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Here's why my clients are rewriting the rules of traditional wedding parties

Wedding planning couples are passing on bridesmaids and groomsmen altogether

pastel spring wedding

Whenever I’m advising planning couples on making authentic decisions for their wedding, I oftentimes retrace the topic back to its origin. I’ve grown into a bit of a history buff while in my thirties. So today, as we discuss the topic of wedding parties, I thought we’d travel back in time to first learn about its beginnings:


In ancient Roman times there was a law that required witnesses to be present at the wedding, ten witnesses to be exact; five bridesmaids and five groomsmen. During this time the bridal party dressed like the bride and groom in order to confuse the evil spirits or jealous guests so neither one could harm the newlyweds.


Let that sit with you for a minute. After reading the phrase ‘evil spirits,’ I hope we can unanimously agree on this tradition needing some dusting. Although many of my couples have chosen to include a wedding party on their big day, I am seeing a shift in what the ‘wedding party’ truly looks like. What’s most appealing about all of this? Every wedding’s a little different!


From bridesmaids and bridesmen to groomsmen and groomswomen, these honorary guests provide support to brides and grooms as they walk down the aisle, get ready for the big day, and help plan extra celebrations like bridal showers and bachelor parties. They don special attire on the wedding day and are usually included in many of your wedding portraits as well. While there are definitely benefits of having your close friends and family members in these special roles, many couples recently are reconsidering having a large wedding party, or doing away with the tradition altogether.



After connecting with my clients on this topic, I wanted to share a few recurring reasons why they ultimately decide to rewrite the rules of wedding parties conjointly:


Cost is always a factor when thinking about your wedding party - they can be expensive! Not only for the attire requirements, travel & lodging on their end…but it’s pricey for the couple, too! If every bridesmaid gets a $120 bouquet and there are 7 bridesmaids that’s $840! My clients sometimes choose to forego a traditional wedding party in order to lighten the financial burden for everyone involved.


Aside from costs, some couples just prefer a more intimate wedding experience. Choosing not to have a wedding party allows for a smaller guest list and a more intimate celebration with close family and friends.


Planning a wedding can be stressful, and having a wedding party can add an additional layer of complexity. When you’re a planning couple worried about obligations for groomsmen & bridesmaids, it can add another layer of your own planning emotional capacity. Couples may be choosing to simplify their planning process by not having a wedding party at all.


Not only is it stressful to consider a friend’s added responsibilities after joining the group but it’s stressful just selecting a wedding party! Think elementary school kickball team selections. Sometimes these decisions even lead to riffs in friendships. Sheesh.


Additionally, the traditional wedding party includes bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, as societal norms evolve, some couples may be choosing to have a gender-neutral wedding party, or no wedding party at all, in order to avoid reinforcing traditional gender roles.



Weddings are becoming more personalized, with couples wanting to express their unique style and personality in their wedding celebrations. Some couples may be choosing to forgo a traditional wedding party in order to create a more individualized wedding experience - which I am here for!


I know I sound like a broken record, but you truly can do whatever you want for your wedding. Clients who decide against a traditional wedding party sometimes just have siblings support them at the altar. Family ties are strong, and it can be nice to eliminate the friend hierarchy org chart by just having your siblings stand alongside you on the big day.


In my opinion, keeping your wedding day authentic - and true to you - will be enough to keep away those evil spirits. Not sure about the jealous wedding guests though.


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