Getting married is a huge milestone, and it’s only natural for you to want to be surrounded by your best friends as you walk down the aisle. However, choosing your bridesmaids shouldn’t be left alone as a popularity contest. If you don’t choose wisely, you could end up with quite the fiasco on your wedding day and maybe even for many years to come. Here are a few tips to ensure you end up with the right crew on your big day:

1.) Understand the responsibilities you will be asking of them. If you have a friend that has a knack for making a scene during every big event she’s invited to, putting her in your wedding might not be the best idea. There’s no point in having a bachelorette party if everyone ends up taking turns babysitting your friend the entire night. Make sure to choose people that are not only responsible enough to follow through with your requests, but are also mature enough to push back any feelings of jealously as you walk down the aisle.

2.) Pick people that matter. Everyone tends to cycle through different groups of people as we move throughout life, but that doesn’t mean the ones who have stuck around for years should get left behind. Think about which people have really been there for you through thick and thin. Just because “Becky” is a great drinking buddy doesn’t necessarily mean she deserves a spot in your wedding.

3.) Don’t choose too many. Just as it’s important to limit the number of people that come with you to your first dress fitting, it’s also important to have an appropriate sized bridal party. The more bridesmaids you have the more you leave yourself open for complications. You have to work with varying budgets, styles, tastes, friendships, personalities, travel arrangements, favors and many, many other issues that are much easier to deal with in a small group.

And don’t worry if there are more groomsmen than bridesmaids; the world will not end if one groomsman has to walk two bridesmaids down the aisle.

4.) Consider alternatives. If, for whatever reason, someone can’t be bridesmaid, don’t automatically write them off. They can still be in your wedding, either as an usher or even an officiant (anyone can get certified).

5.) Choose who you want. Just because you were a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding 6 years ago does not mean you have to return the favor. And even though including your new sister-in-law in your wedding might go a long ways toward smoothing things over with your overbearing mother-in-law, if you can’t stand the girl don’t put her in your wedding.

6.) Don’t limit yourself! Guys can be on your side too (typically called bridesmen), so if you have a super close guy friend, don’t feel like you have to leave him out of your wedding. Having said that, if your husband has a super close female friend, she can also be on his side as a groomswoman.

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