By your side...

Choosing your wedding party may not be as easy as it seems. You can be very lucky and have a number of sisters or brothers to choose as your attendants; others might not have any siblings and you will then have to look at choosing between other relatives and friends. Aside from that, you need to know how many attendants you want - bear in mind that the more attendants you have, the bigger the cost will be. In Ireland it is traditional for the bride to pay for the bridesmaids' dresses - whereas in other countries most maids are expected to buy their own.

As we dream up our wedding plans we may know exactly who we want as our bridesmaids but you have to also remember that they will not necessarily want to take you up on the offer. It is not an insult to you - they might just have too much going on in their lives to be able to devote as much time as you need from them. So don't automatically assume that they will accept - invite them to be your attendant but in such a way that they don't feel under pressure to accept. If they feel like they have to be there it will take away from the enjoyment of your wedding day - they may be happier just attending as a guest.

Another common dilemma generally stems from the boys - again, it's very easy when the groom has perhaps 2 or 3 brothers that he can choose to be his groomsmen, but if he has to look towards friends and cousins it can become very difficult! They don't want to make anyone feel like they've been overlooked for the role. Try to come to a decision together about the right number of attendants for you both and remember; it doesn't necessarily need to be an even number on each side. Keep an eye on your numbers too - you might also be incorporating nieces, nephews or your own children as flower girls and paige boys. If you have 4 bridesmaids, 4 groomsmen, 2 flower girls, 2 paige boys, plus parents and the bride and groom themselves, it makes for a very large top table!

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