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A Wedding Without Bridesmaids: Involving Your Friends While Skipping the Bridal Party

You can still make your friends feel special without making them bridesmaids.

There are plenty of ways to make your closest friends and family members feel important without compromising on your vision.

Relationship Advice
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Photo: Vue Photography

As weddings become more and more personalized to each couple and nontraditional in many ways, many brides choose to not have any bridesmaids on the big day. Those pondering the decision to have no bridesmaids often wonder if weddings without bridal party members are okay to have. The answer is, yes!

You may choose to have a wedding without bridal party roles in the traditional sense; however, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still have your closest friends involved in your celebration. In fact, in many cases, your closest friends and family might be pleased that they don’t have to be bridesmaids and go out and buy a dress of your choosing that they’re unlikely to wear again. Of course, especially with ladies you’ve been close to for over a decade, they likely imagined being a part of your wedding day in some capacity. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to make these close friends and family members feel important without compromising on your vision of having no bridal party.

how to involve your friends in your wedding without having a bridal party
Photo by Branco Prata; Planning & Design by Evoke Design & Creative

What do you do if you don't have bridesmaids?

If you want your close friends to feel like they're part of your wedding day, but you don't want to have bridesmaids or a wedding party, that's okay! As we mentioned, you can still have your nearest and dearest be part of the wedding day! Though they may not walk down the aisle as bridesmaids, a great way to include them is to still incorporate some elements of what would be included with a traditional bridal party – in a different way that makes sense to you. Get ready together, get together and have a friends-only bachelorette party before the big day, or invite a close friend to say a few words at the rehearsal dinner or reception.

Take a look at some ideas for including friends and family members at your wedding:

- Take a special photo.

Whether it’s with your group of girls or everyone individually, make sure to get a shot together at the celebration. Not having to take formal portraits of your bridesmaids will help ensure you have more time to spend with everyone at the reception, so use your time wisely! Make everyone attending the wedding feel special – especially those who may have expected to be in the wedding party.

- Have her do a reading.

Another way to include your close friends and family in the wedding is to have them actually be a part of the nuptials. If you have a gal pal who doesn’t mind public speaking, consider asking her to perform a reading during your wedding ceremony. Some couples will even ask a friend to be the officiant or have a loved one sing a meaningful song during the proceedings or even during the reception throughout dinner or the first dance.

- Get ready together.

Just because they won’t be wearing matching dresses at your wedding doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some mimosas and tunes while getting ready for the big day! Brides often look forward to getting ready for the wedding with their closest friends, so not having a wedding party shouldn't get in the way of this special moment. If you’re feeling especially generous, you can even spring for hair and makeup like you would for bridesmaids.

- Invite them dress shopping.

Just because you and your future spouse decided to not have a bridal party doesn’t mean you can’t have your best friends with you while you try to find the perfect gown. You'll still want your wedding entourage to give you advice on which wedding dress silhouette and style makes you look like the bride you've always envisioned!

- Color coordinate.

This suggestion is especially for those brides who have had friends always talk about wanting to be a bridesmaid. If you feel like you're going to disappoint your friends by not having bridesmaids, consider asking them to show up to the wedding in the color palette of the ceremony and reception. While they won't necessarily be part of the wedding, they'll feel special knowing their attire complements the décor you've so carefully selected while planning!

- Throw a girls’ night.

Without an official maid of honor or bridesmaids, chances are lower that someone will plan a full bachelorette party for you. That said, if you want to invite your favorite ladies to a spa weekend or your favorite club to celebrate your impending nuptials, everyone loves an excuse to party! You and your groom can also celebrate together – we've seen more and more couples partaking in a combined bachelor-bachelorette party, and if you're already being a bit nontraditional with no bridal party, why not continue the trend with a co-ed celebration?

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 100% okay! For every ceremony that has a large wedding party, we're seeing more and more weddings 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 bridesmaids, picking out bridesmaid dresses, and planning that entire part of the celebration; however, if that's not you and you prefer weddings without bridal parties – 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 a honorable role to play in the nuptials!

Discover the pros and cons of a big bridal party, learn what to do if you and your family disagree on ceremony traditions, and read this guide to bridesmaid etiquette.