Today’s post is the next installment from wedding planner Jenny Wren, sharing her journey of planning her own wedding. (Read Jenny’s previous posts here).

Today Jenny covers the all important issue of choosing your bridesmaids…

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The history of the bridesmaid varies across cultures, religions and time periods. In early Roman times, bridesmaids formed a kind of bridal troop (I love that term!), who marched alongside to accompany the bride to the groom’s village. This ‘protective shield’ of similarly outfitted bridesmaids was supposed to intervene if any wayward thugs or vengeful suitors tried to hurt the bride or steal her dowry (ref wedding ideas magazine).

Choosing mine was a decision that I had been putting off making for a while, who will I have by my side through the thick and thin of planning this wedding? Who can I trust for honest opinions on things, who will be there for me as a calming influence and not judge me during my bridezilla moments (lets face it everyone has them at least once), who will hold my dress up and prim me to perfection before photographs, who will deal with any mini dramas that may occur on the day, who will dance to every single song if necessary to encourage that dance floor to stay full and most importantly who are true friends that I would want to share such a special time in my life with, who will be my bridesmaids??!

I am blessed to have lots of lovely friends that I know would fit the above criteria which is why it was such a hard decision to make. When I did decide on my final four maids and flower girl, I wanted to ask them in a special way. With the guidance of pinterest I made little dress shaped cards similar to the following to post to each of them.

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The poem read…

‘This isn’t just a dress, as you can clearly see, it’s a way for me to say, you mean the world to me. On my wedding day, I can think of no one but you to stand with me when I say ‘I Do’, Will you be my bridesmaid?

Hurrah, I have my troop!

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Image credit: Sarah Lauren Photography

Some of my top tips when choosing your bridesmaids…

More is not necessarily merrier. Think carefully about this before you jump in to ask away. Not only does each additional maid come with a potential price tag (dress, bouquet etc), but too many maids = too many opinions to consider when it comes to things such as dress selection and hen do planning.

Take your time. Once you have asked someone to be your bridesmaid it is extremely difficult to un-ask them if you have changed your mind. Let the excitement of being engaged mellow slightly before selecting.

Set realistic expectations. Think about how involved you want your maids to be in the planning. Do you want them to attend dress shopping with you, arrange your hen do, help make decorations and attend pre-wedding shindigs? If so it is worth considering who will actually be available to do this? Those who live far away, have very busy lifestyles or perhaps have just had a newborn may not be able to commit to this. This may cause frustrations later down the line and they will feel bad about not being able to help.

Don’t feel you are under obligation to ask someone just because they asked you. Friendships change over time and you may not be as close to the person you were bridesmaid for 3 years ago.

Don’t feel like you have to follow tradition. Traditionally, it is the brides sister, if she has one that is closest in age to her as the maid on honor. However we are far from tradition in this day and age, so feel free to choose whoever you want to.

A bridesmaid does not have to be a woman, if your best friend is a man there is no reason why he can not make up part of the bridal party, your man of honour perhaps! The most important thing is that you include those you want to, whatever their gender.

Of course you do not want to put anyone’s nose out of joint but sometimes it just can’t be helped. The decision on who will be your bridesmaids can be really difficult and at the end of the day it is just not always feasible to include everyone you would like to in the bridal party. Which generally people will understand but my tip would be to acknowledge the fact they are not included and speak to them about it directly and explain, rather than glazing over it. Perhaps try and involve them in some other way, ask them to do a reading for example.

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Image credit: McKenzie Brown

My tips on how to avoid/deal with bridesmaid dramas…

If you are going to involve them in the wedding planning, try to involve all of them or at least give them the opportunity to be involved. Giving them all a voice will avoid anyone feeling left out.

Remember they are your friends as well as your bridesmaids. Sometimes it’s good to take off your wedding planner hat and enjoy some time with them, with no wedding task talks.

Think about group dynamics. Are there any characters that may clash? They are likely to be in contact all lot as they work together for you, so it’s worth thinking about this and how you can overcome any potential issues between certain people before they happen.

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Image credit: Simon Burt

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