In the excitement surrounding your engagement, it's easy to want to ask all your close friends and family to be in the wedding party. Heartfelt, yes. Practical and frugal, definitely not. Every attendant represents a hit to your budget so think long and hard how many people you can afford to have in your wedding party.
From an etiquette standpoint, you are responsible to pay for the following:
thank you gifts
transportation to the ceremony site and reception
flower girl's flowers
ring bearer's pillow
As well, it's customary to host a party for the attendants where you give their gifts to them.
Think about your attendants' financial situation as it may be a burden on them to be a part of the wedding. If there is someone who is very close to you but cannot afford to pay for the attire, you may want to consider helping them out. Keep in mind, however, that this is getting you into slippery slope terrain as what you do for one you should really do for the others to avoid hard feelings.
My advice? Keep is small and simple. Assign tasks, such as ushering or giving a reading during the ceremony, to people you'd like to honor but cannot accommodate as a member of the wedding party.
Photos courtesy of El Velo Photography.