Bridal Party “Dos”

Photograph by Person + Killian. Used with permission.

Brittan McCarthy, owner of Newbury Street’s Bella Bridesmaid, has been a bridesmaid in more than 10 weddings ― and has four more on the docket this summer. As a “professional bridesmaid” and bride-to-be herself, McCarthy offers this advice when it comes to choosing your own bridal party: “Go with your gut and do what’s right for you and your group.”

The Decision Choose pals who have your best interests at heart, who love you, and are willing to pitch in when it comes to planning your big day. And if you’re leaving someone out, there are ways to make what McCarthy calls your “bridal brigade” (friends who are not official bridesmaids) feel special. For example, you may want to ask them to do a reading or to help people find their seats during the ceremony.

The Proposal Do not ask your best friend of 15 years via Facebook to be your bridesmaid. Instead, treat her to coffee or a nice lunch. You can even create a wedding day survival kit that includes all of the day-of essentials (bobby pins, lip balm, hairspray, etc.) with a handwritten note inside. Remember that being a bridesmaid requires time, money, selflessness, and a willingness to take panicky phone calls from you when you can’t decide what color your napkins should be — so let your ladies know there are no hard feelings if they can’t commit.

The Dresses The options for bridesmaids’ dresses are limitless. Keep in mind that it’s important for you to love the gowns, but be sensitive to your friends’ feelings too. So what’s in? McCarthy says patterns are the latest trend this season. She suggests  Lula Kate’s Sassy Stripes line, which allows customization; the fun, flirty patterns of the Ivy & Aster line; and the floral prints in Monique Lhuillier’s spring 2013 collection.

The Gifts They’ve thrown you an insane bachelorette party, patiently obsessed over the minuscule differences between dove and cloud gray, and watched you try on a gaggle of gowns. Thank your bridesmaids with personalized gifts like monogrammed necklaces from Mint Julep or customized purses from Lill Studio.

Bella Bridesmaid, 85 Newbury St., Ste. 2B, Boston, 617-424-7231, bellabridesmaid.com.

―Julie DiGiovine