The Ultimate Bridal Party Guide


William Arthur Photography


Welcome to your Ultimate Bridal Party Guide!! We’re going to break down everything from picking your bridal party to getting them dressed for your big day. Your bridal party is there to support you on your wedding day and is made up of your closest friends and family. They are there to be a sounding board during the planning process and your “I Do Crew” for the party.


How to Pick Your Bridal Party


Choosing your wedding party can be stressful but also so, so fun. You want to make sure that you have the right crew by your side on the most important day of your life.

  • Consider how many guests you have. If you're having a small wedding (under 50) consider having a smaller party so that the crew standing with you doesn’t overpower the audience in photos. You'll want to make sure you have people in the audience and not all up there with you. Balance. If you're having a larger wedding (over 150) you can totally go all out and have as many as you want! Just remember, the more attendants you have the more bridal party gifts, tux rentals, dresses, hair and makeup… and time to put it all together! Big or small, just be sure to allot the right amount of time.

  • Don't choose someone just because they chose you. Just because someone chose you to be in their 12 person party does not mean you need to choose them for your 3 person party, or any other size of bridal party. Just because someone chose you 5 years ago doesn't mean you need to choose them. Choose people that are present and responsive in your life. Being in a bridal party is fun!! But it also takes some responsibility - make sure you choose people that will show up for you on your wedding day, emotionally AND physically!

  • Choose someone responsible (ish) for your Maid of Honor / Best Man. Typically, if there's no ring bearer, the Maid of Honor and/or Best Man hold onto the rings. Choose someone who you trust not to lose them, especially if they're not in their boxes. MOH and BM also can also have some sort of responsibility for bachelorette/bachelor parties. Choose someone who will plan a gathering to your style. The last thing you want is to go to a crazy party that you didn't want just because your MOH or BM wants to rage. These people will probably also be giving speeches. Make sure you choose someone who won't say something you don't want your grandma to hear, or do… if Grandma is into that sort of thing.

  • Decide what they are paying for and what you are paying for. Remember, not everyone's financial situation is the same. Consider this when deciding who's paying for what. If you want to spoil your bridal party and go ham on the gifts, dresses, hair and make up… go for it! If considering a more budget friendly bridal party experience then consider offering hair and makeup as an option and listing the price ahead of time, or outlining a color for dresses and having each bridesmaid pick their own dress style. There are lots of ways to mix and match monetary responsibilities to make sure its a comfortable situation for you and and everyone involved.

  • Girls or guys on either side - don't be afraid to break tradition. Have a male bff? Don't be afraid to put them on the girl's side and visa versa. What matters is that the person fully supports you and your marriage.

  • Kids are not required. Don't feel pressured to have children in your wedding if it’s something that you don’t want to do. Or at your wedding at all for that matter. We have never seen a Flower Man disappoint and they ALWAYS provide a bit of entertainment, at the ceremony as well as on the dance floor. Get creative - this is YOUR wedding. Do what you want to do!


Corner House Photography


What To Get Them


Your bridesmaids and groomsmen are standing with you on your special day. If you’re planning on giving bridal party gifts, consider something memorable as well as any things you might “require” of your crew like robes or pajamas. We’ve linked some of our favorite gifts below but encourage you to check out Etsy - we love Etsy and all their crafty glory!

Bridesmaids:

  • Personalized Compact Mirrors - Great for day-of makeup checks - and beyond!

  • Bath Soak – after a few days of wedding festivities, your bridesmaids will look forward to a soothing bath.

  • Pamper Day by Precision Integrative – Are you a Central Florida local? Precision Integrative in Clermont provides an opportunity for both bride and bridesmaids to keep your skin looking youthful and fresh for all of the professional photos that will be taken on wedding day.

  • They offer services like: Lipo-Mino Mix, Nutraceutical facial rejuvenation, & calming acupuncture

  • Gray Collective Bridal, also in Clermont, has a fabulous collection of jewelry, bridesmaid shirts, bachelorette outfits, and anything your gaggle of girls might need to get wedding ready.

  • Statement hair accessories – A great matching accessory for you and your party.

  • Personalized Jewelry – Again, another matchy matchy way to connect with your party on day-of.

Groomsmen:

  • Personalized Money Clip – Your day is the most important one of your life. Make sure your party remembers that every time they go to pay for something in the future. A subtle reminder of your never ending thanks for them being in your life.

  • Personalized water canteen – It’s Florida! Everyone needs to stay on top of their hydration game. Personalize this useful gift here.

  • Personalized dopp kit – A great gift for the groomsman that travels often.

  • Personalized knife – A man’s gift. That’s all I have to say about that one.

  • Sunglasses/socks – A great combo for groomsmen to wear on wedding day. Fun for photos and a matching moment!


Jessica Thomas Photography


Timeline For Outfits


To be honest, from everything we have seen, timelines were all over the map. But we’ve crunched the numbers for you and brought you the most reasonable timeline for your whole crew.


  • For the Ladies

  • Choose colors that match your theme! You can usually order swatches of dress colors for minimal cost. This is a huge help to see the actual color and envision how it will look at the altar.

  • S Y D I N S I D E R T I P

  • If sending bridal party invites, include a swatch of their own so that they can take it shopping with them. This way you avoid any confusion with colors based on low printer ink.

  • Start ordering dresses about 3-4 months in advance (or earlier depending on where you order from!). Sometimes they are made to order so you want to give them enough time to arrive with even more of a buffer to do any alterations.

  • Most websites give you measuring guidelines. Make a party of it to get measurements for all of your girls. Wine and Skype? Don’t mind if I do!

  • For the Guys

  • Choose colors that match your theme or get goofy with it and have them wear something totally different! You can have your groomsmen wear something slightly different from the groom or have them all matching. The choice is yours!

  • If possible, schedule a group fitting for all of the guys about four to six months before the wedding.

  • If you have out of towners, they can stop by any tux shop, get their measurements and send them to the store you are using.



Shelbi DeMartino Photographs


What They Should Pay For

It should be clear from the get-go what you’re expecting them to pay for and not pay for. Let them know as soon as possible so that they can prepare financially. Wedding Wire estimates that the average cost of being a bridesmaid is $1200 for each wedding. This can vary wedding to wedding but it’s definitely something to be aware of. Be conscientious of your bridal party and give them plenty of leeway and time to plan. Here’s a list of things you could be asking your party to pay for:


  • Their own travel and accommodations for bachelorette parties, the actual wedding and other festivities.

  • Potentially part of your way for bachelor/bachelorette parties. This distinction should be made early in the planning process.

  • For their outfits for any of your festivities

  • For their hair and makeup - this is at your discretion but note that paying for these services can add up and it’s not unusual to ask for your bridal party to pay for some or all of them.


What You Pay For

There are some things that the couple is responsible for. Some of these things are optional of course

  • Florals

  • This would include whatever your bridesmaids are holding (florals or not) and boutineers (or other matching manly accessories).

  • Transportation to Wedding Venue

  • If you are getting ready off site you will want to travel together to the venue to avoid any stragglers. The couple is usually responsible for this transportation.

  • Bridal Party Gifts

  • This is up to you but it’s tradition (and fun!) to present your bridal party with gifts to say thank you for being such a huge part of your wedding day. See above for fun ideas!

  • Bridal Party Proposal Gifts

  • This is a fun tradition to “propose” to your bridal party and ask them to stand by your side. Also see above for fun ideas!



Dreamscape Photography


Where They Should Sit

There are two options for seating for your bridal party. Both are totally acceptable, it’s really up to you how you want them

  • Head Table

  • This is typically one long table where your bridal party sits. The only downside to this is that usually significant others of the bridal party would be left out of the table and would probably be sitting with each other at a guest table.

  • W E D D I N G D A Y T I P

  • Many times couples get bombarded during dinner with guests coming over to congratulate them. The benefit of a head table is that there’s a natural “protective buffer” from your guests so that you can have time to eat. And eating on wedding day is essential!!


  • Guest Table

  • If you’re doing a sweetheart table your bridal party will sit at regular guest tables. The benefit of this is that significant others can sit together and you can pair your guests up together at tables.

  • A downside to having a sweetheart table is that your guests will have more access to you during dinner and you might not be able to have uninterrupted time eat. It’s best to have a coordinator around to help redirect guests so that you can eat, which, again, is super essential! 😉


Blak and Tammy Photography


Responsibilities

  • Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties -The latest trend is that brides and grooms are planning their own parties with loads of input from their BM or MOH. Feel free to mix and match responsibilities on this, but the important thing is to COMMUNICATE! If you have a way, vibe, or thing you absolutely do or don’t want, talk it out with those you have asked to help with the event.

  • Bridal Party Photos - these photos are usually taken either after ceremony or before if you are doing a first look.

  • W E D D I N G D A Y T I P

  • Bridal party photos can usually take a big chunk of time. If you’re up for it, we recommend taking photos before ceremony. If you’re doing a first look you can get the entire bridal party to take photos after your first look. If you’re not doing a first look you should schedule to at least get the guys and girls done separately. This is a HUGE time saver and will get you to the celebrating part of the celebration much faster.

  • Getting Ready Photos

  • It’s also nice if your bridal party is present during your getting ready photos. A photo of the girls in their getting ready outfits is always super cute! And who doesn’t love a dapper dude crew tying up some bow ties?

  • Fluffing the bride's dress at the altar and holding the bouquet.

  • This is usually the Maid of Honor’s duty but did you know that whoever is standing next to the MOH also helps hold the bouquets? The MOH passes her bouquet to the person next to her so that she can fix the bride’s dress and take the bridal bouquet.

  • S Y D S P E C I A L

  • We’ve got some special dance moves reserved just for getting your MOH’s attention if she forgets 😉

  • Introductions

  • Introductions are typically done at the beginning of the reception. The DJ or MC will introduce each person in the bridal party to the rest of the guests before introducing the new Mr. and Mrs.! It’s always fun to see the bridal party dance in and either find their seats or circle the dance floor for the first dance but it’s totally up to you how your crew gets introduced. Get creative with it!

  • Speeches

  • There’s usually one or two people from the bridal party responsible for giving speeches.

  • W E D D I N G D A Y T I P

  • Remember, speeches will be said in front of everybody. Try and pick people who you know won’t make Grandma blush but also also really just know how to keep your vibe rolling!


Honorable Mention: Something Blue Crew


Sometimes there are so many important people in our lives that we can't possibly include them ALL into our bridal parties. A new tradition some couples are embracing is the Something Blue Crew. This is for those special friends or family who aren’t able to be part of your wedding party for some reason or another. Couples are asking these special guests to either wear a gifted piece of blue jewelry or blue clothing to symbolize their “Something Blue”. This is such a great way to include important members of your inner circle! Be sure to add your "Something Blue Crew" to your shot list too so that you get a good photo with them. Weddings are a great time to customize old traditions and make them new and suitable for your big day!


Bride: Danielle Lasirona


However you decide to build your bridal party remember that you want to be surrounded by loving and supportive people, specifically, people that support your marriage. You want to make sure you choose the people that you will have the most fun with, and will also have your best interests in mind throughout the whole day!


Have more questions regarding your bridal party? Ask us in the comments below!


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