Q: We’re having a small destination wedding and so we are thinking of having just a small wedding party. But the issue we are struggling with is how to pick our wedding party as we have a lot of people we are close to. Is it important to choose someone that we know will make the trip? Or someone that is reliable? Or just whoever we are closest to? Or is there something else we should be thinking about?
This is a great question and an important one! Many couples dive right in and start asking people to be in their wedding party without always thinking about it fully. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you don’t know who your friends are and that you need to be super calculating. But, I do think it’s a big decision that is worthy of some thought.
If you take a step back and think about it, your wedding party are the people who you will not only be spending all day with on the wedding day but who will be with you during the entire wedding planning process. You will need to be able to rely on them, to have them take care of you and help make this time fun and special.
I think the most important factor in choosing your wedding party, whether you are having a destination wedding or not, is to pick the people you are the closest to and whose friendship will never go away. You want to pick those friends that you have a special bond with.
While you can never predict the future and some friendships don’t last, most of your adult friendships won’t typically disappear. It’s not like high school or college or even right after college. Most couples get married around 30 now and at that point, your friendships are pretty solidified. You may gain some new friends later on and some friendships may not stay as strong, but they never really go away. So, pick people who you have that special connection to, who you trust, love and can’t imagine life without.
Beyond that most important factor, you’ll want to think about friends who will be there for you. In an ideal world, your closest friends are also responsible, helpful, considerate and will look out for you. Unfortunately, many people have the flaky friend or the selfish friend or the spacey friend and these types of friends can end up being bad wedding party members. I’m not saying you shouldn’t choose them (if they are the closest to you, you should choose them) and it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, they just aren’t well suited towards being helpful and taking care of others. So, what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
Go into it with both eyes open and don’t expect them to be someone they aren’t. Don’t expect them to suddenly become super responsible or organized. Some may rise to the task, but many don’t so let them be them and don’t expect any more. This way you won’t be disappointed or sad if something you had hoped for didn’t happen. If you are in the situation where you are debating between two friends who you are equally close to and who you would equally want with you, choose the more responsible one. They will make your wedding planning easier and happier.
Now let me speak to the last point which you asked specifically about with regards to your destination wedding, but should also be thought about for non-destination weddings as well, and that is the cost factor. There are a bunch of things your wedding party may be responsible for paying for such as their attire, accessories, hair and makeup, other wedding related parties (like bachelor/bachelorette parties) and more. With destination weddings, you tack on travel costs as well.
So, let’s face it, all in all, it can be really expensive to be in a wedding party and for some that just isn’t doable. I think it’s important to remember the cost factor when you ask your wedding party, but also remember that you are asking them. It’s a question, so don’t assume the answer is yes.
You should still ask the people you are closest to, but be upfront about what you expect of them and where the wedding will be. Take off the pressure and let them know that while you’d love for them to be in your wedding party, they don’t have to say yes. That way you aren’t putting them on the spot to committing to coming to your wedding and all that entails. Your wedding party will appreciate your honesty and your understanding and they’ll either be able to commit (which hopefully is the case) or not and you can then either ask someone else or not.
So, to sum up, always pick your wedding party based on who you are closest to, but be cognizant of who they are and the cost factor when it comes to your destination wedding.
(Photo credit: Milou and Olin Photography)
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