Most couples choose to invite loved ones to be more than just guests. Nowadays, no wedding is complete without the presence of the beautiful bridesmaids and maid of honor as well as the handsome groomsmen and best man. These very special guests play important roles in a wedding as an emotional support system, helping hands during the wedding planning process, and of course, trusty companions to the bride and groom.
Many couples get so excited about picking their "entourage", but not everyone knows exactly what kind of roles should be filled when it comes to forming a bridal party. Read one to learn more about bridal party basics and also creative ways of asking friends and family to be part of your wedding squad
Photography: Graham Terhune
What is a bridal party?
A bridal party refers to the group of people assisting the bride and groom throughout the wedding planning process and wedding day. This team usually consists of the maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, and groomsmen.
Traditionally, the maid of honor, who is the "chief" of the bridesmaids and the one who plays the biggest role at the wedding, should be unmarried. But in case the friend or family member you would like to invite to be your maid of honor is married, no worries, she can still be part of your wedding and have the same responsibilities as a maid of honor. The only difference is that, in this case, her title is actually matron of honor. The maid of honor is usually a sister or close friend of the bride. Even though traditionally a bride has only one maid of honor, it's pretty common to more than one these days. Also part of the ladies team are the bridesmaids, who are also in charge of attending to the bride on her wedding day, working together with the maid/matron of honor in performing their duties. They are usually close friends of the bride, and some brides even choose a few close friends from different groups of friends such as school friends and college friends.
The male entourage is formed by the best man and groomsmen. The best man is the chief of the team and is often defined as the most important male or relative who helps a groom at his wedding. While attending to the groom's needs, the best man is often helped by none other than the groomsmen. The groomsmen are usually the groom's brothers or people from his close-knit group of friends.
What do they do?
In addition to keeping the couple happy and making pictures look pretty, there are additional responsibilities that each member of the bridal party has to do to help create a successful wedding. To keep it simple, we've compiled the main duties of the four members of the bridal party right below, simply scroll to see them.
No matter what one's specific roles and duties are, one thing to remember is that every single member of the bridal party should always provide moral support to either the bride or groom. As a bride-to-be, we're sure you know just how stressful wedding planning can be sometimes. Therefore, whenever your bridesmaids give you moral support, listen to your woes, get you through your pre-wedding jitters, and basically accompany you through every step of the way, their presence will mean the world to you. Of course, you should always return the favor by being a great bride to your bridesmaids and appreciating everything that they've done for your sake.
Creating the A-Team
Now that you've understood the basic duties of your bridal party, it's time to create the team, your team. Consider some of these important factors and let them help you create your dream wedding team.
Photography: M2 Photo
How many people should I have in the bridal party?
This is certainly a debatable matter and to tell you the truth, there is no definite rule to how many members a bridal party should have, or even if you should have bridesmaids at all, it is really up to you. There is, however, and average number of bridesmaid and groomsmen in a team, and that is 4-6 people each.
When deciding on how many people you're going to have on board, remember these few tips. One, pick a number and stick to it. If you wish to have 10, then 10 it is. If it's 4 people, then stick to it. Don't keep on adding as you go along, as this will in turn complicate your planning process. Remember also that the number of bridal party members will directly add to your wedding expenses as you most probably will pay for their dresses, suits, and makeup. And, more people mean more schedules to align, so keep that in mind too.
Two, remember to also balance the team number with your overall guest count. For instance, having 10 bridesmaids and 10 groomsmen for a wedding with only 50 guests would not be a harmonious balance, in that almost half of the attending guests are included in the bridal party.
Who gets to be in the bridal party?
Deciding on a number is one thing, yet choosing the people going in your team is another. When it comes to choosing your bridesmaid and groomsmen, pick the one you love and who loves you back. Bearing this tip in mind, it's almost an assurance that their presence will make you happy. Next tip, as being part of the bridal party comes with some responsibilities, it is best that you pick ones you're sure will be able to do the job well, ones who are accountable.
Being part of a bridal party also comes with some financial responsibilities, so pick ones that won't object or be burdened with the amount they have to spend, unless you're willing to pay for all their expenses as part of the bridal party. Last tip, don't ask someone along in your bridal team just because she asked you to be in theirs. It's not about returning a favor, but it's about choosing people that matter.
Photography: M&J Photography
The sister dilemma
A bride sometimes has face dilemma of picking or not picking their sister or soon-to-be sister-in-law into the bridal party. A lot of brides feel that she is obligated to include their sister or in-law, just because. Again, there are no definite rules on this, but you can use these guidelines to make your decision easier.
You should ask your sister to be one of your bridesmaids if you're close with her, you know she'll do a good job, she'll be hurt if you don't tag her along, and if you heavily rely on her for comfort. On the other hand, you shouldn't ask your sister along if you're not that close (in fact, you might even get on each other's nerves), she doesn't have time to help you prepare, and she doesn't mind not being asked.
When is the best time to ask?
This is also a crucial factor in your bridal party formation. If you ask way too early, there's a chance your friendship grows apart and if you ask way too late, then they wouldn't have their much-needed time to prepare. The best time to ask would be when you're about to start planning so that they can help you with it along the way and they will have time to prepare a fun bridal shower or bachelorette party for you.
How do you un-invite a bridesmaid/groomsman?
Thinking of undo-ing the question? Believe it or not, some couples have second thoughts after popping the question. Maybe you've grown apart, or maybe she turned out to be a bridesmaid-zilla. If you really want to do it, just be sure you have a rational explanation to go with it as it is a risky move and might cost you a long-term friendship.
Now for the fun part, proposal ideas. Reading this, there's almost a sure chance that you have been asked the magical question yourself. Imagine the excitement in your bridesmaid faces when you pop the question, especially with these 15 fun ideas.
Treat your girls to a little something with this bridesmaid box. There are a lot of things you can choose to put into this box, like booze, mini snacks, jewelry, makeup, or other beautiful things you can think of. You can also, of course, get creative with the packaging and make it fit your wedding theme. A rustic or simplistic bridesmaid box? Sounds great to us!
Another alternative to the box, is the tote bag. If you’re really thinking of going with this idea, put into consideration the design of your bag. It has to lie somewhere between thematic and versatile so that your guests will remember it as a token from you on your wedding day, yet it would still look great enough to use in other occasions.
Looking for something fancier? Stuff the little gifts into a clutch. An interesting tip: find synchronized clutches with different colors so that your bridesmaids also get to wear matching clutches to your wedding aside from their matching dresses.
Paper lovers will really like this idea. Cute and crafty cards will delight girls anywhere. You can have illustrations made for the front face of the card, or even design and craft one yourself. This will be so much appreciated by your bridesmaids.
Still in the card area, involve your girls in a little fun with scratch cards like this. To save your bridesmaid from trouble finding a scratcher, include a tiny penny with which she can reveal the message immediately, and say yes to you!
For ones who love a little brain game, this crossword will come across as really creative. Simple and easy questions that reveal a sweet message will entertain your girls entirely.
One sometimes get proposed in a candlelit dinner. Well then, let's adapt the idea for your bridesmaid as well. Organize a lunch or dinner meeting with your girls and surprise them with the question tucked on the rims of their champagne glasses. Imagine their surprised faces and how delighted you’ll be looking at them.
Or, you can present the message another way. On each of their seats, have a bottle of personalized wine with the question written on the label.
You can also present your ladies with personalized jewelry. You can give them a necklace or a friendship bracelet, it’s up to you. Ask them to wear the gift to your wedding and take pictures with it; it will surely remain as a sweet memory you’ll remember forever.
If your squad finds common interest in beauty treatments and has spent nights of sleepovers painting each other’s nails, then this idea will suit you best. Slip your bestie’s favorite nail polish into a draw string bag with the question printed on it. The gift will be loved and she will say yes to you immediately.
Not keen on nail polish? You can always replace them with lipsticks or lip gloss like these cute ideas.
This idea would work best with a squad that spends their quality time over coffee. Invite them over for coffee and serve theirs in the labeled mugs. Surely the topic of your wedding will be what’s discussed on that day’s meet.
Go to your local perfume maker and have different scents made for your girls based on their personality. You can have fresh fruity ones for your lively friend, and a floral scented perfume for the more romantic one. Don’t forget to label them with the perfume scent and their name so you don’t get them mixed up.
Now some ideas for the gentlemen. If there’s a bridesmaid box, then there’s a groomsman box. Fit in all their necessities in it and watch as they open them with excitement. A flask of alcohol, a bow tie, or perhaps some pomade will be well appreciated.
For simpler options, you don’t have to give all of the stuffs at once in a box. One cigar and an engraved lighter or cufflinks with the question will be as appreciated.
And there you have it, all the necessities to bridal party picking and proposing. Let us know in the comments below which of the proposal ideas your favorite is and which you would be actually using to "propose" to your bridal party.