If you're a bride-to-be, it's easy to get swept up in the "rules" and traditions of wedding planning and your upcoming nuptials — but there's one tradition that many soon-to-be-newlyweds today are doing away with: bridal parties. As an engaged person myself, it's got me thinking: Do I need a bridal party?
This year, the answer from many people is a resounding no. According to Pinterest's 2017 Wedding Report, more people than ever have visited the website in search of wedding ideas that don't include bridal parties. In fact, company has seen a 100 percent year-over-year increase from Millennials searching for bridesmaid-less wedding inspiration. "Less is more — brides are choosing to go with fewer bridesmaids, or sometimes none at all!" states the report.
Just like everything in life, there are pros and cons to the whole bridal party sitch. Having your best pals by your side can bring even more love to your special day; plus, they might help with wedding planning duties, as well as throw you your bachelorette party, if that's your jam. However, choosing some people and not others can make for tension in your relationships. Then, there's the added cost of having more people in your wedding.
As of 2016, the cost of the average wedding in America came out to $26,720. While that might be pennies to some, that's also a year's salary to others. This doesn't even get into the stress that can come with coordinating a group of people and trying to make sure everyone is happy, comfortable, and getting along.
Although the numbers vary by state, the average wedding party in the United States has 4.39 attendants. With the recent trend of nixing the bridal party, might we expect that number to drop in the coming months and years? If you're torn about which way to go but are leaning toward a smaller affair, Brides.com offers some reasons you shouldn't feel guilty about not having a bridal party. They point out that real friends will be thrilled for you regardless of whether or not they're in the wedding. And while you might be forgoing wedding attendants for budgeting reasons, remember that they, too, could be on a budget (and weddings aren't cheap for anyone). They might be relieved not to have to take an official role.
What's the takeaway? Are we better off with a band of merry bridesmaids, bridesmen, and bridespeople, or should we go it solo? Just remember the number one wedding rule: There are no rules.
Choosing not to have a bridal party isn't the universal "right" answer. Neither is choosing to go with one. 10 bridesmaids aren't the right answer, and 4.39 isn't either. The right answer is the decision that makes you happiest. If you want an army of friends and family behind you on your big day, then that's exactly what you should have. If you're like me and want one or even none, then that's splendid too. Do away with marriage stereotypes and norms and expectations and traditions, and go with whatever makes the soon-to-be ol' married person inside of you smile.
For this reason, I will be serving Chipotle at my wedding. You're welcome.