Too many people ask me the question, “Is it okay if I don’t want the traditional wedding party?”
Yes!! Yes of course it’s okay! This is your wedding and the only requirement is that you have an officiant, 2 witnesses who are 18 or older, and yourselves. The rest is a blank canvas for you to paint your very own way!
Gender is a social construct – as such, considering societal norms when you are choosing the key people you want to see standing by your side on your wedding day reinforces all the things we dislike about the wedding industry! If you so happen to be a bride with a groom and you have a Maid or Maitron of Honor and 4 bridesmaids and a flower girl and on the other side there’s a Best Man and 4 groomsmen and a ring bearer – this doesn’t make you “normal,” it means absolutely nothing! That’s what your wedding party looks like and therefore that’s great. Somebody else will have a completely different wedding, and that is equally great! It’s only important that the people you choose are standing there on your wedding day because they are important and they mean everything to you.
You owe absolutely nobody in your life a space in your wedding, so invite your biggest champions!
If you’ve been in five weddings that doesn’t mean you need each of them to be part of your wedding, it’s cool if you want them to be. If somebody in your close friend group is absolutely horrible to be around they don’t have to be included in your wedding party! Your father didn’t raise you and you don’t want to walk down the aisle alone, but you also don’t want him by your side – ask your mom, ask a sibling, ask a best friend, ask a future in-law who loves you, or anyone who has meant everything to you in your life. But it is absolutely ok to walk alone. It’s also ok if you and your partner walk down the aisle together on the way down and on the way back up. Especially if you are planning a celebration with family after already getting married on a small scale sometime during the pandemic, this is a super cool and awesome idea!
Your Best Person (Official Witness) is a human not a gender
Did you even know that the significance of the traditional Best Man and Best Woman (Maid/Maitron of Honor) is to serve as two official witnesses to sign your marriage certificate to make this thing legal? That’s it. That’s their actual job in your wedding. Again, society has lied to us and told us that one person matters more to you than anyone else who isn’t your future spouse or your parents. You don’t have to choose this person because they are your best man or best woman – choose a trusted favorite human, gender is irrelevant! If you love many of your people equally, then pick a best bet based on the following criteria:
- You may already know who this person is going to be, you may have known they would be your best person well before you knew who your spouse would be. That’s a great chocie!
- If something big happens in your life, this is the person you tell either before your future spouse or just after.
- This is the person (besides your partner) you trust to be your biggest supporter and a shoulder to cry on any day, and at any time.
- This person is not somebody who makes you feel small!
- This is not a toxic person who centers every event, night out, or occassion, on themselves.
- This is not a person who will make you feel unsure in life, they will always lift you up and rely on you to do the same for them.
When picking the rest of your wedding party consider your entire wedding party – but ultimately this is about you. Some people within your group may not get along great. Some will be introverts, some will be extroverts. If your friends don’t play well together and this will be stressful to you it’s ok to pick and choose. It’s also fine to select them all and set ground rules upfront that they will be expected to play well together – or you will absolutely call them out! Here’s where picking the best “best person” is key. Let them do it if calling people out in a group is not comfortable for you.
Photos by Ali Mae Photo
You’re asking people to make a big commitment!
Agreeing to be in a wedding party is a big commitment. People who say yes will have to likely commit to travel costs, attire, participating in pre-wedding events, showers, etc. Here is a clear list of what your person is saying yes to:
- Travel costs, complete costs for pre-wedding celebrations, events, etc. (please consider their budgets when making these choices)
- Gifts – they will likely want to know from you if their presence is your gift, if so they will still probably want to give you something meaningful.
- Attire – you are never expected to buy your wedding party’s attire. So think of their budgets and get their input when you make these choices! I always recommend you set up a GM right away once everyone has been asked. Start a discussion before making the attire decision. Ask questions like, what styles do you like? What is your budget you’d like to stick to?
- Hair and Makeup – Often Brides like to get their hair and make up done professionally and on location on their wedding day (either at a nearby hotel, at home, or at the venue) The average local price for this is somewhere between $500-$600 for the bride (plus travel if not in the Metro area) and about $200 per extra wedding party member. Each service hair and make up will be broken out in your quote from your MUAH. My best tip for you is to message your crew in the GM so this is public! Tell them you absolutely want everyone to feel comfortable doing their own hair and make up, or just their hair, or just their makeup – it’s totally up to them! They should absolutely plan to do this with you all at the same time, in the same place even if they don’t want to use your professionals. BUT if they want to get their hair done the cost is $x, if they want to get their makeup done the cost is $y. If they would like to have one or both services please respond in the GM by a set date AND venmo, Zelle (whatever app you prefer). Get the money with the commitment and pay your vendor directly, do not ask them to pay your vendor or accept payment on or near your wedding date! Do this well in advance! Your MUAH needs this info to plan your schedule as well. On peak wedding dates your MUAH will be fully booked, don’t expect them to be able to add an artist a week outl. You need to plan for this in advance.
- If you have a huge budget and will be paying all or some of these costs please be upfront about this! It helps your wedding party know how to budget and what to expect when they are saying yes.
How to pop the big question!
So you’ve decided who to ask, you understand the commitment they will be making – now it’s time to ask! How do you do this? Some of your friends will be super thrilled with a phone call and the deal is done. Others will absolutely expect this to be a BIG deal! In this age of pics or it didn’t happen, expect this shit to make it to social media.
Here is a great opportunity to highlight the love you have for the place where you are getting married, and set the feel for what to expect when they say, “YES!” If you are planning a high budget, huge commitment wedding, or a destinatin wedding, plan to spend a bit of money on this ask and make it something special. If you want your people to understand that this is going to be a fun, relaxed, wild party of a ride, send some booze or something that sets that mood.You can buy a prefab cookie cutter ask box (not my jam but it’s cool if you are busy and just tryingn to check of a to do item), or you can do something special. If you are having a winery wedding buy wine bottles from your vineyard and give them a gift bag with the ask on the tag. If you are getting married in the city ask with a gift box containing local tea, coffee, beer, vodka, soaps, or candles. If your wedding party is mostly local you can have custom cookies with the ask written on them.
Ask your planner to do this for you – we love doing these! All we need to do this for you is a set budget, complete list of names, and a brief description of who they are (childhood friend, sister, your bff, college roommate, etc.) and what they mean to you. We’ll tell you what we think should go in the box, source, spice it up with our craftiness and mad design skills, and package them up for you and then hand them over for you to present in person or send to your people.
Now remember the part where I said pics or it didn’t happen? If this is an in person ask, expect a lot of pics. If this is being done from afar – same! If you have people you aren’t asking because of drama and all the reasons discussed here, plan ahead for this. Reach out to those you chose not to ask who may have expected an ask and have a good talk about what’s happening.
We hope this helps you choose the right people for your wedding party! If you have questions ask away my email is on my contact page!