One of the most beloved -- and oldest -- wedding traditions is having a bridal party. In ancient times, bridesmaids were actually used as sneaky decoys to outsmart evil sprits (for reals), while today they're just another part of the widely-accepted wedding to-do list: Get engaged, set a date, choose your bridal party.
Yet, while we love seeing gorgeous photos of a bride and her 'maids -- and, of course, a groom and his men -- neither of us actually had a bridal party at our own nuptials. (And not because we don't have any friends, we swear.)
In planning each of our weddings, we realized that we actually didn't want to have a bridal party. And so we opted not to. Like many wedding traditions, this one is not for everyone -- and that's okay.
If you're thinking you might want to forgo this part of your planning, too, here are some solid reasons why you should follow your instincts.
1. It's stressful.
Honestly, it's already crazy-making enough to find your own gown. Picking one (or a few) that has to work on an entire group of women, all with different taste and body types can cause anxiety that's not just necessary. Also, have you seen Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids? Unless your group of girls is made up of completely mature, selfless, opinion-less, drama-free individuals, someone is going to end up in tears or feeling resentful. (Probably you.) As one of our favorite modern proverbs states: Ain't nobody got time for that.
2. It's a financial burden on you -- and them.
If you're looking for a way to cut your budge down, getting rid of your bridal party is a great way to do it: You can seriously chop down the florist costs (by not having to order extra bouquets and boutonnieres) and you won't need to buy gifts or extras for your pals.
Plus, these days, when everyone seems to need to travel for weddings, you're actually doing your nearest and dearest a favor by not asking them to shell out money for a dress (or tux), shoes, a shower, and a bachelor/bachelorette party. Your closest pals can take it upon themselves to throw your events and then wear whatever they want to your wedding.
3. Your wedding is not about your friends -- it's about your marriage.
Look, we love coordinated group outfits as much as anyone. But, if you really want to dress up with your friends, there will be many opportunities throughout your life to do so. (Halloween, anyone?) Your wedding is not about color schemes or what your friends wear or, really, even about what you wear: It's about celebrating a life-long commitment to your partner.
Look, your friends and family are already going to be there to support you. It sounds silly to even say this but wearing matching outfits is not a requisite to show you said support. All they have to do is show up.
4. Having a bridal party can alienate the other guests at your wedding.
Narrowing down your guest list is heard enough. But having to pick and choose who comes to your pre-wedding events -- Just family? Family and bridal party? Everyone? -- is a whole other level of stress. Plus, when you choose to have a bridal party, you automatically create a separation between those closest to you and those who are not quite as close. Clearly, there are people in your life who are tighter with than others, but there's really no need to highlight your friend rankings at your wedding.
5. You can let your friends relax without pressure.
Being in a bridal party, a bridesmaid especially, can be a really long, really tiring day. Forging this tradition relieves your pals of having to wake up at oh-dark-thirty, stand up in front of a crowd of people, and generally be "on" for your whole wedding day.
Just because you don't have a bridal party, that doesn't mean you can't ask some close pals to have lunch with you pre-ceremony and help wrangle you into your dress. Another thing to remember: If your maids have to get hair and makeup done too, you have to wake up early with them and be there while they do so. Show of hands... who would rather just sleep in?
6. Friend groups can mesh in other ways.
One of the arguments for having a bridal party is that doing so allows your various close pals to bond during pre-wedding activities, like dress shopping, planning sessions, DIY wine nights and so on. But given that your BFFs are likely scattered around the country, getting them together multiple times before your big day probably isn't even feasible.
Instead, your bachelorette party can totally suffice as a quality bonding weekend: you'll get your closest friends together (and, we're just going to come right out and say it, tipsy) so they feel comfortable dancing and letting loose together at your wedding.