How to Find Your Bride Tribe

There aren’t any hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing who will stand by your side on your big day, but these guidelines can help you narrow it down.

Take Some Time 

As soon as there’s a ring, there are questions: When’s the date? How big is the wedding party? An off-the-cuff response could lead to hurt feelings down the line if you change your mind. Hitting pause also gives you time to take notice of how the people in your life react to the news, and who’s really there for you during your engagement.

Relationships Rule 

Instead of starting with “I want five bridesmaids” and filling the slots one by one, try thinking about your closest relationships instead. Grab a pen and paper and list the must-have members of your wedding party. Take note of when you hesitate to write another name. This pause might be a natural way to set the number

Challenge Your Choices 

“I’m asking Becky to be my bridesmaid because I stood up in her wedding” is not the best reason to include someone. Instead, consider each friend’s significance in your life. Or turn to your phone. Who do you see in your recent calls and texts? Often our phones are a reflection of the closeness of our relationships. 

Consider Alternative Roles 

The wedding party isn’t the only way to include your loved ones. Asking a friend or family member to serve as a reader, singer, toast-giver or even designated bustle-tie-er lets her play a role and feel involved. And be sure to let her know that you’re grateful for her help!

What to Expect from your Maid of Honor

SHE’S THE GIN to your tonic, the Monica to your Rachel. She’s your maid of honor, and she is there to make your life a little easier. It’s a fairly hefty responsibility, so make sure that the person you’re considering is up for the job. 

In addition to serving as your ad hoc personal assistant leading up to and on the big day, the MoH is responsible for planning the bachelorette party and the bridal shower. That’s a ton of work, so you may want to lend a hand. Better yet, take the initiative in recruiting assistance from other members of the wedding party. Your mom might even want to jump in, particularly when it comes to planning the shower. 

“Being a maid of honor takes careful planning, patience and lots of positive affirmation [for the bride],” says Brittany Hicks, who’s filled the role three times. 

Considering whether your bestie has the tools to tackle this job may feel kind of cold, not to mention sticky to address. Instead of making the decision yourself, discuss the expectations with her and get her input. Even if she is Ms. UltraOrganized, she might not have the time to take on this responsibility. Coming to a decision together helps avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings. 

Gifts Tailor-Made for Your Maids


Etsy is a fantastic source for unique bridesmaid gifts, like these super-cute customizable mugs. Pair them with beans from Stone Creek or your favorite local coffee shop. $12, MJ’s Bridal Support,



Gift sets of locally sourced soaps, candles, lip balms and lotions are a sweet way to treat your ladies. And this boutique will help you choose what goes in the set. $15-$48, The Waxwing, 


Monograms are a great way to take a standard gift and make it personal. And you can make these canvas totes even more special by packing them with your bridesmaids’ favorite snacks. $30-$60, Lands’ End,

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s Weddings issue.

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Allison Garcia is the Digital Editor for Milwaukee Magazine.