September 30, 2015
A lot of people talk to me about weddings. My brides. My past brides. My friends at work. My friends from long before I was a photographer. Some bridesmaids. And do you know what I’ve never heard? “I love being a bridesmaid!” But do you know what I have heard?
From a bridesmaid’s perspective…
“I’ve spent $xxx being a bridesmaid. And I’m never going to wear this dress again.”
“I had to order two of the same dresses in different sizes because there is no local store where I could try on the dresses.”
“I’ve got all of these monogrammed gifts – but I’m getting married in a few months and my initials will change…”
“I feel like I need to pay $100 for hair and make up because everyone else in the party is.”
“I’m going to Vegas and using up 3 vacation days because of this wedding.”
From the bride’s perspective….
“I don’t really talk to her anymore. But we were close a few years ago.”
“My bridesmaid is pregnant and has to buy a different dress.”
“Our parties were uneven so I had to add two girls to my side to even it out.”
“Everything is going well, except I’ve got some bridesmaid drama.”
“I had to include her in my wedding party because I was in hers.”
“If I could do it again, I would pick my bridesmaids just a few months before my wedding because things change. At the beginning you’re all caught up in the excitement – and then suddenly one of your bridesmaids moves or changes jobs and it just gets too stressful for them.”
Don’t get me wrong, standing by your best friend on her wedding day is a special event! I’m not trying to undermine that at all. I’m just trying to make you think about another option if the whole bridesmaid thing doesn’t sound super appealing right off the bat.
When Thomas and I first got engaged, the wedding party stuff stressed me out. It just did. The dresses. Picking friends. Putting them in order. What about my old friends that I’ve loved forever but haven’t seen in ages. What about my new friends that I spend a lot of time with now – but we’ve only known each other for a year? What about the three sister(s)-in-law? Feelings. Money (ours and theirs). Yikes.
A month or so later, we were out walking our dogs and Thomas said, “What if we just don’t have a wedding party?”
I instantly said, “We have to have a wedding party!”
He replied, “Why?”
I said, “Well, who is going to be there when we get ready? Who will come to the rehearsal dinner? Isn’t that just…weird? We need to have a wedding party!”
Then we talked about it a little more. We can do whatever we want. We can invite our friends to get ready with us. They don’t need to rent a tux or a dress to do that. We can take photos with whoever we want to on our wedding day. They don’t need to have up-do’s. We can celebrate our day however we’d like to.
Then you know what happened? We booked two weddings that didn’t have any wedding parties.
And they were awesome. The day was less hectic. There was no one to chase down. Hair and makeup didn’t fall behind schedule. One of our brides, Meghan, still included a handful of her closest friends in the getting ready process. Meghan and Mike mingled throughout cocktail hour and we followed them around and snapped photos of them with their friends. They also had an open mic policy. Anyone could get up and give a toast – not just the best man and maid of honor. Their day was all about them. They still were surrounded by their closest friends. They still had a bachelor and bachelorette party! And, most importantly, they still got married!
Aside from that – think about how much time, energy, and mental capacity you save – especially if you’re having a short engagement. You don’t have to spend a weekend shopping for dresses for different body types. You don’t need to follow up with whether or not your bridesmaids actually ordered their dress. You don’t need to ask them to get them tailored. And, you don’t need to get your fiance to pester his group of friends either. You don’t need to coordinate transportation/a car service. Sometimes, the day and the months leading up to it are just simpler and less stressful.
My one caveat that I’ll add is that you know your bridesmaids do a lot for you – approaching your wedding day, and on the day of. I think you can still have honorary bridesmaids that don’t wear matching dresses that can still help you out. Another solution is to hire a day of coordinator (or a wedding planner) to help you with the little details of the wedding day that a bridesmaid may have helped with.
You don’t have to plan your wedding the way the wedding world tells you to. As an added bonus, it’ll save you and your friends some money! No extra bouquets, boutineers, gifts, jewelry, hair and makeup, shoes, and dresses. I’m sure the list goes on. I know it is untraditional – but I wanted to pass along the thought. Think about it. If you’ve always dreamed of a wedding party – then by all means go for it. But if the thought of picking friends and putting them in order makes you cringe, then think again. And of course, ultimately, do what is best for you and your fiance!