There was a time when having bridesmaids was just an accepted part of everyone's big day. Fast forward to 2021 and more brides are turning their back on this tradition in favour of not having a bridal party at all. In this blog, we look at why some people are choosing not to have wedding attendants, and ask, is it necessary to have bridesmaids?
Why having a bridal party might not suit you
The size of your bridal party should reflect the type of day you want. There are lots of reasons why having a traditional bridal party (or any wedding attendants) might not figure in your wedding plans.
Some of these reasons might be practical, for example, if you're planning a small wedding with just your closest friends and family, then you might decide that you don't need wedding attendants. Remember that not having any bridesmaids doesn't mean you can't ask your guests for help on the day when you need it.
There's also the not-so-small matter of the cost. While it's true that having bridesmaids doesn't have to cost the earth, you might already have allocated that money to something else. Before you write them off completely, consider asking your friends and family, if they would be willing to pay for their own bridesmaid dresses – you might be surprised by the answer.
If you're lucky enough to have lots of close friends and family then choosing a handful to be bridesmaids might seem like an impossible task. To avoid upsetting anyone, some people decide not to have any bridesmaids or just choose one maid of honour.
Ultimately, it might be that you just don’t feel comfortable with having bridesmaids - it's a traditional role that dates back to the Victorian era, and if that doesn't sound like your cup of tea then shake things up with a 21st century twist on your wedding party.
The advantages of a bridal party
There are no rules that say you must have bridesmaids - it's a personal choice. But if you're considering sticking with tradition, then there are lots of advantages to having a bridal party.
1. Honouring those closest to you
Asking someone to be part of your big day is a great way of including them and honouring your friendship. It doesn't have to be a gang of girls in matching dresses, the people closest to you could be your mum, gran, or a male friend.
Mixed bridal parties are growing in popularity, and roles like bridesman and man of honour are now the norm. Whether you choose to have an all-female or a mixed gender bridal party, it's a great way to recognize the important people in your life.
2. Many hands make light work
There's no doubt that wedding planning takes a lot of work, and sharing the load can make all the difference. Here are just a few things you can ask your bridesmaids to help you with:
- Shopping for a wedding dress
- Choosing bridesmaid dresses
- Organising your bachelorette party
- Helping you to get ready on the big day
- Preparing you for walking down the aisle
That doesn't mean you can't ask other people for help or that you won't have any help if you choose not to have bridesmaids. If you need help with something specific, then we recommend asking the person who is best suited to the job - regardless of whether they're a bridesmaid. So, if your second cousin works in beauty, then asking her to touch up your hair and makeup throughout the day makes sense.
3. Emotional support on the day
Having a small group of friends and family members by your side on your wedding day can be a huge source of emotional support.
Your bridesmaids can help you carry some of the emotional burden, so you can relax and enjoy your big day. Think of them like your own personal crack team - if anything should go wrong, they are on-hand to help troubleshoot.
Your closest friends and family members know you better than anyone else, and they are in the best position to help you deal with whatever emotions the day throws at you.
So, are bridesmaids necessary?
Your wedding day is full of decisions that you've made in the years and months leading up to it. Whether to have a bridal party is one of the many choices you'll have to make, but whatever you decide it should reflect who you are and the type of day you want.
If having bridesmaids doesn't suit your style of wedding, then rip up the 'rule' book and consider an alternative. But just because it seems like it's on-trend now, don't forego having bridesmaids if it's what you want. There's a lot to be said for having your closest friends and family by your side on one of the most important days of your life.