Bridesmaids, or honor attendants, are usually sisters and best friends of the bride. But there’s no need to follow tradition. Ultimately, they are people close to the bride, women or men, who can handle the responsibility.
What are their responsibilities?
Bridesmaids are the bride’s posse. They help her celebrate, shower her with gifts, and become the life of the party on the wedding night. Their official responsibilities can include:
- Helping to throw the bachelorette party and/or bridal shower
- Helping the bride pick the dress
- Attending pre-wedding events like the rehearsal dinner
- Helping the bride get ready before the wedding
- Taking part in the ceremony
- Taking part in formal photos
- Being ambassadors at the reception, talking to guests, and getting the dancing started
- Supporting the bride emotionally
What do they pay for?
Usually, accepting the duties of a bridesmaid means accepting some financial responsibility. Although every wedding is different, bridesmaids usually pay for:
- An engagement gift
- Part of the bachelorette party or bridal shower
- Their outfits for the wedding (dresses, shoes, jewelry, etc.)
- A wedding gift
To help your bridesmaids save money, consider allowing them to choose their own dresses or attire for the wedding, and suggesting they host a more casual bachelorette party and bridal shower.
How many bridesmaids should I have?
The number of bridesmaids is usually proportional to the size of the wedding, but it doesn’t have to be. Do what feels right to you and your partner.
Unfortunately, you can’t always have everyone you love in your bridal party, and some people might feel left out. There are other ways to honor the people special to you. Consider inviting them to the bachelorette party, or asking them to participate in the ceremony in other ways, like being an usher or doing a reading.
Do we have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen?
There’s no rule that says you have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. But you should consider how you want your ceremony and photos to look. Will your bridesmaids and groomsmen line up on opposite sides of the altar? Do you want everything to look balanced? Discuss with your partner and decide from there.
Do I have to have bridesmaids?
Of course not. You and your partner may decide to have one group of honor attendants, instead of separate groups for each of you. You may decide not to have any honor attendants, and instead have your closest friends and family give readings at the ceremony.
Who you honor during your wedding, and how you do so, is completely up to you and your partner. Take time to think about what’s most important to you, and make it your own.
While definitely not mandatory, having a wedding party is a great way to honor your most important people. Take some time with your partner to learn about the traditional roles of the wedding party. Think about if and how those traditions are important to you, and who you want to stand beside you on your big day. Then, by all means, make it your own.