If you’re trying to make sense of wedding parties in the modern world, you’re not alone.
Choosing who is part of your wedding party takes a bit more work and consideration than you would expect. Having your loved ones around you is a wonderful thing, but maybe the traditional, cookie-cutter rules of coordinating friends lined up by gender doesn’t fit into your life. Or maybe you’re more interested in what exactly wedding party members are actually responsible for. Or maybe you’re struggling to choose the right people. Either way, we’ve got you covered. This guide will highlight key considerations when thinking about each party member.
Your day, your way
A wedding party is not required, contrary to tradition and what your auntie may claim. If you do decide to include a wedding party, there’s no doubt that friends and family would feel honored to be by your side on your big day. Chat with your partner about the size of the wedding party (maybe you have an entire squad of 7 and they want a small party of 3) and start putting your lists together.
Once you’ve decided who you’d like to have in your wedding party, you can ask them however you like. If you love big “proposals”, do it! If your relationship with someone dictates a small and personal ask, that’s okay too. You know your people, and they certainly know you.
Narrow the field
There’s some great waves happening in contemporary wedding parties and there are far fewer traditional rules to feel forced to follow. So tell those outdated gender roles to take a seat (buh-bye!), and say hello to new, fun, and inclusive wedding parties with member titles like:
- Mate of Honor
- Womxn of Honor
- Best Womxn
- Super Cool Party Peeps (ok, fine we made that one up)
- Anything else your inclusive heart desires!
The flexibility to choose whomever you like may increase your selection pool, so start by determining how large or small you want your group to be. Just like you do with your guest list, make a “dream wedding party” list and start narrowing down from there.
The wedding party is your A-Team. Your front line group of pals. Your squad. They’ll need to be ready when you need a hand. Need someone to pin those elegant and numerous buttons on your vintage gown? What if you have a huge ballgown and need a hand going to the restroom? This is where your party members become your key team players.
Think very carefully about who you choose, and be realistic about the support you’ll need. Being in a wedding party can be a lot to ask of a friend. And once you make your decision, stick to it!
R-E-S-P-E-C-T the budget & the mind
We know money is a sensitive subject. The #1 point-of-pain for someone in the wedding party is unexpected expenses. Take care to remember that everyone may not have the funds—or emotional and/or mental availability—to invest in all the events surrounding your nuptials. You definitely do not want to put your pals in an awkward situation.
Some things you might like to consider before choosing who to ask are:
- What is the price range of the attire and accessories?
- Will there be travel or accommodations required?
- Will you need them to cover their own hair and makeup?
- Who is paying for the bachelor(ette) party?
It’s important to have a rough estimate of these numbers ready if or when a proposed bridal party member asks. Mediating the costs with everyone else’s personal budgets before obligations begin will save everyone some serious heartache and headaches. It can also serve as a great opportunity to consider some money-saving options, like rented attire or mismatched thrifted dresses. Do your best to be understanding if someone can’t partake, and even if someone needs to drop out entirely.
Rules are made to be broken, but in this case the Rule of Honesty stands strong. It’s best to be upfront about expectations for each party member as early as possible. It’ll help your special someone decide if they’re right for the role, and it’ll help you both to outline and understand responsibilities.
Everyone will have different assumptions when they’re first asked. It’s a great relief for party members to know what they’ll be doing ahead of time.
This is an easy one: Once they’ve said yes, gather everyone’s contact information. Share details for any attire and accessories, travel, accommodations, and schedules as soon as possible.
Blueprint’s Wedding Party Worksheet has the tools you need to track info related to your wedding party. It’s a simple layout with a place for contact info, attire details, and more! (We offer a total of 14 free spreadsheets for you to use anytime).
Your Person Of Honor
The Maid of Honor and Best Man (or Mate of Honor and Best Person!) both fall under this title. When choosing this person, think of who you’re closest to. Someone who knows your ups, and downs, and loves you through it all. They’ll be your biggest support on a very emotional day.
The POH is in charge of keeping the party informed and organized, and is the go-to for delegating tasks. They’ll usually be present for wedding dress/suit shopping, tell guests where to shop for registry gifts, and host the bachelor(ette) party. On the wedding day, they’ll assist with holding the bouquet during the ceremony, or act as the witness to sign the marriage certificate. They may even hand out payments for the vendors throughout the day.
And, of course, they’ll likely give a personal toast at the reception.
Your wedding party is special and just for you. You’re asking your closest loved ones to be there for you like they always are, and share the moment you step into a new phase of your life. At the end of the day, it’s a chance to be surrounded by nothing but love. So take a deep breath and get started—we promise it’s not as tough as it may seem.