After saying, ‘Yes, I’ll marry you,’ one of the first decisions you make is who’ll be your bridesmaids. Work down that list of close friends and determine to whom you want to assign this role. Learn the crucial criteria for choosing the best bridesmaids for your big day.

A maid of honor should ensure the bride is comfortable and fully ready for the occasion. Make sure your pick is up to the task. The maid of honor should be:

  • Significant: Tradition has it that the honor goes to someone who means a lot to the bride: a best friend, a sister or a close female relative. Also consider whether that person plays a significant role in your fiance’s life. Be open-minded and don’t push a candidate with whom your future partner or either of your families feels uncomfortable.
  • Flexible: Pick someone who can handle wearing many hats, from planning your bridal shower and bachelorette party to coordinating the other bridesmaids. She’s going to need all of her coordinating skills to keep things running smoothly.
  • Dependable: She must be able to provide a comforting and supportive presence throughout the entire wedding process, from dress selection to the reception. She’ll also need to pay for her own dress, shoes, accessories, transportation and lodging during the wedding activities.

You might find yourself torn between two potential candidates. Feel free to have two maids of honor — or one maid and one matron — in your wedding ceremony. Just be sure to note their status in your program so your guests are aware.

Usually close relatives and best friends are the best choices for bridesmaids. Other than the obvious — that you’d want to share your special day with those close to you — remember that you’re asking people to make a major commitment, both personally and financially. If you ask someone who isn’t a close pal, she may feel overwhelmed and burdened. Sit down for an intimate chat when you want to ask someone to participate; that should give her the space she needs to decline the honor.

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