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You might think the question “how many bridesmaids and groomsmen do you have in your wedding party?” would be fairly simple for most couples to answer, but it isn’t.
First, having a wedding party isn’t an assumed thing anymore. Lots of couples are opting to do away with the tradition for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the expense associated with having a wedding party. Both for the attendants AND for the bride and groom. In fact, I’d go so far to say that almost fully one-third of my clients either have just a maid of honor (MoH, in wed-speak) and a best man, or they don’t have any attendants at all.
I have watched couples anguish over this issue – will their friends be offended? Do they have to include the crazy cousin? What if she has more girls in the wedding than he has reliable guys to call on? Oh the suffering that goes along with this one is hard to watch sometimes because I truly understand how seriously my clients take these things.
I remember choosing my bridesmaids – and I did it in the worst way imaginable. Bill proposed to me on December 20th, right before a close girlfriend’s Christmas party. By the time we left the party, I already had two MoHs and two more bridesmaids. Yikes. That is exactly how you should not do it.
On the flip side, this is not something to get all worked up about. The world will not end if you decide to leave somebody out. No really, it won’t. The friendship will probably even survive. That said, if you don’t have a good reason to cut someone, and your wedding party isn’t starting to resemble a roller derby team, perhaps you should find a way to include that person if cutting him or her is bothering you that much. You know yourself. Go with whatever decision is going to put an end to your suffering – worrying about baloney like the makeup of your bridal party shouldn’t suck up this much of your time. The position – being asked – is an honor. And once accepted, it’s a job. Some do it well, others, not so bueno. But regardless, it’s not something you’re supposed to waste time worrying about.
Here are five reasons to seriously consider keeping your wedding party small, no matter where you get married:
1) Small bridal parties are easier to manage. Anytime you have more than two standing up on each side, it turns into a wedding “par-tay” rather than a bridal party. The alcohol consumption increases, the volume increases and the attention the bride and groom must pay to their friends increases exponentially.
2) It is expensive to be a member of a wedding party, and not all of your friends have the resources to do it. Even in some cases where you think you can “help out” some of your attendants, realize that can be a very uncomfortable situation for that person to be in. Now they can’t say no because not only have you extended the honor, but you’ve also taken away their best out if they needed
3) It is expensive to have a big wedding party. If you’re having a destination wedding, nobody is renting tuxes or anything else for a whole week. So, the bride and groom usually end up buying the shirts for the gentlemen, unless they all go out and buy new suits together (also frequently done). Ladies, on the other hand, are endlessly pricey. Serious biz, from gifts for the bridesmaids to
accessories (oh yes, if you’re going to force them to wear the stuff, you have to buy it). And making the accessories their wedding party gift is totally cheating – just gets you out of buying something else to thank them while you force them to wear your taste in jewelry or carry your taste in evening bags. Point made.
4) The more people you have in your wedding party, the more chaotic all of your events will be and the higher the drama factor. Suddenly, instead of just worrying about you and your future spouse and your families’ happiness at your wedding festivities, you have another 10 people to babysit through the weekend. It would be fine if everybody was mature and you didn’t need to worry about
anybody’s behavior, alcohol consumption and random hookups, but we all know that isn’t what is going to happen. No way you’re going to get a mix of 10 of your best friends together and nothing happens. Dream on ere bring on the drama.
5) Having a large wedding party takes the focus off of the bride and groom. And for some people (especially shy brides), that’s just fine with them. But for others, who want to have people watching them walk down the aisle rather than focused on the front of the church placing bets on whether somebody’s chest is going to pop out of her clearly undersized dress, having too colorful a group of friends standing up front draws attention away from the bride. It’s the reason so many women skip having a flower girl too – not wanting to share the spotlight with an adorable little nymph, who is going to steal the show before the bride has even set foot on the aisle. It doesn’t make you narcissistic to want your wedding day to be all about you and the groom – it makes you the bride.
Sandy Malone | Owner, Weddings in ViequesSandy Malone is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a Caribbean destination wedding planning company based on Vieques Island. A former Wall Street Journal reporter and public affairs expert, Sandy has executed more than 400 destination weddings on Vieques and Culebra islands, and writes a wedding planning column for the Huffington Post.