It is not uncommon for brides to think they do not need a bridal party. However, generally, having a formal bridal party is considered an essential part of the wedding experience.
However, there are some instances where it would be appropriate to forgo having one or more members of your bridal party.
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If you decide that this is what you want to do, then make sure all other aspects of your wedding reflect what type of ceremony and celebration that decision entails.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Can I Have a Wedding Without a Bridal Party?
- 2 Consider Not Having a Bridal Party If:
- 3 The Pros and Cons of Not Having a Bridal Party
- 4 What to Expect.
- 4.1 Who Holds the Bouquet?
- 4.2 Who Holds the Rings?
- 4.3 Length of the Processional.
- 4.4 No Automatic Getting-Ready Squad.
- 4.5 Can I Still Have a Bachelorette Party?
- 4.6 Is it Okay to Not Have Bridesmaids or Groomsmen?
- 4.7 Why Do You Think Opting to Not Have a Bridal Party Has Become a Thing?
- 4.8 Do You Think It’s a Good Idea? What Are Some Benefits of Not Having Attendants?
- 4.9 Are There Any Down Sides?
- 4.10 So, In Other Words, No Bridal Party Equals a Much Less Stressful Wedding Day?
How Can I Have a Wedding Without a Bridal Party?
Many couples decide that they don’t want to have a bridal party for their wedding, and that’s okay!
Some may choose not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen because they have many friends and don’t want to upset anyone, or they may choose to focus on their love instead of their relationships with their friends and family.
Whatever the reason, it is possible not to have bridesmaids or groomsmen – just make sure you let the friends and family members who may have expected to be included in the bridal party know in a way that they will understand appreciate.
What Happens If You Have No Bridal Party for Your Wedding?
As time goes on, more and more couples choose to design their weddings in a way that fits their personality as a couple, rather than the tradition that has guided many pairs of the past.
While we support entirely doing your own thing for your weddings, brides and grooms don’t always realise the domino effect it can create when planning the fête and all of the pre-wedding events leading up to the ceremony.
For example, not having a bridal party might be a way to streamline the big day and make things simpler for you and your beloved, but there are some aspects of the ceremony that this can affect.
This is not meant to dissuade anyone from electing to forgo a bridal party, but rather to make sure you are informed, so there aren’t any surprises at the end of planning.
Consider Not Having a Bridal Party If:
If your number one goal for the big day is to keep stress to a minimum, choosing to forego attendants could be a big help.
With no schedules to arrange, conflicting fashion senses to satisfy, or lengthy “reminder!” emails to write, your planning process just got a whole lot simpler.
It is rare to have a drama-free, work-free, stress-free wedding party.
Rather than risk it, more and more couples are just letting go of the official roles of the wedding party but keeping the fun parts of it, so everyone is happy.
You’re on a Budget.
Everyone knows being a bridesmaid can often be an expensive endeavour.
But something most don’t realise: It’s more expensive for the bride and groom, too!
It allows the couple to save money by not purchasing bouquets, bridal party gifts, and additional party expenses.
If you’re a bride on a tight budget, it might make sense to eliminate the bridal party-plus, sparing your friends the expense that comes along with bridesmaid duties makes it a win/win for all involved.
You Want No Distractions.
This is a day about you and your future spouse. So while it’s nice to recognise the friends and family who supported you along the way, it’s not mandatory.
This day is all about celebrating your love and commitment to one another, and that is the most crucial detail.
If standing up at the altar with only your betrothed helps keep you both present and focused on each other, then what friend could object?
The Pros and Cons of Not Having a Bridal Party
Here, we share some pros and cons to help you determine whether having bridesmaids at your wedding is a must or a mistake.
Pro: It’s a Great Way to Honor Those Closest to You
Being asked to be someone’s bridesmaid is a true honour—especially when so few individuals were selected to carry that title.
These are the girls who have been by your side through thick and thin and only want what’s best for you, so asking them to stand next to you as you marry the love of your life is the ultimate honour.
Selecting them as bridesmaids symbolise that each has helped you become the person you are today.
Con: it Will Require Room in Your Budget
While your bridesmaids might pay for their dress, the bride covers many additional costs, such as a bridesmaid gift, hair and makeup, the bouquet for them to carry down the aisle, etc.
Personalised gifts for each of your attendants can add up fast.
If you’re on a stringent budget for your wedding, the fewer people at the wedding party, the further the money will go towards other aspects of your wedding, like photography.
Pro: Extra Emotional Support
The added support leading up to one of the most important milestones of your life is undoubtedly one of the most significant benefits of having bridesmaids.
On your wedding day, having a crew of your closest friends and family members nearby—in the early morning, through the getting-ready process, just before you walk down the aisle, standing next to you when you say your “I dos,” and at nearby tables during your reception—will help make you feel more comfortable and at ease.
Consider the emotional support bridesmaids can provide on the day of your wedding when anxiety and stage fright might get the best of you.
Con: it Can Create a Breeding Ground for Conflict
You might get along with all of your girlfriends, but they might not be so friendly with each other—especially if you’re mixing two groups, like your high school girls and your college pals.
Having too many opinions and personalities in one room on a typical day can drive anyone crazy, not to mention more so on your big day as a bride.
While each bridesmaid likely has your best interest at heart, sometimes all of the opinions create more indecisiveness, stress, and confusion.”
Pro: More Helping Hands
Since traditional bridesmaid responsibilities include planning the shower and bachelorette party, you’ll be pretty much-taken care of.
The same goes for day-of duties. Not that you want to put people to work for you on your wedding day, but your bridesmaids can help out with any last-minute errands or emergencies on the wedding day.
Forgot your double-stick tape? Have one of your bridesmaids run out and stock up. Worried about not eating or drinking enough water on your wedding day? Appoint one of your bridesmaids to remind you to stay fed and hydrated.
Con: You Might Hurt People’s Feelings
Frequently, deciding which of your close friends and family will cut to be on your bridesmaid’s list can create tension.
Not asking certain friends to be your bridesmaids could create a lot of drama and hurt feelings, so not having any bridesmaids would eliminate all of the conflicts of choosing between friends and keep all of your friendships intact.
We’ve seen many a celebration with no wedding party, and the event is just as beautiful as those nuptials that do have wedding parties.
While you may not have the classic portraits of bridesmaids and groomsmen, you can focus your attention and the timeline of your wedding day on other parts of the special day.
The choice is yours – and as with anything related to your wedding day, it’s essential to make the decision that’s right for you as a couple.
What to Expect.
Bridal parties are unnecessary, but the men and women who make up a traditional group of attendants are typically responsible for specific tasks.
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With no bridal party for responsibilities to fall upon, there’s no “law of the land” when organising events.
There may not be a bridal shower or bachelorette party unless you plan it yourself or ask a friend or family member.
To avoid any confusion, be sure to communicate any expectations you may have with a close friend or parent so everyone is clear.
And while you may not think it’s a big deal to go solo on your big day, your besties might feel differently.
Be conscious of any hurt feelings and try to find different ways to recognise those important to you.
Whether it’s asking them to do a reading, mentioning them in the program, or inviting them to get ready with you that morning, a small gesture could go a long way in keeping spirits high.
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Are you curious about what aspects of the big day will change for weddings without bridal parties? Here are some things you might have to adjust if you’re not having a bridal party:
Who Holds the Bouquet?
Typically, a bride will hand off her bouquet to the maid of honour during the wedding ceremony, but that won’t be an option if you don’t have bridesmaids standing with you.
Even for a wedding without bridal-party members, you will probably have your VIPs in the front row, right?
Choose one of your close friends, siblings, or family members to hold your bouquet as you and your beloved say your “I dos” – just make sure they know about this duty in advance.
Who Holds the Rings?
On a similar note, the best man often holds onto the wedding rings until the time to exchange them comes in the ceremony because no one wants to trust the young ring bearer with expensive jewellery.
One great option for weddings without bridal-party members is to entrust the officiant with the rings.
It should be an even more seamless transition for the wedding day than the groom turning around to get them from his best man.
Length of the Processional.
This particular one might be a plus for some couples, but there won’t be any bridesmaids or groomsmen walking down the aisle with no bridal party.
The predominant way this might affect your planning is wedding processional song choice. Usually, a tune is selected for any family members and the wedding party, and then one for the bride.
There will likely not be sufficient time for two, and you might even have to make sure the ceremony song is cued up so that your favourite part is playing as you walk down the aisle.
This is by no means a reason to reject the idea; it’s just something to keep in mind when wedding planning.
No Automatic Getting-Ready Squad.
A bride usually gets her hair and makeup done with her bridesmaids, but just because you don’t have any doesn’t mean you have to get ready alone – unless that’s what you want!
Many brides love having their photographer document those picture-perfect “getting-ready” shots, and we’re here to share that you can do so even if you have a wedding without bridesmaids!
You may consider asking your sisters or closest friends to do hair and makeup with you on the big day.
However, if you don’t offer beauty services to them, it may feel awkward as a professional work on you.
It also can lead to the same issues of hierarchy that you may have been trying to avoid by not having a bridal party in the first place.
Even if you’re not having bridesmaids, make sure you make your close friends who are preparing for the ceremony with you feel special!
Can I Still Have a Bachelorette Party?
Even if you decide to have no bridal party, the good news is that your desire to have a bachelorette party does not go out the window!
Nowadays, bachelorette parties include friends who may not be wedding attendants (even for weddings with bridal parties).
Unlike more formal get-togethers like a rehearsal dinner, this pre-wedding event is a great way to make sure that all of your closest friends are included – even if they’re not officially part of the wedding day.
However, since you won’t have bridesmaids or even a maid of honour – who typically plan this event – you’ll need to either plan the celebration yourself or a close friend or sibling may offer to prepare it for you.
Similarly, for grooms, a bachelor party can still occur even without groomsmen!
Is it Okay to Not Have Bridesmaids or Groomsmen?
Your wedding day should be a celebration of you as a couple, so if you choose to not have bridesmaids for one of many reasons – budget, drama, etc. – that’s okay!
For every wedding that has a large bridal party, we see more and more marriages have no bridal party at all.
You may still choose to have a flower girl or ring bearer participate in the wedding ceremony, or you may decide to remove this tradition from your celebration as well.
Some brides look forward to choosing their ‘maids, picking out bridesmaid dresses, and planning that whole part of the celebration, but if that’s not you – don’t force it.
Trust your gut and do what will ultimately make you the happiest. Your friends may even be excited to just “attend” the wedding and have fun instead of having an honourable role to play in the nuptials!
Why Do You Think Opting to Not Have a Bridal Party Has Become a Thing?
Couples going this route have already attended lots of weddings and been to several wedding parties themselves.
They tend to go this route because they know how much work being at a wedding can be.
These people have been to countless bridal parties where people complain about the costs, the time commitment and the overall experience of being in a wedding, and they don’t want to do the same to their friends.
Do You Think It’s a Good Idea? What Are Some Benefits of Not Having Attendants?
Not having a bridal party is an excellent idea for the low critical couple who don’t necessarily want a big production.
These people don’t want any drama on their wedding day, which large groups of close friends and family sometimes bring.
Are There Any Down Sides?
The drawback of not having a wedding party is the help in planning that people often get from their party: someone to design the bachelorette, bridal shower, help choose a menu, florist and so on.
Many close friends will do this anyway, but it’s not as structured. Of course, you also miss out on that particular time with your closest friends getting ready for your wedding; however, you do skip any drama that comes with it.
So, In Other Words, No Bridal Party Equals a Much Less Stressful Wedding Day?
Yes, a small bridal party or no bridal party at all makes for a much more stress-free day.
You’re not rushed to get hair, makeup, and pictures of a group of people—you just have to focus on yourself!
There are always hair and makeup issues at weddings, and the last thing you want to worry about is that one of your bridesmaids isn’t happy with her hair; we’re telling you, it happens every single time!”
If a couple still wants to go the wedding party route, do you have any advice for making the decision more manageable and drama-free?
Give your bridal party as much freedom as you can.
Let them be part of the decisions on what they have to wear, how many pre-wedding festivities they have to attend, how their hair should look, what colour their nails should be.
Putting many restraints on people causes them to put their backs up, therefore creating a tense day.
One thing that bridal parties often really appreciate is being able to sit with their spouses during the dinner, rather than at a bridal-party-exclusive head table.
Wedding dinners can belong, and attendants often feel guilty if their partners are at a table of people they don’t know.
Another often overlooked tip is to ask your bridal party if they want to be in it. Don’t just assume.
The gesture of being asked means a lot; however, some people just can’t take it on.
They may have a new baby or have just bought a house, or are too busy at work, and although they’d love to be a part of the day, they know they would be better suited as a regular guest.
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The more relaxed you are about your bridal party, the simpler your day will be.