Choosing your Bridesmaids – Family, Friends, Both or None?

Choosing your Bridesmaids is also another important task to any bride. It can be a fun and easy process if you are the type that has known this right from the beginning even before there was a proposal but it could also be a hectic one like the many other wedding planning steps.

From the issue of how many Bridesmaids to have, to the budget, the distance and even more, picking those girls (guys) for that special day might not turn out to be a walk in the park like you might have imagined or hoped for.

Here are what some real brides had to say on how they chose their bridesmaids.

Choosing Your Bridesmaids - Family or Friends

I asked: How did you choose your Bridesmaids? 

  • “I chose my 3 best girlfriends who all lived out of state and out of country.” – Gee A
  • “I choose my sister as my Maid of Honor then my best friend of 10 years as my other Maid of Honor, my sister in law and a friend (wish I had picked another friend instead ).” – Mandy M
  • “It was difficult for me. I have a few girlfriends but none I felt I was close enough to. I want to look back on pictures 20 yrs and know those people are still important to me. Not friends I had for a minute. Siblings are perfect cause even when you don’t like each other they are still your siblings. I don’t have any sisters though so I chose my little cousin that’s like a little sister to me and my aunt who is like a big sister to me.” – Jacqueline W
  • “My future husband and I decided we would try to make our bridal party family. My sister has always been there for me, even when things were rough. My daughter is well, an amazing kid.” – Mandy L


This is one of the common and most used criteria. A bridesmaid does not work only on the wedding day but literally from the moment they agree to be a bridesmaid. So it is not a one day task but most of the time a task for months which can also be a real test for any friendship.

It’s very common for best friends to be picked; friends that know you, support you, your vision for your wedding and most importantly, friends that you are very comfortable with. No bride needs extra awkward phone calls, conversations or meetings to add to the stress of planning a wedding that’s why the type of friendship a bride has with her bridesmaids is key.


Some brides are really particular about family being in the wedding party and some hold the idea that it is “tradition”. I dare to ask, tradition by who? Bridesmaids play an important role on your day and the number one reason they exist is to support you. It’s a win win if the family member “tradition” requires you to include is a supportive one but if that’s not the case feel free to break the “tradition”.

Family is good but for role of bridesmaids it should not just be limited to family out of obligation but whoever supports you and  of course makes you comfortable.

A second reason for brides choosing family is also the “playing safe” option. This is the option where you pick family because you have too many friends and you can’t decide on a few because the others might feel left out. So there it is, a safe option–> FAMILY.

There is a nice and thoughtful ring to this option but the risk here is that even though family maybe the safer option, it is not guaranteed that your experience would be a good one especially when you don’t relate to these “family” as well as you do with your own friends – Blood is NOT ALWAYS thicker than water. And so you stand a chance of loosing the supportive or fun experience you could have had just because you are “playing safe.”

Financial Stability ($$$)

As absurd as it may sound, if the prospective bridesmaid can afford the cost of being a bridesmaid then that increases her chances of stealing that spot especially when there are limited spots. Now truthfully this is one thing some brides would rather not speak about or admit is an issue. But going deeper into how “shameful” this idea might be, is it really that bad?

Common Scenario

Amy has 4 Best friends from college which she said she would always have as her bridesmaids. Amy meets Josh and there is a proposal and now a wedding to plan.

The budget is out and Amy and Josh need to save money because they are footing the bills themselves. So after all the calculation that falls on the wedding party such as; their hotel rooms, their gifts, their bouquets/boutonnieres, and their meals for the wedding weekend then reality hits them both and they realize it would be more affordable to have only 2 bridesmaids and 2 groomsmen.

So the million dollar question for Amy is how do I pick the 2?

Amy picks Sandra and Miranda out of her 4 Best friends because these 2 have stable jobs and can afford the $120 Alfred Angelo dresses, shoes and plane tickets from Boston and DC to Denver, compared to Melissa and Jane who are full time students in Chicago and Miami. She reasons that the task of being a Bridesmaids may be some sort of financial pressure on the other two.

If you were in Amy’s position what would you do?

For more on choosing your Bridesmaids, check out this post by Joanna Saltz

About The Author

Wedding Blog Editor & Consultant

Gee || Jesus Lover || Wedding Blog Editor- KnotsVilla (Blog for theme-ful, Prop-ful, Color-ful & Culture-ful Weddings || Wedding Planning? I'd be the best e-friend you ever had!

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