As a teenager, I had this fantasy: Me + my ninth grade Spanish partner, Thomas + our wedding = best day ever.
There was a big white dress, an all-night dance party, and midnight fireworks (clearly, my daydreams weren’t on a budget). But no bridesmaids. Ever.
My actual big day—February 16, 2019—also didn’t include any bridesmaids (or Thomas; sorry, Thomas!). And I don’t regret it. In fact, that’s probably the best decision I made (don’t tell my husband).
Some cold hard facts: The average cost of being in a wedding party has ballooned to $1,200. And a lot of people are having to shell out that kind of cash—one bride recently went viral for having 34 ride-or-dies by her side. THIRTY. FREAKING. FOUR. I’ll do the math for you: That’s $40,800 spent on gifts, party swag (penis straws cost money, guys), travel, and clothes.
And then there’s the added burden of all your free time being wrapped up in someone else’s big day or dealing with the bride’s random friend who just won’t pay for their share of the bachelorette—or maybe worse, forces you to drop hundos because she ordered 10,000 drinks when everyone else had two and you know you’re all gonna have to split the bill evenly. (Hi, that should be a crime.)
I’m also super aware of how terrible the whole situation can be because I co-run the Instagram account @HeyLadiesBook, where we post nightmarish wedding stories, many of the bridesmaid variety. Like, did you know someone recently asked their ‘maids to wear dresses that look like vulvas? It’s true, look it up!
After watching so many friends go through this for other couples, I knew I’d rather do the whole thing solo than ask them to do the same for me.
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Brides, listen: You can still ask your friends to do all the pre-wedding things. I had my friend Christine take me thrifting for the candlesticks we used at my ceremony, and we spent an evening making dance-floor decor. Another friend, Lora, didn’t have bridesmaids but invited her BFFs to stop by her bridal suite for lunch the day of. A casual dream for everyone involved—no extra $1,200 required.