ASK THE EXPERT: How Do I Keep My Bridal Party Small Without Offending My Friends?

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Q: I’d really like to keep my bridal party small, but how do I do that without offending any of the friends who have been by my side for years? Especially the ones who had me in their weddings?

A: No matter the size of your bridal party, choosing your bridesmaids is no simple feat—especially when you’re trying to narrow down your long list of besties to keep the bridal party to a minimum.

To avoid a game of eenie-meenie-miney-mo and the threat of hurt feelings, just remember: they’re all your friends and they will understand, says Jaclyn Fisher of Haddonfield-based Two Little Birds Planning. “There’s no reason to make excuses or lie,” she says. “Just tell your friend(s) that you’ve decided to have a small wedding party, and the reason you’ve made that choice. You can even start the conversation by saying it was a hard decision to make because you didn’t want to hurt any feelings.”

And just because you can’t have all of your girlfriends stand next to you as maids doesn’t mean they can’t be involved in other ways, she says. Fisher suggests having your closest gals hand out programs, do a reading or tapping into their specific talents, like even having one sing during the ceremony.

Also, Fisher says to keep in mind that there are no set rules in the world of wedding parties, whether about size or who you’ve chosen to be a part of it. It’s not vital to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, for starters, and you can have a Man of Honor—or a Best Woman for your husband-to-be—if that’s what your heart desires. (FYI: Fisher has seen both!) And don’t stress over the question of whether or not to include someone whose bridal party you were a part of. Fisher says you don’t have to ask a friend to be in your wedding simply because you were in theirs.

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