Wedding Party Alternatives: The Non-Bridesmaid

I had to share Lauren’s fabulous wedding party plan:

I’m not having bridesmaids, so I sent an Evite (I love Evites) to 10 of my friends asking them to be non-bridesmaids, with the following job description. It was really fun to read what everyone wrote back (and they all loved the idea!)

A non-bridesmaid:

  • Listens to me complain about how expensive weddings are.
  • Comes wedding dress shopping IF she wants .
  • Helps my mom throw a shower.
  • Domes to the bachelorette party if she can.
  • Helps out doing whatever she likes to do or is good at (i.e. baking snickerdoodles, making invitations, making funny videos of the other guests, drinking mimosas, etc).
  • Helps me get ready day-of (hint: this may involve drinking mimosas).
  • Tells me when I’m being bride-zilla-ish.

A non-bridesmaid does NOT:

  • Wear the same dress as all the other non-bridesmaids. She wears her own dress (or skirt, or lovely pantsuit) instead.
  • Get her hair or makeup done for my wedding (you all are very familiar with making yourself look beautiful every day), Caveat: if you WANT to get your hair or makeup done because you love any excuse to be pampered, then I am all for that! Pamper yourself!
  • Carry flowers. Caveat: if you really want some flowers, I will get you some, just for being such a fabulous friend.
  • Stands in the front of all the other guests. But you can sit in the front row if you arm wrestle my brother for his spot!

I hope you get the idea. If I were going to have a giant wedding party, you would absolutely all be up there with me, but I’m not, and I still wanted you to know how much you mean to me and how much I appreciate your friendship. Plus, with an Evite, you can all read each other’s clever comments!

PS – How is it that after we finally settle on a wedding party alternative, suddenly there are a million and one amazing ideas flying around?

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  • Sarah

    What a FANTASTIC idea! I want this.

    -Sarah H.

  • Anonymous

    oh yes… yesterday, my bf and i decided we will be blatantly stealing the color palette idea as well as this (only for the guys as well, for ties). this website is SO inspirational… thanks for reminding us that it is possible to do this sanely!


  • Liz

    We’re having wedding “teams” instead of bridesmaids/groomsmen. They can all wear whatever they want, both teams are co-ed, and while they will stand up with us during the actual ceremony, we made it abundantly clear that their responsibilities will also include kicking ass at kickball, capture the flag, etc. They’re all pretty psyched, and so are we.

  • This is awesome!!
    I love the idea.


  • what a great way to put it. i think i’ll probably have my sisters and maybe one or two other girls as bridesmaids, but would still love to invite my other friends to be “non-bridesmaids”

  • This is a great idea! (If Boyfriend and I get hitched, there’s no way around the sheer number of siblings that would have to be up there with us. Friends would feel left out. This is so much better!)

  • Great, great, great, idea.

  • We’re getting married on a small yatch and there is not enough space where people could physically stand up. So I’m having the important men and women look similar (black dress or suit with red tie) and I’m asking them to perform different tasks. Because our wedding is so small, some people are reading, some are greeting guests, some are carrying rings, etc. I am stealing the wording from this email and tweaking it to meet our needs. Thank you so much for the help!

  • i love it!!! this sure sounds a lot like my bridal brigade…same spirit! love it.

  • LOVE this!

  • So between this and Jen’s color palette idea, you may have solved my bridesmaid issue. Seriously. The people that write, read and comment on this blog are probably what is keeping me pretty sane right now. Seriously.

    So thanks, Meg, for being so awesome and writing this blog, and thanks to all your readers for being so awesome and sharing their ideas. =)

  • Love this! We actually chose not to have a bridal party, but so far many of the women in my life have stepped up in so many ways. They have listened, thrown me a surprise brunch shower-esque thing volunteered their services. I hope to make sure that at least one hangs out the morning of.

    Anyway, this is a great post!

  • Great idea, I just need to ask her to marry me ;(

  • Thumbs up to the non-bridesmaid idea! This is a sweet way of letting your friends still feel included. We didn’t have a bridal party but I had a group of friends around me leading up to the day who provided muchos help with decorating. Be sure to ask for help where you need it — your friends want to be there for you :)

  • I think I will definitely be sending a similar version of this to my gal (and gay boyfriend) pals. Great idea!

  • Anonymous

    what an amazing email. I didnt want to do a bridal party but wanted a few friends to feel like they had a special part! Perfect

  • I've loved this idea since I first read about it. And now that I'm engaged I'm so excited to do something similar.

    I'm setting up an invitation only blog for the women in my life that will be in my Wedding Posse. On the blog we can chat about different things and I can vent or squeal with excitement. And even if they are across the country they can be there for all the planning.

    Their main duties will be to keep me stress free, get me chocolate when needed, and make sure I stay focused on what this whole thing is about – me marrying the man I never could've dreamed of.

  • MJ

    so happy to read this! thanks for the fabulous idea on how to do this. one of the things that stresses me out the most is the wedding party!

  • Sophie

    This is exactly what we are doing! We had too many important people to try and limit it to a specific number, and the sheer number of them standing next to us would look silly, in my opinion. So we invited them to be a part of the wedding “crew” which means many of these same duties and non duties that Lauren shared. we wanted them all with us to celebrate, but not in a way that was so dictated as the “traditional” wedding party. I’m so excited to have my amazing friends surround me on that special day.

  • Calindi

    This is excellent! Just what I wanted! My brother and I decided years ago that I would be his Best Woman and he’ll be my Brother of Honor, but I wanted a way to let my friends know that they’re special to me and that I’d want them to be part of my day as much as they’d like to be (including getting ready with me). This is a fantastic way to do it! Glad to see someone else didn’t make their friends put on matching dresses just to be there for her.

  • elena

    I am having “Friends of Honor” – when I originally saw this post it inspired me so much. Thank you!

  • Ama

    We are having a casual, autumn out door wedding with just our siblings and their spouses, our mothers, and our kids. There will be just 25-30 people attending. I have my two sisters and one friend who is just like my sister wearing autumn-colored dresses and carrying wild flower bouquets. I want to list them on the program and am looking for something to call them. I don’t want to use Bridesmaids for several reasons. Anyone have a creative title for them?

  • Jillian

    OMG!! so I am a couple years late but have been searching like crazy for an awesome ideas or at least some wording to send out to all of the people I love be we can not possibly have in our wedding. The number of people standing beside us will be laughable (in my opinion). Obviously including one sister and not the other would just be unacceptable for me. So my fiance’ and I decided to have a “non-wedding parrty’. (sigh) this is such a relief I have hit dead ened after dead end on this topic!!! WONDERFUL!!

  • Kristi

    Love this idea!!! I am a first time bride, 36, who has been engaged for 8 years and I just feel funny having a bunch of women up there with me…back when I was 20 something it was fun being in a wedding…with kids and house payments, etc. coming up with $200 for a dress is hard for some of my girls…I felt guilty even asking, knowing how expensive being in a wedding can be….but I was unsure how to nicely let them know I love them and value their friendships and how much it means to me that they share my special day…I think this evite is excellent and sums up everything!!!

  • Thank you so much for this!! I I just got engaged and am wedding planning and recently asked over the phone my closest friends to be my “unofficial bridesmaids!” I want them to know they would be my bridesmaids if I was having a bridal party, and that I’d love for them to help with the shower, bachelorette, and get ready on the big day, but no other requirements and they can wear whatever the hell they want! And I think it’s so awkward to have your friends stand up there with you! So I will use this idea! :)

  • Liz

    AH! This is PERFECT! I’m recently engaged and on the fence about what to do about a wedding party. I just googled “nontraditional wedding party ideas” and OF COURSE APW had just what I was looking for. Love it. Thank you!!

  • VegasBrideToBe

    aaww wish i would have read this 3 weeks ago. My fiance and i are getting married in vegas, where we met on our 5 year anniversary. We dont want a wedding party and when i told my best friends that they werent going to be bridesmaids, they were so upset!! this approach is so much better!!