Do We HAVE to Have a Wedding Party?

Yay or nay? Our experts weigh in

Updated 01/10/17

Photo by Stoffer Photography

One of the first things many brides do is choose their bridesmaids. After all, planning a wedding is so much more fun (and sometimes easier!) with a slew of friends to serve as a sounding board, source of advice and sometimes just someone to vent to. But is nominating your pals to wear matching dresses and stand by your side at the ceremony required, or can you have a wedding without a wedding party? Here’s what our experts have to say.

Sure, having a gaggle of bridesmaids and groomsmen may be tradition, but there’s no rule saying you can’t stand up at the altar solo! Whether you’re having a hard time choosing who to include in your wedding party, or simply would rather let your friends have fun without worrying about their responsibilities, going wedding party-free may be the best option for your big day.

If you do decide to skip the wedding party, there are still plenty of ways to include your friends without giving them an official title. Ask one or two of them to take the lead on planning your bachelorette party, or invite that one friend with killer style to help you shop for a wedding dress. There’s nothing stopping you from hosting a breakfast the morning of your wedding to honor the moment with your closest friends, bridesmaids or not. Planning to have a few readings during your ceremony? You could each choose a friend to stand up and share a few words before you exchange vows.

And if a pal is particularly musical, there’s always the option of asking them to play during the ceremony or join the band during your first dance.

Of course, you can also skip those formalities and just let your friends have fun! Casually spread the word that you’re nixing the bridesmaids and groomsmen so no one assumes they’ve been left out, then tell your girls to meet you on the dance floor — in dresses they’ve picked out themselves, thankyouverymuch.

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