Having too many friends is hardly ever a problem—that is until you’re engaged and you want a wedding party. Of course, it’s completely up to you who and how many people you want to be part of your wedding party. That said, not everyone can—or should—make the cut. There’s a lot to consider when selecting members to fill this all-important role. Here’s how to cut down your wedding party, tactfully and drama-free.

Who should really be in my wedding party?

While you may be tempted to ask every sibling and close friend to be in your wedding party, it’s better to be a bit more curated about it. The responsibilities of the wedding party far surpass the simple task of standing by your side as you say “I do.” The role involves various tasks and responsibilities including, helping with the wedding planning process, planning certain pre-wedding events, providing emotional support on the day of the wedding, and a lot more.

Needless to say, not everyone in your life is even up to the task of being a wedding party member. Quality really counts over quantity. A handful of meaningful wedding party members will reign supreme over a Rockettes-long row of them. Plus, coordinating photos is much easier with a smaller group.

Bottom line: You shouldn’t feel obligated or pressured to ask each and every person you’re considering for the job. Feel empowered by the fact that it’s your wedding day and, truly, you can have as few (or as many) wedding party members as you want.

INLINE EileenKPhotography 1080x720 Tiffany&Paul Photo Credit // Eileen K Photography

How do I choose who to include and who to cut?

Cutting down a wedding party isn’t exactly a task for the faint of heart. If you had a tough time with your overall guest list, this can feel even harder. The good news is that the process doesn’t have to be torturous or even that difficult. Here are some tactful tips for how to cut down your wedding party—and feel good about it.

Give yourself time to decide.

Although you’re probably eager to ask your friends and family members to be part of your wedding party, there’s no reason to rush your decision. It’s an important one that will play into almost every other facet of your wedding planning and, of course, your big day. Who you choose to surround yourself with throughout your wedding experience will be instrumental in ensuring that things run smoothly and up to your expectations.

Before popping the question, be sure to give yourself at least a couple weeks to consider who you truly want to be a wedding party member—and how many members you want in total. At first, you might think that an assembly line of friends and family members decked out in matching bridal attire will suit you, but as you make other wedding-day decisions such as your venue and overall headcount, your tune might change.

Ideally, you want to ask people to be in your wedding party at least 8 months ahead of the wedding. So, you may not have a ton of time, but if you have a year to plan, you definitely can take a few weeks.

Save room for siblings.

Keep siblings on top of the priority list. It’s a no-brainer to include your siblings in your wedding party if you’re close to them. That’s pretty standard.

When it comes to future in-laws, it’s not always definite or necessary to include them in your wedding party. Depending on your relationship with your partner’s siblings, it’s up to you. Avoid any unnecessary drama or hurt feelings and be upfront with these siblings if you don’t want to include them. We also recommend assigning them another role if they’re interested (more on this later).

Consider who will be genuinely helpful.

It’s an honor to be asked to be a member of someone’s wedding party. Along with this honor comes a hefty dose of responsibility. When considering who to ask, question whether or not they’ll be truly helpful. Any friend or family member who you imagine being selfish and potentially even difficult when it comes to certain events such as the bachelorette party, the wedding shower, and beyond, cut them right out. It’s not worth your time, energy, and money to honor them with a title they can’t live up to.

INLINE LauraAnneWatson 1080x720 Mia&Marvin Photo Credit // Laura Anne Watson

Set expectations upfront—and ask if they want to be involved.

Some friends and family members whom you ask might not actually want the role and responsibilities involved. That’s why it can sometimes be helpful to ask each member—and be honest about your expectations. For example, share the exact responsibilities you expect from them, be it attending your bachelorette party, affording certain attire to match your desired aesthetic, spending 10+ hours by your side on the day of your wedding, etc. Framing it this way—by sincerely asking whether or not they would like to take on the role of wedding party member—can surprisingly help you cut down on your list.

Imagine who you’ll still be close to in 20 years.

It’s hard to do, but try your best to think about the friends you’re considering asking to be a part of your wedding party. Is there any chance that you won’t be close to each and every one of them throughout the next 20+ years? If you said no, think again. As much as we hate to admit it, friends come and go. It’s the nature of relationships. When considering who to ask to be a member of your wedding party, try to limit your list to only those individuals who will very likely be a part of your life in the long-term future. This way you can limit your list and feel rest assured that you’re choosing the right people.

Create other roles

There are plenty of other roles you can bestow upon family and friends aside from being a part of the wedding party. Such roles include junior bridesmaids and groomsmen or ring bearer and flower girl for younger members, a candle lighter and wedding reader (for during the ceremony), an officiant (though be sure to choose this role wisely as well!), a seat usher, and beyond.

At the end of the day, who you choose to stand up there with you on the altar matters. And simply inviting someone to your wedding is an honor in and of itself—they don’t have to be a member of the wedding party to feel important!