The Road To The Altar: What Is The Point Of Having Bridesmaids?

December 17, 2015  |  

To have bridesmaids, or not to have bridesmaids–that is the question.

I’ve been a bridesmaid twice in my life, and both times, it was a very involved experience in terms of preparation. If you’ve been one you already know the money that has to be doled out to pay for a dress, to pay for hair and makeup, to buy the shoes in the particular color the bride wants, to pay for flights, jewelry, hotel rooms, parties, party buses and more. And don’t forget the time spent doing all that, while also going back and forth in email threads.

I dealt with all that and still didn’t really understand what my purpose was in the whole shabang. I walked down the aisle with a guy I didn’t know, stood with a flower, took a few pictures, sat at a long table–and then it was over. Fun, but I wasn’t really out here helping with a train or providing any necessary aid during the ceremony. And that was one of the reasons why I felt bridesmaids weren’t all that necessary (that and the expenses). So I chose to go without them for my upcoming nuptials. I didn’t want to inconvenience anyone.

Plus, I have a lot of sisters and friends who I would have to choose from, and I’m not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings. I’ve seen enough Say Yes to the Dress episodes to know folks are funky when they’re not picked for the maid of honor, so not to be picked at all? Drama.

Oh yeah, and it’s a whole other level of things to think about (and people to consider) when planning a wedding, and I’m already swamped with people to call, addresses to acquire for save the dates, and rental inquiries. The thought of what’s left to do actually makes me nauseous.

So for months after we announced our engagement, I was adamant about not having a bridal party–but then my fiancé changed my mind.

While having dinner with my sister and her husband, I went on and on about plans and how I was going to pass on bridesmaids (which she, and a couple of friends, I’d noticed, had somewhat disappointed reactions to). Out of nowhere, my fiancé said, “I would like a best man.”

I was taken aback, especially since we definitely didn’t appear to be on the same page in front of my family. We had spoken on numerous occasions about a wedding party, and he seemed okay with my decision to forgo one. That is until he really thought about it. When I asked him why he was having this change of heart, he told my sister and brother-in-law and me, “I would just like to have someone to stand by me on my big day, preferably one of my best friends.”

That actually gave me the perspective I was missing about the perks of having bridesmaids and groomsmen. Not only do (good) bridesmaids help you plan and prepare for your wedding, but they are people to share in the most important day of your life. To help you get over the nerves. To sit with you as you get your makeup done. To cry with you when you walk out in your dress. You bond with one another and are offered support leading up to the wedding. And if the people in your party have been a true support system for you and your relationship way before the ring, it might be nice to honor them with a spot in your ceremony.

Still, I don’t want to trouble people by making them spend a lot of money and time at my beck and call, so I decided just to go with a maid of honor, and my fiancé will have a best man. They will be our best friends. The people we can count on most, and the more I think about it, I do want my best girlfriend to be by my side to keep me sane.

But that’s it. I want to honor the rest of my family and friends by giving them the chance to sit back, relax, and partake in the celebration rather than making them my minions.

So bridesmaids aren’t really for me, but they might be a necessity for others, like you! Did you have bridesmaids when you got married?


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