Figuring out how many bridesmaids to choose (let alone who to choose) can get stressful. Sometimes choosing bridesmaids can feel like you’re the captain of the kickball team looking at a crowd of eligible players, trying to choose the top 5 or 10 for your team. But just because you have a lot of close friends or family members, doesn’t mean they all need to stand by your side on your wedding day. They can be there for you in other ways that don’t require a hand-picked chiffon dress or a rehearsed gallop down the aisle. If you find yourself breaking out in a stress sweat over how many bridesmaids to choose, remember these four rules for choosing your bridesmaids.
4 Rules for Deciding How Many Bridesmaids to Have
There’s No “Right” Bridesmaid Number
You don’t need a certain number of bridesmaids. You don’t have to choose an odd number or an even number or a certain number, like five, because you’ve seen that most people on your Facebook timeline have selected that amount. It’s not a numbers game and there’s certainly no rule of thumb you should abide by when it comes to how many women (or men) to lead the way for you down the aisle.
Don’t Feel Pressure to Have the Same Amount of Bridesmaids as Groomsmen
You also don’t need to have the same number of bridesmaids as your fiancé has groomsmen. The only time anyone will notice that you have less bridesmaids than he has groomsmen, is when it’s time to walk down the aisle. Which, by the way, no one really pays much attention to because their sitting their fidgeting with excitement, waiting for you to walk down the aisle. If you’re nervous about your pictures looking off with an uneven number, ask the photographer to stage different setups and poses for the pictures so that it’s not just a straight line of people standing beside one another.
Just Because Someone Chose You as a Bridesmaid Doesn’t Mean You Have to Choose Them
If you’re picking your bridesmaids based on who has picked you in the past, you may have over 20 bridesmaids (this is a shout-out for us “always-a-bridesmaid” girls). You don’t have to grace someone with the bridesmaid honor just because they graced you. If you’re still close with them, go for it! If you haven’t spoken in two years, it may be a little awkward rekindling your friendship during your wedding adventure.
It’s Okay to Not Have AnyBridesmaids—Or Include a Bridesman Instead
You absolutely don’t have to have any bridesmaids at all. There’s no cardinal rule about how many bridesmaids you should have. It’s just an age-old tradition, and you can still have a booming bachelorette party and invite all your gal-pals—they may even be happier in the long run that you saved them from having to shell out a clump of cash to buy a bridesmaid dress they are never going to wear again! On the other hand, have a guy in your life that you can’t imagine leaving out? By all means—bestow the “bridesman” title upon him and add him to the group.
Lauren Methia Photography
You’re the social butterfly of your clique and always like to keep a gaggle of girls (or guys) around you to ham it up with. Your motto in life is to work hard, play hard and that you do! After a long day at the office, you can either be found partaking in happy hour, meeting up with your meetup group or hosting a dinner party with your besties and their significant others too. You’re charming and utterly irresistible so it’s no wonder people are naturally drawn to your bubbly energy.
7 to 9 Bridesmaids
Photo by Ashley Caroline
You’re a modern day nomad with besties scattered all across the country. Some may say you’re indecisive, but your friends mean the world to you, and there’s no way you could picture saying I do without them all standing by your side. You jump at the chance to take girls’ vacays and enjoy gossiping about everything from celebrities to fashion to fiancé with them. Others would describe you as outgoing, fun to be around and even the life of the party from time to time.
4 to 6 Bridesmaids
Piper Rastello Photography
While you love socializing and hanging out with your friends, you also like your alone time and can get overwhelmed when there’s too many people around at once. Your bridal party most likely consists of your sister or or sister-in-law, your BFF since childhood and a few other ladies you’ve know for years and are currently still close to. You may have been a dancing machine in your single days, but now you enjoy drinks and dinner (and brunch, of course) with the girls on the weekend.
1 to 3 Bridesmaids
You couldn’t decide between your group of girls so you simply opted to ask only your bestie or your sister (or both) instead. That doesn’t mean you won’t have some of the rest of your squad stop by for a quick champagne toast before the ceremony, or hit the dance floor together at the reception. You’re fiercely loyal, all about family and would do anything for the people you love in your life. In your free time, you like nothing more than hitting up a local museum, going to an art show or even checking out your favorite up-and-coming band at a dive bar. On the other hand, you’re also completely happy having a movie night in with your man.
Melina Wallisch Photography
You march to the beat of your own drum, and as far as tradition goes, you’re certainly not afraid to break with it. Of course, you have several close friends you could ask, but your wedding is small and you really want the focus to be on you and your fiancé. That’s not to say you like being the center of attention though; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. Small talk totally isn’t your thing, as you much prefer deep conversations to mindless chitchat.
Go ahead, play with your wedding food! A guaranteed way to impress your guests at your reception is by serving mini cocktail hour food pairings—and yes, you read that correctly. Believe it or not, your cocktail hour is an opportunity to really have fun with your menu options, so take it to the next level by offering bite-sized versions of your favorite food and drink combinations. Mini tacos? We’ll have three. A tiny Bloody Mary? Don’t mind if we do.With Finger food to munch on and pint-sized beverages to guzzle back, your hors d’oeuvre selections will be the talk of your nearest and dearest long after your wedding day. Plus, if you’re hosting this festivity before the wedding ceremony, mini cocktails and light bights ensure no one will be stumbling down the aisle. Here are a few delicious (and unexpected) pairings that are sure to make stomachs grumble and mouths water at your cocktail hour.
1. Fried Chicken + Rum and Coke
Serve up some good old comfort food in style—scaled-down, that is. Go all mini everything, from the chicken itself to the Coke bottles to even the straws. Squeeze in a dash of rum and you’re all set. This is finger food we can all get behind.
For a seaside-inspired cocktail hour, all it takes is a little downsizing to completely revamp your nautical menu. Serve petite glasses of Bloody Mary, paired alongside mini fried clams in decorative oyster dishes. Stick a toothpick inside this cuisine for easier (and cleaner) consumption.
To ensure your favorite guilty pleasure meal goes from bar snack-status to truly glam and reception-ready, pair perfectly petite burgers with corresponding beer flights. A slider of mini proportions means a more efficient, mess-free way of getting your grub on. We’ll have seconds, please.
5. Cotton Candy + Champagne
Nothing beats a sweet and bubbly combo, especially in perfectly pint-sized proportions. Guests can raise their glasses to toast to the happy couple at cocktail hour, but only after enjoying a small sugar fix. Bottoms up, mini fluffs of cotton candy and all.
Bite-sized treats shouldn’t be limited to just the reception—they can even make an appearance at post-wedding brunch, as well. Definitely don’t skimp out on hefty coffee portions (especially for guests who took a little too much advantage of the open bar), but do toss in a few doughnut holes served on decorative sticks. This pairing takes everyone’s go-to cup of joe and favorite round confection to new heights.
7. Baby Burgers + Bourbon
When you’re dressed in your finest, the last thing you need is a sloppy sandwich. Enter the mini version, like this one from D.C.-based Occasions Caterers, with all the flavor, none of the mess. Chase down the burgers with shots of your favorite bourbon or whiskey.
“I like to shrink favorite iconic foods to bize-size treats”, says New York City based caterer Peter Callahan. To make petite banana splits feel ice cream parlor authentic, he serves them in footed glass dishes. Pair with a classic fountain drink (and add a shot of liquor for a boozy version).
Take a cue from L.A.‘s Hungry Bear Catering and serve a boozy, grown-up version of Popsicles at cocktail hour. It’s both your dessert and your drink, all in one. Added bonus: The champagne flutes catch any drips.
Small versions of foods like hot dogs feel sophisticated and personalized. “We customize menus based on the couples favorite foods”, says San Francisco caterer David Zlatchin of Betty Zlatchin Catering. For the drink, go with a classic American IPA or other light, crisp beer.
Your wedding celebration is one of the top moments in your life when you can truly spend quality time with your best friends. Having a bridal party means that you have excuses to see your BFFs, whether it’s to go dress shopping, take a “one last fling before the ring” vacation, or even just to meet them for coffee and vent about all things wedding planning.
If one or more of your bridesmaids are single, you might have the urge to try and help her out during the wedding adventure, whether by playing matchmaker or setting up a single’s table at the reception. But before you start making plans, take a minute to think about how she might feel.
Here are five ways to treat your single bridesmaid so that they don’t feel singled out in your bridal party.
Ask What’s She Looking For
Before trying to set your single bridesmaid up with someone at your wedding, first casually ask her if she even wants your help. Perhaps your single bridesmaid is focusing on herself or taking a break from dating and not interested in being set up or even having you and your fiancé work some magic to introduce her to someone at the wedding. If she says she wants to the focus to be off of her relationship status, respect that, even if it’s tempting not to.
Give Her a Good Seat
When you’re planning your wedding seating arrangements, take note of where you can have your single bridesmaid sit. You might want to put her at a single’s table with people she doesn’t know to try and create a spark with another single. But instead of isolating her, place her at a table with people she knows and will have a fun night with, even if they have plus ones.
Don’t Make This About Her Love Life
Remember that it’s your wedding and the only love you should be focusing on is the love between you and your partner. You might want to make your wedding feel like an in-person dating app experience for your single friends and bridesmaids but instead of using the dance floor as a chance to casually introduce two single friends, use it as a time to focus on having fun and enjoying the people around you.
Try Not to Play Matchmaker
Think back to the time when you were single—one of the most annoying things people probably tried to do to you was play matchmaker. Instead of eyeballing the guest list looking for a single match for your single bridesmaid, ask first if she’s interested in having you take on that role, and if she declines, leave your matchmaking hat on the rack.
Don’t wait until you’re half made-up and hangry to send someone out in search of snacks (vending-machine Peanut M&Ms are not going to have you feeling like your best self, protein notwithstanding). Whether you’re getting ready at a hotel or at home, eliminate any guesswork and hassle by pre-ordering breakfast/brunch for delivery or to be picked up by a family member; pay when you place the order to nix one more day-of logistic. You could assign out food strategizing to a reliable bridesmaid. Either way, “this will alleviate a lot of stress,” Keegan says. “It’s so important that everyone, including the couple, eats before the day really gets started.” Planning what you’ll eat beforehand also allows you to choose foods that will keep you energized even if you’re too jittery to eat later on—ideally, something with protein and complex carbs. Pre-think your drinks, too: Janelle had plenty of snacks on hand for her MVPs, as well as Rosa Regale sparkling red by Banfi, which, at 7 percent alcohol by volume, is light enough that everyone can enjoy a glass or two before walking down the aisle.
Have these items at the ready.
Speaking of headaches, don’t forget to have your wedding emergency kit at the ready, packed with items that will help avert mini disasters during your busy morning. Think tampons, Advil and Pepto, garment tape, a blister stick, safety pins, instant stain remover, a sewing kit. Assembling it is a fun scavenger hunt you could assign to an eager bridesmaid or mom. Two more potentially life-saving items to pack: a hand-held steamer and a power strip, for when 52 phones and hair appliances need to be plugged in and your hotel suite has 6 outlets.
Hang a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
Even if you’re having a destination wedding and getting ready at the hotel, your door needn’t be open to every relative and long-lost friend who’s eager to say hello. “The only people we suggest having access to the ‘getting-ready room’ are those getting hair and makeup done,” Keegan says. “It can be too overwhelming and stressful if other friends and family come in and out. You should feel free to maintain a relaxing and stress-free environment in the morning, as the rest of the day is going to be quite overwhelming.”
Don’t underestimate the power of a great wedding-morning playlist—it’s the best way to get everyone in the mood to celebrate and help keep the happy vibes flowing, even when someone’s hair tendrils won’t cooperate, or a strapless bra goes missing. Think upbeat but non-distracting (this is no time to deplete your energy/voice by belting out power ballads). With so many pre-mixed playlists to stream, you don’t even have to spend time creating your own unless you’ll enjoy that. “On Spotify I love Yacht Rock or Budda Bar, depending on what mood everyone is in—both are fun yet easy listening,” Keegan says.
No longer an option only for the rich and famous, destination weddings have increased in popularity with couples seeking exotic locales and wanting to eliminate the hassles of wedding planning. Here, we share seven important tips for booking your wedding away.
Tip #1: Consider the time of year
Resorts and all-inclusive properties offer great deals for brides and grooms looking to wed in paradise. However, if you’re planning to exchange vows during peak seasons (holidays, summer months), expect to pay premium prices. Also, August—October is mid-hurricane season in the Caribbean. If you’re planning an island wedding around that time, be sure to inquire upon a cancellation policy for your trip.
Tip #2: Book a destination wedding at a location/with a provider that meets your standard
If you’re feeling unsure about a particular location or not impressed with the level of service, keep checking around until you find a destination and/or accommodations that are in line with your wants and wishes. If you have found the perfect place, but the packages are a bit on the pricey side, try calling the venue and letting them know that you’re interested in booking a destination wedding and are curious as to what’s available in your price range. Believe it or not, most vendors are willing work with you and your budget. Besides, it never hurts to ask.
Tip #3: Research the requirements for obtaining a marriage certificate in that area
Not all states, provinces and countries follow the same rules in regard to weddings. Even if you are working with a wedding planner provided by your resort or through a destination wedding service, take time to brush up on the laws and requirements for acquiring a marriage certificate where your ceremony will take place. Understanding how, when and where to pick up the marriage certificate will definitely save you lots of time and stress.
Tip #4: Give friends and family ample time to make preparations
If you’re inviting others to share with you on your big day, give your guests plenty of advance notice by sending out save-the-date cards. With the ever-increasing price of airfare, your guests will appreciate having a jump start on travel plans.
Tip #5: Choose a wedding photographer who’s familiar with the venue
You don’t want to entrust your wedding photos to just anyone. Find a destination weddings photographer who knows the area inside and out, or arrange for him/her to visit the venue before the big day. A good photographer will want to know the venue inside and out before your wedding to give you unique shots that reflect the style, lighting, and mood of the location.
Tip #6: Never select an all-inclusive package if it doesn’t fit your needs
An “all-inclusive” or “most-inclusive” approach to making the wedding arrangements can help to ease some of the stress, energy and time it can take to plan a destination weddings. However, if your guest list is small (or if it’s just the two of you), more isn’t always the best bet. Always select amenities and services according to your individual needs.
Tip #7: Plan activities to keep guests entertained
While you and your groom are busy tackling last minute details and meeting with vendors, keep your guests entertained by creating a list of activities and local attractions to enjoy. Since some of your guests may use vacation days to attend your ceremony, help them make the most of their trip by offering fun and leisurely things to do during destination weddings downtime.
Weddings away are just the ticket for couples who want to enjoy more of each other and worry less about the hassles associated with traditional planning. So, kick back and relax in knowing that all the details are taken care of.
Your bouquet adds color, elegance and beauty to your bridal attire. Depending on the flowers you choose, it also will perfume your ceremony with sweet, memorable aroma. Although flowers traditionally die, your bouquet can last forever. By choosing bridal bouquet preservation, your flowers can be cherished years after your big day. Because of its symbolism, preserving your bouquet will allow you to relive the joy of your wedding day again and again.
With proper care, weddingflowers can be preserved for years. Certain flowers dry better than others do. These include roses, carnations, orchids and most lilies. Some brides base their floral selections on this factor. Reds and dark colors usually dry darker than their original color, while whites, pinks and other light-colored blossoms are more likely to retain their luster. However, most flowers can be safely preserved if properly handled.
If you are thinking about bridal bouquet preservation, let your florist know. He or she can then be careful with any necessary wiring, so petals aren’t damaged. Get your bouquet to a preservationist as soon after the wedding as possible. If there’s a delay, keep the bouquet cool, but don’t refrigerate it or spray it with water.
Traditionally, Saturday is the most popular day for weddings. But competition for sites and services is making so-called “off-day weddings” more attractive. Even if you don’t marry in September or October, traditionally the two most popular months, a Saturday wedding can be hard to arrange. Many wedding ceremony and reception sites are booked a year or more ahead of time.
To make matters worse, it’s even harder if there’s one particular site you’ve set your heart on with your wedding planning. If there’s a conflict, your only options are to postpone or switch dates. For many couples, an off-day wedding— perhaps a Friday or Sunday wedding ceremony—is more appealing than delaying the ceremony. This is especially true for if you don’t have a lot of time for wedding planning and preparation, or if a sudden job move or other unexpected event makes you advance your plans.
The anniversary factor can also have you setting up an off-day wedding. When a particular date (like the one-year anniversary of his proposal) is more important than a Saturday time frame, you should not let tradition stand in the way of significance.