I love this photo from our friends Max and Shelby’s wedding last summer! This photo is such a beautiful representation of what it means to be a bridesmaid… loving and supporting your friend on the biggest day of her life. Deciding on who you want to be a part of your wedding party can be tricky, especially if you have lots of people you want to include on your wedding day. Here are three questions to help guide you as you think about who you’d like to invite into that very special space.

1. How big is your wedding going to be?

If your wedding is on the smaller end, consider having fewer bridesmaids, and vice versa for larger weddings. If your wedding party is going to be smaller and there are additional ladies if your life you’d like to incorporate, think of inviting them into other pieces of the wedding— maybe one friend can direct vendors where to go as they arrive, maybe one does your makeup or hair, maybe one is a great artist and can design your invitations. The possibilities are endless!

2. How many groomsmen is your fiancé thinking of having?

Traditionally there are the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, so if you’re going with tradition you’ll want to come to an agreed-upon number. This doesn’t always have to be the case— in recent years we’ve seen more and more weddings with more groomsmen than bridesmaids or more bridesmaids than groomsmen.

3. How close are you?

A good rule of thumb is this: If something major was happening in your life, is this someone you’d go to for advice? While this isn’t always the mark for answering the question of how close you are, it’s a good starting place.

If there are additional people you’d like to be a part of your wedding, we’ve seen some super creative ways to include people outside of the traditional wedding party. The Something Blue Crew is a great new twist on tradition! Have all your friends you want to include wear something blue to your wedding. This will help them stand out as a group from all of your guests and it also helps cover your something blue for your traditional wedding items (like your something old, new, borrowed, and blue). Once the reception has started, gather your Something Blue Crew for a group photo! You can also invite your special friends to your wedding ceremony early to do a dress reveal with them. If you’re having an especially smaller group of bridesmaids and have multiple friends you still want to celebrate with, you can invite them to your bachelorette party to bring them into the celebrations. And then lastly, if you want to go a traditional route, inviting your friends to be ushers is a great way to incorporate them into the ceremony!

Ultimately, the only question you need to ask yourself when it comes to who to include as a bridesmaid is this: Can you imagine your wedding day without them by your side? In the end, no one else’s advice on who to have or not have in your wedding will matter nearly as much as how you picture your perfect day. If this is someone you can’t imagine getting married without them standing by your side, then there’s your answer! Invite the people you want beside you who will hold you accountable, support you, and love you through this next phase of life! Have fun celebrating with all your besties!