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Formal weddings usually have a larger number of attendants than informal ones, but you can feel free to break from any tradition you wish if you think it’s appropriate. Think about which close friends and family members you and your groom would really like to have in the wedding. Brides often feel obligated to have certain people (long lost cousins, your mothers bridge partners) in their wedding even if they’re not that close. Don’t bow to the pressure unless you don’t mind the extras.

Once you have a list in mind, write it all down. If you’re lucky, the number of ushers will equal the number of bridesmaids; if not, you may have to do a little cutting and juggling. The general guideline is one usher for every fifty guests.

If any of your attendants are coming from out of town to be in your wedding, try to arrange for them to stay with another friend or family member. If the alternate housing is not possible, pay for rooms at a nearby hotel. But if your attendants would rather stay at a hotel than with your brother Joey, they should pay for the hotel themselves.

As soon as you figure out whom you want in your wedding party, get out there and ask them. Sometimes, due to monetary problems or other conflicts, one of your first choices may have to decline. You want to make sure you have enough time to dig up a replacement. Even if you’re absolutely sure everyone will say yes, don’t wait until the last minute to ask him or her. Six months is the absolute minimum amount of notice you need to give everyone involved.