Bridesmaid Dilemma


#1

Hi everyone,

I'm recently engaged, and I have no idea what to do about my bridal party, or lack thereof. I am not close enough to any of my girlfriends anymore that I would feel comfortable asking them to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. The ones I do see, I get together with maybe 2-3 times per year. If I had gotten married right out of college, I would have had about 10 potential bridesmaids. I guess I am feeling the full effects of moving away and losing touch, and it's making me depressed about the wedding when otherwise I am very happy and excited. In school, I always had plenty of friends but I haven't made many close friends in the workforce- just "work friends".

My question is, what are the requirements? Does there absolutely have to be a maid of honor, can I have a witness instead, does it matter who it is, etc? I don't have any sisters, or female cousins I am close to either. I feel so ridiculous, because my fiance has several friends he wants to ask to be his groomsmen. This whole thing is making me want to just have a wedding with only immediate families.

Has anyone else been in this position? What can I do? :confused:


#2

Does your finance have a sister? Or a cousin that might want to participate?

What about asking your own mother. I know lots of people that do that.

You don't have to have a huge group... I had my best friend and sister.

Congratz!!!! Try not to worry too much... just see what the church requirments are for witnesses... and maybe some google searches to see how people deal...

And ENJOY!!!


#3

I only had 3 bridesmaids because I was at a transition time as well. Ask the friends you get together with 2 or 3 times a year. I had my husbands sister as one of my bridesmaids and she was thrilled. Girls love weddings - I'm sure a close work friend would love to stand up for you as well :)


#4

I wouldn't worry about the number too much - the minimum is 1, and it certainly causes less worry over selecting dresses!


#5

I was in a similar situation as you. My husband too!

He ended up having his father as his Best Man! So maybe even your mom could stand up for you! :)

Congats and God Bless!


#6

I am not married but I feel for you because I had to move as well as an adult and have not kept in touch or made any new close friends. I think that is just part of life. No one ever calls someone with the intent 'in case a will need a bridesmaid down the road'

Are there any people at your church who could volunteer? To be honest, in the movies a bridesmaid is a best friend forever. In real life it is often a token person to save face. I can't tell you how many times I heard that the day the wedding was over, so was the friendship between the bride and her maid of honour.

If all you need is 2 witness, can they both be friends of your fiancee?

CM


#7

The other thing is that you could ask a fairly close friend, not best, but offer to pay for her dress, and PROMISE it won't be horrid...


#8

I'm approaching this from another angle--that of having been a bridesmaid--seventeen times!:eek:

Only two of those weddings were of women that were close personal friends. Every other one was the marriage of a female relative, or an acquaintance, and my feeling about having been in such events was that of having to fill out a chorus line. A couple of these weddings were extremely elaborate affairs, having in excess of ten bridesmaids, plus maid of honor, flower girls, a couple of junior bridesmaids.

Since back in the day it was considered rude to decline an invitation to be in a bridal party, I accepted all of the invitations. That's how I got stuck with seventeen hideous dresses, all of which cost the better part of a month's take-home pay.

I could regale you with tales of disasters from these weddings, most of which are entertaining, but some of which are a downright sad reflection on what is supposed to be a cherished ritual celebrating a man and a woman starting their lives together in the Lord. There were a few fights which resulted in the maid of honor and bride not speaking to each other after the wedding day. The most comical story was of the wedding party with nine bridesmaids, maid of honor, and bride all packed onto this prop bridge in front of a mural at the restaurant for pictures. We girls were all wearing these Scarlett O'Hara type dresses complete with hoop skirts and parasols. It was all supposed to look very pastoral in the pictures. I recall wondering just how many people they could fit onto the prop bridge (which was made of some sort of reinforced fiberglass) when the whole set collapsed from the weight of eleven people on it!

My sister had also been asked to fill in in the corps de ballet of a few of these weddings. She is a veteran of eleven weddings.

We're helping my mom clear out fifty years worth of accumulation in the attic in preparation for her move to a senior apartment. She's alone now, and neither my sister nor I live nearby, so she feels that it's time to be somewhere easier for her to manage. While going through the attic the other day, we found all twenty-eight of these dresses. And all twenty-eight of them were decidedly hideous examples of "fashions" of yesteryear. I wouldn't wear any of them to a skunk hassle!

My sister chuckled and said, "Hey, we can always start a 'Rent a Bridesmaid' business!"

We took a few pictures of the ugliest of the selections, including the ill-fated Scarlett O'Hara dress, and then donated them to a local Little Theater troupe to be used for costuming.

The Church in the US only requires two baptized individuals as witnesses to a marriage ceremony, one of whom must be Catholic. They can be of either gender, and there is no requirement that one is male and one is female. The big processionals of scads of bridesmaids are Hollywood-inspired. In fact, most of the trappings of the wedding industry are not based on much of anything that is Christian, let alone Catholic.

My advice? Keep it simple. Simple is always cleaner and more elegant. If you have a favorite aunt, or even an older mentor, ask her. Let people like this select an age-appropriate dress in keeping with your style (in other words, real adult women don't wear dresses with butt bows!) And don't worry about the lack of a large number of attendants. Pictures of weddings like that usually do look just like a chorus line, in my opinion.

You sound like a sensible young woman who is trying to plan a wedding that will reflect the sanctity of marriage. Don't let it turn into a theatrical production, the pictures of which will just look downright silly a decade from now!


#9

First congratulations on your upcoming marriage! I'm sorry you're going through this stress!

There can be so much drama involved in weddings. My best friend of almost two decades hasn't spoken to be since I got married. I finally found out from my maid of honor that it was because I hadn't asked her to be the maid of honor (when she found out I was engaged she acted distant and was hard to get a hold of so I asked someone else!). If I could go back in time I would have a tiny wedding with family and very close friends and just have my sister as my maid of honor.

Do you think your fiance might understand not having groomsmen? Because that's the only thing that might make it look odd if you didn't have bridemaids. They could still be ushers though.

If you do have bridemaids I recommend going the pick-a-color-dress-and-let-everyone-pick-something-that-color route. That's what we did (the dress had to be a certain shade of red and that was it) and the complaints about the dresses were minimal at least.

Or maybe a work friend who would understand that you don't know many people and who would be part of the wedding party?


#10

[quote="Marie682, post:1, topic:232826"]
Hi

My question is, what are the requirements?

[/quote]

the requirements are a priest or deacon and two witnesses


#11

You don't have to be feel close to in order to be close to! If you have cousins, you have close family! You don't want to force anyone, of course! Someone may have advice on reconnecting with family! Are there reunions? It doesn't take much! Pay a visit with the folks! Have a party, maybe an engagement party!

[quote="Marie682, post:1, topic:232826"]
Hi everyone,

I'm recently engaged, and I have no idea what to do about my bridal party, or lack thereof. I am not close enough to any of my girlfriends anymore that I would feel comfortable asking them to be a bridesmaid in my wedding. The ones I do see, I get together with maybe 2-3 times per year. If I had gotten married right out of college, I would have had about 10 potential bridesmaids. I guess I am feeling the full effects of moving away and losing touch, and it's making me depressed about the wedding when otherwise I am very happy and excited. In school, I always had plenty of friends but I haven't made many close friends in the workforce- just "work friends".

My question is, what are the requirements? Does there absolutely have to be a maid of honor, can I have a witness instead, does it matter who it is, etc? I don't have any sisters, or female cousins I am close to either. I feel so ridiculous, because my fiance has several friends he wants to ask to be his groomsmen. This whole thing is making me want to just have a wedding with only immediate families.

Has anyone else been in this position? What can I do? :confused:

[/quote]


#12

It is something of an overstatement to declare that a bridesmaid shortage is a dilemma.

It is not the wedding that should be so important, rather the marriage. The wedding is just a ceremony and a one day party. The marriage is a lifetime commitment.

As a man, I know that most men care absolutely nothing about the wedding itself. Men would be just as happy to dress up like a kangaroo, for a boxing match. Men never dream about their wedding.

If a woman has no friends nearby who are available to serve as bridesmaids, then bridesmaids may be dispensed with, as they are not essential.

If push came to shove, bridesmaids could be hired from a theatrical agency.

Heck, I could not get married, because no woman would have me. Now, if I desired marriage, then I would be truly out of luck.


#13

Thanks so much, I really appreciate all of your responses. I feel a lot better knowing what the requirements are- I'm not so concerned about what people think, as much as I am about being able to get married! (Magickman- I am not trying to emphasize the wedding more than the marriage, or pretend this is a bigger deal than it is, but nonetheless, to me it is still a dilemma. Not a tragedy or anything, but something that concerns me.) If the Church only requires that there are two witnesses, I'm sure that won't be a problem at all.

I would never want my friends to think that it was weird or that I was just using them for show, or even make them pay for dresses- since we really have gone from seeing and talking to each other all the time to just a few times per year. I could offer to pay for their dresses. The whole thing is a little awkward, but maybe I'm making it out into a bigger deal than it needs to be. :o I think my fiance would understand not having groomsmen, or only one. Neither of us really like attention all that much, so the smaller the better anyway.

I didn't even know you could choose a mom or an aunt. Can the people you choose as your attendants be different than the people you choose as your witnesses? (I ask because if I were to choose an aunt, she is Protestant and my fiance's friends are not Catholic either.)

Also, is it weird not to have any dancing at the reception? We'd just like to have a nice meal, and thank our guests, but neither of us like to dance, especially in front of people. Sorry for all the questions, I just don't really know what's normal and what isn't!


#14

[quote="Marie682, post:13, topic:232826"]
I think my fiance would understand not having groomsmen, or only one. Neither of us really like attention all that much, so the smaller the better anyway.

I doubt he cares, most men don't

It sounds as if you have not yet begun your marriage preparation with the parish, as usually the sponsor couple have this type of information for you. Make that a priority so you don't get shut out of your preferred date, and because if you are already in the planning stage other things like music, readings etc. are going to raise questions in your mind that should be answered by the person from the parish who does your marriage prep.

[/quote]


#15

I understand exactly what you are going through! My husband and I are both friendly people and have many friends, but few really really close friends, and in our wedding we only had one attendent each, it was simple, and made so much of the wedding planning easier (no trying to find bride's maids' dresses that fit six different girls well, shoe or color fighting, ect, and made organizing to shop for my dress easier....) I loved it! Don't be embarrassed about having an extremely small party. Talk to your fiance, see if he would be willing to have a small party of only one or two people, or maybe limit your parties to having only family in it so he doesn't have to worry about hurting anyone (although I don't think guys get as hung up about stuff like that) ect

Good luck with your planning, and congratulations on your upcoming marriage!


#16

congrats.. and honestly, you can do pretty much whatever you want. especially if it's your money!

however.. The Moms will still probably be big pains in the butt. I had to tell my mother that if she didn't quit hounding me, I'd stop telling her my plans and only tell daddy :rotfl: which worked like a charm!

don't worry about falling out of touch with people. it happens. even with both people having the best of intentions, real life gets in the way and when you're out of sight, you really are out of mind.

my moh was my best friend of 20 years. we see each other once a year. emails and fb posts every once in awhile. of course I'd love to see her or talk to her more.. but that's real life, ya know? my sister was my only other bm. my husband had his brother as best man, and two longtime friends as gm, one of whom he sees/talks to so infrequently it's like the dude doesn't actually exist!

if you're still good friends with these girls - that is, when you do talk, is it just like old times? - I don't think they'd think you were "using them for show." but also don't feel like you have to have all of them standing up there. I've got a friend in that situation, she had to have a bunch of people, most of whom she didn't really want involved, to avoid what would have been a gigantic drama-fest. I think it's better to get your friends involved in other ways. for mass, we had people bring up the gifts and do the readings, and there were some small tasks at the reception we delegated to other friends.

we did a bunch of things differently for our wedding/reception - send me a message if you'd like details or pictures.


#17

Also re: question about dancing, we are not big attention seekers either, and were not really keen on the idea of dancing in front of people (especially since neither of us can dance well!), but we found that honestly, after the wedding we were rushed into taking pictures, then we did our dance as soon as we entered the reception and we found it was the first time we were really embracing the fact that we were married. It was actually a pretty private moment, we could wisper, smile, and enjoy the moment, and honestly were not even thinking about everyone watching. As for whether dancing is required - no its not. Although I do think you should have music for your guests playing. Depending on when you are getting married, maybe consider having your reception outside in a more casual barbeque style or something. The piece of advice I received consistantly throughout planning is that everyone comes to the wedding to witness the marriage for you, but afterwards the reception is a party you throw for them, to thank them for being there with you, so keep that in mind as you plan


#18

[quote="puzzleannie, post:14, topic:232826"]
It sounds as if you have not yet begun your marriage preparation with the parish, as usually the sponsor couple have this type of information for you. Make that a priority so you don't get shut out of your preferred date, and because if you are already in the planning stage other things like music, readings etc. are going to raise questions in your mind that should be answered by the person from the parish who does your marriage prep.

[/quote]

No, we haven't...this happened a couple of weeks ago and we're still trying to figure out where we want it to be. I am moving over the summer and I'm not sure where I'm going to be living next year.


#19

I was in a similar position when I married last year. My husband had really close friends he wanted to ask and more he could have asked, but I didn't have anyone. So I used his Sister and my Sister-in-Law (my brother's wife) as my maid of honor and bridesmaid. It worked out fine. I don't think there is any requirement other than you have 2 witnesses, there is nothing in the church that says you have to have a wedding party.


#20

[quote="Marie682, post:13, topic:232826"]
Also, is it weird not to have any dancing at the reception? We'd just like to have a nice meal, and thank our guests, but neither of us like to dance, especially in front of people. Sorry for all the questions, I just don't really know what's normal and what isn't!

[/quote]

Every wedding I've ever been to has had dancing, but one of them was really awkward because, aside from the father/bride and groom/bride, no one else danced at all. I think it depends on who will be going to your reception- if they are the kind of people who will appreciate it and participate, I'd say you probably should, since the reception is really for the guests. But if most people wouldn't care, it might be a waste of money if you do, especially if you're uncomfortable with it.


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