Can You Have a Wedding With No Bridesmaids (or Groomsmen)?

For many brides, having a line of bridesmaids to stand up with them on their big day is as natural a wedding tradition as the speeches or bouquets. But a growing number of couples are asking: do I need to have a wedding party at all? For some, it’s about budget or cutting down on potential stress. For others, it’s a wish to keep things simple or not to put their friends in the position of feeling obligated. Whatever the reason, if you opt to have a wedding with no bridesmaids (or groomsmen, or flower girls, or any other attendants), it’s completely up to you. Your wedding day is all about picking the traditions that feel right. And if there ever was a time to challenge the norm, it’s now. In a year where we had an Emmys without a red carpet, you can say no to a retinue!

However, there are a few things you should consider if you’re planning a wedding with no bridesmaids or other attendants.

There may be some hurt feelings. Some of your friends may be relieved not to have to spend a small fortune on matching gowns they’ll probably never wear again. Others may be upset not to be asked. Be sure to let those friends or family members who may have expected an invitation know about your decision. Let them know how much you love and appreciate them in a way they will understand.

No wedding party doesn’t mean no support. Just because you opt for a wedding with no bridesmaids or groomsmen doesn’t mean you can’t include your loved ones in other ways. Give them a role in the ceremony or ask them to get ready with you. And if you need help with pre-wedding tasks, ask. Many friends will be only too happy to jump in. Even the most important wedding party duties like holding the bouquet or keeping the rings at the ceremony can easily be delegated.

You can still have a bachelor and bachelorette party. Similarly, no wedding party doesn’t have to mean no pre-wedding parties! You can ask a friend or family member to host these events. It may be less structured, but as long as you communicate any expectations clearly, there’s no reason a lack of bridesmaids should stand in your way.

The same rules don’t have to apply on both sides of the aisle. But what if a couple feels differently about having a wedding party? What if your partner is ready to opt out of attendants while you can’t imagine saying your vows without your squad? That’s fine too. The number of bridesmaids and groomsmen (or maids of honor and best men) is completely up to you. And the numbers don’t have to be even! Your photographs will be just as lovely – although it’s always helpful to alert your photographer ahead of time. And men and women don’t need to stand on one side of the aisle – brides can have bridesmen too and vice versa! It’s about selecting people most special to you, regardless of gender roles.

For those of you who still love the idea of bridesmaids and groomsmen, this certainly isn’t to suggest you give them up or limit the love you profess for them on the big day. A wedding party can be a very meaningful tradition and create treasured memories for you and your loved ones. But if a wedding with no bridesmaids or groomsmen feels right to you, then that’s okay too.

It’s all about planning a wedding that YOU love!


Image by Amy and Stuart Photography