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Charlotte Balbier’s wedding diary: picking the ultimate bridal party

Bridal designer (and super-excited b2b) Charlotte Balbier reveals the secrets to choosing the perfect W-day entourage

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Here come the girls! Charlotte (third from the left) toasts to her W-day with seven of her eight bridesmaids

Heart, head or etiquette? Which do you follow when it comes to choosing bridesmaids and groomsmen? Having spoken to thousands of Balbier brides over the years, I know how quickly assumptions, family feuds and the prospect of making friends unhappy can pile on the pressure, so I figured a good place to start was with a ‘wish list’. So off my fiancé Teddy and I went, listing the nearest and dearest and bearing in mind this is not just about wearing a sharp suit or pretty dress, but commitment and responsibility. What people sometimes don’t appreciate is the time involved in being a bridesmaid or groomsman, with shopping expeditions, outfit fittings and organising increasingly complex and exotic hen/stag parties.

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I speak from experience. I’ve been a bridesmaid six times and, once upon a time, a cute flowergirl. (No pictures, sorry. It was the Eighties and I had bowl-cut hair and a peach taffeta dress). Each time I felt honoured to be part of someone’s special day and, as I work in the industry, I do have a tendency to take over a little when it comes to other people’s weddings. What can I say? I just can’t help myself. (Thankfully my friends have welcomed my meddling in their planning.)

I know brides often feel pressured into asking family members – “You have to ask your second cousin so and so, I was her mother’s bridesmaid 30 years ago” – or have friends who just assume that they will be asked. How do you get around that one? My advice is don’t worry about offending anyone. If they care about you they will understand. 

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Groom-to-be Teddy (centre) with his best men, Dave and Richard

I was lucky not to face any of these challenges when it came to picking my bridesmaids. I’m an ‘all or nothing’ kind of bride – it was never a question of choosing between friends – so I’m having an entire entourage (very on-trend!) with eight adult bridesmaids and two flowergirls. They are, in no particular order – drum roll please… my cousins Lucy and Olivia (my mum’s sister’s daughters, and more like sisters); my best friends Leona, Katy and Katie (confusing I know!) and my oldest friend from junior school, Heather. Then there’s my best friend from my teenage years, Joanna, and – last but not least – my right hand woman and BF Caroline who works with me on big projects at Balbier Wyatt HQ. Each has, over the years, played a key role in my life so getting married without them all by my side was not an option. Finally baby Liv (three) and baby Georgia (four) are guaranteed to be the cutest flowergirls on the block.

I’m not having a maid of honour. I simply can’t choose just one person as I love all of my bridesmaids the same. Although this does beg the question, who will sign the register for me? I do have someone special in mind but for now… shhhhh, watch this space.

Teddy’s chosen not one but two best men, Dave and Richard, who will ensure Teddy has a wild and wonderful stag do (I’ve been told this is their big priority). His groomsmen, Phillip, Jason, Mark and Mike, are all amazing friends of his and ours, then there’s my godson, Tobias, who is surely going to be the most gorgeous man at the wedding. Second to Teddy, obviously!

Love Charlotte xx

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P.S. Next time read about the wonderful videographer who will be filming our special day… ‘Teddy and Charlotte: The Movie’