Friday, December 4, 2009

What? I'm not in your wedding? (And other Bridesmaid issues)

In the past, I've seen posts on bride's blogs about how to handle the dilemma of who is included in your wedding party as a Bridesmaid, Groomsmen, Ring Bearer, etc. I was going to comment on those blogs but figured I'd just tackle the entire issue here instead.

Ultimately, what it comes down to in my opinion is maturity. Maturity on the part of all parties involved as to how you handle these situations as they arise. What do you do as a bride when friends expect (or worse, ASK you) about being in your wedding? What do you do when your wedding party begins to outnumber the guests sitting down at the ceremony? How do you tell someone they won't be a wedding party member...and better yet, should you even HAVE to tell those you don't plan to include? Here are my thoughts and suggestions on how to handle these situations:

* Don't bring it up. Unless someone specifically asks you (or you hear through the grapevine that they have been wondering) then you shouldn't go around telling people who are not going to be in your wedding party (WP).

* Be calm, compassionate and loving. If you have to tell someone who asks if they are going to be in the party that they won't be, then do it with some respect and use 'wish' words a lot. "I really wish that I could have included you as a bridesmaid, but unfortunately, we are having such a small wedding that we decided to keep the WP small as well." "I wish that I had been able to include you in our WP, but between me and John's family and best friends, we already have a much larger WP than we expected."

* Definitely provide them opportunities to be involved in other ways if you feel so led and have the option. Ask those who really wanted to be a bridesmaid or groomsmen to serve as an usher, guest book attendant, hand out programs, follow you around during photos to hold your flowers or attend to your needs, read a special poem during the ceremony, offer a special toast at the reception...There are all kinds of things you will think of that people will need to help you with on the day of. Just be sure that whatever you ask them to help with, you don't treat them as a servant or errand boy. They don't want to be your slave, they want to feel special and included.

* Feel free to think outside of the box. Don't feel confined to traditions or standards. My fiance and I have 4 nephews between the two of us who are between 2 years and 6 years old. We couldn't ask just one to be in the wedding and not the others so we opted for including all four as ring bearers.  I have a future post about the little 'tasks' that these supposed 'ring bearers' will have during their walk down the aisle.
So what do you think...have you had any unfortunate experiences with friends/family who wanted to be in the wedding party? What are your thoughts and suggestions on how to tackle these tough situations when they arise?

11 comments:

PartyPlannerGal said...

This hasn't happened to me yet, but I can't help but feel guilty around close friends that I just couldn't include. so far, I have done as you suggested and not brought it up. I agree that finding little ways to include these friends/family is a nice touch that will be appreciated.

Nicole-Lynn said...

Great post. Unfortunately I was put in a tough position, well actually my fiance was. An aquaintance ran into him congratulating us and asked him to be in our wedding. I barely talk to her and when I do, or when I ask her hang out or get together she'll blow me off. To put it lightly, we are not close by any means. I was taken back when he told me she asked. He politely told her we we already picked our wedding party. I don't think she took offense but I just found it really odd she would ask :)

Bicoastal Bride said...

Great suggestions. Luckily, I’ve been part of a tight-knit group of friends since I was a teenager, so it was pretty obvious to everyone who would and would not be my bridesmaids. Same thing for Stephen. I also have a close guy friend, who we asked to be a groomsman so that he can be included. Stephen’s sisters are also bridesmaids.

Our biggest dilemma was how to include our best man’s fiancée. I don’t know her very well yet, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to be a bridesmaid. We decided to ask her to read one of the Irish blessings we’re planning to include during the ceremony so that she’ll still have a special role.

Brittany said...

This is great advice! Yes, I have had this issue. I have two friends, one of them I'm closer with than the other but they are so close I couldn't ask one with out the other. We really wanted just 4 bridemaids but we were guilted into 6!

A Creative Bride said...

I was actually on the other side of this situation. I have a good friend who I was debating back and forth to ask, but in the end Mr. L couldn't think of a 4th so we decided to ask her to read and be a part of the ceremony.

However she is now engaged and I was not sure if I'd be asked by her, but fortunately we were both mature and understand that not everyone can be included. It works out for the best because living so far away would make it hard to travel home for many of the expected tasks and parties as a bridesmaid.

very married said...

i decided to have mostly family members in my wedding party. and i'm lucky to have the type of friends that would never dream of asking. phew!

Kristy said...

this is a fantastic post - youre so wise and level headed! We opted to keep our party super small, and mainly siblings to avoid having to explain our reasoning for choosing between friends, but was that the best way to do it? i dunno. there are some girls i know i want by my side that aren't simply because i didnt want to explain myself to another - awful but true! That being said i know i will find a way that will include them in some form - your suggestions for other ways to include them are a great starting point!

Chocolate Lover said...

I feel like you can read my mind Miss Stace! (can I call you Stace?!). Anyway, as you know, I have been toying with this idea for a while now. I am notorious for being indecisive. I thought I has decided on my bridesmaids. But alas I have changed my mind 50 times since then! I have one friend who I went to HS with and keep in touch with through IM mostly (she's in Europe while I've been in North America). She's actually one of my close friends but over the years our relationship has changed and I've realized that the main reason I was including her in our wedding party was because I know she'd be hurt if she wasn't. Not a good enough reason to include someone if you ask me. We want to keep our bridal party small (4) and 2 of the girl will be my sister and cousin. The other two are sisters. I am close to both and can't imagine picking one over the other. So that makes 4. I know my other friend will be hurt, and while I doubt she will bring it up, I know she will be thinking about it...

Gracie said...

This is a great post! Some fantastic ideas on how to handle these situations delicately. I haven't had any problems so have no stories to share here. But we are going to try and give special jobs to all the family members :)

New Mexican Bride said...

Yes! I have a friend that keeps asking and hinting for her and her daughters to be in the wedding... I just don't want it! So I have to let her down easy every time (She asks me every time we talk wedding).

Amy said...

It has happened to me already with friends assuming they are going to be bridesmaids and I've been engaged less than a month! It is a hard and sticky situation to be in. Definitely not fun for me :-(

wedding tickers