To bridal party, or not to bridal party? A more common debate than you think! [Oh, and here’s a photo of me with my maids!]
When most envision a wedding they imagine (or assume) being surrounded by their closest friends and family, their bridesmaids and/or groomsmen – everyone standing by their side as they say “I do” on the big day. While that’s certainly awesome, if that doesn’t feel right to you that’s completely and absolutely okay. Below I’m giving my two cents on selecting (or not!) your bridal party.
DON’T MAKE IT A NUMBERS GAME
If your fiancé absolutely has to have ten of their closest friends in the wedding, but there are only four or five people you feel comfortable asking to be a part of it all, that’s okay! Never feel compelled to ask people to be in your wedding to ‘even things out’, or because you feel obligated to do so. Only ask people to be in your wedding that are truly significant in your life, that you can imagine having a big role on one of the most important days of your life. If the numbers aren’t even there are definitely ways around it. Have a maid walk down the aisle with a groomsman on either arm (or vice versa) – I’m sure she or he won’t complain! You can also have the gents and the ladies enter the ceremony separately, rather than walk down the aisle paired arm in arm. It’s common to have the groomsmen enter together and be waiting by the groom at the altar, whereas the maids walk down the aisle in a traditional fashion. If things aren’t lining up and you’re having a hard time visualizing this feel free to reach out in the comments. I’ll help you brainstorm!
BRIDESMEN AND GROOMSGALS
Friendships and relationships are so dynamic, as are weddings themselves. If you’re a bride and have a dear male friend who you want to be a part of your bridal party, or a groom with a fierce gal pal, mix it up. Have them be a part of it.
THINK IT THROUGH
Most are in the planning phase of their wedding for a year, sometimes longer. While it may be tempting to rush into things and select your bridal party right away, take your time and be thoughtful. Some bridal party selections are no brainers, like sisters, brothers or childhood friends, but others are not such easy decisions. When you begin planning your wedding everything is so exciting and maybe even overwhelming, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in it all. Before popping the question to your bridal party, there are a few things to be mindful of.
- Is this person a true, genuine friend or family member?
- Have they supported your relationship as it ran its course?
- Can you imagine them sticking with you through the planning – being a part of your bachelorette party, bridal shower, and all that typically comes with a wedding?
- Do you genuinely want them to be a part of your bridal party, or is there outside pressure or obligation?
- Do you want to see their pretty face in a picture of your bridal party 20 years from now, or are you just really excited about the new girl you met at yoga and want to be her BFF?
- Any red flags for lotsa drama? No one needs additional drama on a wedding day!
Your bridal party is in it to win it for the duration of your engagement, so be thoughtful in your selection. Don’t rush into something only to look back and feel as though you made a mistake.
JUST THE TWO OF US
It’s also completely normal to want to forego the bridal party all together! There’s no such thing as a right or wrong way to plan the details of your wedding, and that includes your bridal party. If your heart is telling you that what’s most important is to focus on the two of you and getting married, follow it!
FYI: My hubby and I went to two beautiful weddings of dear friends recently, this March and last May, and neither wedding had a bridal party. Both weddings were perfect. What was most important to them was each other, getting married, and partying all night long with their friends and families! And guess what? Both still enjoyed the traditional elements of having a bridal party – the shower, the bachelor and bachelorette parties, getting ready for the wedding with some of their closest, and having friends over to their room before the ceremony.
If this is what feels right to you, or if you have too many close friends to narrow it down to a select few, or even if you feel stressed out thinking about selecting people to be in your wedding, it’s okay to not have one. Just enjoy the day and all the loved ones who made it a point to celebrate with you!
On a similar note, if you want loved ones involved in the day but don’t want a traditional bridal party, that’s completely okay, too! Maybe you only want to have a maid of honor and a best man stand up with you as you say your vows. Go for it, and don’t worry about what anyone thinks. It is your day after all! If there are others you want involved but perhaps not necessarily in a traditional fashion, you can ask them to do a reading, sing a song (if they are musically inclined…), walk a family member down the aisle, or give a toast at the reception. There are lots of options for roles in a wedding!
Tip: If you don’t have a traditional bridal party but your wedding is of substantial size, I would still entertain the idea of an usher or two. Especially if you have reserved rows for family members, you’ll want to make sure there is someone there to greet your guests and guide them to their appropriate seats. Family members, especially extended family, aren’t always sure where they are meant to sit without someone to guide them. They can be hyper aware of etiquette and afraid to do something wrong (i.e. sit in the wrong seat). Although if it’s completely open seating or a small, intimate wedding, maybe this isn’t necessary after all!
Another tip: The maid of honor and best man typically have the most responsibility throughout the wedding planning process. They’ll likely be in charge of planning the shower (for the gals), the bachelorette and bachelor parties and such – that is, if you plan on incorporating these events. Make sure you’re selecting someone who can handle the responsibility. And if they can’t, make sure there’s a backup who can assist this person.
No matter how you choose to structure the people involved in the big day, it is your wedding after all. As long as you make thoughtful decisions and involve the people who mean the most to you in some capacity, there’s no need for apologies or explanation! As you’re making decisions, just take a quick second to think, “will I regret this in the future?” If the answer is no and you’re following your heart and your vision, that’s all that really matters.
Now, if you’re selecting a bridal party, how are you going to pop the question?! Let me know in the comments!