From the moment the ring slides onto your finger, I think most brides-to-be already have ideas swirling in their heads, bursting to get out. One of the first things for me was who I would want to stand up with me as my bridesmaids.
Luke and I decided to get married in the UK, where we met and where we now live, so I only wanted to choose women who I knew would absolutely be able to attend the wedding. While being a bridesmaid sounds like the epitome of friendship and sisterhood, it also can feel like a burden, emotionally and financially and I didn't want to make anyone feel obligated to attend the wedding when it was out of their realm of possibilities. I've only been a bridesmaid once, to a super low-key bride nonetheless, so I don't exactly know from experience. But people are more and more honest about what it takes to be a bridesmaid and I've seen a lot of my friends struggle to hang on to their friendship with a bridezilla or carefully budget for months to pay for flights, parties, and the dress.
We decided that we would have an equal number on both sides and it seemed like we both knew exactly who we wanted to ask. My bridesmaids are my three sisters, Cady, Rachel, and Sam, and my best friend from high school, Julie. Luke decided to ask his twin sister, Emily, to be his best "man". He also asked his friends Luke, Tom, and Tom to stand up with us. (Remember, it's England, they have like 5 name options. Ha!)
We were both really sure of our choices and none of them felt like obligations or returning the favor of someone who had put us in our wedding, which was really important to both of us not to do. We wanted to surround ourselves with people in our lives who would celebrate us, encourage us, and support us before, during, and after the wedding.
I think we both asked everybody in person as soon as we finalized who we wanted. Nothing major or exciting. Later, I gave each of my bridesmaids a gift. (Read about it here.) I also read about doing groomsmen boxes to ask your dudes and I just have two words on that: PLEASE DON'T. Guys aren't into that. It's not cute, it's just emasculating.