Wedding etiquette: Do I have to ask my friend to be a bridesmaid if I was in her bridal party?
by Stephanie

Laura Nelson | Snippet & Ink
Laura Nelson | Snippet & Ink

Laura Nelson Photography

QUESTION: Do I have to ask my friend to be a bridesmaid if I was in her bridal party?

GINA'S ANSWER: Absolutely not. If that was the case I’d have a giant wedding party that included people I rarely see anymore. Take stock of what kind of wedding party (if you want one at all) that you’d like and what you expect of the people in it. Base your decision on your life right now, not your life five or ten years ago.

JESS' ANSWER: Definitely not! However, ask yourself what your reasoning is. Is it because you have too many sisters? Female cousins? You want to make sure you’re sister-in-law to be is part of the bridal party? These are all excuses that your friend will understand. No matter what your excuse, always discuss with the person openly.

ASHLEY'S ANSWER: Nope. Reciprocity is nice but not always realistic, therefore you can explain to them that they are important to you too, but it just is about the situation. For example, if you have more siblings/family that need to be in your wedding or vice versa, then it should not be expected to reciprocate. You can ask that person to do a reading at your ceremony or to give a toast at dinner if it really means that much to the them, so they are included. Feelings might get hurt, so I would recommend addressing this situation from day one and clearly explaining your reasons for your arrangements. Avoidance is never a good policy.

Need more wedding etiquette, advice and tips? See previous etiquette posts here.

Gina and Matt_web_175
Gina and Matt_web_175

Gina Heideman is a bride-in-training from Boise, Idaho. When she's not planning her navy/preppy/downtown wedding, she spends her time perfecting her crab cake recipe, drinking wine and playing cribbage with her fiance, and playing outside. She's an avid swimmer, runner, gardener and reality TV junkie. By day she works as Executive Director of a statewide nonprofit organization that focuses on meth use prevention. By night she's a freelance graphic designer (

Jess Keys is a Journalism graduate of Indiana University, a Chicago transplant and Founder of The Golden Girl Blog. She was first bitten by the wedding bug at age 11, when she purchased her first Brides magazine in the Lexington, KY airport. She's partial to red lipstick, French Bulldogs, and a lover of the written word. When she's not writing for Wedding Party, you can often find her at the closest Dim Sum establishment, or exploring the Windy City with her camera in tow.

Ashley Smith is the wedding planner for Buzzworthy SF. She believes that purpose, craft, design, and strategy are all cohesive elements to produce a successful event. Ashley is available for weddings in California and worldwide. Her expertise is in the Bay Area, but her heart is in Mexico, where she is certified by the board of tourism to plan and work. If she is not in San Francisco planning weddings and being social, you’ll find her on the beach at Playa Azul, Papaya Playa, or exploring the coast lines in Central America via bicycle.