There are different theories as to where the concept of a bridesmaid originated from. In ancient Rome it was said to be that the couple marrying required at least ten witnesses to marry. Another theory was that bridesmaids were 'stand-ins' for brides, like a movie stunt-double, just in case the evil spirits, who hated seeing anyone happy, attempted to harm the bride.
These days the bridesmaids don't play a key role on the wedding day, with the exception of the Chief Bridesmaid who is first and foremost a maid to the bride - thus the title. The Chief Bridesmaid, usually a best friend or a sister, needs to have your back; she needs to be your "go-to" person. She's to be by your side, helping you every step of the way. It would be a bonus to have someone who does well under stress and can play the impartial role with your best interests in mind, someone you can truly rely on!
The number of attendants is really up to you, other than the Chief Bridesmaid, bridesmaids and flower girls don't take on a major role. You may select as many as you want, but keep in mind, the larger the number the more formal the wedding and even if they pay for their own attire, budget for the extra costs in transport, flowers, gifts and so on.
Selecting the members of the bridal party can often require great diplomacy, particularly if you have many close friends and are having a small wedding. Further complicated if you have many relatives who also believe they are entitled to the role.
We find the best strategy is to appear conservative at the outset, never talk the number of attendants 'up', but talk the numbers 'down', due to costs or small wedding and so on. It's easier to increase the number of attendants, than reduce them later on!
At the end of the day, no matter what you decide and how you present your message, you may have to deal with disappointment, so you will have to do your best to explain your decision to those you missed out as gently and tactfully as possible.
If the bridesmaids are to pay for their own attire, this can be an expensive exercise for them, so you may be in a situation where someone declines your offer, so you need to be prepared with this possibility and how to deal with it. Do you then ask someone else, will they feel like the 'second choice', or do you just drop your numbers. How to deal with this, is best determined at the time and based on your relationship with the others you may ask.The answer is not always easy, but if you have planned and are mindful, then you are better placed to sort this out.
If people are still feeling put out, it is your wedding after all, so move on - they will have to deal with your choices. There are so many other things for you to do!
Choosing Your Bridesmaids
Choosing your Bridesmaids
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