5 Reasons To Ditch The Big Wedding Party
Are huge wedding parties on the way out? More and more we are seeing engaged couples opt for smaller wedding parties, or no wedding parties at all! As wedding photographers we breathe a sigh of relief when we hear from our clients that they aren’t having a wedding party. Why, you ask? Well first of all, on our podcast The Secret Life of Weddings, we hear endless wedding horror stories and many of them have to do with the wedding party. For example, this story shared on our podcast about the most self-centred Maid of Honour ever left us wondering why anyone would want this woman as a bridesmaid! In other cases, it’s simply more considerate NOT to ask someone to be a bridesmaid or groomsman instead of asking out of obligation.
Here are a few reasons we think Brides & Grooms are starting to trade in their large wedding parties:
Even if the Bridesmaids & Groomsmen are paying for their own attire, you still have many costs associated with having them be part of the wedding day. Expenses like wedding party gifts, a place at the rehearsal dinner, hair & make-up, extra flowers (bouquets & boutonnieres) and travel on the wedding day all add up. Don’t forget - wedding parties aren’t only costly for the couple saying “I do” - they are expensive for the wedding party too! Be sure you’re close enough to the people you’re asking to be a Bridesmaid or Groomsman because they will be expected to pay for things like their outfit and a stagette or bachelor party. If they are invited as a guest instead, they only have to worry about the gift for you and aren’t given additional work on the wedding day (which - let’s be honest here - would be better suited to a wedding coordinator anyway.)
On your wedding day you’ll find time is precious. Nothing slows down getting into your wedding dress more than the 10 bridesmaids who aren’t dressed or finished hair & make-up, but are needed before ceremony can start. If styling runs behind (which happens often), your photo time can also be cut short if you’re waiting for a large group of girls to get their dresses on & coordinate before the bride can get into her wedding dress. It’s also a lot harder overall to coordinate this group of people throughout the day and stay on time. Everything takes longer with a huge wedding party - from wedding party photos to entrances at the reception. If you have a very tight timeline for your wedding - especially for the photos after the ceremony - you might consider cutting your wedding party down to only the 1-2 closest friends you have per side.
Self-Centred Bridesmaids / Groomsmen
Please be honest with yourself … how helpful is your attendant truly going to be? Don’t get us wrong - sometimes wedding party attendants can be very helpful people! However, beware if your friend is always late to every event, never helps to chip in money for group activities or just is a flake in general - it’s probably a good idea to leave them out of your wedding party. It’s silly to think these traits won’t apply to your wedding day. Just because it’s an important day to you doesn’t mean it’s an important day to them. Cut out anyone that’s selfish or self-centred because this day won’t be about them, and they may not react well to that.
The Magically Disappearing Wedding Party
You just met this girl last year named Cindy, and you’ve become reasonably close friends over the last few months. You’re now BFFs with your mutual friend Karen and want Karen in your bridal party. Does that mean that you HAVE to ask Cindy to be a bridesmaid as well? No! What are the odds that in 5 years you won’t talk to Cindy OR Karen again? Probably pretty good. Call us cynical, we’ve been married for many years and it happened to both of us. So, unless you don’t mind a ton of random people you no longer speak to in your wedding album, keep the wedding party to closest family & friends only.
More Focus On Your Fiancé
By forgoing tradition entirely and not having a wedding party of any kind, you get to spend more time during planning and the actual wedding day focusing on your betrothed. Just because you don’t have a wedding party doesn’t mean your girlfriends can’t come to your dress appointment or help you pick out invitations & flowers. It just means they won’t be obligated financially and logistically to help out on the same level as a bridesmaid. This is especially crucial if members of the potential wedding party are about to embark on any big life changes such as get married themselves, move, begin a new job or have a baby. These are major changes which might mean an attendant has to drop out of the wedding party at the last minute and risk disappointing you. Issues such as these can cause problems and stress your friendships. Many couples are instead choosing to invite these friends as guests instead of as attendants, and as a result have more time & attention to spend with their partner, before and after they tie the knot. On the wedding day, for example, you can take extra photo time with your new husband or wife instead of cutting the time in half to accommodate wedding party photos as well. If people are important to you, include them in your posed group photos, but it doesn’t mean they necessarily have to be official members of your wedding party to be included.
Did you have a large wedding party and love or hate it? Tell us about your experience and whether you regretted it or not in the comments.