Your bridesmaids will be a big part of your wedding – they’re your support team, not to mention the first port of call in a crisis! All this means that you should think carefully when choosing who’ll stand beside you on the big day. We spoke to real brides and experts to find our their top bridesmaid tips.  Holly&Kiwi195

Who’s the best girl?

So, how do you take the plunge and make the big decision? “Look at what you want in your bridesmaids – everybody will have something different to offer,” says bridal coach Michele Paradise. “Some of your friends or family will be good at organising and paying attention to detail, which is very useful when planning a wedding. 120605_Emmett_210

“Some may have great people skills and will be an asset before and during the wedding if you have to deal with awkward people!  Other friends may be very soothing and when you are around them you feel good – this is massively important to get you through your big day in a calm manner.  As well as a calming influence, you’ll also want someone around to make you laugh – it’s invaluable to keep sane during the wedding preparations!”

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Michele believes that went it comes down to it, you want bridesmaids who’ll make the (sometimes stressful!) wedding day experience as pleasant as possible. “When choosing bridesmaids don’t just pick the prettiest, slimmest or your groom’s sister because you feel obliged to,” she advises. “Pick women who will be a great support team on your big day and will make your journey a fabulous one!”  Grittenham-406

But what if you’re experiencing a lot of pressure from members of your family to choose sisters, cousins, or nieces? What if you don’t get on with them or think they will be unsuitable?

We looked on our Forum to see how our real brides-to-be were handling this.  _DSF2066

Future Mrs C Goodman says, “I have three adult bridesmaids – one’s been a friend since uni, and two are actually wives of my fiancé’s friends who I have become really close to over the last three years of knowing them! It wasn’t until someone asked me (in a surprised voice), “oh, so you haven’t asked his sister to be a bridesmaid?” – it literally hadn’t even crossed my mind. Nobody has said anything but even if they did, I wouldn’t change my mind. Your bridesmaids should be your choice and yours alone, don’t be pushed into something you don’t really want!”

Future Mrs Hunter agrees. “Just stick to your guns,” she says. “It is your day and you should have who YOU want around you on the morning of your wedding!”      alexa_loy_photography-1160

Wedding Ideas magazine says that if you want to have a family member or friend involved, but know they’d be an unsuitable bridesmaid, why not ask them to say a reading so that they can be part of the ceremony, or be a witness? You really don’t need to choose bridesmaids just because of family pressure!

The reluctant bridesmaid

What if your best friend doesn’t want to be a bridesmaid, even though you think she’d do the job fabulously? Chronic Whimsy on our Forum had a genius way of dealing with this.

“My best friend from high school is my ‘Undercover Bridesmaid’ because I knew she’d hate having to wear a dress and do weddingy things, but I wanted to let her know that she was still important to me!”   Katie & Scott Wedding -231-Edit

An excellent idea – your best friend doesn’t have to dress up and be a focus of attention but she’s still helping you out!

What should your maids wear?

The next hurdle is choosing what your bridesmaids will wear on the big day – this can cause arguments, so tread carefully!

“All bridesmaids come in different shapes and sizes and it’s a common problem among brides to know what dresses to pick for their maids,” says WeddinginGreece2013 on our Forum. “A lot of bridesmaids prefer not to wear the dresses after the wedding ceremony so it’s better not to put too much budget towards them.  Penny Dougal-538

“I think it’s best if you bring your bridesmaids with you when you’re bridesmaid dress shopping so you guys can pick the dresses together that you both agree with – or, if they can’t go with you, just ask them for some ideas on what dresses they would like to wear.”

How many bridesmaids?

We’ve heard of a wedding where the bride had 80 bridesmaids – she was a teacher and invited all her pupils to be attendants – but that’s taking it a little too far in our opinion! Wedding Ideas recommends that you stick to even numbers so that the bridesmaids can work in pairs – plus it’ll look much neater in photos. We think four is just right.    Breckels__0598

Reading our Forum brides’ comments, we’d say that they all agree your wedding day is very much your own and that includes your choice of bridesmaids and what they wear (although giving them a selection of frocks is thoughtful) – if you’re still looking for bridesmaid dress inspiration, why not take a look at our Bridesmaids section?

Still have questions? Why not chat things through with our Forum brides and see what they have to suggest?