Yes and no. I feel like more and more brides are stressing out over who has to be asked to be a bridesmaid lately.
Being a bridesmaid is an honor - yes, and honor - it's expensive and comes with a large price tag too. There's the shower, the bachelorette party, the gifts, the helping, the dress, the day-of...the list can be as long as the bride needs or wants it to be. And with each of these to dos comes a budget.
If you are having bridesmaids it's important to talk to your fiance about the number of people in your bridal party (remember you have to buy all of them a gift and pay for their boutonnieres and bouquets and meals and dates) and you need to decide if you want an even number of bridesmaids and groomsmen or if you are okay with an odd number - more on one side.
So who do you ask?
Siblings come first - and step- and half-siblings. If you're not close to a step- or half-sibling confirm with your parents if not asking them will cause a rift in the family. Sometimes it's just better to add someone than start World War III.
Close relatives depend on the closeness of the relationship. For example my sister is closer to some of our cousins than I am so they were in her bridal party but I didn't feel that I needed to ask them. If you are close with a cousin feel free to ask her but don't assume you have to invite all your cousins.
Friends. If there's a group of friends you may need to invite all of them so one person isn't left out. But if you do decide to limit the group make sure the excluded ones are invited to the shower, bachelorette and wedding.
You were her bridesmaid. If you were someone's bridesmaid and have drifted apart since then it's okay not to ask her to be your bridesmaid. If you think that you've two grown apart the other person has probably thought the same thing.
It's important that you ask your closest family and friends to be your bridesmaids because of the responsibilities, price tag and the amount of time involved. Most people when asked to be a bridesmaid will not turn you down so think about who you really want to be up there with you and ask them.
Or you can do what my friend Deena did. She asked about 8 friends to be her bridesmaids in photos only. We each wore our own long black dresses and posed for photos. None of us walked down the aisle or stood at the altar. Her mother hosted the shower and the group hosted her bachelorette. It worked out great for everyone.