The custom of having wedding attendants goes back to a time when it was common for a bride to be kidnapped by the groom and his small army of friends. This army of friends is now known as groomsmen, or ushers, and the bridesmaids, who used to dress like the bride to confuse the would be kidnappers, are the attendants to the bride on her special day. But what do you need to know about these honored attendants today?
As soon as you are engaged and have begun planning your wedding, the questions of who you will ask to be in the wedding party creep up. A general rule of thumb for ushers is that you will need one for every 40 to 50 guests you invite, and it is not necessary to have the same number of male and female attendants. You do not have to feel limited by this rule of thumb, however. If you prefer to keep your wedding party very small, or if you wish to include more people as honor attendants, that is certainly your choice to do so.
When considering who you should ask to be in the wedding, you may want to consider not only your current relationship with that person, but how you envision your relationship with them in the future. You are not obligated to ask someone to be in your wedding simply because you were asked to participate in their wedding. Choose your attendants based on your feelings of closeness to them now and your desire to remain close with them as the years go by. For this reason, many couples now include only siblings or other close relatives when choosing their bridal parties.
As soon as you know you want to include someone as an honor attendant, you should ask. If you live close enough to that person, it’s most proper to ask them in person. It is certainly acceptable to ask over the phone if you do not live close enough to a person to visit them, but definitely try to avoid the more casual email to ask. This is a big honor and you want the chosen person to know that you think very highly of them. Try to ask all of your attendants around the same time – in the same day or week if possible. Now is also a good time to think of the other special people who you might need to participate in your day, such as those who will perform the readings during a Mass, or someone to assist with the guest book or extra ushers for seating guests.