Q: I have one too many bridesmaids. How can I work the extra friend into my wedding?
A: Good news—you won’t have to invent a role for your friend. There’s no bridal law that says you have to have an equal number of male and female attendants. Single attendants of either sex can walk up and down the aisle alone or in pairs, or a groomsman can accompany two women, one on each arm. As for the first dance, it’s optional to have the entire wedding party pair off to join you and your husband for a spin. If you do want everyone on the dance floor, your solo maid can dance with her date or with another honored guest—your grandfather, a family friend or a favorite uncle.
Q: One of my bridesmaids doesn’t seem enthusiastic about my wedding. Should I ask her to quit the party?
A: No. This is your wedding, not a political primary. And besides, once you’ve asked someone to be an attendant, you can’t un-ask her. Consider why your friend isn’t jumping for joy regarding your wedding. Is she busy with school? Working long hours? Raising a family? Even though the wedding is likely the most important thing in your life right now, it’s probably not in hers. So get a little perspective. If being busy isn’t the reason for her aloofness, could she be jealous? If that’s the case, go easy on her and don’t dominate your time together with talk of flower palettes and china patterns.
Q: At least half of my attendants are from out of town. Am I supposed to pay for their hotel rooms? What about all of the dresses?
A: Attendants usually pay for their own accommodations and attire. You can help them out though, by calling around to local hotels and asking about a discounted rate for reserving a block of rooms. (Also, local friends and relatives might be happy to put up a member of the wedding.) Do keep the big financial picture in mind as you shop for dresses and choose something within reason. And please, don’t force them to get their hair or makeup professionally done. However, if you’d like to cover those costs, that’s perfectly acceptable.
Q: Is it all right to have two maids of honor?
A: Of course! It’s your party, and you can have as many maids of honor as you want. But you’ll want to set your dynamic duo off in a special way. You might have them wear slightly different dresses from the rest of your bevy of bridesmaids. This could mean a different color, different style or the same color and style with a shorter or longer hem line. Or simply have the two of them march down the aisle together—this way there’s no mistaking that they both hold the top slot in the wedding party. If you’re having a bridal-party dance at the reception, instruct the best man to take a turn around the dance floor with both girls (separately, of course). Finally, ask your two main maids to give a joint speech at the reception. And don’t forget to give your photographer the heads up on this great photo op.
Q: Do I have to ask an old friend to be in my bridal party just because I was in hers five years ago?
A: Picking your attendants isn’t about payback. It’s about including people who supported you and your fiancé as your relationship grew, and who shared in your happiness once you got engaged. The truth is, people change and grow apart. One day you’re a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding; the next day, you’re only a name on her Christmas card list. Chances are your old friend is quite aware that you two are no longer bosom buddies and she’d probably feel funny about accepting a role usually reserved for the bride’s closest confidantes. Invite her to the wedding—if she’s a real friend she’ll be thrilled just to be a guest.