1. More is not merrier. You can have as many as you like, though it's recommended not to have more than 6 or 7. Think of it this way, all of the girls have to agree on the dress. The more there are, the harder it is to please them. If budget is an issue, think of who has to pay for the bouquets... you.
2. Relatives trump friends. If you have a sister, step-sister, or soon to be sister-in-law, it's best to try to include them in your party. Trust me, you don't want family drama on top of wedding stress because you didn't include a relative.
3. Only besties please. Choose your closest friends, the ones that have been there the most. If you haven't talked to them in a few years, skip them and keep them as a guest. You need people you know you can count on.
4. Guys count too. Trend alert! Bridesmen. More and more men are entering the bridal party on the bride's side. And why shouldn't they be there if they're your best friends? I personally have three bridesmen and four bridesmaids. Yes, ladies, this means the groom's side can also have women.
5. Don't assume money. If you're scared a friend can't afford the expense (the dress, shoes, and sometimes travel), don't not ask them. You should make the offer and let them decide. Perhaps their circumstance isn't as bad as you think. Offer to help them if it means that much to you for them to be included. Perhaps a family member of theirs will help them, but always ask. If they can't, no hard feelings, but there might have been had you not asked.
6. Don't return favors. Just because you were in a friend's bridal party four years ago doesn't mean they have to be in yours if you don't want them to.
7. Tell them! Spread the word as soon as you have it figured out. Nothing is worse than listening to friends bicker about who is in the party and who isn't. True friends will understand your choices no matter what.
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