bridesmaids wearing red dresses
Weddings by Adrienne & Amber

For some, selecting bridesmaids couldn’t be easier—perhaps it’s something they decided long ago, even before they met their significant other.  But for others, it can be a tough decision fraught with a great deal of confusion. How many bridesmaids should you have, and who should you choose? How do you know whether or not someone will make a good bridesmaid in the first place? These are all normal and important questions to be asking yourself as you prepare to pop the question to your squad. Most of the time, going with your gut on who will make a great bridesmaid is best.

If selecting bridesmaids is causing you stress, you can look for these signs that one of your friends or family members should be part of your bridal party.

They know your family well.

Whether or not family members are helping pay for or simply plan the wedding, the dynamics will play a big role in the way things go down leading up to the big day and especially on the big day. “Selecting bridesmaids who understand these dynamics and can pinch-hit for you on the big day when you should be focused on more important things, is key and immensely helpful,” says Jonathan Stamper-Halpin of Two Kindred Event Planners in New York City. “Wedding planners also love an informed bridesmaid who can help in those tough moments as there’s no way they can wrap their head around so many intricate relationships.”

They understand that it’s your big day.

When you’re a bridesmaids, you’re asked to do a lot of things, and it can be frustrating at times to feel like you’re designating so much of your own time, energy and money on someone else when you have so much going on in your world. But a good bridesmaid recognizes that it’s not about her—it’s about the bride. “The reason a bridesmaid has been asked to be part of this special group is because she serves a special role in the bride’s life, and, in turn, the bride wants her support on the wedding day,” says Jonathan. “If you have friends or relatives who can become easily swept up in their own drama or have a hard time when the spotlight isn’t on them, they’re probably not a good fit for your bridal party.”

They just “get” you.

The best bridesmaids are those who seem to have a sixth sense about your needs, feelings, emotions and concerns on your wedding day and the months leading up to it, notesJonathan. “Select a bridesmaid who can calm your nerves without much fanfare, like filling your champagne glass without you having to ask,” he says. “The bride should select bridesmaids who think one step ahead, are resourceful and that know you better than most.”

They love your relationship with your future spouse.

While it’s not up to your bridesmaids to decide whether you’re meant to be with your future spouse, it’s certainly a red flag if they don’t like him or her. The best bridesmaids not only know your partner and have their own friendship of sorts with him or her, but they have also witnessed the love you two share. “Wedding planning is chaotic, and you’re bound to bicker with your future spouse now and then, so having bridesmaids that understand your relationship, and can help you through these tough moments, is invaluable,” addsJonathan. 

They’re a true friend.

Above everything else, your bridesmaids of choice should all be really good friends. The saying “quality over quantity” really matters here. “Select bridesmaids who support you and your life decisions, be someone who you can rely on whenever you need a favor, make you laugh, be a shoulder to cry on and should understand you from a deeper perspective than those who know you as an acquaintance,” says Jenny Orsini of Jenny Orsini Events in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. “Wedding planning can be an emotional roller coaster at times, but having true friends by your side during the process who offer sound and objective advice is a great way to defuse the tensions that may arise and enjoy the process overall.”