Flower Dads. Flower Men. Flower Grannies. BridesMen. BridesKids. GroomsLadies.
I’ve lost count of the number of bridesmaid variations that I have seen and I tell you what – I LOVE IT!!!!
So, when I talk about “bridesmaids” through this article, I do not specifically mean “the women who will be carrying bouquets with you as you walk down the aisle”.
I am talking about the people that you choose to surround you, who are to be labelled your “bridal party”. There are loads of options and variations and I encourage you to, “you do you”. But for the ease of a single term, I will hence forth call these people “bridesmaids”.
Why have a bridal party?
The reason behind having a bridal party is to have a few people who are closest to you, to share and help you through the wedding planning process, and to be with the bride or groom on the day to get ready.
Often it is a couple’s way of saying to their nearest and dearest friends and / or family – thank you for being an important part of my life.
What do bridesmaids do?
Your “bridesmaid/s” may:
- Come dress shopping with you.
- Be a sounding board for your plans, ideas, frustrations, etc.
- Join you at wedding expos.
- Help make any DIY items.
- Plan a bridal shower / Hen’s Day.
- Assist on the day with deliveries, set up and pack down, collections afterwards
- Get ready with you and be a calming presence when the nerves hit.
- Walk the aisle with you.
How to choose your bridal party.
Firstly, there is no rule that states that you need to have the same number of people for each partner. There are ways around dealing with uneven numbers when it comes to walking the aisle, photos, bridal party dances and speeches – if these are the things you choose to do. So, consider choosing people for who they are, not to even up the numbers.
Consider asking people to be in your bridal party who you trust and you can rely on them. People who are your nearest and dearest, and those that you know will be helpful, calm and won’t make it all about them.
Do I need a bridal party?
A bridal party is for you if:
- you have friends / family who understand that your wedding day is not about them.
- you have friends / family who will kick you up the butt when you turn into bridezilla.
- you know that your partner is going to be pretty darn useless when it comes to planning your wedding and you will need the support / guidance of others.
- you love hanging with your gang and want them there with you to share every second of this occasion.
- you can be a considerate human and understand that your wedding does not mean that your bridal party needs to shut down their lives for you.
Many couples choose not to have them because:
- they don’t want to offend anybody by selecting some and not others.
- they have a tight budget and feel this is a way to pull some costs back.
- they just do not see the point!
In the age of anything goes with weddings, you don’t need a bridal party. So don’t feel pressured to have one if this is not your thing.
Just remember that you can’t have your cake and eat it too. There is a chance that you will have to organise your own Hen’s Day / Kitchen Tea, and that getting ready may be a quieter affair. However, often close friends / family step in to organise the celebrations along the way, and are also happy to join you on the day to get ready.
What is expected of you when you have a bridal party?
To pay for the dresses / shoes / accessories / hair / makeup or to not pay…… this question comes up all the time.
So what should be done?
Again – you do you. BUT with courtesy.
True story – my hubs was asked to be a groomsman for a close friend many years ago. Unfortunately, after adding up the cost of wedding present, Buck’s Show out of pocket expenses, outfit purchase (suit, shirt, shoes, tie), professional shave, hotel accommodation on the night of the wedding, and a bridal party breakfast the next day, we were out of pocket over $1000! No lie! It was insane!!!
Asking your bridal party to pay for their own outfits / shoes / hair / makeup / whatever is totally acceptable if you don’t have the budget for it. But just be a good person about it.
- allow them to choose their own outfit with guidance on a colour palette?
- Or look for something that they will wear again?
- Or at the very least – ensure that what they have to outlay is a reasonable amount of money for them.
On the flip side – maybe consider cutting back your epic line up of bridesmaids to have only those that you can afford.
Like selecting your guest list, the issue of a bridal party can be a total field of landmines. Unfortunately people react in response to how they are feeling so there’s some eye-opening stories of people behaving badly. Always consider if a bridal party is the right option for you before you plough ahead. If it is – fab! Just be a considerate human for everyone involved.
BTW, if you are about to embark on the next challenge of selecting your guest list, check out my article “How To Make A Guest List That Fits With Your Perfect Wedding Day” to dodge some serious guest list headaches.