Right after saying an enthusiastic "yes!" to a marriage proposal, there are a myriad of decisions to be made by every bride: who to tell first, when to set the wedding date, and of course who to ask to be her bridesmaids.
According to Wikipedia, "Bridesmaids are members of the bride's party in a wedding. A bridesmaid is typically a young woman, and often a close friend or sister." Many women harbor dreams of their wedding day for years and have a mental short list of potential bridesmaids.
Problems ensue when a bride doesn't have a preconceived short list or instead has a very, very long list of friends and family members to choose from. Use the six concepts below to edit your bridesmaid list into a manageable one.
Old vs. New -- Girl Scouts across the U.S. sing a song about friendship that has the following lyrics: "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other's gold." The concept of honoring your oldest friends as bridesmaids is a valid one, as long as you still keep in touch. Calling your kindergarten BFF after 20 years of silence could be very awkward.
Divatude -- Weddings are an amazing life event, but they tend to bring out the very best and very worst in attendees. When selecting your bridesmaids consider their personalities and temperaments under stress. Do you really want to have a bridesmaid that you must babysit or handhold on your Big Day?
Proximity -- Just like long distance relationships, long distance bridesmaids can be wonderful. They simply take more effort on the part of both parties. It is important to understand your needs as a bride. Do you want a bridesmaid to tangibly be there when you try on wedding dresses and do cake tastings or will FaceTime suffice? Knowing your feelings ahead of time can save both you and your long distance friend from scenarios where she's logistically set up to disappoint you.
Spousal Support -- Another way to examine your prospective bridesmaid list is to consider how each individual supports your relationship and appreciates your future spouse. Surrounding yourself with women who will help your marriage through the years to some is a great idea. Having a host of naysayers standing alongside you as you say your wedding vows and traverse newlywed life doesn't seem like a recipe for marital bliss.
Planner vs. Procrastinator -- Your bridesmaids are meant to help you in the planning of your wedding and during your wedding day. They also tend to play a key role in planning your bridal shower and bachelorette party. Selecting women who repeatedly have trouble making it to brunch on time or remembering your birthday to be your bridesmaids can leave you with more work than you anticipated. Conversely, if you're a go with the flow personality you may want similar minded friends as bridesmaids to avoid feeling over planned or pressured.
Family Matters -- While your wedding is supposed to be all about you and your fiance, you may find that it is also very much about both of your families. Your future spouse (or Mother-in-Law) may assume that his/her three sisters will be included in your wedding party, so it is paramount to discuss the topic before you issue invitations. The "no takebacks" rule very much applies to bridemaids.
Whether you adhere to all six concepts to edit your bridesmaid list, or only use one concept to make the tough decision between two potential bridemaids, you are at least making an informed decision. Impulsively asking friends to be bridesmaids can result in months of agony (for both of you) and possibly the damaging of your relationship.