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If you’re toying with the idea of not having bridesmaids at your wedding, you’re in good company. As nontraditional as this move might seem, it’s becoming an increasingly popular decision made by today’s brides. In fact, in their 2017 Wedding Report, Pinterest announced a 100 percent year-over-year increase in millennial brides searching the term “no bridesmaids” when garnering wedding inspiration on the platform. While there are some definite downsides to ditching the practice at your wedding, experts say there are some surprising benefits, too, especially in regards to the planning process. Here, wedding experts share some pros and cons that can help you determine whether having bridesmaids at your wedding is a must or a mistake.
Pro: It’s a great way to honor those closest to you
Being asked to be someone’s bridesmaid is a true honor—especially when so few individuals were selected to carry that title. “These are the girls who have been by your side through thick and thin and only want what’s best for you, so asking them to stand next to you as you marry the love of your life is the ultimate honor,” Jessica Janik of the Invisible Bridesmaid in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “Your selecting them as bridesmaids symbolizes that each has helped you to become the person you are today.”
Con: It will require room in your budget
While your bridesmaids might pay for their own dress, many additional costs are covered by the bride, such as a bridesmaid gift, hair and makeup, the bouquet of flowers for them to carry down the aisle, etc. “Personalized gifts for each of your attendants can add up fast,” says Kimberly Lehman of Love, Laughter & Elegance in Massillon, Ohio. “If you’re on a very strict budget for your wedding, the fewer people in the wedding party, the further the money will go towards other aspects of your wedding, like photography.”
Pro: Extra emotional support
The added support leading up to one of the most important milestones of your life is undoubtedly one of the biggest benefits to having bridesmaids. This is especially true on the day of your wedding, when anxiety and stage fright might get the best of you. Having a crew of your closest friends and family members nearby—in the early morning, through the getting-ready process, just before you walk down the aisle, standing next to you when you say your “I do’s,” and at nearby tables during your reception—will help make you feel more comfortable and at ease.
Con: It can create a breeding ground for conflict
You might get along with all your girlfriends, but they might not be so chummy with each other—especially if you’re mixing two groups, like your high school girls and your college pals. “Having too many opinions and personalities in one room on a normal day can drive anyone crazy, not to mention more so on your big day as a bride,” says Janik. “While each bridesmaid likely has your best interest at heart, sometimes all of the opinions create more indecisiveness, stress, and confusion.”
Pro: More helping hands
Since traditional bridesmaid responsibilities include planning the shower and bachelorette party, you’ll be pretty much taken care of. The same goes for day-of duties. “Not that you want to put people to work for you on your wedding day, but your bridesmaids can definitely help out with any last minute errands or emergencies on the wedding day,” says Leah Weinberg, wedding planner, owner, and executive planner at Color Pop Events. “Forgot your double stick tape? Have one of your bridesmaids run out and stock up! Worried about not eating or drinking enough water on your wedding day? Appoint one of your bridesmaids to remind you to stay fed and hydrated!”
Con: You might hurt people’s feelings
Oftentimes, deciding which of your close friends and family will make the cut to be on your bridesmaids list can create tension. “Not asking certain friends to be your bridesmaids could create a lot of drama and hurt feelings, so not having any bridesmaids would eliminate all of the conflicts of choosing between friends and keep all of your friendships intact,” adds Weinberg.