Long story short: The man of your dreams gets down on one knee and pops the question. Congratulations, you’re engaged!
You can’t wait to run and tell all of your people the big news. Before you know it, the wedding planning process begins. You choose the date, the colors and your bridal party.
Planning your wedding should be fun but choosing your bridal party can bring unwanted added stress to the process. Like it or not, many of your friends and family will be anticipating or assuming they’ll be asked to participate in your big day. In some cases, you will be told who will or should be a part of your bridal party.
How on earth do you decide who will stand up with you on your special day without getting overly confused, stressed and become resentful while doing so?
A very dear friend once gave me this advice: “Choose people you love; choose the ones who have been with you through thick and thin; the ones who know all of your secrets but still, somehow stand by your side. Those are the ones who should have the honor of standing beside you on your wedding day with you as you say I do.”
She makes it sound so simple, right? It seems like it should be simple, but sometimes it just isn’t.
I am fortunate enough to have grown up with five siblings. Four of whom are sisters – with one lucky brother, right? Don’t even think about feeling bad for him, he makes up for it! Plus, he totally loves it.
I wouldn’t trade my brother or sisters for anything, BUT it will make the decisions rather difficult when choosing my bridal party… when that time comes. After all, I do have enough siblings to make up an entire bridal party without adding anyone else. My brother has it easy. He’s the only boy, boom, he’s in. My four sisters are what make the situation tricky. I love them all equally.
Of course, there aren’t any rules that say you have to include your siblings in your bridal party, but I don’t know if I could bear the thought of leaving any one of them out. Luckily, there also aren’t any rules about having too many bridesmaids! If you are one with many siblings, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Even though there isn’t a rule book to abide by, there are still a bundle of guidelines that may be helpful to consider.
Here are a set of strategies catered for people who have been blessed with many siblings:
1) Think before you ask. Once you’ve asked someone to be part of your big day, there’s no going back. What’s done is done. And because you have so many siblings you want to involve, it’s important you don’t go asking everyone one of your friends to be a bridesmaid. Give yourself time to think about who you really want to be a part of your big day. Don’t make any spur-of-the-moment decisions. Ask yourself: Will this person and I be just as close in five years? Your wedding day isn’t a day to return the invitation. Just because you were in their wedding, doesn’t mean they have to be in yours.
2) Remember that more isn’t always merrier. It’d be nice if you could include all of your siblings and every single one of your friends, but that’d mean more chance for potential complications. The more bridesmaids and groomsmen you have, the more schedules you have to work around, the longer the search for flatters-all dresses and tuxes, and the more people you have to coordinate with. That being said, if you can handle the chaos, then perhaps the merrier it will be!
3) Size and budget matter. If you’ve grown up with multiple siblings, you also have grown up knowing that money doesn’t grow on trees. A large bridal party can be tough on the budget. Who’s paying for all of the bouquets and boutonnieres? That’s right, you are! Not to mention the gifts you’ll purchase for them. You may also want to compare the size of your wedding to the number of bridesmaids and groomsmen you’re considering. Again, there are no set rules, but usually the larger the gathering, the larger the bridal party; the more intimate the gathering, the smaller the bridal party.
$) What about a maid/matron of honor: Sister or friend? Choose who you’re closest with. It could be one of your sisters or it could be one of your friends. There’s nothing wrong with having more than one maid of honor. Two of your sisters, two of your friends or one of your sisters and one of your friends – it’s completely up to you! You shouldn’t feel obligated to designate either a sister or a friend as maid of honor. It’s an honor in itself to be a part of your wedding. Again, choose who you are closest with.
So, what if you’re not exceptionally close to your siblings? Should you feel obligated to include them in your bridal party, let alone your wedding?
The answer is no, you should not feel obligated to do anything on your wedding day. But, remember, blood is thicker than water. Keep in mind that your siblings are bound to be around for a very long time, and even if you’re not close at the time of your wedding, chances are, you may grow closer over the next 10 years.
If you don’t wish to include your siblings in the bridal party, there are a slew of other ways to include them: Personal attendants, greeters, candle lighters, readers, etc. The decision is entirely up to you and your future husband.
In the end, it really is quite simple: Choose the ones who you want to stand up with you as you say, “I do,” the ones who support you 100 percent. Choose the people you love.
Chelsey Commins, Intern at Weddings in Vieques