Don't just pick your latest clique of friends to be your bridesmaids as soon as you get engaged. Picking the ladies who will be your support system during the wedding planning process and who will be by your side during one of the biggest days of your lives is not a small, quick decision.
The last thing you need to be dealing with during your wedding is uncooperative bridesmaids who will just cause you stress and frustration. Here are some big things to think about when making this big decision:
Who is going to be reliable? Your bridesmaids aren't just going to put on a dress and look pretty on your wedding day. They will help you with a lot of the things that lead up to that day as well. Unlike groomsmen, who really just show up, put on their tuxes and walk your ladies down the aisle, the bridesmaids have a lot bigger 'job' when they accept. The people you choose should be those you can count on and that you know will be willing and happy to help you with the little tasks you just can't get to, like running to the craft store, going to 3 different shoe stores to get the right sizes and spending many late evenings with you making your wedding favors.
Who is going to be a lifelong friend and who is going to be a right now friend? Not all friendships are made for the long haul. When you pick your bridesmaids, make sure you pick people who have already been in your life for a long time or that you could never imagine life without. These ladies are going to be your support system not only through your wedding, but through your marriage. Don't just choose someone who is fun to go out with but that you've never had a meaningful conversation with because chances are that one year down the road you will be more of an acquaintance with her than a BFF.
Who is going to be able to drop the cash? It's blunt, but it's true. Being a bridesmaid in your wedding isn't going to be one of the cheapest things your best friends ever do. In most cases, your ladies will need to buy their dresses, their shoes, their jewelry, possibly pay for a hotel. They may need to pitch in for your bridal shower, throw you a bachelorette party, possibly pay for a flight. Then, on top of it all, get you a wedding gift. I'm not saying you should rule out friends who don't have an extensive budget, just make sure you have a very open conversation with each of them so they are aware of the costs and are able to accept your invitation with this important detail in mind.
Who likes your fiance? I've said it before and I'll say it again - these ladies are not only going to be in your wedding, they are going to be supporting your marriage. One of the worse situations you can get yourself into is to have a bridesmaid who continuously cuts down your fiance. The last thing you want to be dealing with is defending the man you are about to marry. Your bridesmaids should be so excited that you have found the man of your dreams, the man you are ready to spend the rest of your life with. Don't surround yourself with those who aren't, especially during this important time where you will be super giddy and have a tummy full of butterflies.
Who is going to be fun? You will want your bridesmaids to bring positive attitudes and big smiles to all your wedding events, even those times when you are still sitting around the table making wedding favors at 2 am. It's also a huge help if your bridesmaids are the life of the party at your reception, getting the dancing started and keeping it going.
Who cannot be left out? This question focuses more on how many bridesmaids you are going to have. I always imagined having 3 or 4 girls by my side, but when it was my turn to choose who my bridesmaids were going to be I just couldn't do it. There is no way I could have left any of the girls out that were in my bridal party, so I had a great group of 8 ladies by my side. But, there are things to consider when choosing the size of your bridal party, including the costs of things (rehearsal dinner, bridal party gifts, if you are going to pay for dresses or jewelry), the layout of your ceremony and reception venue (can everyone fit comfortably by your sides? where will your bridal party sit for dinner?), and the number of people you feel comfortable sharing the intimate details with.
Now that you have a lot to think about remember, you don't have to pick your bridesmaids right away. Give it some time. See how people react when you tell them you are engaged. Don't ask someone who is pressuring you or as a quick impulse decision. Start jotting down names of people you think would be great, but give your new engagement at least a month before you start finalizing that list. Then comes the fun part - asking your ladies to be such an important part of your day.
Stay tuned - Fun (and important) ways to ask your best friends to be your bridesmaids will be coming soon.
Shout Out - Thank you to the 8 most amazing, beautiful bridesmaids I ever could have asked for! I love you all and am so glad you were a part of my big day. xoxo