Things I Wish I knew

Do you really need a bridal party? 5 things I wish I knew before my wedding

As a newlywed, I know that getting engaged is one of the most exciting moments in a person’s life. Friends and family are elated for the blissful couple as everyone anxiously awaits wedding details.

While the bride (and groom) traditionally choose a set of friends to partake in their special day, there are many reasons I'd advise opting out of having a bridal party altogether. That’s right, I said it: no bridesmaids or groomsmen! The idea may sound outrageous to some, but after understanding the chaos of planning a wedding, I certainly know why some traditions might not be necessary.

Venuza Laveaux

1. You'll avoid hurting anyone's feelings.

Planning your wedding can be fun, exciting ... and incredibly stressful all at the same time. After all, it is one of the most important days of your life. I came across a number of crossroads on my journey to the altar. The first had to do with picking the members of my bridal party. That burning question of, “Who should I ask?” kept me up many nights.

The truth is, I have many close friends, but I didn’t want a huge bridal party. I realized early on that this would inevitably lead to some hurt feelings. If you decide to scratch the whole idea of having a bridal party, then no one will feel excluded. And if you are bombarded with questions, you can simply respond by saying that you have so many special friends, you’d love for them to enjoy your wedding as opposed to being on duty. When you put it in those words, how could anyone feel rejected?

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2. You'll save your friends a ton of money.

If you've ever been in a bridal party, then you know how much money it can end up costing. Your friends might be relieved to not have to buy a very particular and expensive dress (that, let's be honest, they really won't ever wear again). Not to mention, you'll avoid the stress of making sure they get their dresses in time.

In my case, some bridesmaids ordered gowns at the last minute — which is like playing Russian roulette in the wedding world. Dresses can take an average of three to four months to arrive after being ordered, so there was a possibility that some of my girls would not be able to walk down the aisle. Would it have been a devastating disaster? Probably not, but it would've been disappointing to say the least.

To be frank, I realized that everyone still had his or her own life to worry about as my fiancé and I planned our big day.

Venuza Laveaux

3. There's no need to plan transportation.

Saying sayonara to the fancy parade of guys and girls will help simplify things for you greatly. If your wedding and reception are in two different locations, you won’t have to worry about the expense of transporting a large group. My husband and I spent over $2,000 renting limos and hotel rooms for our bridal party, because we were worried about making sure everyone was comfortable. It's your big day, why lose sleep over who’s getting where and how?

4. It's one less thing to worry about.

The truth is, you already have so much to worry about on your wedding day, the last thing you need is more unnecessary details to add to your plate.

Some brides-to-be wonder who will take on the duty of throwing them a bridal shower or bachelorette party. In my case, my bridesmaids were responsible for splitting the bill evenly, which didn’t go so smoothly. My mother and husband had to step in and foot the remainder of the bill because of personal financial issues some of my bridesmaids encountered.

Looking back, I wish I recruited my friends to help DIY aspects of the wedding or enjoy simpler, more intimate events. If your friends are genuinely there for you, they will be more than happy to help. A spa day with a few of your closest friends or a girl’s night out can be great ways to celebrate without a big trip or long weekend of events.

Venuza Laveaux

5. Getting ready will be a calmer experience.

Imagine your big day has finally arrived; You’re nervous, sleep deprived and can feel the butterflies in your stomach. I remember the feeling so vividly.

I can also recall my hotel room going from a quiet, serene place to the hectic backstage of a runway show during New York Fashion Week. Getting dressed with eight other girls was complete and utter chaos. Instead of the movie-perfect moment where bridesmaids gush over the blushing bride, I was overwhelmed by makeup and hairspray being tossed back and forth, while I was left struggling to get into my gown and avoiding anyone who might step on my 20-foot veil. It was less glamorous than I would have hoped.

Venuza Laveaux

My advice is to cut to the chase. The wedding is about the bride and groom, not anyone else. As beautiful as your friends will look in coordinated outfits, remember that your guests are there to share this momentous occasion with you as the newlyweds.

Your wedding will still be beautiful and, in my opinion, you won't be missing out without a bridal party.

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