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Newbie Bride September 2021 West London

Help choosing bridesmaids!

Emily, 4 September 2020 at 10:53 Posted on Wedding Planning 1 24
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Hi everyone!



Hoping some of you lovely people can help me as I'm in a real dilemma about my bridal party and could do with some objective advice
All things being well next year with the pandemic situation me and my fiance will be getting married in September. When we got engaged earlier this year my fiance straight away picked out his side of the bridal party: 3 best men (he couldn't choose haha!) and 2 groomsmen.
I was a bit more cautious as whilst I have a lot of good friends, some are older friends I'm not as close to on a daily basis, and I don't have 1 best friend who would automatically be MOH. I also don't have any sisters, female cousins etc. So I asked my FSIL to be a bridesmaid and my niece to be a flower girl.
The more I think about it the more I feel like I do want to ask some friends to join my bridal party, I feel like I will be missing out if I don't and I only plan to get married once so want the full experience!!
The only thing is because I don't have a specific group of besties I feel I am equally close to a number of people and am struggling to decide who to ask. Our wedding is on the smaller side (80 day guests) so I feel a larger bridal party may a) look out of place and b) be too expensive.
I have 5 girls who I am closer with out of a few different friend groups, all my other friends I would ask to come as guests. But this in addition to my current 2 would mean more expense, so I'm really stuck as to whether I just suck it up and pay more to have all 7, or whether I pick between the 5 which I'm struggling to do
Any advice is appreciated Smiley smile

24 replies

Latest activity by Charlotte, 7 September 2020 at 22:16
  • Charlotte
    Curious Bride February 2022 South East London
    Charlotte ·
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    Ooh this is hard. I have ended up with six bridesmaids, which I think is a lot, but fine. I think six plus a flower girl is a lot, but not too many for your 80 guests.

    You need to get their dresses but you don't have to spend a fortune on them and everything else is not necessary. They don't need robes or fancy gifts, and they can wear their own shoes and do their own hair and makeup. (Although I feel a little bit held hostage by fiance's mum over my bridesmaids' hair, so I'm not following my own advice!)

    If you really want to provide all the 'extras' or have pricey dresses and you can't afford it for all of them, you will have to cut the bridal party down.

    Another option for a big bridal party is to give them a colour theme and let them choose their own dresses. Give them a rough budget and the option of contributing themselves if they want something much pricier. This helps keeps costs down, and also stops it looking like you have an army of bridesmaids!

    My bridal party is sorted, but fiance is currently thinking of having 12 ushers/groomsmen plus his best man!!

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    Thank you for your reply this is really helpful!


    I've always liked the look of smaller bridal parties as I think the photos look really elegant, but of course I want everyone special to me to be there on the day too.
    I like the idea of mismatched dresses and was going to say to any/all bridesmaids here is the colour scheme, happy for you to pick out your own dress. This way they would be paying for a dress of their choosing, in their price range, and something they can hopefully wear again just like any wedding guest would be doing. Hair and makeup is entirely optional if they want to pay to have it professionally done. But even then I have the cost of transport, bouquets, accommodation so it will increase the cost the more girls I have.
    2 of the potential bridesmaids I've known for nearly 2 decades but we meet up maybe once a year, when we do it's like nothing has changed but we don't keep in regular daily contact.
    3 of the potential bridesmaids I've known for around 4-5 years so less time, but we see each other more regularly, and are closer on a daily basis.
    I'm really struggling as I would love them all! But not only cost I feel like it will take ages to get us all ready the morning of the wedding and am wondering if I am just letting myself in for a whole boat load more stress the day of having a large bridal party!
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  • Sarah
    Curious Bride September 2021 West Sussex
    Sarah ·
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    Is there something else that you could ask the 2 who you dont see as regularly to do, like a reading? That way they are involved in your day but not at your expense.

    Do you think any of them are type who would be offended to not be your bridesmaid or would you expect to be a bridesmaid for them?

    I'm about the get married for the 2nd time and for the 1st I have a group of 7 close girl friends and I decided to just have 1 rather than all of them. Also I have a sister but we are not that close so I didn't ask her.

    This time I am having 2 friends from my other group of friends (I didn't know one of them at all the first time and my MOH only a little) and all the other girls are completely fine with it, they are just happy to be coming as guests. And I have asked my sister to do a reading this time so that she feels included (she was disappointed that I didn't ask her this time but there are reasons that I talked to her about and she understands).

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    We aren't having a traditional ceremony with readings, the wedding ceremony itself will be more minimal/low key and I'm a bit reluctant to give the girls extra jobs/responsibility without the honour/title/perks of being a bridesmaid if you know what I mean?


    I wouldn't expect to be a bridesmaid for any of these and they aren't the type to be offended at all. I don't think any of them are actually expecting to be asked to be a bridesmaid tbh!

    It's such a a difficult one and I think my fiance is sick of hearing me talk about this as I keep going back and forth unable to make up my mind!
    I think my options are:
    - stick with the 2 family bridesmaids I have, this will be simpler and more cost effective but I will feel like I am missing out on the full experience getting ready with friends etc which does bother and upset me a little.
    - ask 5 friends so I will have a bridal party of 7, this is nearly 1 10th of our guest list and will be increased cost/time getting ready on the day, but on the other hand I will have all my closest women around me on the day which will be so special! And I feel with the friends I don't speak to as much it will help us get closer planning the event, dress shopping etc.
    - pick 2/3 out of the 5 friends so I will have a bridal party of 4/5 total, this will be more manageable in terms of cost etc. But means I am stuck with the dilemma of choosing between equally good friends!
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  • HappyGreenDiamonds3463
    Newbie Bride September 2021 Hampshire
    HappyGreenDiamonds3463 ·
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    Were having 74 ceremony guests including all the bridesmaids
    I have my matron of honor
    My 3 daughters
    My sister
    My matron of honors 2 daughters
    My Flower girl is my partners neices
    My partner is having 4 best men

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    Has it got expensive/more stressful having a larger wedding party or are you glad it's a larger bunch of ladies to get ready with on the day etc.?


    I think part of me is also worrying some of the girls may be really surprised I've asked them given that we don't talk regularly, but to me they are still my oldest and some of my best friends
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  • HappyGreenDiamonds3463
    Newbie Bride September 2021 Hampshire
    HappyGreenDiamonds3463 ·
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    Originally we were looking at jjs house so not really expensive at all but i was worried i wouldnt get the right fit or colour matches ordering online with the age differences i have ranging from 2 years to 31 years.
    We went into a shop and found the perfect dress for me and they showed us bridesmaids dresses from the same designer and we held them up in the right colours and fell in love its going to be double the amount maybe more compared to jjs house but it will look amazing and we justifed it where my dad has been very generous with financial help and my mum has sorted photographer and tiara and my matron of honor has offered to contribute to the cost of hers and her daughters dresses as they will be keeping them. All was unexpexted but amazing that part hasnt been more stressful at all its the guest list deciding who to invite as weve been told a few times that this person wont go if that person is and if we invite one we have to invite the others.
    Personally i prefer the pics where theres a decent amount of bridesmaids as theres more photo opportunities ive seen that i like but its up to each individual.
    With your bridesmaids they will more than likely be honoured that you cherish their friendship enough to have them take that special place on your day Smiley smile

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    I've seen some lovely high street bridesmaids dresses and was thinking about letting the girls pick their own dresses and they pay for them, I would pay for anything mandatory I am choosing such as bouquets etc. Not sure if the etiquette on that is correct but it seems to be getting more common nowadays?!


    I understand on the guest list... Table seating has been a nightmare for us as half of FH's family don't speak to the other half but we wanted family on the top table etc... The joys of wedding planning! Smiley smile
    I just dont want 6 bridesmaids plus 1 flower girl to look too OTT as the wedding is a fairly low key affair with small numbers, and I'm also really struggling to get up the courage to ask them in case they think it's a burden as being a bridesmaid can be expensive etc. I've never had a true group of BFFs who would be my bridal party by default unfortunately but I'm still close to my good friends and would love for them to be part of the day.
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  • HappyGreenDiamonds3463
    Newbie Bride September 2021 Hampshire
    HappyGreenDiamonds3463 ·
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    You could offer to pay x amount for the dress then anything over that they cover that should take away some of the burden you are worried about although honestly i think they will love being asked
    It will look lovely regardless of the size of the guest list
    My matron of honor is my best friend of over 20 years and has stuck around better than family
    I say go for it theres nothing to regret there other than on the day you may worry that you wish you had asked them if you didnt

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    Thank you for your help I appreciate it! I feel like so many brides already have their 'bride squad' picked out automatically, it's actually been the most stressful thing about wedding planning for me!
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  • H
    Rockstar Bride June 2020
    HappyBlueCars582 ·
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    Sorry to be so negative here but I absolutely hated being a bridesmaid and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy let alone my best friends. Let them be guests and they’ll enjoy themselves far more and give you a whole lot less hassle too.
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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    I'm getting 2 different perspectives here when I ask people about this and appreciate your input


    Do you think I should just stick with my 1 bridesmaid and 1 flower girl then who are family?
    I am honestly just over thinking this way too much and it's getting me down, I feel like I can't enjoy wedding planning until I have this decided.
    If I was asked to be a bridesmaid for any of the 5 potential girls I am thinking of asking, I would be over the moon and very honoured if that makes a difference.
    Out of interest what did you hate about being a bridesmaid? For my bridesmaids regardless of how many I ultimately decide on yes they would probably need to pay for a bit more than the average wedding guest assuming they want the professional hair, makeup etc. but other than standing with me on the day all I am asking is that they help plan the hen do and support me and have fun getting ready on the day.
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  • H
    Rockstar Bride June 2020
    HappyBlueCars582 ·
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    Yes, stick with the family members. Saves any hassle. I just hated everything about it! When you work full time going bridesmaid dress shopping is really not how I want to spend my precious free time. Same goes for the hair and make up trials which I missed (I couldn’t really have cared less what my hair or makeup up looked like) I just think it’s a huge thing to ask someone to do just because you’ve chosen to get married. I felt sick when my friend asked me and did not feel at all honoured to do it. I told her I wasn’t comfortable doing it but she said I was just being silly. I really wish I’d stood my ground about it now and just said I wasn’t doing it. I’d have been far happier as a guest.
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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    Wow this is really not how I would want anyone to feel! My FSIL I already asked was so pleased when I asked her and said she had been hoping to be asked. I know my 5 potentials may be surprised to be asked but hopefully happily surprised and if they said no I would completely respect their decision to come as a guest instead. Dress shopping would more than likely be done online in my case and hair/makeup isn't a requirement. I would hope anyone being asked to be a bridesmaid feels special and honoured rather than put out.


    Honestly other than getting ready with me on the day and planning the hen do I'm using the title 'bridesmaid' as a special honour rather than a big responsibility. If they were a guest attending the wedding they would still have to arrange transport there and accommodation, get an outfit, they would be invited on the hen do anyway etc. I guess from my perspective I don't see it being a burden, although if I do ask them I intend on making it very clear from the outset what costs are involved and that they are more than welcome to just come as a guest if they would prefer.
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  • ExpensivePinkFlowers63608
    Curious Bride April 2021 Somerset
    ExpensivePinkFlowers63608 ·
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    You don't have to have bridesmaids. I'm having zero bridesmaids. One of my friends passed away a few years ago and I don't want any bridesmaids without her.

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  • E
    Newbie Bride September 2021 West London
    Emily ·
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    I'm really sorry to hear that. I have a close family member who passed away so I understand how you feel, I am going to try and honour them in some special way on the day.


    To clarify I do want bridesmaids, very much so. However my pickle is that because I don't have female family members, or the standard friendship group of BFF girls I don't have an automatic group of a few girls to pick. However I have thought of 5 good friends who I have known for a long time and would love to have supporting me on the day and to get excited about planning etc. They were all so excited when I got engaged and so happy for me, and one in particular has been really supportive messaging me frequently about wedding plans etc. I just don't know if 6 bridesmaids is considered 'too much' for a smaller wedding and because I generally have not too much self esteem anyway I guess I'm worried about it being seen as a burden, I guess I have a fear they won't want to do it or something although when I think about it objectively they are all lovely girls and I think would be honoured to be asked.
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