Selecting your bridesmaids can be quite daunting. It can be very challenging to narrow down your list to a certain number, especially with the potential of hurting someone’s feelings and having them feel left out. To avoid this, you may decide to forego a bridal party altogether. Whatever the case may be, you will likely have friends and family who are close to you but did not make the cut into the bridal party. Thankfully, there are meaningful ways in which you can include your nearest and dearest, even if they are not officially a bridesmaid. Read on below!

Seek Her Expertise During the Planning – Your close friend or family member may not be in the bridal party, but picking her brain during the planning can make her feel like a valued part of the process. Invite her to your cake tasting, reception table mockup, or your final venue walkthrough—any appointment when you may need a second pair of eyes and a gal pal’s opinion. Involve her in the wedding prep by asking for her help on assembling invitations, welcome bags, or favors. Get her opinion on song selections, signature cocktails, favors, or wedding decor… she might provide some good insight to help you finalize some decisions!

Invite Her to Your Dress Shopping or Fitting – While you want to keep your dress shopping entourage small, your group does not have to be limited to bridesmaids only. Inviting a close friend or family member who is not in your bridal party to go along with you, or even to go to one of your dress fittings, will make that person feel special and big a part of the celebration.

Party with Her at All of the Pre-Wedding Events – The engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, and rehearsal dinner are all great opportunities to invite close friends and family to celebrate with you, even if they are not in the bridal party. You can also honor this special person in your life by asking if she would like to give a toast at the rehearsal dinner.

Invite Her to Get Ready With You – This is an extremely meaningful gesture and a great way to include your close friend or family member on the wedding day. If there is room in the budget, consider covering her hair and/or makeup services as a thank you for her support, or buy her a special robe to match the bridesmaids while getting ready together.

Include Her at the Ceremony or Reception – Another way to include this special lady in your life is by asking if she would do a reading at the ceremony, or even greet guests, pass out programs, or encourage guests to sign the guest book. She can wear a color similar to the bridesmaids as a valued extension of the bridal party.

Photographer – M Hart Photography | Contact: marlies@mhartphoto.com