by Renee Franklin
Congratulations — you’re engaged! Choosing to spend the rest life with your significant other is a joyful and exciting decision and on which you naturally want to share with your nearest and dearest. Now that you have chosen your future husband or wife, it’s time to make another choice: your wedding party.
Sharing your journey to matrimony with your closest friends has been a part of wedding culture for thousands of years. In Ancient Rome, bridesmaids were responsible for escorting the bride safely to the altar. They also dressed similarly to the bride to draw evil spirits that may want to harm the bride.
Today, maids of honor and bridesmaids assist with planning duties and play crucial roles in traditional ceremonies.
While you may be tempted to ask every friend, sibling or cousin to be stand up with you on your special day, there are a few things you should consider when selecting your wedding party.
Ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be part of the wedding ceremony. However, the larger the wedding party, the more people and personalities you have to manage and the more schedules you have to coordinate. On the other hand, there will always be someone to help with something, and including everyone will eliminate the possibility of hurt feelings. Wedding planners often use a standard ratio for a proportion of guests to wedding party members: one pair of wedding attendants for every 50 guests. This creates a balanced feel where the more people in attendance, the larger the wedding party and vice versa.
Wedding party members may be asked to spend considerable amounts of money to be in the wedding, but you will have certain expenses tied to the wedding party as well. These can include limousines to ferry people between the ceremony and reception, photography costs to arrange and photograph large wedding parties, the price of boutonnieres and bouquets, attendants’ gifts, as well as extra mouths to feed at the rehearsal dinner. In this way, small wedding parties can be easier on your budgets.
Before you ask anyone to be in your wedding, discuss wedding party expectations with your fiance. Do you want a hands-on group, or not so much? Do you want your maid of honor to take the lead, or would you rather give direction? And how much money would you like them to budget for expenses? Do you want them to give a short toast or a long speech? Make a list and think of people in your life who would meet these expectations well.
Your wedding party should consist of people you know, without a doubt, on whom you can rely, and those who are not prone to overreacting. The size of your wedding will likely be relative to the amount of stress you undergo while planning and having people in your corner who will help mitigate that stress, and not add to it, will become invaluable to you.