How to Pick Your Wedding Party

Do you still need to pick your wedding party? Do you even know what a wedding party is? If you’ve heard of a bridal party, it’s the same idea. A wedding party is the men and women who stand by your side throughout the wedding planning process and wedding day. Wedding parties can be large or small, men or women, and friends or family (or any combination in between).

Embarrassing story: We always would call our parties “bridal parties” because that’s what we were taught to call them. At one wedding, we continued to say, “bridal party go upstairs” or “we need the bridal party in this picture”. It would take the groomsmen a few minutes to ever start paying attention. We would have to tap them on the shoulders and tell them where we needed them. We had no idea that they were confused about the terminology “bridal party.” At the end of the wedding one groomsman said, “Does bridal party mean the bridesmaids AND groomsmen? Every time you say bridal party we thought we were off the hook so we wouldn’t listen”. We wish they caught on earlier in the day to avoid a lot of confusion! Now, although initially we were frustrated with the guys, we ended up appreciating their comment because it has changed our mind on the word “bridal” forever. We learned a lesson that day that we will never forget. “Bridal party” does not apply to everyone and that phrase should be changed to “wedding party” from here on out. It’s a matter of spreading the word about that now!As we mentioned in the beginning, bridal parties can be any “shape or size”. Although there are no rules for forming your bridal party, we wanted to provide guidance with some of the typical questions that are asked.


How many people should I have in my wedding party?

It’s impossible to pick a number that you like and implying that. In a perfect world, we feel between 3-6 people for both bride and groom is perfect. You don’t need a wide-angle lens to get everyone in the picture, but you still have enough support to get you through the process.

Do I have to have the same number on both sides?

No, you don’t! We actually appreciate when parties have different numbers because that means they did not “fill a spot” to make it even. We keep in touch with some of our past clients and some say they don’t even talk to ½ the men and women that were in their parties. We feel that you should only have the most important people whom will be your friend the rest of time in your parties. The reason most people have the same number on each side is for visual reasons. Just think, will you really blow up the full bridal party picture and put it above your fireplace mantle? You might, but most likely you won’t. That being said, a few pictures with uneven numbers on each side is NOT the end of the world.

Can I have two maids of honor, or two best men?

Absolutely! If you can’t choose between two people it may be easier to consider them your right hand to avoid any drama. We’ve also seen both maid of honor + matron of honors lately. A maid of honor is not married and a matron of honor is someone that is already married. Having both is completely acceptable.

Is it okay to have a male with the bridesmaids and a female with the groomsmen? Is there a correct term for this?

Man of Honor and Best Woman is the correct terminology, and yes it is okay to have the opposite sex on your side! If you are close with the opposite sex and you could not imagine spending the day without them, absolutely invite them to be by your side! Just make sure to get him/her an outfit that matches the rest of your party so it looks cohesive.

How do we pick my maid of honor and best man?

Many brides and grooms have thought about their right-hand man/woman for years. If that’s not you, try to think about who would appreciate the position the most. Whether that be your sister/brother, your high school best friend, or someone else who’s close to you. Something to keep in mind is thinking who has time for the wedding party responsibilities and who can afford it. There’s a big difference between your bridesmaids and maid of honor, same with best man versus groomsmen.

Should I have siblings in our wedding party?

The thing about siblings is they will be in your life forever. Whether you like it or not 😉 Knowing that they will always be part of your life, we think it’s nice to invite them to be in your wedding party. The biggest key is if your fiancé is inviting your brother/sister to be in their party, you should do the same for theirs, even if you’re not too close to them.

Someone had me in their bridal party but I wasn’t planning on inviting them. Is that okay?

This is one of those situations that people make awkward. You did not tell your friend to put you in their bridal party, so they should not assume you’d put them in yours. There are a lot of factors that play into creating your wedding party, and if there’s no room to have them in yours, so be it. Hopefully your friend will not be offended. We do recommend explaining the situation to them though so they’re not left in the dark, waiting to be asked.

Can I put my parents in my bridal party?

Absolutely! Oddly enough, we’ve had multiple wedding parties this year who’ve included their parents in their wedding party. We think it’s very endearing actually. Your mom and dad are the people you’ve known the longest in your life. Bringing them into your wedding party is a huge compliment and even if they don’t act very excited, it shows admiration and they will love it. Also, mother of the bride and father of the groom do not get as much attention as the other parents, so this could be ‘their moment’.

Do I need a wedding party at all?

While it’s not necessary, we do think it’s helpful to have at least a best man and maid of honor. A maid of honor will help plan various parts of your wedding (bridal shower, bachelorette party, etc.). She will fluff your dress and hold your bouquet during the ceremony. She will make sure you have your lipstick and extra emergency items if something happens. The best man will help plan the bachelor party. He will hang out with the groom in the morning. He will hold onto the wedding rings until the officiant needs them. If you want speeches, typically the maid of honor and best man take reign of this. Finally, in the state of Illinois you need two witnesses to sign your marriage certificate so it’s an honor for these two to do that!

One of my bridesmaids just told me she’s pregnant. I’m caught off guard and don’t know how I feel about it. 

Before you start to think everything through, make sure congratulate her! Even though you’ve been planning your wedding for quite some time, it’s not the only special occasion happening in the future. We think the worst thing you can do is not acknowledge the pregnancy as an exciting time. It’s best to have that ‘pregnancy talk’ right away so both friends are happy with the arrangement, whether that friend is in the wedding party or not.

-Have you asked if SHE wants to be in your party? There’s a chance she may be too overwhelmed to be an expecting bridesmaid. Keep in mind the financial responsibility there is being a bridesmaid. If she decides she can’t be a bridesmaid anymore, don’t take it personally! Think about asking her to do as a small role so she is still part of your big day. This could include being a program passer, reading a passage during the ceremony, or even just getting ready in the morning with the rest of the bridesmaids!

-Has she purchased her bridesmaid dress yet? This is going to be one of the hardest parts of having a pregnant bridesmaid in your wedding party. That woman may feel self conscious because she will look different than the rest of your maids. You have to make sure she feels comfortable. The ideal situation is that you have mismatched dresses. If she can pick her own dress style, she could find a dress that fits her future body shape. Even better is if the material is stretchy or flowy.

-When is she due? If she’s due within a few weeks (before or after the wedding) there’s a chance she may not be able to attend the wedding, especially if it’s a destination wedding. When an expecting mom flies somewhere, she has the exposed risk of getting Zika. That’s the last thing you want to have to worry about! We want you to know that there’s a chance you’ll be missing a bridesmaid. While we don’t think it’s a big deal, if you’re a “symmetric-focused” bride and want it to be a specific way, it could be a problem. You have to be ready to “roll with the punches”!

Overall it may make it a little harder to have a pregnant bridesmaid but you have to be optimistic and know that your friendship will only get stronger if you talk the situation out together. Do not un-invite her from your bridal party, have her be the one to leave if that’s what she wants to do.

If you have any other wedding party related questions, feel free to add comments or questions below and we will get back to you!

-Ohana Events