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Things to consider when choosing a wedding party

Couples are increasingly bucking long-established trends to make weddings uniquely their own.

One of today’s more popular tradition-busting trends is not adhering to gender lines when couples select friends and family members for their wedding parties.

Until recently, the vast majority of wedding couples selected members of the same sex to fill the roles needed for the ceremony and reception. The days of having men on one side and women on the other are gone. Coed wedding parties enable brides and grooms to have their favourite people by their side, regardless of gender.

Weddings have seen a rise in ‘groomswomen’ and ‘bridesmen’, blurring the lines of wedding traditions. Couples have often said that choosing whomever they desire to stand beside them during the wedding is more authentic than separating people simply because of gender.

Take for example a groom-to-be who is especially close to his sister. Such siblings may serve as bridesmaids, but grooms may want to have their sisters by their sides on their big day.

Foregoing gender roles may create the question of what wedding party members will wear.

Again, there are no firm rules, but coordination can make for better photos. A woman standing on the groom’s side can coordinate with the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses, but wear a different style. Or she can wear a dress that matches the colour of the groomsmen’s suits. A man standing with the bride can have accessories, such as a tie, vest and pocket square, that match bridesmaid dresses.

Couples are increasingly deviating from tradition for their weddings by looking beyond gender when picking wedding party members.

Being asked to be in the wedding party is an honour.

Some couples may be tempted to ask every friend, sibling or cousin they have to be in their wedding parties, and some do. In fact, ancient Roman law required 10 witnesses to be part of the wedding ceremony. However, the larger the wedding party, the more people couples have to coordinate and the more personalities they must manage.

While large wedding parties are in style, there isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula to decide which size party is right for a particular situation. Trends vary based on geography and culture. These tips can help couples decide on the size of their wedding parties.

  •  Match it to scope and style. Wedding planners use a standard ratio for a proportion of guests to wedding party members. That ratio is one pair of wedding attendants for every 50 guests. This creates a balanced feel where the more people in attendance, the larger the wedding party and vice versa.
  •  Consider your expenses. Wedding party members may be asked to spend considerable amounts of money to be in the wedding, but the couple will have certain expenses tied to the wedding party as well. These can include limousines to ferry people between the ceremony and reception, photography costs to arrange and photograph large wedding parties, the cost of boutonnieres and bouquets, attendants’ gifts, as well as extra mouths to feed at the rehearsal dinner. Small wedding parties can be easier on couples’ budgets.
  • Know your expectations. Couples should discuss what they expect from their wedding parties. Do couples want their loved ones to be very hands-on or waiting in the wings? For those who want a lot of input from their wedding parties, asking distant friends or family to be included may be impractical.
  • Select reliable, easygoing people. Wedding party members should be people couples can rely on, and it only helps if wedding party members are not prone to overreacting. Choose a wedding party that can be trusted and people with whom you get along.

Wedding party sizes are up to the couple, but bigger isn’t always better.

**Photo by Russett Photography