Bridal Party: Who's Who and Who Cares?

Setting up the bridal party for your wedding may be your most confusing task. That’s because your life is likely filled with people whom you love and want to incorporate into your special day. Otherwise your life is filled with plenty of people who expect to be incorporated.

So how do you decide who’s who in your bridal party? Here are my best suggestions to try and help you decide a support group that is important to you and yours.

Bridal Party: Who’s Who and Who Cares?

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Bridal Party

The bridal party is your support group for your wedding. That means it is not a group of people to show off at your ceremony. It is not for the sake of pictures. Neither is your party a chance to one-up a person who has doubted you.

When deciding on who is part of the bridal party, it is important to remember yourself. Are you close to these people? Is there some reason you think a certain individual may pull you down? You should focus on choosing people who will willingly help you and do their best to make your wedding fabulous. They are there to help with last minute details, or to make sure you get food and sleep the night before. Your bridal party is important to your sanity. So surround yourself with people who make you feel loved!

Because your bridal party is for you, don’t feel the need to make it large! If you only want three bridesmaids, then only have three bridesmaids! If your groom only wants two groomsmen, let him have only two!

Of course, the caveat here is if you love symmetry, you may want to discuss bridal party numbers with your intended beforehand. My husband had certain people he truly wanted to be up at the altar with him on the wedding day. Because I’m a symmetry-driven person, I decided I’d extend the number of my bridesmaids to match his number of groomsmen. Only thing is that I ended up including one person who decided 9 days before my wedding to drop out of it. So decide carefully!

Now, to help you decide who to choose and ask…


The first group of people to reflect on is siblings. If you have a sister, chances are she expects to be a bridesmaid. If you have a brother, he may be thinking he’ll be a groomsmen. But how do you feel about them being in your bridal party?

If you are not close to your sister, there’s no obligation to make her your maid of honor. Many people may expect that of you, but your bridal party is for you. Heck, you may even decide you don’t want your sister as a bridesmaid at all. Perhaps you two are too competitive. Maybe she just rubs you the wrong way and causes stress. Whatever the situation is, talk with her about roles you do want her to play in the wedding. Or ask if there is something else she is interested in doing.

As for your brothers or your husbands’ siblings, be just as candid. If your intended isn’t close with your siblings, there is little to no reason to encourage him to include them in his party. And vice versa.

However, sometimes that is easier said than done. I was lucky that my husband and I encouraged each other to only include people we cared about in our parties. That said, I know including or not including siblings can become a point of contention. Perhaps it is best practice to include those pickiest of individuals. At the very least, it may be best to extend the invitation simply to avoid stress.

Just remember that in the end, it is still your party. You have the right to say you’d prefer certain individuals to have other jobs in the wedding. Simply be sure to communicate candidly and kindly.

Bridal Party: Who's Who and Who Cares?


My husband is extremely close to his cousins, so it made sense for him to include them in the bridal party. This isn’t the case for everyone, so if you saw the subtitle and thought, “Whoah, I hadn’t even thought about Sharon,” then don’t worry about it!

If you grew up around your cousins, then it’s a fairly logical step to include them in your bridal party. Perhaps you were in a cousin’s bridal party. Was it fun? Then consider returning the favor. However, if you are like me and aren’t the closest to your cousins, no harm no foul.


There’s an adage that says the friends women make in college will be their bridesmaids. If that’s you, then great! Your best friends from college are an easy choice for your bridal party. However, if you’re like me, it’s your childhood friends who will make your party.

I had no relatives or in-laws in my party. I extended invitations to both, but in the end found different roles for them in my wedding. My bridal party, therefore, consisted of my closest, high-school friends. Those were the ladies I loved the most. They were also the ladies who do the most for me.

At the end of the day, our closest friends are likely tomake up the bulk of our bridal party. My husband’s closest friends happened tobe his brother, his cousins, and an old gaming buddy. My closest friends weresimply my closest friends.

Again, it comes down to you choosing the people who will build you up.

Bridal Party: Who's Who and Who Cares?

Maid of Honor/Best Man

The maid of honor and the best man are generally the most important roleswithin the bridal party. There are many “duties” that you will probably findoutlined for both all over the internet. Regardless, the title istypically given to the one you feel the utmost closest to.

For me, that was my longest-time girlfriend. Next to my husband, she probably knows the most about me. It was an easy and obvious choice for me. My husband chose his brother to be his best man.

At the end of the day, you ought to choose the person you know will stand by you no matter what. Should the rest of the bridal party fall apart, the MoH or BM should be the ones left. (Hopefully your bridal party never falls apart, but sometimes the unforeseen happens!)

Whether or not you expect to adhere to the outlined duties of MoH or BM, you should choose someone from your bridal party who will be able to do the most for you. By that, I don’t even necessarily mean that they can physically perform a series of tasks. I mean that they should be the ones who do the most for your psyche and your emotional state. Weddings are exciting, but stressful!

Your MoH and BM should be there to support you and lead the bridal party.

At the end of the day, how do you decide the bridal party?

Everyone in your bridal party should be the ones who will move the world for you. Hopefully, those individuals are also the ones for whom you would move the world. That spells the best recipe for a wonderful bridal party!

There are several people you may be pressured into inviting. There are others you may feel obliged to “return the favor” to or for.  Regardless of the situation, I recommend that you do some serious introspection. You’ll likely find that many people have visions for you and your wedding. But do not forget that at the end of the day, you are celebrating your love with your intended. Others have been invited to see you two off into a new chapter of life.

With that in mind, choose those who will be the best for youin your bridal party. After that, other ways for those other individuals to help andbe a part of your wedding. Show kindness and love to those you turn down.Should they treat you poorly because you did not invite them, try not to let itget to you. And remember, you’re wedding will be beautiful no matter what youchoose!

To look into the more nitty-gritty of what others are considering when you ask them to step up, check out A Practical Wedding‘s article here.

Recommended: An In-Depth Look at your Wedding Procession and Things you Do Not Want to Skip Doing with Your Bridesmaids