So you have a shiny new diamond on your left hand; congrats! Now that the bubbly has been popped and the news spread, it’s time to get to the fun part of planning. Over the next few months you’ll be tasked with everything from picking out the perfect linens to finding a DJ who will bring it on the dance floor. With so many big decisions ahead of you, we’re here (just like a trusty bridesmaid!) to help with Real Brides Ask, a new series that tackles your toughest bridal questions.

Real-Brides-Series-Banner

“How do I honor all of my friends at my wedding without having the largest bridal party known to mankind?” — Kathleen V., Boston, MA

Popping the questions to your bridesmaids is one of the best parts of wedding planning. After all, if you’re someone who has a collective friend group or a slew of siblings, it can be tough to whittle down your entourage. So rather than worrying about hurt feelings or ruined relationships along the way, we consulted Maddie Eisenhart, the witty, smart, and talented chief revenue officer behind the popular wedding site A Practical Wedding for her advice on how to build a tailored bridal party you love. Take a look below to see her practical take on how to approach this common wedding prob.

Real Brides Ask

Swap bridesmaids for a support team. When it comes down to it, Eisenhart says that picking people to stand by your side is *all* about emotional fulfillment and creating a strong sense of community with your pals. And, lucky for you, you can still provide this *without* asking your entire crew to stand on the altar. So, for those hard-to-include-yet-NOT-include individuals, consider giving them an honorary role by making them part of the day-of production. Tasks like setting up the morning-after brunch, planning the bachelorette party, or even playing DJ for the night will make everyone feel involved and help tackle your to-do list in the process. Pro tip: When deciding what to delegate, Eisenhart suggests that you “have an honest conversation about what [your friend] wants to do.” The last thing you want is someone spinning the tables when they’d rather be doing something less time-heavy (like setting up the dessert spread instead).

Wedding

Go big, but keep it considerate. If you’re really having a hard time limiting your party, Eisenhart says it’s perfectly fine to proceed with a big group. “There’s nothing inherently shameful or silly about having a bazillion bridesmaids,” she says. But in order to do so in a way that’s stress-free, there are a couple things to keep in mind. “The key is to lower expectations, be flexible, and be mindful of the fact that it’s important to be responsible and respectful [of everyone’s time] on the wedding day,” she suggests. That means considering everyone’s financial situations, schedules, even gender preferences (re: not everyone is cool wearing a dress) will make both you and your crew feel more at ease during the big day — and maybe even limit your roster in the first place.

What are your burning bridal questions? Share them with us @BritandCo using hashtag #WeddingWoes for a chance to have them answered in our next feature.

(Photos via Getty; Illustrations via Rebecca Fong/Brit + Co)