bride and wedding party(Photo: Getty Images)

DO wait to ask until you’ve set your wedding date. If you get engaged today but wait 18 months to get married, your inner circle might change. I’m not saying you won’t still be tight with, say, your college roommate, but adding bridesmaids is a lot more fun then demoting them, so I’d hold out on asking ‘til you’re sure of who you’ll want in the V.I.P. spots when your wedding day rolls around.
DON’T feel like you have to include all the siblings. (Or give them the “biggest” roles.) Having the same parents and once sharing a bedroom makes your sister, well, your sister. It doesn’t automatically make her your maid of honor. By all means, ask your sister to be your MoH if you’re close. But don’t feel like you have to ask her if all you have in common is DNA. And definitely don’t feel like you have to ask your groom’s sister to be a bridesmaid. Which brings me to …
DO have “bridesmen” and “groomsgirls”! If you’re close with your brother, that’s great. But asking him to stand up as a groomsmen feels weird—unless he he happens to be close with your guy, too. If you’d like to give your bro an important role, I think “bridesman” or “man of honor” is more appropriate.
DON’T feel like you have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. I just don’t get some brides’ obsession with having even numbers. You can shuffle the way people walk up the aisle (two bridesmaids to a groomsman or vice versa), or stand during the ceremony. And you can skip the “wedding party join in!” portion of your first dance—which I always found a little awkward as a bridesmaid, anyway!
DO redefine the roles. A “maid of honor” and “matron of honor” is great—unless you have two best friends and neither (or both) is married. If you want to have two “maids” or two “matrons” or no one “of honor,” just four equally ranked bridesmaids, do what works for you.
DON’T ask a friend just because you were in her wedding. Your friend didn’t ask you to be in her wedding because she hopes to be in yours—whenever that might happen. You might want to include more family members or just keep your wedding party small. Whatever the reason, don’t assume your friend (especially one you’ve grown apart from) expects to be in your wedding. Or wants to, for that matter.