Photo: Noah Hawthorne Photography
With destination weddings on the rise and for brides whose closest friends and family are scattered all across the country, the concept of having "non-bridesmaids" is becoming more and more popular. According to family and relationship expert Dr. Ruth Nemzoff, Ed.D, non-bridesmaids are people you honor in the wedding and who help you plan it but do not march down the aisle. "They can pass out the booklets, sing, read prayers, bustle your gown or just join you for dressing," she says. They may also help organize your bachelorette party or go dress shopping with you, for instance. Plus, "the role has the added bonus of not costing the person the price of a dress that they may not have chosen themselves." If you're curious about the idea, we've put together a quick list of pros and cons to help you make your final decision.
Pro: You can include more friends
Many brides get stressed out and anxious at the mere thought of having to narrow down the number of bridesmaids they have in their wedding. "Having a friend help out with certain tasks and outings allows someone that would otherwise not be involved in the wedding planning to be a part of it," notes Melia Spring Coordes, creative director and owner of WedSpring. "Many new friends want to be included even if they don't make the bridesmaid list."
Con: You might hurt some feelings
"When the wedding weekend comes along some of the friends that have helped the bride through various planning tasks and decisions may be left out of formal gatherings that are for the wedding party only," points out Coordes. Unfortunately, this can lead to hurt feelings and damaged friendships, particularly if the non-bridesmaid doesn't feel like her contributions were properly recognized or appreciated.
See More: No, You Can't Be My Bridesmaid
Pro: It's less of a financial obligation
If you're having a destination wedding and you know a particular friend isn't exactly rolling in dough at the moment, asking her to be a non-bridesmaid can help ease the financial burden for everyone. A bride can choose friends to be her "go-to" people on her wedding day. It may be assisting with making sure lunch is delivered, flowers are in water or the groomsmen are dressed appropriately," explains destination wedding planner Michelle Fage of Paradise Planning. "Having a friend in that role truly allows her to be a part of the wedding without the stress or financial obligation of being an actual bridesmaid."
Con: There are blurred lines of responsibility
For brides looking for a more casual experience with less coordination and stress, having a few official bridesmaids and several non-bridesmaids may be the way to go. However, it also blurs the lines of responsibility and which friend is responsible for what part of the wedding, warns Alex Haslam, founder of Bali Dream Day.
Pro: Non-bridesmaids aren't afraid to speak up
Not only can non-bridesmaids be a great voice of reason when the bridal party may be too close to a situation to be helpful, but they're also able to assist with wedding tasks that they would truly like to do for you without feeling any sense of obligation, says Florida-based wedding planner Aviva Samuels of Kiss The Planner.