It’s not compulsory to have a bridal party, but getting your nearest and dearest involved in your big day can add to the fun factor. Just make sure you don’t find yourself getting carried away with the excitement and asking everyone under the sun to be a bridesmaid – that’s a lot of dresses to pay for!
Here are the key roles to consider and advice for choosing your bridal party.
Maid of Honour
Your chief bridesmaid, often abbreviated to MOH. This is likely to be a relative or very close friend. She’s your go-to gal for practical and emotional support. She’ll organise the hen party, help you shop for the dress and co-ordinate the other bridesmaids on the day, as well as keeping an eye on your outfit (such as holding your bouquet at key moments, watching out for your train, etc.). Is your top pick for this important role male? No problem – just call him your Man of Honour.
How to choose your maid of honour: Choose someone who is organised (getting 10 people sorted for a weekend away requires military precision), as well as patient and calm. The calming vibes will come in very handy on your wedding morning.
These are the ladies you love spending time with, whether they’re family or friends. In theory, there’s no limit to the number of maids you can have, but if you’re paying for their hair, make-up and dresses, think carefully about who to include.
Their main role is to support you on the day; if you want them to contribute during the planning, set out your expectations from the very beginning and assign specific jobs (hemming bunting, setting up tables, handing you glasses of nerve-calming champagne). Male best friends? Appoint them bridesmen.
How to choose: Bridesmaids are normally your closest friends, and your sisters too if you get on well. Some people feel pressured to ask their partner’s sister to be their bridesmaid, but don’t feel you have to if they’re not a big part of your life.
Another piece of bridesmaid etiquette it’s fine to ignore is having to have someone as your bridesmaid because they were yours. If you’re grown apart since their wedding there’s no reason to feel you have to ask them.
Pick easy-going people who get on well in groups of people they don’t know, as oftentimes not all of the bridal party know each other before the hen-do. Avoid anyone prone to being fussy about their appearance – there’s no time for people having diva strops about the bridesmaid dress you’ve chosen.
If you do foresee a hissy fit about having to wear the same dress as someone else, check out our gallery of mix and match bridesmaid dresses.
Adorable little ones whose key job is to provide the ‘aww’ factor. If there are any family or friends’ children you’re particularly close to (or if your bridesmaids have kids), this is the role for them.
How to choose: The better-behaved the child, the less likely they’ll scream, ‘But I don’t LIKE her’ in the middle of the vows (true story). If you’re asking them to act as ring bearers or scatter rose petals from a basket, make sure they’re not at that putting-everything-in-their-mouths stage, to avoid an unexpected trip to A&E.
Nieces and nephews and popular choices, as well as your own children if you have them.
Want to make someone feel part of your day but already filled those key bridal party slots? There are other great wedding roles.
Being a witness: This involves signing the register to confirm the legality of your marriage – so a pretty important job. You need two, and can often have more.
READ MORE: Who to choose as your wedding witnesses
Doing a reading or song: Asking someone to read out or sing some meaningful words during the ceremony is a lovely way to incorporate them. If you know a teenager you’d like to be involved in your big day (younger sibling, perhaps) check out our edit of the best wedding readings for teenagers.
MC: Announces dinner and the speeches; the perfect role for someone with a big personality.
Someone blue or borrowed: Request that your closest pals add a dash of navy or sapphire to their big day outfits (think tie, jewellery, corsage), so they can be your ‘something blue’ lucky charms.