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9 Things To Consider When Choosing Bridesmaids

Before you start sending out cute little cards and decorative boxes asking your BFFs to be your bridesmaids, make sure you've thought through all the logistics first.
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by Elizabeth Mitchell, Brides

Photo: William Connors/Courtesy of CNP Montrose

If you're like many brides, once you get engaged you can't wait to pop the question to your besties too. It's just so exciting! But before you start sending out cute little cards and decorative boxes asking your BFFs to be your bridesmaids, make sure you've thought through all the logistics first. Here are nine things a lot of brides forget to take into consideration until it's too late.

1. The Costs
As professional wedding planner Sandy Malone of Weddings in Vieques points out, the bigger your wedding party gets, the bigger the tab gets for you. "You have to pay for flowers, gifts, beauty appointments (sometimes), lunch the day of the wedding, rehearsal dinner meals and a million other little things you haven't even thought of yet, and it adds up," she says.

2. The Day-Of Schedule
If waking up at the crack of dawn to do hair and makeup doesn't sound like your idea of fun, you might want to rethink that bridesmaid count. "To get a large group of women ready, you'll either need multiple stylists or the day-of schedule could begin as early as 7 am," notes destination wedding planner and founder of Tropical Occasions, Aimee Monihan.

3. The Photos
And no, not how stunning your friends will look standing by your side (because duh!), but how unwieldy large groups can get sometimes. "For starters, it's just hard to corral all of the people and confirm everyone is where they need to be at all times," explains Erica Taylor, co-founder of NYC-based event design and planning company, Tinsel & Twine. "It's also hard to catch the really sweet emotions and nuances of the day in photographs when group shots look like an army of 20 people."

4. The Space
Where is your ceremony, and is there enough room for all your girls to stand? If not, a good game plan is essential, says Monihan. "For example, we had a southern bride with 16 bridesmaids who we had to create a lounge setting to the side of the altar for. Her bridesmaids "lounged" during the ceremony, as there wasn't enough standing space and she didn't want them sitting with the rest of the wedding guests in chairs."

5. The Size of the Wedding
A good number to shoot for, according to Taylor, is one bridesmaid for every 20 guests. "Beyond that, the group starts to feel a bit disproportionate," she cautions. "When the size of the bridal party is too big, it almost feels like anyone who's not in the wedding is being left out."

6. The Drama
Think twice about asking drama queen friends to be in your bridal party, warns Malone. "Sure they might flip out and pitch a fit about being excluded at first, but it's better to deal with that drama a year out than on your actual wedding day, right?"

7. The Chaos
No matter how chill your friends are, a bunch of bridesmaids means crazy high female energy in the getting ready room. This is why Monihan always likes to come up with an escape plan for brides with big bridal parties. "They all tell me they wont need it, as they love their friends and it wont be an issue. However, each and every one of them that says this uses that plan and ends up sneaking away for a little to have a bit more peace and quiet to get ready in."

8. What You Want
If you're not that tight with your future sister-in-law, by no means do you have to ask her to be in the wedding party. Instead of feeling compelled to honor friends and family by making them bridesmaids, Taylor recommends giving them other important roles, such as a reading during the ceremony or a special toast or presentation during the reception.

9. What He Wants
While a mismatched number of bridesmaids and groomsmen is fine, jumping the gun on asking your girls to be in the wedding is so not. Consult with your groom first to get his thoughts and see if you're on the same page size-wise. Who knows, he may feel very strongly about having a small wedding party or even numbers.

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