11/07/2013 16:33 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

The Dos And Don'ts Of Choosing Bridesmaids

The business of bridesmaids can be tricky. Who should a bride choose? How many is too many? What should they wear? Bridesmaid pro Clare Bennett has got it sussed...

Hello. My name is Clare Bennett and I am a recovering bridesmaid. I've been clean for five years now, but it was only after EIGHT times in the role that I was able to break the habit. To all you prospective brides out there, let me share some personal insights from my 25-year career:


•\tAsk a child. A child will be really pleased. They may even smoke their first cigarette at your wedding just to add to the memories.
•\tIf you pick adult bridesmaids, don't dress them like a child. Don't do that. Yes, we know you are probably in deranged-starvation-mode and not making rational decisions, but no grown woman should ever have to wear a sash or have her hair done like she works below stairs on Downton Abbey. Putting your own sister in a floor length dress of bright blue Thai silk and then saying, "Think how much use you'll get out of it!" is not normal. Having your mother agree is just a betrayal.
•\tTry to ask the person to be your bridesmaid before the day, rather than letting them turn up to your wedding to find their name in the order of service. And if you're going to ask them to make a speech before you cut the cake, again, perhaps mention it further in advance than five minutes beforehand, when they are by now so drunk that they are taking photos of the inside of their own mouth and up their dress.
•\tAnd speaking of booze, yes, let your bridesmaids have a couple of celebratory glasses of Champagne as you get ready, but don't let them get so pissed that they're having hysterics / crying throughout your ceremony, making faces at the groom to try and make him laugh during his vows or only having their modesty preserved by the 25 covered buttons one of your guests couldn't undo when he tried to take their dress off at a post-wedding party. Ahem.
•\tDo not ask anyone who is TEN YEARS older than you to be your bridesmaid. That's just cruel. Do you want your guests mesmerized by the ancient creature crawling down the aisle behind you? That's how she'll feel. TRUST ME.
•\tKnow that your bridesmaid loves you and wants you to have the best day of your life. – which is why she'll wear the child's dress and let the best man pinch her arse. That's what real friends and sisters do.

Browse beautiful dresses for the big day below: