The decisions the two of you will make together about the look and feel and size of your wedding celebrations are deeply personal, and there are plenty of reasons why you might decide to forgo wedding tradition and skip having a bridal party all together—or maybe you're asking just one or two closest friends (or immediate family members) to stand by your side during your ceremony.
Even if you're opting for a larger bridal party, there's still a very good chance that you'll have other friends and relatives that you'd like to honor and include in your wedding, but not necessarily in a bridesmaid or groomsman-type role. Here's a list of other prominent and meaningful wedding roles you can assign to those oh-so-special friends and relatives in your lives:
1. Ceremony reader
No matter what style of wedding you're planning, there are bound to be opportunities for one or more readings during the ceremony, which could be anything from meaningful poems to religious passages. This is the perfect wedding role for any close friends or relatives who are comfortable with public speaking, and no doubt they'll be honored to contribute.
2. Musician or singer
Obviously, this only applies if someone's musically inclined, but if you're lucky enough to have talented musicians or singers in your lives, why not ask if they could perform in some capacity during the ceremony? Their moment in the spotlight could happen during the actual ceremony itself, or as prelude music leading up to the ceremony beginning, too, which creates a lovely ambiance as guests arrive and take their seats.
3. Candle lighter
If you're having candles at the altar or will be lighting a unity candle during the ceremony, ask one or two friends to be candle lighters: Just before the ceremony begins (when guests are seated and music is playing), they can ceremonially light the candles using long matches.
4. Ring bearer
Who says the bearer of the rings has to be a young child? Ask a close friend to hold your wedding bands during the ceremony and then approach to the altar when the officiant is about to conduct the vows and rings exchange, to deliver the rings.
One easy wedding role for close friends or relatives who will know a fair amount of the guests arriving? Ask them to serve as ushers, to distribute programs and show them to their seats.
6. Chuppah holder
If you're having a Jewish ceremony, you could ask members of your bridal party or other wedding VIPs to each hold a chuppah pole. Enlist another loved one to be the glass bearer, to carry the glassware that will be shattered at the ceremony's conclusion.
A chuppah is a traditional four-posted wedding canopy that works beautifully for non-Jewish ceremonies, too.
7. Processional escort
For special family members you would like to include in the processional, ask them to escort your grandparents or other more elderly relatives down the aisle. For escorts, along with any of these specialty wedding roles, feel free to list them in your ceremony program, in a nod to their importance.
8. Marriage license witness
Lastly, you might ask an honored friend or relative to be the witness to your signing of your official marriage license. This is a document that will be with you for life; what could possibly be more important than that?