If you’ve been following along with my wedding posts, then you know I don’t tend to be very traditional. I truly prefer huge life events to be as unique as possible. We had a small destination wedding in Italy, which in of itself is unique and non-traditional. When it came time to deciding on a lot of things to do, we did what we wanted and made the most sense for us and our wedding day. This leads me in to today’s post when I’m answering a question I’ve gotten a lot since our wedding: why I didn’t have bridesmaids. I hope this post may shed some insight on our decision about not having bridesmaids and maybe help any of you on the fence about whether or not this wedding tradition is for you.
When Charles and I started making our guest list for Italy, we knew we wanted to keep it very small and intimate. We each invited about 25-30 people total, including family and friends. When we sent out invitations, we knew some of those people definitely weren’t going to come. We wanted to invite even more people who we knew wouldn’t be able to come, but still wanted to include. However, we had to draw the line somewhere. Most people seemed to understand this and had the mindset of ‘we weren’t going to be able to come anyways, so no hard feelings.’ Dealing with a guest list and who ends up coming vs. who doesn’t is a whole different post, so we’ll leave it at that for now. I did want to share a little background on the nature of our wedding though, because this shows that being invited in of itself was a gesture of how much everyone meant to us.
There are a few reasons we didn’t have a bridal party. First and foremost, there would have been people we wanted to be a bridesmaid or groomsmen, but who weren’t able to make it for whatever reason. We didn’t want to ask someone who didn’t come to be in our wedding party, but then not ask someone who did. That really was reason enough for me. Another reason is that we wanted a small wedding and didn’t want a ton of people standing up there because it just doesn’t make sense to us.
I’ve been in a wedding where I’m one of five bridesmaids and I’ve been in others where I’m one of fifteen. I always wonder what everyone is thinking when it is time to decide where everyone will stand on the day. Is it by rank where the bride picks who goes where in terms of ‘importance’ or is it by height? If it ends up being by height, then how does your best friend who would have been your MOH if you had two (or whatever the case) feel being stuck down at the bottom?! I’ve been in another wedding where I was a bridesmaid and sat on the front row instead of stood at the altar, because only the MOH stood with the bride. I loved this, because she was able to keep the altar intimate, but still include all of her friends. It is all so complicated to me and really lead me to this point: I don’t want to rank order my friends.
I’ve come a long way in terms of looking for quality over quantity with my friendships and have really focused on that in the past years. I cherish each of my friends for so many reasons and for so many different ones. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and have them feel like I value their friendships less than they do or even vis versa. I’ve heard many times from friends or elders that if they got married today their bridal party would be really different. I don’t want to look back and say that or think that. I know that friendships grow closer and apart and some change, where some people may ultimately may not be as present in your life. The whole idea of our wedding was that we wanted those that were most important to us were there on the day so that we don’t look back and question why we did or did not include someone.
Another wedding I was in had a huge snowstorm hit and a few of the bridal party members weren’t even able to make it to the wedding. This is a reminder that life happens! Something similar happened before our wedding, as one couple was unable to come due to flight complications just before they were supposed to leave. They had their trip all planned, she had a dress ready and everything, but then they were unable to get on a flight to get them there in time for all of the festivities! This was a great reminder that life happens. Things come up and things don’t always go as we plan them. This is especially the case when travel is involved and as we get a little older. I’ve had a lot of friends who have been pregnant as a bridesmaid. Babies can always come early or travel may not be safe. It’s just another thing that can happen and leave one person unable to make it. It would be upsetting to ‘lose’ a bridal party member due to external circumstances like this! Especially last minute when it may lead to some rearranging with planning, etc.
Ultimately, as with all things related to wedding planning, I think each couple needs to do what is best for them. It’s hard to hurt feelings, but I think someone’s will get hurt no matter what you choose. Keeping in mind that it is a day about you and your future husband is the most important. I personally love that it was just us standing up there on the day of our wedding. It made it so intimate and feel like so much less of a production to me!
For those of you who do choose to have bridesmaids, the advice I always give friends is think about who WILL be there. It’s easy to get caught up in who you’ve known the longest or who was your best friends in collage, but I think it’s best to think about who you’re going to be closes with. Think about who you are going to call if you’re having a fight with your spouse or who you see yourself remaining friends with for years to come. Its about your life with your new spouse now and surrounding yourself with those who will be there to support you for the years to come.
Even if we would have ended up having a bigger wedding, I’m still not sure I would have done the traditional bridesmaids thing. If anything, I would have had my friends sit in the first row. I definitely loved having my girls with me to get ready on the day of though! If I were to have a more traditional wedding, my pup, Maddie, would have been my MOH and would have been the only other one up the alter with us besides who married us. Which, Charles’s brother-in-law did. Stay tuned for more on choosing who to marry you soon in another post!
I did ask my girlfriends who were there to get ready with me on the morning of, which was so fun. When we were all ready, we drank champagne and took some photos together. I asked these girls to please go for neutral dresses just so when we took fun girl photos we were all sort of consistent in terms of a color palette, but I was really open in terms of length, pattern, etc. Had I decided to have bridesmaids, I would have absolutely forgone the older tradition of matching dresses. I love the newer idea of neutral dresses in a variety of shades and even patterns. I love feeling like myself when in a wedding and of course, actually wearing a dress again, so I would have wanted the same for anyone in mine! I love that when we took these photos it wasn’t a matter of “okay, MOH stand right next to her.” It was much more relaxed where everyone could just jump in the same way they always do when I force them to take tons of photos. In my defense, I was always the photo taker in college, but they always loved it after the fact when I had so many pictures of all of us. Although, sometimes maybe not. haha! I have blackmail material for years. I digress.
Hopefully this answers all of your questions about it! It was just a personal decision based on the nature and location of our wedding. I’m a lucky girl to have so many amazing friends that it makes even narrowing down a guest list for a small wedding difficult. Since planning our wedding I’ve even made some new friends who I’ve gotten so close with and now can’t imagine my daily life with out. It’s just a reminder that there are constantly amazing people coming into our lives!
Shout out to all of the amazing girls in these pictures and those who were with me in spirt! You make my world go round and I love each of you past the moon. XO