“Oh dear,” you think to yourself. “My sister gets cranky so easily. My best friend, although I love her dearly, is unpredictable and undependable. I have some friends from school, but we rarely talk and really only keep in touch through Facebook. My coworkers are becoming friendlier, but we are not what I would call friends yet. I’m getting married in six months and I want to have a stress-free wedding. Whom do I choose to be in my wedding party?”
It’s not always possible to select the “perfect” attendants. Personalities, traditions, expectations and cultural mores can influence a bride’s choice of her maid or matron of honor and her bridesmaids. There are those who expect to be asked to be in your wedding; after all, you were in theirs. Your sisters and closest cousins would be natural choices-especially to Mom and sweet Auntie. Your best friend and you pinky-swore years ago that you would be at each other’s side, but now her life decisions are not making her a suitable choice. The hard-to-decide task just got more difficult.
So whose wedding is it anyway? You want to look back on this day and have pleasant memories so make your decisions accordingly. What do you want to remember? Pasted smiles on an array of size 3 gals and tuxedoed handsome men flanking a radiant couple? The hope of having your wedding photo featured in the hometown paper’s next bridal insert? Beautifully coiffed hairstyles and tiny ankles beneath tea-length dresses? What will really make your day happily memorable?
Do you even have to have attendants? Centuries ago the role of the maid of honor or bridesmaid was to attend to the bride several days before her wedding; an additional role of attendants, both bridesmaids and groomsmen, was to dress similarly to the wedded couple in order to confuse evil spirits or jealous suitors who might try to sabotage the wedding or in some way harm the couple. Thankfully, the duties have become less risky and demanding and may be as simple as signing as a witness to the marriage. (Because state laws vary, verify how many witnesses’ signatures are needed on the marriage certificate.)
In selecting whom you will ask to stand up for you at your wedding, first share your concern with your fiancÃ© and consider his input. Then consider those who are dear to you and whom you respect. The person whom you select should see the opportunity as both an honor and a privilege to be standing at your side. Perhaps there is an older woman whose marriage you admire. Maybe your childhood friend would laugh with you before, during and after the ceremony, adding to a life full of meaningful experiences. Perhaps your sister has become the trusted confidante you have come to appreciate and she would be the “perfect” choice. Perhaps a male friend would serve as your bridesman (with your fiance’s approval, of course). The choice is yours.
The goal of your bridal party selection is to enhance your memorable day with favorable circumstances and experiences. Choose wisely…and enjoy your day!
By Ann Bare