Ah yes, one of the most exciting aspects of weddings. One of the things those of us who grew up daydreaming about our wedding tend to already have decided on. One of the most honorable positions to hold. The Bridal Party. How do you pick who stands with you? Do I have to pick someone? What if my fiance and I have a different number of people? Do they buy their clothes or do I?
I hear each of these questions at least 5 times a season. At the end of the day, my answer to most things is going to be: "It's YOUR wedding. Do what brings you & your partner joy." But as someone who has a close-knit relationship with her anxiety - I also understand wanting to feel that you've made a well rounded decision. Let's dig into it, shall we?
Do I have to have a bridal party?
In short, no, you do not have to have one. The only rule that says you should is tradition & tradition also says that the bride walks down to the Bridal March & ceremonies must happen in a church, you can't live together before you get married, and you especially cannot share the same bed. We have already modernized weddings & marriages to be more personalized & unique & to better reflect how our values have evolved. If you don't want a bridal party - you don't have to have one! I have seen couples ask their siblings, and I have seen folks have 8 people on each side, and I have seen others go without entirely. Each of their weddings was uniquely beautiful. Remember, it's YOUR day.
How do I pick my bridal party?
Someone very wise once told me that the best way to make this decision is to consider who would/will drop everything to support you & your fiance on your wedding day. Maybe your best friend of 10 years is truly the closest & longest friendship you've ever had - but they are never on time & they're a notorious "ball dropper." You may love them with your whole heart - but can you depend on them to resolve any and all issues on your wedding day? The people that you pick to stand with you that day should not only be people who honor, respect, and appreciate the relationship you have with your future spouse, but they should also be ready, willing, and eager to make sure your big day goes off without a hitch. Think of your most helpful, kind, and supportive friends. Not your party animals. Unless, of course, you have friends that can do both.
What if we don't have the same number of people on both sides?
I hear this question ALL. THE. TIME. & Here's the thing folks - unless everything in your life must be symmetrical, it literally does not matter. There are so many ways to work around this & your guests do not care if the view from the seats isn't a perfected Monet or Da Vinci style scene. Here are some simple workarounds to an uneven bridal party:
- Have everyone walk down individually.
- Double them up! Ex. 2 groomsmen for every bridesmaid.
- Don't have them walk. Have them already standing at the altar as guests begin to arrive.
There are so many other unique alternatives to this & it's a perfect time to use my favorite response: It's YOUR wedding. Do what brings you & your partner joy.
Do I buy their attire? Do they? What about hair & make up?
The answer to this is entirely up to you. In my personal & professional experience - the bridal party has always paid for their own attire & any additional services they require. I've never had a friend buy my dress for me - and I would never expect them to do so. Spending at least $1,000 of their wedding budget on attire for the bridal party doesn't sit right with me. However - be reasonable. If you absolutely insist that your groomsmen have Rolex watches or Jimmy Choo shoes - expecting your bridal party to be able to spend that kind of money is usually unrealistic. A general rule of thumb - if you are requiring them to buy something that could be considered as a luxury item, it should be provided to them by the couple, outside of that, it's up to them to purchase what they need.
Short & Simply Put
Of course these are verbose answers to relatively easy-to-answer questions - but that's the point of a blog right? In short - you want to pick people who genuinely care for you, and your marriage. You want people who are willing to put the work in, and know how to have fun while they're at it. When it comes to who pays for what - if you're asking them to spend over $300-$400 on attire & any additional services - you should pay for it. If not, they should. Chances are if you are close enough to ask them to stand with you on your wedding day, you have an idea of what a feasible expense is for them also. Remember - It's YOUR wedding. Do what brings you & your partner joy.