Weddings

How to choose your wedding party

©iStockphoto.com/Brian Scott Author: Canadian Living Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/Brian Scott

Weddings

How to choose your wedding party

After you've announced your engagement, shown off your ring and told your proposal story more times than you can count, it's time to take on your first wedding planning challenge: deciding which friends or family members you want standing up with you as you say "I do."

If you're unsure who to ask to be part of your nuptials, there are some important things to consider. Start by thinking about who might have skills such as patience and optimism during marathon dress-shopping sessions, who would be willing to help you run errands and who might have the ability to wrangle a hot glue gun for DIY decoration projects.

To learn more we spoke with Sarah Soucy, a wedding planner from Gatineau-based Voilà! Weddings and Events. She shares her insights into what else you should consider when selecting the perfect team of bridal attendants, how the concept of "bridesmaid" and "groomsman" are evolving, and what to keep in mind if any four-legged family members might be participating in the ceremony.

1. Size matters
There are positive and negative aspects to having a large group up at the altar. "A big wedding party can mean more people for the bride and groom to delegate the many tasks needed to pull off a dream wedding," says Soucy. "However, it can also mean many different opinions and personalities, which can sometimes create conflict -- something you definitely do not need in this process."

For today's non-traditional couple there are no rules about size, and you can ignore any antiquated equation such as "one attendant per 40 guests."

"Throw the rules out the window and ask yourself 'Does having this many attendants make us happy?'" adds Soucy. "And if you answer yes, then go with it."

2. It's all relative
Couples often find themselves torn when it comes to having sisters and brothers in their wedding party. If you are closer with other family members or friends than you are with your siblings, that's OK. You should not feel obligated to invite your silbings to be bridesmaids or groomsmen.

"This is your day," stresses Soucy. "You are not required to do something which won't make you 100 per cent happy. If you are concerned about hurt feelings, have a talk with the person you are not choosing and explain the choices you made," she advises.

"You may want to give that person another special job, like helping to plan your bachelorette party, for instance. Chances are he or she will understand and be happy to help," she adds.

Page 1 of 2 -- Discover the prominent role 'bridesmen' and 'honour attendants' play in wedding parties today on page 2
3. Personality plus
There will likely be a multitude of tasks both big and small delegated to the members of the wedding party, but what if the people who happen to be your nearest and dearest are not necessarily the most organized or responsible of people?

"To keep things running smoothly, send emails and checklists detailing the specific tasks you will need help with, and when," advises Soucy. This is especially important for anyone who can be forgetful or disorganized. "You can also team that person up with another attendant who is more organized," she says. "That way tasks won't fall back on the bride and groom."

On the plus side, you might appreciate having those laid-back, calming personalities around when you're a bundle of nerves the morning of the ceremony.

4. Role reversal
If the person with the most significance to you is of the opposite sex, you are right on trend. No longer strictly "best man" and "maid or matron of honour," the person in charge of fixing the bride's train and holding the rings can be of any gender, says Soucy. Titles such as best woman, best person, man of honour or person of honour can be bestowed on your special person of choice, no matter his or her gender.

"Since couples often pay for most, or all, of their own wedding expenses, they tend to choose what works for them," Soucy explains. "That can mean having 'bridesmen' or 'honour attendants' or no wedding party at all!"

5. Furry family members

Another trend of note when it comes to wedding ceremonies is finding a way to include your furry friends. "If couples do decide to include their pets in their wedding ceremony they should practise with them often," Soucy advises.

It's also important to laugh off any problems that may arise. "As with children, pets can be unpredictable on the day, so do not expect too much," she says. "Designate someone who is not the bride or groom as the primary caretaker of the four-legged participant."

Most importantly, stay true to your shared vision of the wedding. "The time between your engagement and your wedding should be fun and memorable," says Soucy. "Surround yourself with loving and supportive people and the rest will work itself out."

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Weddings

How to choose your wedding party

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