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The Bride's Guide Blog

How Soon Should You Choose Your Wedding Party?

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Posted by Talley Sue Hohlfeld, Etiquette Expert

How soon after your engagement did you ask your friends and family to be in your wedding party?

I only ask because I can't tell you how many threads I've seen on our reader forums over the years about bridesmaid relationships that have gone awry. Suddenly the bridesmaid is acting like a pill, or the best man has essentially disappeared from the groom's life, and the couples wish they could "fire" them—but they can't, really.

It often happens that these "teams" have been recruited very early, in the burst of enthusiasm that follows getting engaged. But giving yourself a little time to think about what you want from an attendant, and giving your friendships time to "settle" in the aftermath of the engagement, would help you head off a lot of those problems. (It will also buy time for you to figure out how to handle pressure from parents about who "has to" be in the wedding party.)

How early *should* you ask? People need time to save up for clothes and travel; you all need time to find/buy/order dresses (tuxes usually take less time and trouble). Six months ought to be enough time.

What do you think? Should you ask sooner or later? And if you chose sooner, have your friendships changed after you got engaged?

Comments (7)

  • I asked at a year out - we were engaged 17 months out (10 more to go!) and I think it worked out fine.
    I have two maids of honor and I realize how different the two are, but it works. One is more into the bachelorette party and one is more into the shower.
    All of the bridesmaids have been longtime friends (or family!) so I don't think my decisions would have been any different if I had waited.
    Not to mention, people bug you about that kind of stuff!

  • I so agree with this post! When I first got engaged, (a year ago and 22 months from the wedding) I actually received a lot of pressure from different girlfriends in my life to choose them as bridesmaids. Since I'm a younger bride, all of my friends are so eager to be a part of the experience! If I had chosen them all, I would have had 10 bridesmaids for our little intimate wedding! So I waited until 10 months before the wedding to ask my four girls. This gave me time to really reflect on who I wanted by my side and time for all of the girls in my life to settle down and not be so obsessed with it.
    This also allowed me plenty of time to make cute little "Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" cards and to think of ways to include my other friends in the wedding. :)

  • I decided to not have a bridal party. My friends seem to understand and are still planning me a shower despite the fact that they won't be in my wedding. I've been a bridesmaid in so many weddings that I feel like maybe I'm doing my friends a favor. Being a bridesmaid is a lot of work and it's expensive.

  • I picked my maids right away (about 17 months out) but FI has yet to choose his men. No pressure on that though, we want to see who he is close to closer to the wedding. My picks were easy - my 3 sister, my FSIL and my best friend.

  • @Molly, & @ Brianne--you are SO right, that people bug you about that stuff.
    I've heard from readers who had people bugging them the moment they heard the news.
    That's part of why I wish there was some "universal rule," so brides & grooms could say, "Oh, I'm not supposed to announce that now; it's against the etiquette rules."
    (hey, feel free to quote me, if you decide you need a "authoritative, neutral excuse" not to make any decisions)

  • Well. It was kind of known who was going to be my bridesmaids/MOH. Ever since my best friend and I were in 5th or 6th grade, we told each other that we were going to be the MOH at each others wedding. So of course, once she knew I was engaged then she knew she was the MOH. I still asked though even though she assumed. As for a few of my other close friends, it's a little tougher. It depends on how big we decide the bridal party to be and then I can choose who will be a bridesmaid. But I think choosing earlier on is better just so you can get help if you need it. When I was one of the bridesmaids at a friend's wedding, I helped her look for a Chicago Wedding Band to play at the reception. It was one of the major things that needed to get done in a short amount of time. I think I would like that same help too, and to be able to rely on my friends and my fiance's friends to help if we need them to and if they can.

  • Hmmm, Sally--that brings up an entire other topic. Do you feel you can't ask your friends for help UNLESS they are bridesmaids?
    I always thought they help you because they are friends, and they are bridesmaids because they are friends. But not that they help you because they are bridesmaids (or are bridesmaids because they help you).
    We'll have to explore that later.

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