Thursday, June 7, 2012

Here's a new one: Do I HAVE to have bridesmaids?


Dear ESB,

Do you (or one of your knowledgeable readers) know what is truly important about having bridesmaids? Is it a faux pas to not have any? Personally, I feel like I hear and read a lot of negativity from girls's experiences being a bridesmaid, I feel like it's actually an inconvenience for the person to this is asked of. I'm not looking to have a traditional wedding to the extent I would even care what they would wear, I wouldn't even expect them to help out with anything. I actually prefer doing most of the wedding planning myself. I would like a simple wedding in terms of decor and the guest list will not be more than 40-50 close friends and family. My ideal scenario would actually be to just rent out a restaurant that has an outdoor patio for the ceremony and have a kickass meal with a little bit of music and dancing.

Aaaaanyways, that's all basically to say to that I don't really "need" what I believe to be the purpose of a bridesmaid, as in girls to take care of planning and executing things for me. I'm actually very particular in the few things I do want and kind of like to do things my way. And should I need help, I think my sister, soon to be sister in law and best friend would help me regardless of being given a "bridesmaid" title.

What I would like to be enlightened about is if it is a social faux pas to not have any. Most weddings I see on blogs, even if they are "indie" or "non wedding" weddings have some qty of a bridal party. I haven't officially brought this up with my fiancee but in just discussing who he would have in his, he has anxiety and is confused about how it all works. I think (i'm not sure) that he would be on board with foregoing the formal tradition of having the groomsmen as well.

I really feel in my heart this day is first and foremost about me and my future husband. Everyone else is there to witness the ceremony and celebrate at the reception. Is this selfish? Is it selfish to not have a bridal party?

xo

*****

Do you guys just willy-nilly write in without even reading the blog????

OF COURSE YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE FUCKING BRIDESMAIDS.

Marc Jacobs Resort 2013 via Christene Barberich via Dree Harper + Vogue.com

48 comments:

  1. I obviously OBVIOUSLY agree with ESB. However, as someone getting married in 1.5 weeks who doesn't have any bridesmaids, I'm feeling like a) I kind of maybe actually do need some help (with little things) and b) it might be nice to have honored my best girls and also spent time with them on the wedding day. I don't know about other people, but when I've been a bridesmaid sure it has been a huge expense and pain in the a$$ but I have also spent WAY more time with the bride on the wedding day than even her new husband (sometimes) if you all get together to "get ready." How awesome is that? Especially since you won't have fun 1:1 time with people at the wedding day itself. Basically, I am totally on board with no bridesmaids, but I would recommend inviting some of your close friends (male or female) to come get ready with you - it's fun and you get to actually spend time together.

    THANKS ESB FOR BEING AWESOME.

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    1. i had a similar experience with my best friends without calling them bridesmaids.

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    2. me too. a couple of my closest friends were with me that morning... we had drinks beforehand and helped each other get ready. it was fun and i am glad we could share that experience.

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    3. yep. I asked my two best friends to stand by me and wear what they felt pretty in. I refused to give them titles as it's always felt a little silly to me, but whatever floats your boat!

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  2. "he has anxiety and is confused about how it all works"

    It works however the fuck you want it to. It's your wedding, you can do whatever the hell you want.

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    1. No need to be nasty!

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    2. Wasn't my intention. Tone is a hard thing to gauge on the internet. Apologies.

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    3. I've got 5 girls standing up with me, and my partner has only asked his brother to be his best man. He hasn't decided yet whether he wants groomsmen, and I say - hey ho, whatevs. If he has them, cool. If he doesn't then his bro gets to walk down the aisle with a posse of ladies ;)

      Point being: anything goes! do what works for you. none, some, loads.

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  3. I was at a wedding two weeks ago without bridesmaids. There was absolutely no difference from any other wedding.

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  4. I didn't have bridesmaids, although I did have my sister stand up with me, and I told her she could wear whatever she wanted and she had no duties. She didn't get a fancy title; she was just my sister, supporting me. It was great. Just remember to ask for help when you need it, because things can get hectic/stressful even with small, casual weddings.

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  5. I'm not having bridesmaids. I have sisters, a future sister-in-law, and close friends who would gladly fill the role, but I just didn't feel the need to tell them what to wear (which seems to be the major aspect of bridesmaids). I also, like the girl who wrote in, wanted the wedding to be primarily about me and my guy not other relationships. I let all of the would-be bridemaids know that they would have been and then tried to give them other minor roles (toasts, one is helping officiate, etc) and will probably give them small gifts. A couple of people have shown some surprise at me not having bridesmaids but really it has been a none issue. I am a little disappointed though that I have no excuse to force people to go to the hair salon with me on the wedding day.

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    1. you don't need to force anyone. You can ask them if they would like to join you, that you would be glad if they could make it and share that time with them.

      Why would we think it is better to have someone with you because it's their duty, it's in their role, they are forced to be there...

      ...rather than knowing that the people that are there want to be with you, because they know it's meaningful for you and you asked them is they could make it.

      There's added value in you acknowledging the fact that you want them with you and asking them to be there.

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  6. Replies
    1. But if you decide you want some close friends or fam members around you getting ready with you and what-not on the actual wedding day, maybe ask a few peeps to be your "escort"? That way they get all the fun part of being in a wedding party without actually having to be in a wedding party + you don't have to get ready alone.

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  7. I didn't have bridesmaids and it worked out great. My husband didn't want groomsmen either, so there was no issue there. A close friend threw me a bachelorette party and I invited my girls to come hang out and get ready with me the day of my wedding. I found that everyone was really willing to pitch in on the last minute things that needed attention - and they didn't even need a fancy title for it.

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  9. I had two bridesmaids (my best friend from high school and my new sister-in-law) and they were lovely. They both lived on the opposite coast so they had no pre-wedding responsibilities other than checking in with me every now and then, which each would have done anyway. On the day of the wedding, it was so great to have drama-free people by my side for the entire morning. But I think that would have happened regardless of what color dress they wore.

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  10. If you don't have bridesmaids it is still fun to be surrounded by your closest friends when you are getting ready. People who will share your excitement. As someone who has been a bridesmaid four times, it is only bad when the bride is high maintenance and has a lot of demands. When the bride is laid back, being in the wedding party is a blast. You keep the bride happy. You have dance parties while you get ready. There's no reason why it shouldn't be fun. Obviously the title shouldn't matter, it's the part you allow people to play on such an important and fun day.

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  11. I've been a bridesmaid multiple times and had an awful time, between the forced outfit/hair/makeup/management of family drama/management of bride hysterics... and also been to several close friends' weddings where I didn't make the bridesmaid cut and HAD AN AWESOME TIME. So we chose not to have a wedding party, are getting married in pretty well exactly the way you describe, and are very happy with the choice.
    Two girls who wanted to asked if they could plan a shower and a bachelorette party, and we're all planning on getting ready together. But they can wear what they like and sit down for the wedding, and still be there and participate fully. Oh, and if they decide to have a few too many drinks at the reception? Hats off to them.
    Do it.

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    1. Agree about the awful time. My former best friend became such a tyrant during her wedding planning that it eventually ruined our friendship. I've since been a bridesmaid in two family weddings and those ladies were MUCH more reasonable, but it's still just a lot 'o work.

      I know I won't have bridesmaids, if I even have a wedding, that is. My close female friends and family have already thrown the, "you still should let us plan a shower, party and/or bachelorette." You can involve your close people without burdening them with the bridesmaid role.

      And yeah, I know, being a bridesmaid is an honor, not a burden. But remember that perspective has everything to do with experience. My experience = omg no bridesmaids ever, no way

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  12. ESB, in regards to your reply: My thoughts exactly! Something about kicking in an already open door (is that also an expression in English...?) You rock!
    Dear bride to be: I think your weddingplans sound divine, exactly how I would want to celebrate marriage! Have a great day!

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  13. You don't HAVE to do anything.

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    1. what up Stefanie who spells her name properly

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  14. I didn't have bridesmaids either. We had one flower girl and one ringbearer. And that's it! =)

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  15. I've only been to two weddings that had bridesmaids at all, and only one with mandated dresses. People around me mostly have their siblings stand up with them, or don't have a wedding party at all and ask people to do readings or otherwise participate.

    I've started asking my friends if there are specific ways they want to be involved in the wedding. So far, my sister has said she wants some kind of role that makes her feel special (her suggestion: walking my dog down the aisle), my brother has offered to throw me a bachelor party (involving sitting around a campfire and drinking whiskey, probably with my partner there because of the timing), another friend has asked if I want her to throw me a shower (OHGODNO). I have a bunch of friends who've offered to help with set up and pre-wedding logistical shit.

    My one piece of advice is don't try to do it alone. One, some (maybe many) of your friends would rather get to hang out with you and help than be cut loose to do their own thing. I love helping set up at weddings because it gives me a chance to meet my friends' friends and feel like I'm involved in a community event instead of at a spectacle. It also makes me feel important.

    Two, it feels nice to have people help. We were trying to not ask people for help for months because we didn't want to impose, and it just made us feel lonely and shitty and like no one cared. As soon as we started letting our friends help it felt way more awesome. We started feeling super grateful instead of anxious about what people thought and whether we were asking too much.

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  16. You absolutely don't need to have bridesmaids. I wasn't initially going to have any either, as my husband didn't want groomsmen etc. but knowing that I would want photos to be cohesive I did ask my two best friends to coordinate. They ended up becoming self-appointed bridesmaids and it really was the sweetest thing ever. They didn't stand up with us during the ceremony, but preformed all the other duties, including starting and ending the dance party.

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  17. I think bridesmaids come from the catholic ceremony where you HAVE TO have "godfather" and "godmother" as a requirement to get married. Since you´re probably not having a religious ceremony, the bridesmaids is kind of pointless.
    Good luck and sorry for my bad english

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    1. Bridesmaids do not come from the catholic ceremony. Spain is a catholic country and there were never traditionally bridesmaids or groomsmen, so it must come from some other place or ritual.

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    2. "godfather" and "godmother" are for when a kid gets baptized. It has nothing to do with a wedding ceremony. All you need are two witnesses just like a wedding at a courthouse.

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  18. From good old Wikipedia!
    Origin and history

    The Western bridesmaid tradition is thought to have originated from Roman Law, which required ten witnesses at a wedding in order to outsmart evil spirits (believed to attend marriage ceremonies) by dressing in identical clothing to the bride and groom, so that the evil spirits would not know who was getting married. Even as late as 19th century England, there was a belief that ill-wishers could administer curses and taint the wedding. In Victorian wedding photographs, for example, the bride and groom are frequently dressed in the same fashion as other members of the bridal party.

    Other people cite the Biblical story of Jacob, and his two wives Leah and Rachel, who both literally came with their own maids as detailed in the Book of Genesis (29:24, 46:18) as the origin of bridesmaids. These women were handmaidens (servants or slaves) instead of social peers.

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    1. Sounds like some brides still follow the Biblical bridesmaid tradition and turn their maids into servants or slaves. Don't do it!

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  19. I think having bridesmaids is about honoring your nearest and dearest and being able to spend lots of time close to them during the planning and especially on the day of the ceremony. I've always thought that I'd only want a couple girls up there with me as not to have one of those excessive and extravagant weddings, but I'm starting to realize that I want to include all my closest friends, because they'll be such a crucial part of setting the tone for that day and making fabulous memories. You don't have to make them do things for you, you can just enjoy their presence.

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  20. We didn't have a wedding party. A couple of my most special ladies provided a lot of help though and I gave them thank you gifts and a shout out during the reception speeches, as well as my ongoing love and adoration of course. I will say my twin sis was kind of bummed that she didn't get to be the matron of honor (I was her MoH) so I dunno, maybe I would do it differently next time?

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  21. How is this even an issue for people? Geez, don't do bridesmaids...NEXT!

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  22. maybe they want their own blog post.

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  23. why do people think they HAVE to have anything for their wedding? There are no rules to these things (though you should make sure your fiance and celebrant/priest is there, that sort of makes the wedding legit) so so what you like for the day.
    i didn't have bridesmaids and i have no regrets about it as one of my best friends and my sister were there to get ready with me and that's all i wanted.
    don't want them? don't have them!

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  24. Has ESB already solved all wedding related dilemmas :/?

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  25. My aunt only had her sister as a maid of honour, and some of my younger cousins as flower girls. I did not find it weird that she didn't have bridesmaids. Do whatever you want!

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    1. Aren't those things still kind of, you know, bridesmaids???

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  26. My favourite part of this email was the moment I realised ESB brain imploded. Willy-nilly, indeed.

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  27. Crikey. I didn't get my copy of the 'big book of wedding laws to be obeyed on pain of death' when I got engaged. I wonder how many of them I actually broke?!

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  28. I wish there were no bridesmaids or groomsmen ever.

    I'd rather just see the couple being married instead of being distracted by a crowd of extraneous people standing there.

    Guess I'm weird.

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  29. Yeah, I didn't have any bridesmaids. And I don't regret it one bit. And also, the sky didn't fall in, NO ONE NOTICED!

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  30. We didn't have a bridal party. We chose to honor people who we were close to in other ways: painting art to decorate the church, doing readings, lighting candles, etc. I asked a group of my best girlfriends to get ready with me, which was a blast. We did have our siblings walk down the aisle together & light candles. Our parents escorted each of us down the aisle. It worked out great.

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  31. I just got married this past Saturday without bridesmaids and it worked out beautifully. I had 3 close friends who helped out a lot, but without the matchy-matchy dresses and silver strappy sandals. We had 40-50 people (close friends and family only) at a flower farm with the reception in the barn.

    I am SO glad I went without bridesmaids. It was easier to plan, and I really loved that they were all had their own style on the day. Plus, it cut down on posed photo time so we could spend more time hanging out with guests. It was ridiculous fun! Good luck and enjoy yourself!

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  32. I didn't have any! No bridesmaids = NO DRAMA! Well, very little drama :) You will have to deal with confused looks from time to time and one of your aunts asking you every other week if you have changed your mind "yet" about whether or not to have them.

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  33. I had my brother stand up for me and my husband had his do the same. Worked out beautifully. Keep it simple, you'll be happier.

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