There are many reasons that you’ll have close friends who aren’t in your bridal party. Perhaps your bridal party consists of family only. Or maybe you’ve chosen to have a Best Man and a Maid of Honour, without anyone else join you. Regardless of the reasons, you’ve probably got someone in mind who you would love to include in your big day. I’ve got a few ways you could honour your friend and make her feel special, even if she isn’t a bridesmaid.
Photo credit: Love Made Visible
As with all things wedding related, there is a fine line between “doing what you want, because it’s your wedding” and “sticking to wedding etiquette”.
Only you will know if any of the suggestions below will go down well with your friend. You’ll know how trustworthy, organized and responsible your friend is, and you’ll know if she is able to fulfill any of the responsibilities suggested below. You’ll also know if she’ll feel honoured to be involved, or offended that she isn’t a bridesmaid. So my first piece of advice is to tread carefully. Make sure your friend knows that the situation is unique and you want her to feel special. Use this as an opportunity to bond with her.
So, here are some suggestions for ways you can include your friend in your wedding even if she isn’t a bridesmaid:
Give her a practical role
There are things that need to get done, when having someone take charge is super helpful. Manning the guestbook, handing out programs, assisting at the photobooth, welcoming guests or handing out confetti are all areas in which you’ll need some help.
Another biggie is “present patrol”. Having your aunt, with bubbly in hand, help guests find the presents table as they walk into the reception, is less than welcoming. Rather, ask a friend who knows a lot of guests by name, so she can point people in the direction of the presents table, while welcoming them.
Include her in the ceremony
While she may not be standing up there with you, there are plenty of ways you could include your friend in the ceremony. There are roles that need to be filled: musicians or readers of scriptures or poems, for example. If you are having a religious ceremony, you’ll know that there are many other ways you could include your friend if she shares your faith.
At the end of your ceremony, you could opt for a non-traditional procession. Say you’re only having a Maid of Honour and Best Man in the bridal party. You could invite your other besties to sit in the front row with you and exit the church with you as a group.
Ask for her help with the planning
Host a tasting party where you invite your besties over to taste wine, champagne or cakes. Not only is this one of the most fun elements of wedding planning, but it’s also really important to have more opinions that just your own.
Get her to help you with DIY decor projects, assembling gift bags and maybe even setting up decor the night before the wedding.
If you aren’t able to afford a wedding coordinator and you trust your friend’s organization skills, you could ask her to help oversee the coordinating side of your wedding.
Involve her in the reception
Would your friend be comfortable saying grace, delivering a speech or making a toast? These are some of the ways you could include her in your wedding reception, even though she isn’t a bridesmaid.
Typically your head table is where you’ll sit, along with your parents and/or your bridal party. There are plenty of reasons to mix it up and sit with people who don’t necessarily fall into either of those categories.
If your friend is charismatic and open to playing “hostess”, why not ask her to be your MC?
Before the wedding
You could invite your friend to get ready with you on the morning of your wedding. If it’s in your budget, offer to pay for her to get her hair and makeup done with you.
And this one is a no-brainer, but your friend should be invited to all the pre-wedding festivities. The engagement party, hen’s night, kitchen tea, and rehearsal dinner (if you’re having one). Use these as opportunities to remind your friend of how special she is to you.
Opt for an uneven bridal party
Perhaps the reason this friend of yours isn’t a bridesmaid is that you don’t want to have an uneven or lopsided bridal party. Maybe you should consider just asking your friend to be a bridesmaid. I think an uneven bridal party is totally okay. In fact, I’ve written a whole blog post about how to have epic wedding photos without symmetry: