You’re engaged! *Insert, dancing and celebrating!* What a wonderful milestone in your relationship! We are sure that you’ve already been imagining this day a million different ways, and one question that may have popped up is “How in the world do I narrow down my friends and family to select my Bride Tribe or Groom Gang?” we have worked with many couples who have way too many close friends or family, and they don’t even know where to start with picking their Tribe members. With that being said, we have compiled 5 things to consider when picking your wedding party!
The first thing to always consider is that this is all your choice. It’s your day, and in this day and age there truly aren’t any “rules” anymore that you have to follow. This day is completely about you and your fiancé doing what will make you happiest.
If you have a younger or older sibling (or many!) you will want to include them. This goes for your biological siblings as well as your fiancé's siblings; after the wedding you’re all going to be family, after all. If there is a big age difference, that is completely okay. Just be sure that when you are planning things to make sure they are included in activities for younger gals & guys, too.
This can be a tough one. As a wedding planner, I see a lot of bridal parties. Bride tribes typically include BFFs, college friends, and even some of those people you met recently. My thought is, however, if you’ve been through thick and thin with your friend, they should have a spot in the bride tribe. If you’ve known each other since pre-k and have kept in touch in real life (not just Facebook and Instagram), they also belong in the bride tribe. Now for the ones that are a little more questionable. Say you’ve just started a new job and your gal pal who trained you is super sweet, do you think she would be offended if you didn't include her in your bride tribe? No, she should most definitely understand! That doesn’t mean you can’t invite her to the shower or even the bachelorette party, she just doesn’t need to stand up next to you when you marry your best friend. These guidelines apply to the groom gang as well.
This is something that is becoming increasingly irrelevant, and we love it! In the past, if a bride had a male friend or brother, they would simply be part of the groom's gang instead of her bride tribe, and vise versa. However, these days it’s not uncommon at all to see Groomsmaids and Bridesmen, or even a Man of Honor or Best Woman. In the same vein, if you would prefer your brother to be a Groomsman to signify the joining of two families, go for it!
It was once said that if you have a wedding of 50-60 guests, you should have 4 attendants on each side. And if you have 150+ guests, then you could have 10 or more on each side. Take it from from someone who spends her weekends with bride tribes, more isn’t always merrier. Remember when you were in school and your mom told you, “Its better to have a close knit group of friends rather than a hundred friends who you don’t talk to everyday?” She's a smart lady. This rule also applies to picking your Bride Tribe. Now, if you’re looking at these tips and thinking, “What if I have 4 sisters, 4 brothers, & 4 best friends but I am only inviting 50 people to my wedding?” Well, don’t think they have all to be in the bridal party. You can always ask them to play a role by being an usher or a special ceremony speaker. Also, the two sides don’t have to match. We planned a wedding once where there were 11 Groomsmen, 9 Ushers, and only 2 Bridesmaids. Their talented photographer mixed things up in the photos and everything came out beautifully. So don’t force yourself or your fiancé to either cut or add people that they simply don’t want to just to achieve symmetry.
Consider Your Budget
Over the past few years, we have noticed wedding budgets being a huge concern for most brides. Sometimes, you don’t think about the bridal party being part of this budget because they are “supposed” to pay for certain things. However, this doesn’t always end up being the case, and what you may not take into account is the extra room in the budget for bouquets, boutonnieres, head table rentals, and of course their attendant gifts.
If reading this is absolutely stressing you out, then maybe a smaller bridal party is the way to go. Some couples don’t even have a bridal party anymore. But if you have been planning and re-planning your bridal party every day for 10 years, then just make sure you stay true to yourself and do what’s going to make you and your fiancé happy when you look back on it in 10 years!