As the wedding industry continues to change, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing shifts in both big and small planning details. From minimonies to after-parties, there are many ways couples are making their special day unique to them.
One trend we’re seeing this wedding season? Engaged couples are choosing not to have a wedding party. Though large wedding parties can be fun, there are a handful of benefits for couples hoping to stand at the altar solo.
So if you’re on the fence about a wedding party, listen up! We asked a group of industry experts what they love about non-wedding-party weddings – here’s what they had to say.
If you’re not one for planning, opting out of a wedding party is often the best way to go. You’ll have less to plan and fewer people to worry about when your big day arrives.
As Jennifer Sulak of Weirdo Weddings notes, “There are fewer people to manage and delegate for wedding duties. I have witnessed countless wedding party support systems fall short because the people chosen didn't want to be there, weren't ready on time, and didn't support the couple on their day as one would expect.”
So if you’re after an easy, breezy planning process, it may be best to keep the VIPs to a minimum and rely on yourself and your partner!
One of the challenges of having a wedding party is determining who makes the cut. Many couples are wary about hurting people’s feelings and leaving anyone out. But if you go sans wedding party, you never have to worry about such issues!
“For some couples, that can be tricky either because of siblings, having many friends, or others who expect to be a part of the wedding party,” affirms Jamie Chang of Mango Muse Events. “If you ideally want a small wedding party but have a lot of people who might get hurt if they’re not chosen, it can be easier not to have a party at all. Then there’s no hurt feelings or worry on your part.”
By skipping the traditional wedding party, you can save yourself the headache (and drama) that may come from loved ones who feel excluded from the “inner circle.”
If your budget is tight, skipping a wedding party can save you hundreds (if not thousands!). And with the average cost of being a bridesmaid coming in at $1,200, your loved ones will appreciate not having to break the bank for your celebration.
“Some couples may not have friends that want to be in the wedding party due to their own budgeting,” reminds Monika Kreinberg of Furever Us. “So not having one will make it easier for them and their bank accounts.”
Nikki Golden of Nikki Golden Photography also highlights how many couples spend a significant amount of money on outfits, gifts, and more for their wedding party. “You won't feel obligated to spend a fortune on things like bridesmaid proposal boxes, special getting ready attire for the whole wedding party, etc.,” she states. If you decide not to have one, you can remove these items from your shopping list!
Just because someone isn’t in a traditional wedding party doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your special day. There are plenty of ways to incorporate your loved ones as you say “I do” — without asking them to be in your wedding party.
“Instead of asking your nearest and dearest to all fulfill this standard one-size-fits-all role, invite them to participate in your wedding in a way that allows them to thrive as their best selves,” suggests Julie Comfort of The Experiential Wedding.
Comfort adds, “Even without a traditional wedding party, you can still invite a few friends to get ready with you on the wedding day or ensure you get special photos with them, invite a sibling to give a speech, or ask a few particularly well-organized people to help plan a shower or pre-wedding party.”
Harmony Creative Studio’s Margaux Fraise agrees, noting, “You can still fill in some more traditional roles like ushers, welcome greeters, speakers, readers, etc., with your circle instead of also having them do wedding party duties.”
Rest assured that there is plenty to do for those inclined to help, and it doesn’t mean you must have a wedding party to include them on the big day!
When your wedding weekend arrives, you’ll want to spend time with those you love, soaking in every moment. And a significant benefit of not having a wedding party is that you’ll spend less time rehearsing and more time mingling. Hello, rehearsal dinner!
“An additional bonus is that you will need less ceremony rehearsal time for your day,” notes Sulak. “There will be no extra questions about where to stand, how to walk and who is walking with who. It will make the wedding day feel faster and smoother with fewer people to manage, even if they love you!”
That’s not to say you can’t invite your closest friends and family to the rehearsal dinner. It simply means you can get to them (and the open bar) faster without having to practice the ceremony multiple times!
Most couples feel their wedding day gets so busy that they barely find alone time to spend with one another. But when you don’t have a wedding party, you can focus on your partner and walk through the day together.
“Not having a wedding party means you two will have more time together as a couple and more time to focus on pictures of the two of you,” Golden affirms. “On average, wedding party photos collectively take about an hour of your day or more. This is time you could be spending one on one taking romantic photos with your new spouse. (P.S. those are the ones you're going to frame anyway!).”
Cathy O’Connell of COJ Events agrees, stating, “If you value your solitude and don't want lots of people around you as you prepare for your wedding, it's perfectly OK to have no one!”
So whether you’re a pair of introverts or simply seeking a low-key wedding day, you’ll find that less is more when it comes to your wedding VIPs.
At the end of the day, not having a wedding party should be a choice you and your partner make together. Remember: There’s no rulebook – you can design a day you’ll both love!
“Wedding traditions are evolving, and we like to remind couples that they aren’t obligated to do anything that doesn’t truly make them excited,” says By Halie’s Halie Child. “When a couple starts to feel like they ‘need’ to do something that they aren’t feeling excited about, that’s a sign that it may be time to reevaluate.”
“Do whatever it takes to keep yourself sane,” encourages Liz Chan of Lizzy Liz Events. “Maybe just have a MOH and BM to keep it simple. Don't forget, your grandparents can be that maid of honor and best man for you! Think outside of the box. It's totally okay! Remember, it's your day, rules, and story to tell!”
While a wedding party may be “traditional,” trust that your loved ones will understand your decision and celebrate your love on your terms.
Amber Anderson of Refine for Wedding Planners suggests telling loved ones you are still excited to have their support. “Simply let your friends know that you've decided not to have a wedding party and are looking forward to that intimate moment with your partner but are also excited about other ways you intend to incorporate them,” she says.
Though it’s tough not to get caught up in your long to-do list, remember that wedding planning is supposed to be fun! Now is a time for you to get creative.
Wedding party or no wedding party, the focus on your day should always remain the same – on you, your partner, and the love you share. So make the right decision for yourself and know your celebration will be unforgettable regardless!