a sister or another very clear choice, this helps, but it’s true that it can be tough in an era where many people have multiple best friends. Though it’s tempting to have two maids of honor, that can soon lead to someone still being hurt when they find out they didn’t make the cut.
To help alleviate the potential awkwardness, avoid treating the maid of honor especially different. Yes, she will probably plan your bridal shower and bachelorette party, and sure, she’s going to stand next to you during the ceremony and give a toast at the reception, but you can show appreciation for your maid of honor without making your bridesmaids feel second string. For example, you have your girls in matching dresses; don’t have the maid of honor wear an alternate dress. It stands out in all the wrong ways. If you want to give her a special gift in addition to one for the rest of the bridesmaids, make it a private moment between the two of you.
The real struggle comes from ordering your processional. Your maid of honor typically walks last so she will be standing beside you, so shouldn’t everyone be ordered by how close you are to them? This is not – and should not – always be the case. Think about it: You would be telling the woman to walk first that she is the least important to you in the group. One way around this is to order everyone by how long you’ve known them, no matter how close you are. It may work out naturally, but if you are closer to your college roommate than to your cousin, your friend is likely to understand the rationale behind the placement. Ordering by height is objective and has the benefit of being aesthetically pleasing for your photos. Age is another option, but if there is a wide range of ages between your party, older bridesmaids may feel sensitive. To really keep it simple, place everyone alphabetically! It’s hard to argue with that.
Browse our photo galleries to see images of beautiful bridesmaids from real weddings. For more wedding inspiration, follow Inside Weddings on Instagram and Pinterest!
Opening photo by Troy Grover Photographers