“Yes, the role of a bridesmaid principally consists of standing up for the bride on her big day, but some aspects of the job (specifically, your bachelorette party) may be a little too adult for younger ladies.Stephen Chiang/Workbook Stock/Getty Images
Picking the right bridesmaids for your wedding can be tough. You want to have girlfriends who will support you on your big day and with whom you’re thrilled to share the momentous occasion. However, you also want everyone to be comfortable and to have a good time. As you start to think about who you want standing with you when you say "I do," you might begin questioning the age of your prospective attendants. So, how old should your bridesmaids be?
There’s not really one clear answer to this question. In some ways, it depends on how old you are. For example, 16 or 17 might seem a little young for a bridesmaid, but if the bride is 18, her best friends — and, thus, bridesmaids — will be close to her in age. But what does that mean for brides older than 18? Say you’re getting married at 55. Can you only pick bridesmaids who are also in their 50s?
No, of course not. You can pick whomever you like, but you’ll want to think about age appropriateness. What kinds of events do you expect your bridesmaids to attend? Do they need to be a certain age to do so? For example, if you’re planning to have a bachelorette party at a bar, you’ll want bridesmaids who are old enough to participate or at least enter the establishment. If you’re going to have a lingerie shower, will you be comfortable opening sexy packages in front of your 13-year-old little sister? Probably not. You want to think, then, about how comfortable you are with this person participating in all of your wedding events and how comfortable she’ll be with you and the other attendants.
If you’re still concerned that one of your friends or family members is too young to serve in this role, there are other ways for her to be a part of your big day. Go to the next page to learn more.
Other Potential Roles
Weddings typically have a wide variety of participants. A fully decked-out ceremony might have 20 people or more on their feet that day: the happy couple (of course), an officiate, a best man, a maid of honor, attendants serving as bridesmaids and groomsmen, a ring bearer and a flower girl. You might also have readers and musicians who are part of the service.
If you have someone you’d like to be a part of your big day but you’re afraid that she’s too young to be a bridesmaid and too old to be a flower girl, you might consider asking her to be a junior bridesmaid. Junior bridesmaids are usually 9 to 14 years old and have fewer responsibilities than full-fledged attendants. They wear dresses similar in style to the bridesmaids, and they stand with the other members of your wedding party. But with a junior bridesmaid, you’ll have more flexibility with what events she attends. You’re free to have her there only on the day of the ceremony, or you can invite her to other bridal events that you think she would enjoy. For example, you might not invite her to the bachelorette party, but you may ask her to attend the bridal shower and take her with you when you go wedding dress shopping.
Ultimately, there’s no special formula for determining how old your bridesmaids should be. You want to select people who you love and are comfortable with to serve as attendants for the ceremony. If you have a close friend or family member who’s 14 but looks older, feel free to make her a full bridesmaid — as long as you and the young woman are comfortable with her serving in that role. Chances are, on the big day, your guests won’t be worried about the age of your attendants. They’ll be focused on you, your new hubby and, of course, your dress!
Don’t forget about the boys!
Bridesmaids don’t have to be women. If you have a male friend or family member who you’d love to have as an attendant, go right ahead! On ceremony programs you can list him as a "bridesman" or "attendant."
Lots More Information
- 10 Colors Your Bridesmaids Don’t Want to Wear
- The Ultimate Bridesmaid Dress Manual
- 10 Classy Wedding Shower Ideas
- 10 Fun Bridal Shower Games
- Ehrenstein, Emily. "Bridesmaids: 9 Tips for Who to Pick." The Knot. 2012. (Feb. 5, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/bridal-party/articles/9-tips-for-who-to-pick-as-bridesmaids.aspx?MsdVisit=1
- Knot, the. "Junior Bridesmaids: Etiquette Q&A." 2012. (Feb. 5, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/bridesmaids/qa/junior-bridesmaids-etiquette.aspx
- Knot, the. "Junior Bridesmaid: Her Duties in Detail." 2012. (Feb. 5, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/bridesmaids-mother-of-the-bride/bridesmaids/articles/junior-bridesmaid-duties-in-detail.aspx