bridesmaids

If you’re engaged, thinking about your possible wedding party, and considering how to pick bridesmaids when you feel you have no friends, don’t freak out: It happens to more brides than you’d think. We’re used to seeing weddings with brides rolling 10 bridesmaids deep these days, but in reality, bridesmaid standards are as flexible as everything else with modern weddings. We all do bridal parties differently, and certainly not all of us have a cabal of sister-level besties to stand by our sides on our wedding day. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing wedding.

Here’s how to pick bridesmaids when you have no friends (FYI, you *have* friends, I promise).

Redefine “friend.”

We often think of friends as people outside of work and family, who we know from just living life, but friends can come from anywhere. And if you’re considering how to pick bridesmaids when you have no friends, remember that your aunt can be one of your closest friends, or maybe your work wife. Your male cousin, even! Change how you define “friend” and you’ll realize you actually have a ton of close, supportive relationships in your life who’d make great bridespeople. Because, hey, not all of us were in sororities in college and have the luxury of 25 residual besties. There’s no criteria for who qualifies as a bridesmaid, and no criteria for who qualifies as a friend, either.

Expand your horizons.

Just around wedding age just happens to be, incidentally, the age when a lot of us inadvertently change our attention to our partners and away from nurturing tons of friendships. Because of that, you might fall out of step with some friends with whom you used to be really close—whether you’re geographically separated and don’t have the bandwidth to stay in touch, or you live in the same city but don’t make the time in your schedule to socialize like you used to. But there’s no better time to reconnect with friends you might have drifted from than when you’re getting married. The excitement and emotion, plus the planning process, will bring you closer together, and of course, spending one of the most important days of your life with them present will re-solidify your bond. Friendships are elastic, and you should always feel comfortable reconnecting with someone you were once close to—you’ll both be glad you did.

Consider the weddings you’ve been in.

“Closeness” is subjective, so you may have friends who feel closer to you than you even realize—especially if you’ve been a bridesmaid for them! Think about the weddings you’ve been in and consider asking those brides to return the favor. It’s only natural to exchange bridesmaid duties—after all, if you two were close enough for you to be in her wedding, then you’re definitely close—plus, a gal who’s gone through the wedding planning process will be especially understanding and willing. Even if you don’t feel super-close at the time you ask, you’ll get closer over time, and might even leave your wedding day with a new bestie in addition to your new spouse. 

Be OK with just one.

Maybe you have one ride-or-die friend you do everything with and talk to every day. But you can’t think of a handful more to add to your bridesmaid docket and are therefore thinking about how to pick bridesmaids when you have no friends. Quit worrying: It’s OK to stop at one! In fact, it’s becoming more popular for brides and grooms to ask one top friend to be their right-hand on their wedding day, and throw out the entire idea of bridal parties altogether. Because really, you don’t need seven women standing in a row at the top of the aisle, and you don’t need seven women helping you plan and craft for 18 months, either. Not only is a single bridesmaid a great choice for those who are super-selective with their friendships, but it’ll also save you money, anxiety and drama.

Or none!

FYI, bridesmaids do not make the wedding. In fact, for most of us, our wedding days go by so fast, we hardly get to talk to our ‘maids (except when fake-laughing with them for photos). Ask yourself why you feel you need bridesmaids—is it because you genuinely want friends by your side on your big day, or is it simply because you feel like you have to, per some tradition that was invented a hundred years ago? PS, going bridesmaid-free doesn’t mean you don’t have friends. If you’re having a wedding, you have friends—just check out your guest list for proof. Opting out of bridesmaids just means you’re focused on simplifying your wedding a bit, and ensuring that every guest feels extra-special. Because, yeah, when you go for no bridesmaids, every friend sort of becomes one—they’ll all pitch in here and there, and you’ll feel just as surrounded by love as the girls on Instagram rolling 10 bridesmaids deep.