I have an amazing sister. Incredible friends. And I'm rather partial to a pretty dress (or six).
But I'm not having bridesmaids at my wedding. (And my fiance isn't having groomsmen either.)
As a wedding blog editor, (Claire here, BTW!) I know this might seem a little strange.
But, it's a trend we've seen more and more of, in the weddings we feature on our blog, and others.
So I figured, seeing as we're talking all things bridesmaids this month, it was as good a time as any, to talk about why it's okay not to have bridesmaids too.
Photo by Mariel Hannah Photography via Wedding Sparrow
Some brides and grooms feel obligated to choose their siblings or friends as part of their bridal party. They might feel like they're letting people down if they don't. Or they may think that they need a traditional wedding party, for hands on deck in the lead up to their big day.
My fiance Mark and I know that when it comes to setting up our party, planning our hen and stag, and venting about budget stresses, our friends and family will be there for us, whether they've got a bridesmaid sash on, or not.
I totally get brides wanting a gaggle of their best gals around them in the lead up to and on the day of, their wedding.
But for couples who are on the fence about a bridal party, or feeling nervous about shunning the tradition, I wanted to share our reasons for not having one, to maybe help you with making the decision for yourself.
So here goes…
I Simply Can't Choose
Photo by Je T'aime Beauty via Style Me Pretty
Everyone thinks their friends are the best in the world. But mine actually are. Seriously.
They've sent me flowers on a blue day, they've flown to another country to be by my side when I needed it, and they've got an unrivaled knack for knowing just the right thing to say, at precisely the right time.
My friends rock, but they come as a posse.
I've a gang of incredible college friends, an amazing sister, and a bestie from my teen years, who's like a second sister. I can't possible pick one, two, or even five from the bunch and I don't like the idea of drawing a line between who's in, and who's out.
I know it sounds boastful, *I have too many friends* but I'm in the thank-my-lucky-stars-every-day position of having maybe eight or 10 awesome bridesmaid candidates. And really, that seems like a bit much. Which brings me nicely onto my next point…
We Want Informality
Photo by Ashley Ludaescher Photography via Bridal Musings
Above everything else Mark and I want for our wedding, it's that it's informal. Our friend will officiate, our guests will share big tables, the catering will be BBQ, and we're more likely to have beers and margaritas than Champagne.
We're laid back people, and we want a laid back day. And while being surrounded by our friends is the most informal thing in the world, giving them titles and making them stand in a row, takes from that for us.
Striping back on traditions will help us get the vibe we're looking for on our day.
I Think It's a Bit Odd
Photo by Let’s Frolic Together via Bridal Musings
So this one might seem strange given that I'm a wedding blog editor, that I relished being a bridesmaid myself, and that sometimes, I love nothing more about my job, than trawling through pictures of bridesmaids clustered together, looking gorgeous in their – with beautiful blooms and big smiles. (Just look at this post we did last week on mix & match bridesmaids).
My friends would do anything for me. They'd dive headfirst into DIY projects, they'd wear whatever gorgeous or ghastly creation I put them in, and they'd do it all with a smile on their faces and a glass of wine in their hands.
But when you think about it (like really, really think) isn't it a little odd to call your dearest friends maids, and dress them up in matching clothes, and make them be at your beck and call for not just your big day, but the weeks, or even months beforehand?
Okay, most people don't look at it that way, maybe I'm thinking too much about it, but I simply can't help it. The idea of my friends fixing my skirt or holding my purse all day, just doesn't sit well with me.
I Want My Friends to Just Relax at my Wedding
Photo by Claire Eliza via Bridal Musings
We have friends who are amazing chefs, photographers, DJs and musicians, but we don't want anyone working on our wedding day. Our videographer friend has pretty much insisted he'll be bringing his camera, whether it's in a professional capacity or not. But aside from some readings and music at our ceremony, we want everyone to take the day off.
I want my friends to simply arrive at our wedding and not quite know what to expect.
When you're working closely with a couple as part of their bridal party, you know about all the DIY decor, you've already seen the dress, you've maybe collected the cake, stamped the invitations or visited the venue in advance.
I adored being a bridesmaid, it's an amazing privilege, but it also takes some of the surprise element out of the day.
Depending on your bride, being a bridesmaid can be a big commitment; fittings, planning meetings, bachelorette parties, or DIY days. My friends are all busy ladies, and while I know they would do it in a heartbeat, I don't want them to have to give up their precious time, running errands for our wedding.
Which ties in with the fact that…
We're a Scattered Bunch
Photo by J Wiley Photography via Green Wedding Shoes
Mark and I live in London, many of our friends live in Dublin, and there's also one in Amsterdam, one in Vietnam, and my sister's in Greece. While I love the idea of shopping trips together, and crafternoons with teapots filled with gin, it's not really feasible for me and my pals.
This isn't really a reason for not having bridesmaids, but it's just another example of why I want to make the most of the time I do get to spend with the girls. Doing other stuff, not just roping them into wedding tasks.
Not Everyone Loves Being a Bridesmaid
Photo by Jack & Hannah Film & Photography via Bridal Musings
I really, really, really, loved being a bridesmaid. But as you may have guessed from what I do for a living, I'm kind of into weddings! I got involved, I was eager to help, and I couldn't wait to be by my brides' sides on the day of their weddings. But not everyone shares my enthusiasm.
While they're all super excited for us, really interested in our plans, and eager to help, I'm trying really hard not to be the kind of bride who talks to her mates about nothing else, but her wedding, for a year before hand.
Everyone has exciting stuff going on, jobs, babies, travels, opportunities, so for me and my friends, it's all about celebrating everyone's awesome news – not making any reluctant pals tie ribbons on wedding programs when they'd rather be doing something else.
I Want to Get Ready with my Fiance
Photo by Howell Jones Photography via Rock My Wedding
I get flustered going out for dinner. I can be anxious choosing what to wear for a night out. And having people around me when I'm getting ready is enough to send me into a total panic.
As a bridesmaid, I loved getting ready with all the girls on the morning of the weddings, but when it comes to our big day, it's not for me.
The room is hot with all the blow drying, people are popping in and out, and excitement is at feverpitch. Some people love that, but not us. In fact, the idea of friends or family watching me have my make-up done or step into my dress, is kind of my worst nightmare!
We want our pre-wedding prep to be super chill. No photographer, no bridal party, just me and my husband-to-be. We will stick on some tunes, have a drink, and get ready just the two of us.
I can't wait!
Not Reasons I'm Not Having Bridesmaids!
Photo by A Guy + Girl Photography via Bridal Musings
These are more reasons some people might decide not to have bridesmaids, but they're MOST CERTAINLY NOT our reasons…
It's Saving us a Packet
Photo by Ellie Gillard Photography via Bridal Musings
If we were to opt for say, four bridesmaids, and four groomsmen, and their dresses or suits were 100 quid each, that's £800 before we've gone for shoes, flowers, hair and make-up, buttonholes, gifts, and transport. It all adds up.
The cost is not a reason for us, because as a creative bunch, I think our friends could help us find a way around it. That said though, if you're having quite a classic wedding, I can totally see why couples on a budget would opt out of having a bridal party.
Our Friends Have Different Styles
Photo by via Teneil Kable via The Lane
As I said above, making your friends line up in matching dresses is a bit odd to me, which is why I'm such a fan of the mix and match bridesmaid trend. But even with that, there's no colour spectrum, or vague matching style that would work for all my friends.
My sister loves to wear beige or black, I've a friend who loves ethnic patterns and eclectic accessories, and another who keeps it really simple but totally cool. One lady has bold style to rival Grace Jones (with a fair trade twist), while another is more like Grace Kelly, adoring vintage styles and a touch of sparkle. And that's only a few of them. Likewise with the guys, some are swave suit-wearers, and for others, jeans and shirt is more their style.
Don't let your friends' contrasting looks and styles, be a reason not to have them part of your party. Embrace it!
It might take from the “picture perfect” look you had in your head, but allowing them to reflect their own style with their outfits, will only add to the authentic vibes of your day.
We're Worried About Speeches
Photo by Mitch Pohl via Hello May
I totally can understand why some couples opt against a bridal party, if they think the would-be best man might say something inappropriate, or if they want to avoid the idea of speeches altogether.
We're kind of looking for the opposite of that. We don't want to ply all the pressure of the speeches on one or two people, but we know there are quite a few guests who'd like to say a few words.
So instead of the classic format, we're opting to have an open mic (for a little while!), so that if anyone wants to make a toast, they can, but no one feels obliged to.
I Want The Day To Be All About Me
Photo by Stacy Paul Photography via Rock ‘n' Roll Bride
And finally, I really hope our guests don't think we're opting for no bridal party because we're reluctant to delegate, we're being selfish, or because we want the day to be all about us.
If anything, a bridal party creates more of a focal point of a wedding, highlighting some people over others. And sometimes, the bride and her girls can even take the attention away from the groom.
We want our day to be all about all of our guests, to say thank you to the people who've helped our relationship get to where it is, and who are almost as invested in it, as we are.
We want our cool venue, great food, killer tunes and fun vibes to be the centre of attention. Not us.
Photo by Christine Lim via Hello May
So there you have it, my case for why, and why not, to opt out of having a bridal party. As I said, there are so many reasons to have one, and it can be such a fun and special time for a group of friends. But if, like us, you're trying to do what you can to informalise your wedding, it can be an helpful way to do it.
Don't feel obligated to ask someone to be your bridesmaid just because they asked you, and don't feel guilty because you think they'll be disappointed if you don't. (Easier said than done, I know.)
As with every decision with your wedding, you have to suit yourself, and your partner. If your friends are as awesome as mine, (and I bet they are!) they'll completely understand.
So let me know, what do you think about opting out of having a bridal party?
Planning a girly night? Check out our killer Hen Party playlist. And if you are having bridesmaids at your wedding, here's how to ask them in style.