By Kelsey Damrad
Now that Mr. Right has sealed the deal, the time has come to choose between the many Miss Rights in your life waiting to hear you pop the question. Choosing your bridesmaids can be one of the most uncomfortable things about planning a wedding. As the bride, you are forced to reconcile between who you want in your bridal party and those you feel obligated to include. If friends and family are pulling at you from all sides, you will undoubtedly feel stressed and resentful. But let’s remember: This is your wedding (although your mother-in-law may not agree). As hard as it may seem, you are not here to please other people. It’s time to break it down before you have a mental breakdown.
Make A List. Remember your single days (oh, how far away they seem!) when you would make a pros and cons list for whomever you were dating that month? It’s time to make another list. Being a bridesmaid is not just about wearing a pretty dress and indulging in the open bar with the gals.
Dependability. We all have that friend who is religiously late to every lunch, forgets to return your phone calls and can’t remember the last time she fed her cat. Let’s be honest: This person is also likely to deliver the caviar to the wrong reception hall and may skip a dress fitting or two. Your bridesmaids are your extra hands and should, when things get hectic, be able to take over if need be. If you are confident that this person will step up in your time of need, then more power to you! But it may not hurt to have a few backup bridesmaids with more experience in reliability.
Relationship. They say that friends are the family you choose. Does this philosophy apply when picking bridesmaids? Many assume that family takes precedence, and your older sister who hasn’t spoken to you in a year should rightly be your maid-of-honor. Unfortunately, there is no magical solution when making this decision. Our advice is to make an effort to include family in the bridal party (you don’t want a bitter relative muttering under her breath the entire ceremony) but always consider your strongest relationship. Sometimes your best friend of fifteen years trumps the older sister you barely know.
Accessibility. Even though your wedding is the most important thing on your mind right now, realize that may not be the case for everyone around you. Questions to ask: Does she live nearby? Does she have a compromising work schedule? Does she have kids? Many people may not have the time to commit to being a bridesmaid. Our advice: Once you have your list of potentials, meet with them individually to see if the time and expenses are something they are willing to assume. It’s possible they will say no, but better to hear it in person now than in a resentful voice mail later.