Is less really more when it comes to your wedding party?
It’s an undeniable honour to be asked to stand alongside your best friend on her wedding day, but there’s no denying that it isn’t easy being a bridesmaid. There are questionable dresses and expensive hen parties to contend with, not to mention all the wedding planning, dress shopping excursions, pass-agg group chats on Whatsapp, and, y’know, hours and hours of DIY fun/torture.
Then again, it’s just as tricky for the bride to a) pick which of her closest pals have earned a spot in their wedding party, b) manage their expectations as to what that entails, and c) coax them into those all-important matching dresses.
And now a growing number of modern brides are forgoing bridesmaids all together.
According to Pinterest, more brides than ever before are choosing to scrap the tricky politics of bridesmaids and opting for something far more intimate instead.
And, in a Reddit thread, several brides have explained their incredibly varied reasons for ditching their wedding party. We’ve selected 10 of our favourites, in a bid to help shine a light on what it really means to keep your ‘so-called ‘big day’ completely bridesmaid-free…
1) My friends still came to help me get ready
“I didn't have bridesmaids, but I still had a bachelorette party and friends all came and got ready with me the morning of my wedding. I gave them all small gifts to thank them for their friendship, but I didn't make them jump through hoops and wear dresses that no one likes to be by my side. Best decision ever!
“There was no pressure on anyone, no expensive matching dresses, or other meaningless stuff. Everyone was just able to relax and have able absolute blast.” – Luanne_Platter
2) I’ve been a bridesmaid before – and I know it’s a hassle
“I had a medium sized (78) semi-traditional wedding and did not have bridesmaids. I have two sisters I am very close to and lots of girlfriends, and it was entirely a choice not to.
Honestly, I've been in enough weddings to know that being a bridesmaid is a huge, expensive hassle. I also didn't feel like I needed anyone to stand up with me when I married my husband. We were committing to life with each other, not with our friends or family. Also, there is a huge hassle and cost savings as a bride to not having a wedding party that was also appealing (no gifts, no need for flowers, no need to choose bridesmaid dressing/hairstyles etc.)
Ultimately your wedding day is about marrying your husband together with people you love. You absolutely do not need a bridal party to do that. And you don't have to miss out on traditional bridal party type experiences either..... ask a friend to plan a night out before your wedding, and ask family members or friends to go dress shopping. I don't regret my decision for a second and my husband (who also had no party) feels the same.” – Jmpags
3) We unexpectedly eloped at the last moment
“84 days before a 200 guest formal military- involved wedding, with 7 attendants each, my hubs and I did the unthinkable. Canceled it. Everything. Lost major $ in deposits. I was too stressed out, my sisters and my friends were arguing, our mothers turned Bat shit insane, he is 2nd generation Marine, so obviously his dad wanted a huge show for his buddies.... etc etc etc
I threw up every hour one Saturday from the stress. That day, we decided to give everyone the proverbial finger. We did, however. decide to take our honeymoon. After 3 days in Greece, he threw a surprise wedding with just our parents, his best friend and my closest sister. I had no idea it was happening. I woke up one morning, my dress was magically in the room, he said hey I thought we should get pictures done so that thing wasn't a complete waste. Went to the cliffs, and our 6 member wedding was there! Surprise!” – Ellexoxoxo33
4) I wanted my brother to take on a more important role
“We had about 40 people at our wedding, if all of my age appropriate friends and family were bridesmaids then there would have only been half that number watching. For that reason I chose my brother to be my attendant (my husband chose his sister as well). My brother came dress shopping, organised a low key pre-wedding hen's do which he attended, got right involved with making the cake and all the other bits and pieces.
“Just because he's not a 'girl' didn't mean he couldn't participate and be involved in the same way. I hope you will have someone to step up with you, someone you love, not some random because you feel you 'should'.” – T_Max100
5) It wasn’t an easy decision – but I have no regrets
“It wasn't a super easy decision. When [my husband] and I were planning the wedding, I wanted my three best friends to be bridesmaids. DH only wanted two, and asked me to cut down to two as well for aesthetics. I laughed and said hell no. A long discussion later, we decided we really just wanted it us up there, as we were already forgoing some other traditions
Literally everyone I told said ‘Oh that's a good idea, I wish I didn't have so many/any at all/ only had one’. My best friends all understood (I chatted with each of them and let them know). This opened up things to everyone! My sisters and my mom planned my bridal shower, my three best friends did the bachelorette (with about eight attending in total). When we met with the friend who was doing our ceremony, he said he could cut so much time because we weren't doing the processional with the million bridesmaids.
For me, I had a nice time planning my wedding with my hubby. I still did dress shopping with friends, the parties with friends, and all in all everyone was pretty happy because I didn't need much from them and we just got to party!” – Honeybadgercantcare
6) The in-fighting between bridesmaids can be ridiculous
“[I didn’t have bridesmaids] because I’d been a bridesmaid several times and not only was it a money suck, the in-fighting between some bridesmaids (and sometimes bride) is ridiculous.
I have zero regrets. I don’t have pics that have people in them that I might not even have in my life now (like many of my friends do). No one has any memories of disagreements or arguments.
It was a win win win!” – Cats-quilts
7) It was too difficult to choose between my friends
“I did not have bridesmaids. The problem for me with bridesmaids was that I had a circle of friends that were basically equal in closeness, and I did not want to have to pick between them for the wedding party. I wanted a small wedding, so I asked my sister to be my maid of honour.
I went dress shopping by myself. Actually, I just went to one department store, where my grandmother worked, so I got her discount.” – Mrs Whatsit-75
8) My best friends gave speeches instead
“I didn’t [have any bridesmaids] and I had about 40 people at my wedding. My best friends still gave a little speech which was sweet. Our wedding was really casual and simple.” – Pro_cat_wrangler
9) All that money is going towards a new house instead
“Got married at the courthouse. Husband wouldn't let me wear pajamas. In and out in about 30 minutes, would have been sooner but mom(in-law) was chatting up the judge.
No regrets for skipping alllll that hot mess. All that money is going towards a new house payment instead.” – Imperial_scum
10) I had the two people I love most in the world standing with me – and I was marrying one
“I had zero bridesmaids. Instead, my husband and I had our best friend stand up with us and represent us both.
I’m glad we did it that way. A lot less drama and less people I had to keep track of. I didn’t feel like I was missing out on that tradition….I had the two people I love most in the world standing with me. And I was marrying one. It was lovely!” – Zomgitsdanii
Images: Thomas Christian/Unsplash/iStock/Rex Features
Please note that this article was originally published in March 2017.