Depending on your situation, choosing your groomsmen can be a difficult task. Some guys take a couple of months to figure out who to choose to accompany them at the the end of the aisle on their big day. If you’re fortunate enough to have a lot of friends, you don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings or give the impression that they mean less to you than the ones you chose. But be forewarned: Someone will always be disappointed. Whether they say it or not, you will be able to spot the scorned individual the second your decision is made public.
A lot of men have tiered friendships. They have two or three really close friends, then a bunch of other pals who are relatively equal in closeness. So how do you pick? We spoke with Harmony Walton, Founder of The Bridal Bar, who’s had more than her share of experiences with wedding parties, to help make the picking process easier by offering some guidelines.
1. Family Matters
If you’re stuck between a friend or a family member, choose family. “Family usually comes first,” Walton says. “If you have a sibling or close relative, be sure they don’t get left out of the party,” she warns. “Sometimes the politics just aren’t worth it.” Leaving certain family members out of the wedding party can cause considerable conflict. “This is especially important if a family member is paying for the wedding,” she adds. “So be respectful of their feelings too.”
2. Sex Doesn’t Matter
It’s 2018 and nobody even knows how many genders there are anymore: so why stick to just men? “If your best friend or closest relative is a woman, she can stand on your side too,” Walton suggests.
3. Numbers Don’t Matter
You may feel that you have to match the number of groomsmen to the number of bridesmaids, so no one has to walk down the aisle alone. But Walton is a believer in that idea that the numbers don’t have to match. “It’s more important to select the people that matter most to you,” she says. “There’s always a way to make the photos look good!” Which is the photographer’s job anyways, so don’t even worry about it.
4. Length of Friendship Does Matter
As with wedding guests, Walton advises you ask yourself: “Have you known this person for five years or will you know them five years from now?” If the answer is no, then maybe they don’t make the cut.
5. Your Fiancée’s Family Matters
You may not be close to them now, but after your wedding, they’re your family too. “If your future Mr. or Mrs. has a brother that they would like to be in your party, play nice and ask away!” Walton recommends.
6. Money Matters
If you’re hosting a lavish destination wedding in some exotic location and perhaps a friend or loved one can’t afford to attend and be in the wedding party, have the conversation about the expenses involved and determine if it’s something they are comfortable with. “That way there are no hard feelings if they decline or about the stress of paying to attend either,” Walton says.
7. Rules Don’t Matter (That Much)
The great thing about weddings today is that traditions can change to be what you want them to be. Non-traditional is the new tradition. “If you and your partner have come up with a formula that’s all your own to decide who’s in your wedding party, then that’s perfectly alright,” Walton says. “Just communicate with your loved ones so feelings aren’t hurt and invite accordingly.”
How to break it to a friend that they aren’t in your wedding party
What do you say to those who didn’t make the cut? We asked Walton to provide the best approach to this awkward conversation. “Honesty is the best policy,” she begins. “Let them know how important they are to you, how much you want them to be a part of their wedding as a guest (or perhaps as an usher) and let them know that you’ve limited your group for one reason or another.”
She continues, “It may be because you and your fiancé want a small wedding or perhaps you each gave benchmarks that you wanted to adhere to (length of time you’ve known someone). Whatever the reason may be, being honest and reminding them how much they matter still goes a long way.”
— Bobby Box