Do I Need Bridesmaids?

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Hey Kat! I’m getting married in September and have been stressing over The Bridesmaid Situation for a while now. So my question is, what’s the Rock n Roll version of a bridesmaid and what does she do?

As much as I love channelling Blair Waldorf it just seems a bit minion-y, like an on-display clique, since I don’t have an obvious set of BFFs and hate to “draw the line”. Help!

I’m going to let you in on a secret: There isn’t really any reason, other than tradition, for bridesmaids (or groomsmen for that matter). Allegedly, bridesmaids came about because in Roman times the law required female witnesses at the wedding, dressed similarly to the bride, in order to confuse the evil spirits who wanted to cast bad luck over the marriage. So there you go. Evil spirits and tradition maketh the maid.

Although lots of people make a very big deal out of choosing their wedding party, for the modern, non evil spirit fearing bride, the actual duties of a bridesmaid are pretty limited. They can still be a very useful commodity though as their main function is to assist you with the wedding planning.

They have a few main tasks, and depending on what kind of alternative wedding you’re having these things may or may not even be relevant to you.

1. To be there for the big events like dress shopping, centrepiece choosing and DIY crafternoons.

2. To be emotional supportive in times of pre-wedding crisis because let’s face it, this shit can be stressful.

3. To plan you a kick ass hen do/ bridal shower/ bachelorette party.

4. To wear something pretty, walk down the aisle with you, carry a bouquet and be in the pictures.

So there you have it. Whether you opt to have bridesmaids, bridesdudes, bridesunicorns or to go it alone, the choice really is yours. However you can probably be rest assured that most of your close friends and family will offer to help you with point 1, 2 and 3 anyway, whether they’re given an official title or not. That’s what makes a Rock n Roll wedding after all – just doing the things that feel right for you.

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13 comments

  1. Consider bridesmaids your little helpers for the day! But if you don’t have any obvious choices then you’ll be perfectly fine to have none! Do you have any guys that are good friends? I’ve photographed a wedding where the best man was a woman! We all have unconventional friendships, a lot of us don’t have a close circle of girl friends to choose from so you do it your way 🙂

  2. Martyna

    I’m getting married in Poland and as per our custom there are no groomsmen and bridesmaids, only two witnesses (one for each). My witness will be my little brother and my future husband’s will be his adult son so there will be no all-female bridal party in sight. I much prefer it this way. No one to steal my thunder 😉

  3. Elizabeth C

    I had this same ques myself. And honestly I didnt want a bridal party. (Until I saw the amazing cover photo. Those dresses! Makes me want the girls just for the photo ops.) But truly that prob won’t change my mind. As mentioned above, I don’t have obvious BFFs either.

  4. SarahJennings

    I had one Maid of honour whom we referred to as my ‘pseudo-bridesmaid’. This was as there were no formalities of walking down or specific dresses/bouquets, it was just my oldest school friend who was there to provide soothing words (and wine) whenever I began to meltdown! Thankfully there were few meltdowns but she is the most organised person I know and seriously helped with just sending me lists of things I may not have thought of/researching things, I was glad to have her but I too had no bff circle to call on and did not feel as though I missed out. I have two wonderful sisters but neither would be hugely concerned with performing this role and so we didn’t do it! We also had a wedding with only 45 guests so it felt unnecessary to have big parties.

  5. As Kat mentioned, your friends would likely volunteer to help with most things without having an official bridesmaid title. And then you’d skip out on all the bridesmaid drama I’ve heard about over the years.

    Maybe it’s because I’m in the same boat, no really close friends, that I’ve never been concerned with a bridal party……my boyfriend on the other hand, has more friends that I could count, and I have no idea how he would go about whittling his list down if we were to have groomsmen…..
    So maybe the no bridal party thing would work well for us both!! 🙂

  6. I photographed two weddings last year with no bridal party. Both of the brides were very laid back and stress free before the wedding. It was very refreshing. They were also really close to their moms, which made that getting ready time really special. If you don’t see a compelling reason for a bridal party, then go without – it’s your day, do what you want!

  7. Sarah

    I would be lost without my chief bridesmaid. She’s my right hand woman, oldest friend, and number 1 person to go to for help/advice/guidance for all things generally, and now, specifically, all things wedding.
    When I’m stressing or am unsure about something, she’s the person I go to.
    Her calmness and objectivity is what I love about her.
    Yes, there are always helpers, but she’s definently my number one helper! 😀

  8. We married last month. Second time for both of us and both on our 40s. We chose our daughters age 21 and 18 and my 6 yr old neice. It was fab all getting ready together. Their dresses complimented mine and they all really enjoyed it. I couldn’t imagine not including them as part of the bridal party. They didn’t have any roles to do apart from walk down the aisle but our photographs are stunning. My one regret is not having a video.

  9. Chloe

    I had a Team Bride! My husband and I were walking in to the ceremony together in the town hall so I thought it was unnecessary to have friends also walk down the “aisle” with me also my sister hates the term bridesmaids! They planned my hen do, got ready with me on the morning, helped set up the reception room and one was a witness and the other sang in the ceremony. But I’m sure your friends will be honoured to be involved in whatever way you ask whatever the title x

  10. We’ve seen some shockers and pretty much the most kick-ass bridesmaids in the world.

    Basically, find people that fucking love you and want to support you 1000% on your day. If you’re not that close to someone – don’t worry about it!

  11. Great to see more people struggling with this problem. For me I took a hard line and made the choice not to have any. I don’t like the drama around it.

  12. I agree with the cliquey sentiment in the letter!

    I did want a wedding party though, so instead I asked my two oldest and closest friends, a guy and a girl to walk down the aisle in place of bridemaids! I think just do whatever feels right to you! x

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