The Sweet Christian Bride

10 Considerations for Choosing a Bridal Party: #7

by admin on December 27, 2012 in Bridal Party, Family with No Comments

Consideration #7: Whom do your parents, fiancé, and future in-laws want you to have in your bridal party?

In a perfect world, your parents, or whoever your planning partners are, would allow you the freedom to plan your wedding as you choose and would love and support every decision you make.  Your fiancé and you would be perfect complements to each other such that your planning would be harmonious, efficient, and enjoyable.

In reality, however, there will be conflicts of interest among the planning partners.  One of the challenges of being a Christian bride is finding the appropriate line between honoring your parents and standing up for your opposing view point, and also the line between serving others and nurturing the desires of your own heart.

Choosing your bridal party is potentially one of these tricky places.  Hopefully you will have the freedom to choose as you desire, but if you do not, here are some guidelines for handling other people’s input:

1)      Hear them. So often a disagreement will be diffused if the “defeated” party feels understood.  If your parents tell you that you need to include your sister or cousin or childhood friend, listen to them and ask them questions to discern their deeper reasoning.

They might be worried that your sister will feel left out, which is now a specific and manageable concern that you can address.

Because weddings are highly emotional times, however, the reasoning might be more convoluted and deeply rooted than that.  You could inadvertently be getting mixed up in your parents’ grieving process out of which they are not able to smoothly grant you the rite of passage into being a married woman.  Their desire for you to have so-and-so in your bridal party is a symbol of that loss:  If you do not invite your childhood friend to be a bridesmaid, then your childhood must not mean anything to you and you are rejecting the duration of your life that they were so invested in.

It sounds dramatic, I know, but emotions are tricky,  No matter how little sense they might make to you, your parents’ emotions are valid because that is the reality of how they are feeling.  Taking the time to understand what’s going on underneath their words can be very powerful in their own emotional healing.

The same might be true for your fiancé.  If he wants his best girl friend to be in your bridal party, it is possible that in his mind, your acceptance of her equals your trust in him.  Or your in-laws, asking you to include their daughter might actually mean asking you to accept them.

If someone puts in a plea or a plug for a certain person to be your bridesmaid, ask them why, and really try to hear past their words.

2)      Evaluate the cost to you. Their suggestions might be awesome, in which case you can say yes, and everyone is happy!

Or their suggestions might be out of line with your plans.  If this is the case, consider what the worst case scenario is if you said yes anyway.  A reasonable cost to you weighed against a significant desire in them might be worth yielding for.

If you find that the cost is too high, however, explain to them why you are choosing not to include that particular person in your bridal party.  Offering a thoughtful rationale can turn a rejection into a declination, which is far easier for someone to accept.

3)      Address their concerns. If you decline their suggestion, see if you can address their real need behind it.  For example, if your parents were worried about your sister feeling left out, you can tell them how you intend to honor your sister in a different way.

If their concern is something more emotional, addressing their fears or their loss specifically can be very powerful:  “Mom, I appreciate you.  You are a great mother, and even though I am getting married, I still look to you for how to be a wife and, one day, a mother.  Thank you for investing in me and for loving me.”

4)      Pray. Whether the conversation goes smoothly or precariously, pray that God would continue to speak to their hearts and bring peace and reconciliation to the matter.

If your relationship with your parents, in-laws, fiancé, or other planning partner is not civil enough to do the aforementioned steps, then you should especially be praying for God’s will in the situation.  He might want you to draw strong boundaries, or He might ask you to sacrifice your preference.  But He is faithful to hear and address the cries of your heart!

Article originally published on January 26, 2011.

By Lindsay

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