How do you choose Bridesmaid's?

Hi all,

Since announcing our engagement; I have been struggling to work out who should be my bridesmaid; so far I have decided on a school friend, and a friend who shares my cultural upbringing; country of birth. Neither of them are Catholic, but my school friend went to a Catholic school with me, so she understands the foundations of the Catholic Church and the other friend is Christian.

I like the idea of having a Catholic bridesmaid; because of the support and understanding in the preparations of the ceremony; songs, readings etc; and of all my friends; one of them is based abroad; and the other who is local will be having a baby early next year; so as much as I would love to ask her, am worried that she may not be able to participate as much because of her baby.

So; at the moment of all the other friends; one friend who have shown a lot of interest; and have even offered assistance is a non- practising Muslim.

I would like to know how important is it to choose a Bridesmaid who understands the importance of the Catholic marriage ceremony; as opposed to someone who is just willing to be involved in assisting regardless of the type of wedding.

Thanks for your guidance and tips again.

God Bless

Depends really on how you want to plan your wedding…
To me, bridesmaids are more of a place of “honor” rather than a role of assistance. Sure, they may help plan a bridal shower or make small wedding favors, but they certainly weren’t involved in planning the ceremony… at least that’s my personal experience.

Here’s my take on things from my previous experiences of being a member of the bridal party, MOH to be exact, until I was kicked out when the bride realized that I when I said all I could do was witness her marriage at the time she asked me, that I really meant it. I was a living seven hours away and a student with no money.

Bridesmaids are completely 100% optional. The only person who does anything that is actually required is the MOH who acts as a witness and signs the marriage certificate, but even she is optional, and doesn’t have to even be a she. All you need is someone who can legally witness your marriage and sign the marriage certificate.

I would also like to add that the larger your bridal party, the more drama there will be.

IMHO, I don’t think it’s really important that your bridal party has to understand what a Catholic wedding is. All they’re really expected to do is to stand there and look pretty. Even the look pretty part is optional.

I’m of the firm belief that brides should only expect their wedding party to show up for the wedding and do nothing more. Anything extra they offer to do is purely above and beyond their job description. Really, it’s the couple’s marriage and wedding and their friends and family members shouldn’t have to suffer because of it. Weddings have become far too selfish IMHO,.

All that being said, if they’re planning a stagette, you will want to make sure they are well acquainted with what are considered sins against the 6th and 9th commandment as well as sins against temperance and moderation.

Traditionally bridesmaids plan and hostess the showers (at least where I come from) and it is an honour, and it’s your choice not “I have to pick her or she’ll be mad at me”

For myself, if I was getting married, my four closest friends who have been there through thick and thin are the ones I would choose–none are Catholic. One is the daughter of a Protestant minister, one is the wife of a Protestant minister, one is Coptic Orthodox and one is a faithful Muslim…all have been much truer to the definition of friend than any Catholics I’ve been to church with and they are the ones I would pick.

How I long for the days of my childhood when the witnesses at most weddings were the dads of the bride and groom (or a favorite uncle if the dad was no longer living) and there was none of this waste of money on dresses and hairdressers and drama and, and, and…

Then again, I had a maid-of-honour, a woman who has remained a friend to this day, 37 years later, even though we may only see each other every 4 or 5 years. I didn’t see her at all between the time I asked her to be my maid-of-honour until the night before the wedding and all I expected of her was what she did: witness my marriage. I told her that she likely had a dress in her closet that she could wear, didn’t need to buy anything special. She wasn’t Catholic and neither were the groom and the best man.

My bridesmaids were all Catholic, but they had no part in the ceremony planning other than coming to the rehearsal. All of the readings, songs, and so forth were chosen by myself and my husband.

I am not sure how much participation you will expect from your bridesmaids, but I would suggest letting them decide how much they’d like to get involved, depending on their time and money. It is a very big favor to ask of someone, and they are not there so much to assist you as they are for support and as a witness.

For both of the weddings I’ve been in, the brides picked their maids based on how long they saw the friendship lasting in the future–they wanted women who were going to be in their lives for a long time. So for one, those happened to be all Catholic women, and for the other about half the party was Catholic.

For the most part, the bridesmaids have no part in planning the ceremony. My roommates bounced some ideas off of me, but ultimately it was theirs and their fiancés’ decision to make. My job was to plan the bridal shower and the bachelorette party, witness their wedding with joy, and be the party at the reception.

My bridesmaids were my sisters but I still didn’t expect them to do any planning. They did plan a shower for me and then friends at work planned another.

All of the plans for the wedding and reception were made by my husband and I. Everything was pretty low key but that’s how we wanted it. My mother and sisters did help make the favors. We had a lot of fun doing that.

I agree with everyone who has posted so far.

My bridesmaids were close family and friends - people who were important in my life. I had no expectations of them having to help with the planning, although they and my mother planned the bridal shower. Other than that, my husband and I planned the mass and the religious aspect of our day, while my mother and I planned the reception. It was such a wonderful bonding experience with my mother. It changed our relationship for the better.

I really didn’t want to bore my family and friends with all the details of the wedding. It has always been my belief that the wedding planning is never as exciting for anyone else except for the bridal couple and maybe their mothers. :stuck_out_tongue: So, I tried to make it as easy as possible for them. I saved them money by finding a good but very affordable seamstress who made them their gowns with the same material, but different styles to flatter their body types, and all I expected them to do was to show up and enjoy themselves.

To the OP - In regards to your friend who is expecting a baby, if she is important in your life and you would like to have her in your party, I would ask her and give her the choice to be in it or not. I was pregnant with my second child when my sister got engaged and would not have dreamed not being a part of it. Since she was a tomboy and was clueless with anything “wedding”, I helped her a lot with the planning. I didn’t mind doing it, as I wanted to and she was my sister. My son was 5 months old when she was married. As the matron-of-honor, I planned the bridal shower with our mom. I did the majority of the planning after the baby was born, as the other bridesmaids were not local.

Only one of mine was a practicing Catholic.

Mine did not help in any preparation, I just had them show up on the wedding day :slight_smile:

We each picked two of our favorite sisters. (It was easier for him since he only has two.) We didn’t want any more than four couples in our bridal party, so we had our other siblings do other things like readings, ushering, etc.

I would suggest that if you have a sister, make sure she is the maid of honor and then let your other picks be the bridesmaids. It can get weird if the sister gets a lower place of honor than the good friend/college roommate. Your friends will understand if you pick your sister over them as the maid of honor. Plus, it can be a lot easier to ask your sister to do 100 things at the last minute if something goes wrong.

That being said, make sure to keep things easy and inexpensive for your bridesmaids. Pick a dress or dress styles that will be easy to re-wear and will flatter the bridesmaid. The last thing anyone wants to do is buy a ridiculous dress in a crazy color that they only wear once. Be flexible with shoes and hair because as long as it looks appropriate with the outfit then the bridesmaid will feel a lot more comfortable than if you picked her shoes and hair for her.

Don’t discount the idea of a “junior bridesmaid” if you have a niece or cousin that is too old to be a flower girl. It is a great way to incorporate her into the bridal party. My cousin was 11 at my wedding and there were family members suggesting that she be a flower girl. Since she is the baby of the family right now people still treat her as if she is younger than she really is. I remember being her age and feeling frustrated when family members didn’t realize my maturity so I wanted to make sure she felt like her age and not like a little child. I decided to make her a junior bridesmaid. She had a really beautiful dress that was similar to the bridesmaid dresses and perfectly age-appropriate, unlike the awkwardly baby-ish flower girl dresses that some were suggesting. She processed down the aisle alone right before the bridesmaids and groomsmen and she did everything the bridesmaids did at the wedding. She is incredibly artistic and took on a lot of pre-wedding responsibilities that could have gone to someone older. She actually arranged many of the flowers for the reception and they looked very professional. Her eye for design is beyond her years. It was great to give her a place of honor that made her look and feel as mature as I know she really is.

Thanks all, I can see that it’s not essential to choose a Bridesmaid to assist at all but more importantly it is important for them to be supportive and a witness.

I have pretty much planned as much of the wedding as possible; all we need to do is set a date…so my Bridesmaid’s will not need to do much, apart from approve the dress, and turn up… hence why I was wondering about the ceremony part, and of course the church will assist us with that bit, thanks for the reminder.

I have not decided on the MoH as yet; I suppose it depends on who the 3rd person is; I do have half sisters (6 in total) between my mother and father’s new marriages. But; they are all living in different countries, and the relationship is not as close as if we were all together and there is a chance they may not even be able to attend the wedding… so that’s why I am limiting the bridal party to just friends.

I will leave it as two BM for now, and perhaps choose the final person my end of this year.

Thanks again.

How old does the maid of honor have to be to hold this position?

It depends on what the “position” entails in the social sense in your circle. Sometimes a lot of work is presumed, and sometimes it is a purely ceremonial position. As far as the Church is concerned, the priest or deacon is the “official witness.” There don’t have to be any attendants, so it doesn’t matter who you choose. Your state may require witnesses who are of a certain age, but that doesn’t have to be someone in a certain-colored dress. If you have only one sister and she has reached 13 or older, certainly you could ask her to be your maid of honor. Pregnant women are now OK, too, although that is a chancy proposition, obviously!

Agree. Between my three sisters and my husband’s two (which I consider obligatory attendants), and then two of my cousins and one friend, the ladies did very little aside from plan a shower. All my attendants happened to be Catholic, but religion certainly wasn’t an integral part of their “job.” Usually attendants do not help plan the ceremony.

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