Your questions answered when it comes to deciding who to choosing your bridesmaids and maid of honour

Behind every bride there is a support system; an elite team of family and friends who make sure the lead up to the big day goes without a hitch. They’re on hand for all the pre-wedding prep, they are the organisers of the hen do and even the providers of the all-important reality check, should ‘bridezilla’ make an appearance. They’re the closest allies a bride has and an integral part of the day… but how do you choose your bridesmaids and maid of honour?

For some it is an easy decision to make. You have your group of girls (or boys) whom you’ve always envisaged standing beside you on your day and you wouldn’t want it any other way. Great! But regardless of whether this applies to you or not, wedding planning is a stressful process and it can put a strain on any friendship. You will more than likely upset someone by not giving them the role they expected and there’s always going to be the risk that the slightly ‘flaky’ bridesmaid will let you down at the last minute.

You’ll need to set honest expectations for both yourself and your bridal A-team from the outset. How involved do you actually want them to be in the run up to your day? Will you expect them to be there at every pre-wedding event you arrange or are you happy for them to just show up at the wedding venue on the day? Defining the level of contribution at this stage will alleviate stress and avoid disappointment. Of course, if you have a potential bridesmaid who can’t commit as much as you would like, there is no reason why you shouldn’t let them chip-in as and when they can, but at least you’ll be aware that you can’t depend on them for the more important things.

For those who are finding it a little more difficult to whittle down their bridal party options, you may find it easier to look closer to home. It sounds obvious but add brothers and sisters into the mix, both yours and your other half’s. You may not be particularly close but they’re going to be around well past your 10-year anniversary and it could cause a little bit of family tension if you don’t, not a great way to start married life!

Once the final decision has been made and you’ve selected your bridal A-team, research other roles that can be included as part of your wedding day. This will avoid any disgruntled friends who didn’t quite make the final cut and will utilise their talents for your benefit! Aside from the slightly mundane duties of candle lighting, iPod controlling and ensuring everyone signs the guest book, you’ll probably need an abundance of wedding venue decorators as well as ushers and entertainers too.

Consider choosing

  • Your sister
  • Your new sister-in-law
  • Your best friends
  • Your cousins
  • Friends you grew up with at school
  • Your university roommate
  • Your own children, if you have any
  • Step-sisters/children

What should I pay for when it comes to my bridesmaids?

The bridesmaids dresses and matching accessories

This is always a tricky one as it depends on how picky you want to be with what the bridesmaids are wearing. If you’re not going to pay for the dress, perhaps say you’ll pay for half. Or pay for the dress and they can buy their own accessories, or the other way round. Be honest and open about this discuss for the beginning so that there is no miscommunication when it comes to who is paying for what.

Floral bouquets for the bridesmaids

This should be included in the cost of your budget for wedding flowers.

Bridesmaid hair and beauty

This should be included in the cost of your budget for bridal hair and beauty.

Food and drink when you are getting ready for the wedding

Arrange this with your wedding venue in advance, but we recommend you put this on the overall bill.

Thank you gifts for your bridesmaids

You should buy these separately and give them to your bridesmaids as you’re all getting ready for your wedding, or just after your wedding to thank them for all of their help and support.

Who should I choose to be my maid of honour?

The maid of honour: A source of emotional and logistical support, your wedding day heroine, someone to be there through all of the highs and lows.

Choosing this special girl can be a difficult process if you’re surrounded by wonderful friends whom you love dearly, but it should ultimately be a decision that feels right.

If you already have someone in mind, perhaps your closest friend or a sister, then the hardest part is probably done. If you’re still unsure or you want to be absolutely certain you’re making the right decision, this is when practicalities should be considered.

The first being how close you actually are to this person? Your maid of honour should be someone you feel very close to and whom you think knows you the best (other than your partner, of course). It’s important to be able to read each other, gauge emotions and know when you need to take a timeout as you’ll be spending a lot of time together and don’t want to end up bickering. You should be able to envisage them in your life for years to come and trust their decision-making and reliability. On the subject of reliability, good time keeping is essential: if they’re always late to everything… think twice!

Secondly, avoid the drama. The spotlight should always remain on the bride and not subject to temper tantrums from an over dramatic chief bridesmaid. This role requires someone with a reasonably thick skin who can take charge and manage elements of the day that the bride doesn’t have time to deal with herself. The term ‘bridezilla’ exists for a reason, don’t try to fool yourself that you won’t be one of them but pick someone who can slap you back into reality (not literally) and get over it.

Let’s be honest, the maid of honour role isn’t for someone who doesn’t enjoy the thought of planning or spending every Saturday for the next 6 months being paraded around bridal-wear shops. You’re going to need support and attention from this girl (or boy, if you’re going down the ‘man of honour’ route) and that’s quite a lot to ask of one person. Likewise, it’s going to take up a lot of their time so consider their own personal circumstances before expecting them to devote every spare hour to your wedding planning needs. Does it put them in a difficult position trying to juggle their personal life and your bridal demands and do they actually have enough spare time to focus on you?

Lastly, you’ll want someone who will support your decision-making, offers an honest opinion but does not influence decisions in their preference.

Once you’ve chosen your best girls, be sure to read up on our article based around ten jobs to delegate to your wedding party, for further inspiration.