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You’re engaged and the initial wave of excitement has finally settled (does it ever really though?) and it’s time to start getting serious about planning your next steps forward. Well, first off, congratulations on getting engaged! If you haven’t already checked it out, here’s a shameless plug on my thoughts for Savoring Your Engagement. Now, if you are as lost as I was about where to begin wedding planning, I suggest you hire a wedding planner and see what level of help you might need. After that, you should definitely sit down and think about picking your wedding party support team (and that’s what I’m really here to talk with you about).

Selecting your wedding party is such an important step in wedding planning that is often overlooked or seen as a simple task. After the number of weddings working alongside TGA, I can tell you picking your wedding party can either make or break your wedding day. A supportive team behind you makes all the difference when you’re entering into this next big step in your life.

Your wedding party is not just there to stand behind you on your big day, but also throw you bach parties, be your confidant, support system, hype you up, show up for all the special occasions, give toasts, and make sure you’re ok and happy along the way. It’s a big responsibility and this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are a lot of things to factor in while making your decision so I’ve gathered my best advice to help you with the process.

1.F*CK Obligation

I’ve said this a billion times and will continue to say this, weddings have way too much unnecessary obligation and in my opinion, you should forget about it. If it doesn’t make you happy or stresses you out, then F*CK IT. Oftentimes, people choose based on obligation and end up picking a family member, or someone who asked them, or the person they’ve known the longest to be in their wedding party/best person. Don’t feel obligated to give anyone this honorary title if you even slightly know they’re not the best person for the job. Are they emotionally, financially, and mentally able to do all of it at this time in their life? And if the answer is no, then for the sake of both of you, you should consider someone else (or split the responsibility between two best people). This also goes for the rest of your wedding party, don’t pick people you know may not be able to show up for you because you’ll only end up disappointed.

2. Be Realistic

I think people really want to believe the best in their friends and family members. It’s a few months of their life and one big day in yours where you hope they can step up and be the best version of themselves to help make your wedding day as special as possible, but honestly, not everyone will. Not all people are selfless enough to do this one (pretty big) thing for you. It hurts to hear, but I would encourage you to think realistically about the people you’re considering for your wedding party and what your expectations of them are, because some will rise to the occasion, and many will not.

3. Forget A Traditional Wedding Party Gone are the days where you only pick three people because your partner also picked three people to be on their side. My other half and I picked different numbers because we didn’t want to force the other to select another person to be on their side so it would “be even”. There are ways to work around it and honestly just throwing an extra person in the mix for that reason is silly. It’s a lot of responsibility and a big ask just so you can have an even number of people on each side. Also who cares about only picking “the same gender” to be on each side, it’s such a dated, old fashioned, sexist tradition. Pick the people closest to you because you love them, because theyʻve been there for you throughout this relationship, and because you couldn’t imagine your wedding day without them.

4. Be Understanding I take being in a wedding party very seriously now that I fully understand the depth and the responsibility of it. It can be a lot to ask of someone. Sometimes your friends or family members are going through their own stuff, be it medical, personal, financial, etc. and they’re not going to be able to be there for you as much as you’d like. Be upfront of what you are expecting of your party and what their role will be. If they politely decline, understand that this was likely a hard decision for them to make and it doesn’t mean they love you less. Being upfront with what they can or can’t do now is a better approach, rather than not showing up later. On the same note, maybe consider where everyone is at (physically and mentally) before you ask them to be a part of your wedding party. If you’re unsure if this is something they can handle right now, consider taking them out to catch up, and talk openly and honestly before you spring a public and formal ask on them.

5. Consider Their Relationship With You and Your Partner

How has this person impacted, influenced, and been there for YOU throughout your relationship with your partner? At the same time, what is THEIR relationship with your partner? Has this person been supportive of your relationship and do they care about your partner, too? You’ll want to be surrounded by love and feel supported throughout this process so thinking bigger picture about how they fit into your love story as a couple is also important. At the end of the day you want not only your biggest supporter, but someone who supports your relationship with your partner.

Inevitably, the choice is up to you and your partner. Picking your wedding party support team will be a vital step in the wedding planning process that can help make the journey smooth sailing or a slightly more stressful trip. I wish you the best; may you make your selections intentionally and with love.

Other photographers featured in this post: The Singlers Danielle Bennink Jon Cu Photography

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