If you’re a bride-to-be without any close gal pals, you’re not alone. Many a bride has been in your shoes: freaking out about not having enough friends to make up a traditional bridal party.
If you fall into the “I don’t have any friends to be bridesmaids at my wedding” club, worry not. Wedding planning is stressful enough without losing sleep over choosing attendants.
The truth is, the number of bridesmaids you have in your wedding is totally up to you and you don’t need to conform to any set of rules to have a beautiful and memorable day.
So, if you don’t have any BFFs and are looking for some advice on choosing the right bridal party for you, our tips are just what you need to get your wedding planning back on track.
What to Do When You Have No Friends to be Bridesmaids
Modern weddings are all about planning a special and meaningful day, not following traditions of old, or even what we see in the media.
If you don’t have many — or any — friends to be bridesmaids at your wedding, here are some easy ways to choose the bridal party that is right for you.
Consider Family Members
While asking your sister(s) to be part of your wedding may seem like a no-brainer, this easy solution can often be overlooked simply because you’re so focused on not having any close gal pals. As long as you get along, your sister(s) will no doubt be overjoyed to stand with you on your special day.
But what if you don’t have sisters or don’t get along with the ones you do have? Why not look to other family members you’re close to? If you and your brother are best friends, there is no reason why you can’t ask him to be part of your big day. More and more brides are bucking tradition and are asking men they are close to be part of their wedding party — and most guys are more than willing to step up.
No siblings? Ask cousins you’re fond of to stand up with you. Even if you don’t have any cousins in your general age range, why not ask teenage cousins to be part of your wedding party? Most young girls will jump at the chance to wear a pretty dress and be part of such a special day.
Consider Fiancé’s Family Members
If you’re an only child and don’t have much extended family, looking to your fiancé’s female family members is a great solution. Asking your fiancé’s sister or sister-in-law is not only a smart way to pad your bridal party numbers, but it will give you a chance to spend quality time with your loved one’s nearest and dearest.
Consider the Bridal Parties You’ve Been In
If you’ve been a bridesmaid in the past, consider asking the brides you stood beside to return the favor. If you were special enough to be included in their weddings, these former brides will not be taken aback at being asked to be part of your wedding day. In fact, they may even expect it.
Even if you don’t feel like you’re besties with them anymore, this could be a golden opportunity to rekindle an old friendship or to deepen a relationship that already exists. If nothing else, as past brides themselves, they’ll be able to offer you valuable advice for planning your big day.
Consider a Small Bridal Party
Most Hollywood films that include a wedding show mid-sized to large bridal parties celebrating the couple’s big day. But that certainly doesn’t make a larger bridal party the ideal you need to conform to.
Having a small bridal party can be a lovely way to forge or deepen friendships with the few ladies you ask. Having three or fewer attendants also lessens the stress on you because you have fewer personalities to deal with and fewer dresses to shop for.
Whether you choose to have a party of two or three or a maid of honor only, it will lend your ceremony a more intimate vibe that is so essential if you’re planning a small, simple or low-key wedding.
Consider No Bridal Party
More and more couples are choosing to stand alone on their wedding day. Opting to forgo a wedding party will leave you more room in your budget for other items. Not having to pay for gifts, extra bouquets, and hair and makeup means you can splurge on something you may not otherwise have been able to afford — or you can put the extra dollars toward your honeymoon.
Eliminating the drama and hurt feelings that can come with bridal parties is reason enough for many brides to decide against having any attendants at all. Choosing not to have a bridal party also means you won’t have to navigate varying opinions and personalities both on and leading up to your big day.
How to Choose Bridesmaids FAQ
Still have some questions about choosing bridesmaids? We’ve got you covered. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions brides have when choosing their wedding parties.
What is the average amount of bridesmaids?
While most brides average between three and five bridesmaids, there really are no hard and fast rules about how many attendants you need to have. More and more brides are opting to change things up by having smaller wedding parties or even no wedding party at all.
Do I need to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen?
No! While having the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen is traditional, it certainly is not necessary. If your fiancé has more mates than you, don’t stress about it. You can always have two groomsmen accompany the same bridesmaid — one on either arm.
It’s far more important to have the people who mean the most to you in your wedding party than having equal numbers of attendants.
How do you choose bridesmaids without offending people?
There is one key thing every bride, including you, should remember when choosing her bridal party. It’s your day and you should only choose people to be in your wedding party because you want them to be in it — not because you feel obligated to do so. You don’t owe anyone a spot in your bridal lineup just because you were in their wedding party or because you’ve known someone for a long time.
Choose attendants that will not only love and support you both before and on your big day, but who won’t add drama or stress to your happy event. If you have a friend or loved one that doesn’t meet that criteria, it is your prerogative to leave them out of your bridal party.
If you’re worried about hurting someone you care about, see our tips on how you can honor ladies you haven’t chosen for your wedding party.
How do you honor non-bridesmaids?
If you have a friend or family member that you love dearly but don’t want to include in your wedding party, consider offering her a different role to play so she doesn’t feel left out.
Here are some of the roles to consider:
- Usher — While this is traditionally performed by friends of the groom, many brides are breaking with tradition to ask some of their gal pals to take on that role. Being an usher is an important responsibility — one that will not only allow her to meet more of your guests but will make her just as visible and as important as your bridesmaids.
- Ceremony reader — If you plan to incorporate a poem or religious verse in your ceremony, consider asking your friend to do the reading. If she is comfortable speaking in front of people, this is a great way to make her part of your big day.
- Musician or singer — If your friend or family member has musical talent, asking her to play or sing before, during or after your ceremony not only shines the spotlight on her, but allows her to be part of your special day.
- Marriage license witness — While this job traditionally goes to your maid of honor and best man, there’s no reason you can’t ask someone else to take on this role. If you have two friends you’d like to include in the ceremony, this is a lovely way to do so because your marriage license is a permanent reminder of your wedding day.
- Candle lighter — If you plan to light a unity candle during the ceremony, asking a shy friend or family member to take on the role is a meaningful way to include them without requiring them to speak in public or interact with a lot of people.
How many is too many bridesmaids?
While there is no right or wrong number when it comes to the number of bridesmaids you choose, there are a few things you should keep in mind. They are:
- Venue — Perhaps the most important element to consider is the size of both the ceremony and reception venues. If your space is limited, then having a large bridal party simply won’t work. Always ensure your bridal party does not exceed the space you have to work with.
- Number of close friends — The number of close friends and family members you have is also a huge factor when deciding on your bridal party. The key is to choose those whom you truly want standing beside you as you say your vows. If that number is three, then go with three. If it’s eight, then go with eight as long as your venue will support that number.
- Number of guests — If you’re having an intimate wedding, having a massive bridal party isn’t the best choice. For instance, having 10 bridesmaids and only 50-100 guests will look disproportionate. In this case, you may want to consider limiting your attendants to no more than four. If, however, you’re having a large wedding with 200-plus guests, you can get away with a large wedding party.