Thursday Tips | Choosing Your Bridesmaids


I thought it would be fitting to write my Thursday tip on this topic this week, since tomorrow I head South for the weekend to do my bridesmaid duties. Yay! Let me tell you – I love being a bridesmaid. Aside from the expense, which can get up there, I love being a part of the whole wedding process, since (if you haven’t noticed) I love weddings so much! So… this is my 6th go round as a bridesmaid, and I have 2 more this year. Plus I still have a few close friends who are not yet married. I like to joke that I’m working my way toward 27. J

As a result of my frequent trips down the aisle wearing anything BUT white, I am going to have a difficult decision when my own wedding day comes (for those of you who haven’t caught on yet, that date is lingering mysteriously in the unforetold future.) So, I decided to make this list of tips for all of you reading, and for my future engaged self to come back to. Enjoy!


  • Don’t worry about tradition. Tradition states that you should have one bridesmaid and groomsman for every 50 guests. Well, guess what? Most traditions have gone out the window these days anyway. If you are having 200 guests and you want 8 bridesmaids, and 8 groomsmen because you can’t imagine not having those 16 people up there with you, go for it! If you are having a huge formal wedding with 500 guests, but only want your sister and your husband’s best friend, then do it. This is your day, and (hopefully!) it’s only going to happen once. Do what you want. (I was going to title this tip “Tradition is for Losers” or something similarly humorous, but I didn’t want to offend the tradition-lovers out there, because if tradition is your thing, that’s fine too!)
  • To offend or not to offend. One of your dilemmas may be that you don’t want to offend people. It’s time for some tough love my friends: how people react to your decisions is not your problem. I have a good number of women in my life that I love dearly. However, I refuse to have 20 bridesmaids, that’s just ridiculous. So chances are someone is going to get their feelings hurt. (Perhaps I’ll write another post on how to deal with that.) Maybe you want to ask them to be a part of your day in another way. Maybe not – if they really care about you, they’ll respect your decision and move on. A note: consider how long people are going to be in your life, and how offended they might be. I don’t recommend choosing people purely because you don’t want to offend them, but if you don’t get along great with your sister, you may want to bite the bullet and ask her anyway so you don’t create a lifetime of resentment between the two of you. Your call. Just something to consider.
  • Who you really want. Ok, so now it comes down to the actual choices. If you’re not basing it off of who you don’t want to offend, or who’s already had or is likely to have you in their wedding, how do you choose? Simple. Who do you want standing next to you? Let’s play a little game. Imagine that you are not standing at an altar with the love of your life. Imagine that you are in a hospital bed. Or at a funeral. Holding newborn triplets. Caring for an ill child or parent. Ok sorry to be a downer, but this only takes a minute. Now, imagine the people that will be standing at your side then. I’ve heard it said that a true friend walks in when everyone else walks out. The people holding your hand through the hard times are the same ones who are the happiest to celebrate the good times with you.
  • Back to that tradition thing from earlier. Have you heard the term bridesman? Groomswoman? They are real. (Despite the little red lines under them as I type this – the dictionary hasn’t caught up with the wedding world yet.) If your best friend is a guy, or your husband wants his sister standing by his side, go for it. People have their parents in the wedding party, have 2 or 3 maids of honor, or no attendants at all! If you have uneven numbers on the bride’s and groom’s sides, people will not faint in horror. Basically, the main point to remember is: do what you want. It’s your day.


Kellye Statton - May 18, 2011 - 9:08 pm

I love all of these bridesmaid dresses in the pictures above. Does anyone know where they came from?

Kristin - May 19, 2011 - 1:31 am

I would like to remind you that you WILL be wearing white at my wedding!!!!! <3

Colleen - May 20, 2011 - 1:33 am

@Kellye – I know, right? So cute. They’re from different places. Top left: Urban Outfitters, top right: JCrew, bottom left: bought in Thailand, bottom right: Forever 21.

@ Kristin: I know. :) It was just an expression, that I will no longer be able to use after December. I’m excited to wear white at your wedding though!!

Bree [capitolromance] - May 20, 2011 - 7:09 pm

Fantastic advice! I love it!!! Every bride should read this :)

Liz L. - May 24, 2011 - 1:43 pm

Thank you THANK YOU thank you, for this post. I have recently been struggling with the decision on my bridesmaids, and this really helped clear things up for me – especially your third point. My fiance is having his entire hometown in his party (8 GROOMSMEN!), and I’ve finally decided on my 5 closest girlfriends.

Now… next week can I request a post on WHEN to ask your bridal party? 6 months before? 8 months? A year?

Colleen - May 24, 2011 - 4:25 pm

@Liz: I’m so glad this post was helpful for you! I’d be happy to write another post for you, however the answer to that is simple – as soon as you decide. If you’ve already decided who you want in your party – ask them! You’ll want them to share with you in the whole process as you plan and prepare for your wedding. Plus it will give them time to mark their calendars, save money for the dress, or whatever they may need to do. Every couple has a different length of engagement, but I think the easiest rule of thumb is just to ask your party as soon as you’ve made your decision. :) Thanks for visiting and commenting!!

Sara {Then Comes Life} - June 12, 2011 - 10:41 pm

these are great tips! I esp loved the “who you really want” part…all so true.

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