Choosing your bridal party is one of the most exciting bit of the planning process, isn’t it? It’s the moment where you get to decide who you want with you every step of the way, and then see their faces light up when they realise how special they are to you.
But it’s not always that straight forward.
Some people will have a future plan of who their maid of honour, bridesmaids, best man and groomsmen will be for years – others won’t have a clue.
Some people ask them the minute they get engaged – others wait a long time.
Some people don’t have a bridal party – simply because it keeps things nice and easy with no risk of any upset.
Well, I personally fit into the ‘other’ category for the first two points, and have considered the third at great length. Choosing my bridal party not only took me a while, but it wasn’t as easy as I always thought it would be.
In this post, I share my own experience and a few tips for my fellow brides-to-be on how to choose your bridal party.
Related post: We got engaged
Asking the Maid of Honour
Choosing your maid of honour is a huge thing. Without making yourself sound a bit too self-important, it is a real honour to ask someone this! Taking on that role is a big responsibility, and generally the person you ask to be your maid of honour is your go to gal (or guy).
Whilst I have some truly brilliant girls in my life, I guess I did always know who I’d want my maid of honour to be, and that’s Chloe.
She’s been my best friend since reception at primary school, we grew up on the same street, she knows my family and I know hers, we have spent the majority of our lives being a part of each other’s and she was right there with me when I said yes to the dress. So I had no hesitation in asking her the big question!
My advice for you when it comes to asking your Maid of Honour is to be 100% sure in your choice. Will they be there to help along the way? Will they be genuinely happy for you at every moment? Will they contribute ideas or plans that you’ll love? If yes to all three – then they’re the one.
Asking the Bridesmaids
Ahhh Bridesmaids. We all love that movie, don’t we? It’s one of the many great wedding movies that I’ve been obsessed with for years. As much as I don’t want those sort of bridesmaids for my own wedding, of course it made me excited to eventually choose my own.
When it came down to it, it was a tricky decision because there are a fair few brilliant women in my life. Some old, and some new.
But unfortunately I couldn’t ask them all.
Firstly because our wedding budget has long exceeded its limit, and secondly because I didn’t really want to be that girl with tons of bridesmaids. We’re having a fairly small wedding and having half the guests as bridesmaids would make the room look a little odd, wouldn’t it?
After months of deliberation and fear of upsetting people, I finally plucked up the courage to ask my three bridesmaids.
So I have Becki who has been one of my closest friends for about six years, Dani who I went to school with and who has been one of my closest friends since we both met our partners just after school, and Kamso who was my brilliant ‘work wife’ for two years and I’ve now known for three years.
A bridal party totalling four seems pretty lovely to me!
When choosing your bridesmaids, follow a similar thought process to choosing your maid of honour. You need reliable girls who love you and will be a part of the wedding prep journey, be it short or long.
If you have any doubts at all, don’t ask. You can’t really turn around and say “hey sis, changed my mind so I’ll just see you down at the ceremony ok?”
How to ‘propose’ to your Bridal Party
Proposing to you bridal party seems like a funny term doesn’t it, but I suppose you are asking them a big question! When it comes to asking your maid of honour and bridesmaids, you just need to do it in a way that works for you.
I waited approximately fourteen months after getting engaged to ask my girls, mainly because I was so wrapped up in everything following the engagement and then the wild ride that is 2020, but when the time came let me tell you it absolutely did not go as smoothly as I’ve seen in the films.
I had these grand plans to ask everyone in the space of a weekend with flowing bottles of fizz at every opportunity – but lockdowns, illnesses, busy schedules and a hiccup with ordering things put a bit of a spanner in the works.
The first person I asked was my maid of honour, who I took to lunch with my mum on the first day I went wedding dress shopping. I was off to a slightly bad start when I realised I’d booked the table for the wrong day, but thankfully they found us a spot outdoors under a heat lamp so I could still ‘pop the question’. It all got a bit emotional and it ended up being so lovely, thank god.
I wanted to ask two of my bridesmaids on that same day, but unfortunately that plan fell apart, so I asked them both separately about a week later. One at a bar and one in a Starbucks.
And in between all of that, I asked my third bridesmaid at dinner over pasta and pink prosecco.
Thankfully they all said yes, so my bridal party was complete!
Bridal Party gifts
Honestly I’ve seen some incredible bridal party ‘proposal gifts’ thanks to the likes of Instagram and Pinterest, and I truly wish my budget had allowed for something more elaborate.
My mum was shocked enough that ‘proposal gifts’ were even a thing. Of course they don’t have to be at all, but I think it makes it pretty special if you’re able to. I mean, you’re asking the closest people in your life to stand by you on the most important day of your life, the least we can do is buy them a little something right?
I decided to pop heart shaped wax melts, love hearts, a mini bottle of fizz and personalised Etsy photo cards inside a little gift bag for each of the girls.
They looked so sweet, and I made sure I took a photo of everyone with their bags as a little memory to look back on one day.
Have a browse online, but here are some other bridal party gift ideas for you:
- Silky gown
- Clutch bag
- Prosecco glass
- Something specific to your wedding day (if it’s abroad, how about a towel or beach bag?)
- Anything personalised
Asking the Best Man and Groomsmen
Ok so this wasn’t my job, but it was Darryl’s, and thankfully he had a slightly easier job than me in choosing his party of people.
He chose his brother as his best man and his four closest friends as his groomsmen (two of which happen to be the partners of my bridesmaids).
He asked them all at the same time with personalised Etsy hip flasks and chocolate, on one of their pizza, beer and Playstation days. Nice and casual, just how he wanted it to be.
If you’re a groom reading this, or you want to put your partner at ease, my advice would be to pick your absolute best guys who would always have your back as your groomsmen. For your best man, pick someone stand out like a brother, a close cousin or maybe even your dad.
If you don’t have any good options and don’t want to risk upsetting your friends by choosing just one, there really is no rule that says your need a best man. Just pick one groomsman to hand over the rings, and give important duties to the other groomsmen such as ushering or doing a toast.
Well now that my bridal party all know who they are and we have a little WhatsApp chat going, the next stage is finding their dresses. I haven’t got a clue where to begin with that – but I’m excited to get started!
I just pray that our experience doesn’t resemble what happened in Bridesmaids, if you know you know.
I hope this post is helpful to anyone planning to ask their bride tribe soon, and perhaps it reassures you that choosing your bridal party may not go perfectly to plan, but it (usually) all works out just fine in the end.
Read more from my Wedding Diaries
Do you have any funny stories about asking your bridal party? Let me know in the comments below!