Picking your wedding party can be a very difficult and controversial part of the wedding. Obviously you would love to include all of your closest friends but you have to be realistic. Below are a list of things you should consider before asking anyone to stand up with you.
What is the size of your wedding?
If you are planning an elaborate 350 person wedding, your wedding party size may be different than if you were planning a 10 person family only intimate wedding. Think about the big picture, you should have a rough idea of how you want your day to look before you begin to ask
What will the expectations be for your wedding party?
If you are the type of person who loves to plan and you want to take the reins doing the majority of the planning, you may not need to rely on your wedding party to a lot of the legwork. Think about what you will need help with, who will be responsible for what and what your expectations for them will be.
Don't ask someone just because they asked you!
A very difficult part of getting married after your friends is feeling the pressure to include them in your wedding party just because they asked you to be in theirs. It also doesn't matter if your friend who is not engaged yet but already has their wedding planned in their head has promised you a spot in their wedding. Until there is a shiny diamond ring on their finger, a venue is booked and deposits have been made - a theoretical wedding does not trump your big day. If they are a good friend they will understand. Be mature enough to swallow your pride and be happy for your friend during this special time in their life.
It's okay to split up two friends if you only want one of them in your wedding
Don't pick someone to be in your wedding because they are besties with someone else you are planning on asking. Sometimes in a group of three friends you will feel the pressure to avoid splitting them up even though you aren't as close with one of them. Your wedding party may consist of one friend from several friend groups or may consist of people from all one group of friends. Whoever you decide to pick is up to you, and that's all that matters.
Will the people you picked be able to work together?
When you are having one of many meltdowns, when you are up until 3 am writing place cards, when you have reached absolute exhaustion and need someone to turn to, to help you pull everything together - can you count on them? Individually and as a group, is everyone who you chose to stand beside you going to do everything they can to ensure you have the most magical wedding day and those leading up to it.
What are the financial expectations?
Attending a wedding is one expense, but being in a wedding is a totally different ball game. Do you expect your wedding party to plan the engagement party? Bridal Shower? Bachelorette / Bachelor party? Stag and Doe? Pay for accommodations the night before and and on the wedding day? Hair.. Makeup... Suit rental... Bridesmaid dresses... the list goes on and on. Have an idea of what type of financial expectations you have for your wedding party and be sure to be crystal clear when you make the ask. Do NOT make financial assumptions on behalf of your bridesmaids / groomsmen that can't or wouldn't be able afford it, that could stir up a lot more drama than you are prepared to handle.
Don't be afraid to have the conversations with those you are not including
If you have a close friend and are only having family in the wedding that's okay! Don't avoid your friend and make things awkward. Have the conversation with them and explain where they are coming from. It seems scary but will make you feel way better in the end.