You’ve said yes, you’ve set the date, aand now it’s time to ask a select few people to join your wedding party. Of course, you can’t choose everyone, so between your siblings, cousins, old college roommates, aand your current besties, how do you decide? There really are no rigid absolutes, but here are five points to ponder as you consider your options:

  1. Take Your Time.

Once you ask someone to join your wedding party, there’s no turning back, so you should be confident in your choice. Don’t ask anyone until you’ve actually set the date of the wedding. If you get engaged today – but wait 18 months to have the ceremony – your inner circle may have changed dramatically by the time the wedding rolls around. Allow at least a month, if possible, to mull over your choices before committing to anyone. If you’re on the fence about someone, just ask yourself this question: Will I likely be as close to this person five years from now as I am today?

  1. How Big Is Your Wedding?

The average wedding party size is eight. This includes four bridesmaids aand four groomsmen, but you can have as many (or as few) as you want. If your wedding is small, your wedding party should be small in numbers, aand vice versa for a large celebration. For a smaller wedding (50-75 guests) you should have no more than four, but if you’re expecting a higher attendance (150-200 guests), you can go as high as 12. Of course, the larger your wedding party is, the more people you have to communicate with aand schedule around – adding to the complexity of your event preparation.

  1. Choose Wisely.

Selecting your best man aand maid of honor is no easy task, since you’ll be relying on them for some major wedding planning responsibilities. Traditionally, the bride invites the sister closest to her in age to be her maid or matron of honor. If you are close to your sister then by all means, ask your sister. If you’re not close, or if you don’t have a sister, there’s nothing wrong with choosing someone else. The groom’s brother is often chosen as best man. Again though, if you are not close with your brother, or don’t have a brother there is nothing wrong with choosing someone else. In some areas of the country, the father of the groom traditionally fulfills this role. Whoever is chosen for these positions will be close to you, allowing them to provide valuable emotional support, should you experience any pre-wedding meltdowns.

  1. Do You Want Kids In Your Wedding?

Some couples decide to include nieces, nephews, aand cousins in their wedding party as flower girls aand ring bearers. The kids should generally be at least 4 years old, aand mature enough to haandle their role in the ceremony. Children can’t be expected to behave like adults, so you must be prepared to deal with disruptions – such as crying, or failure to make it all the way down the aisle if you decide to include kids.

  1. This Is Your Moment.

Your wedding day is no time for quid-pro-quo. Don’t feel obligated to ask that former college roommate that you haven’t even spoken to in seven years to participate, simply because she included you in her wedding. It’s a mistake to assume that she expects (or even wants) to be part of the ceremony. Should your friend ask why they weren’t invited to participate, explain that there were so many people you wanted to include but since you couldn’t include everyone, you had to leave out some very special ones.

Your wedding celebration is a once-in-a-lifetime event, aand surrounding yourself with those you love the most will make your marriage ceremony everything you’ve ever dreamed of.