What Happens If You Don't Have a Bridal Party?

Four things to keep in mind if you decide to not have wedding attendants.

As time goes on, more and more couples choose to design their weddings in a way that fits their personality, rather than tradition.

Photo: Parker J Pfister Photographer

As time goes on, more and more couples choose to design their weddings in a way that fits their personality, rather than tradition. While we completely support doing your own thing, brides and grooms don’t always realize the domino effect it can create. For example, not having a bridal party might be a way to streamline the big day and make things simpler, 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.

what adjustments to make if you don't have a bridal party at your wedding
Photo by John Cain Photography 

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 honor during the vow exchange, but if you don’t have attendants standing with you, that’s not an option. Even without a bridal party, you will probably have your VIPs in the front row, right? Choose one of them to hold your bouquet as you 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 really wants to trust the ring bearer with expensive jewelry. One great option is to entrust the officiant with the rings. It should be an even more seamless transition than turning around to get them as the best man hands the rings over. 

- Length of the processional. This might be a plus for some couples, but without bridesmaids or groomsmen, there won’t be many people walking down the aisle. The predominant way this might affect your planning is song choice. Usually there is a tune selected for the wedding party, and then one for the bride. There will not be sufficient time for two, and you might even have to make sure the song is cued up so that your favorite part is playing as you walk down the aisle. 

- 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! 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 works 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.

For more wedding ideas, find out the reasons couples might forgo a bridal party and learn how to deal with personal questions once you get engaged.