Wedding Party

Wedding Party Questions

Hi everyone,

I was hoping to get some input on wedding party suggestions for a particular situation. Basically this wedding will be emotionally difficult because my father, who I was very close to, passed away a year and a half ago. My fiance and I were thinking that we would keep our wedding party to family because combined we have two nephews, my two sisters-in-law, both of whom I really consider sisters, and my two brothers. His best man is his older brother and my “Man of Honor” is my younger brother. We felt that it would be easier and more peaceful/intimate if we kept the wedding party (aka those standing up with us) to just the immediate family, with our parents with us as well. However, there are some girlfriends and some guy friends of his who we would still like to “include” in some way beyond the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this because I have about 5 or 6 girlfriends who I am extremely close to but do not want a huge bridal party nor have to worry about asking them to get their hair and makeup done early in the morning or any of the other requirements. My thoughts were paying for mani/pedis for the group the day before the wedding or having a champagne toast to them at the rehearsal dinner/wedding or even having them wear a special corsage or same colored dress. Please let me know what you think or have done in your own planning! 

Re: Wedding Party Questions

  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    member
    LuckyL93 said:

    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping to get some input on wedding party suggestions for a particular situation. Basically this wedding will be emotionally difficult because my father, who I was very close to, passed away a year and a half ago. My fiance and I were thinking that we would keep our wedding party to family because combined we have two nephews, my two sisters-in-law, both of whom I really consider sisters, and my two brothers. His best man is his older brother and my “Man of Honor” is my younger brother. We felt that it would be easier and more peaceful/intimate if we kept the wedding party (aka those standing up with us) to just the immediate family, with our parents with us as well. However, there are some girlfriends and some guy friends of his who we would still like to “include” in some way beyond the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this because I have about 5 or 6 girlfriends who I am extremely close to but do not want a huge bridal party nor have to worry about asking them to get their hair and makeup done early in the morning or any of the other requirements. My thoughts were paying for mani/pedis for the group the day before the wedding or having a champagne toast to them at the rehearsal dinner/wedding or even having them wear a special corsage or same colored dress. Please let me know what you think or have done in your own planning! 

    I’m sorry for your loss.  

    There are some small and subtle things you could do, if you felt so inclined, to have your dads presence felt on your wedding day.  The touches could be so subtle that only you, and perhaps those closest to your dad, would even notice.  You could include a favorite food or beverage of his into your reception menu.  You could incorporate his favorite color into your flowers.  You could wrap your bouquet up with fabric from a tie he wore, or use a locket that holds his picture.  You could recall a favorite and upbeat song he loved and include it in your music.

    Restricting your wedding party to family only is not necessarily unusual or offensive to friends.  I am sure they do not need any sort of tangible acknowledgement to know how you feel about their friendship. Organizing a “friends day” shortly prior to the wedding is lovely but certainly not necessary.  You could get them some sort of flower, but again it is far from necessary.  If they are not in the wedding party, it is not typically expected to include them in the rehearsal and dinner.  I would not recommend asking several friends to not only purchase special attire, but color matching attire for your wedding.  You are including your friends as honored guests at one of the most significant days of your life.  They really do not need anything above that.
    ahoyweddingSTARMOON44eileenrob
  • cupcait927cupcait927 Western NY wine country
    2500 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    I'm sorry for the loss of your dad. 

    I also decided to have only a MOH, and no bridal party. My closest friends all came to the bach party, and I invited them to get ready with me the morning of if they wanted. 

    I think it would be nice to treat them to mani/pedi and include them in the RD if you want. I wouldn't ask them to wear a certain color. Let them wear whatever they'd like. 
    I also did not have a wedding party, or even a MOH, however my closest friends threw a bachelorette party for me and were with me when I got ready. While I didn't ask them to coordinate colors (because that was a big reason for not wanting a WP - didn't want to put any pressure on anyone), they ended up choosing to dressing in my wedding colors. I think treating them to something would also be a nice gesture, but certainly not required.
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    ahoywedding
  • lovesclimbinglovesclimbing Alaska
    Sixth Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
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    LuckyL93 said:

    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping to get some input on wedding party suggestions for a particular situation. Basically this wedding will be emotionally difficult because my father, who I was very close to, passed away a year and a half ago. My fiance and I were thinking that we would keep our wedding party to family because combined we have two nephews, my two sisters-in-law, both of whom I really consider sisters, and my two brothers. His best man is his older brother and my “Man of Honor” is my younger brother. We felt that it would be easier and more peaceful/intimate if we kept the wedding party (aka those standing up with us) to just the immediate family, with our parents with us as well. However, there are some girlfriends and some guy friends of his who we would still like to “include” in some way beyond the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this because I have about 5 or 6 girlfriends who I am extremely close to but do not want a huge bridal party nor have to worry about asking them to get their hair and makeup done early in the morning or any of the other requirements. My thoughts were paying for mani/pedis for the group the day before the wedding or having a champagne toast to them at the rehearsal dinner/wedding or even having them wear a special corsage or same colored dress. Please let me know what you think or have done in your own planning! 

    If you want to keep the wedding party to just family, fine. NBD. However, it seems you might have some misconceptions about what being in the wedding party entails. There are no requirements beyond getting the outfit you prescribe (and really, this isn't a requirement either unless you make it one. There are brides who tell their bridesmaids to just wear whatever pretty dress is in their closet), being there for photos (again, that's not even a requirement unless you want it to be), and walking nicely to the front and standing or sitting in the front row. 

    You can tell them to just get any dress in whatever color you want and a few other loose guidelines if you want (knee length, some sort of sleeve, etc.) and then you don't even have to worry about asking for budgets. Then just ask them to show up shortly before the ceremony in the dress and with their hair and makeup done. 

    The wedding party does not have to be a big production unless you make it so. 

    ahoyweddingSTARMOON44
  • ShesSoColdShesSoCold bend over and I'll show ya
    Moderator 5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its
    mod
    edited June 18
    LuckyL93 said:

    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping to get some input on wedding party suggestions for a particular situation. Basically this wedding will be emotionally difficult because my father, who I was very close to, passed away a year and a half ago. My fiance and I were thinking that we would keep our wedding party to family because combined we have two nephews, my two sisters-in-law, both of whom I really consider sisters, and my two brothers. His best man is his older brother and my “Man of Honor” is my younger brother. We felt that it would be easier and more peaceful/intimate if we kept the wedding party (aka those standing up with us) to just the immediate family, with our parents with us as well. However, there are some girlfriends and some guy friends of his who we would still like to “include” in some way beyond the Bachelor/Bachelorette parties. I was wondering what your thoughts are on this because I have about 5 or 6 girlfriends who I am extremely close to but do not want a huge bridal party nor have to worry about asking them to get their hair and makeup done early in the morning or any of the other requirements. My thoughts were paying for mani/pedis for the group the day before the wedding or having a champagne toast to them at the rehearsal dinner/wedding or even having them wear a special corsage or same colored dress. Please let me know what you think or have done in your own planning! 

    There's a lot going on here.

    First, if you're requiring that your wedding party get professional hair and makeup, you need to pay for it. ETA: What other "requirements" are there?

    Second, there's nothing wrong with treating your friends to a mani/pedi, but I definitely wouldn't make them wear specific colors or dresses. I do also think a toast to specific friends at the wedding would be odd. 

    Third, MobKaz had good advice regarding your dad. Anything to honor or remember him should be very quiet and private. Things like empty chairs with a rose or a picture can be very "in your face" and too much for a wedding. 
    I will always remember an old knottie here who put one of those old coat rack/umbrella holder things in the corner of the reception room with her late father's hat hanging on it. No one else knew what it was or why it was there. That sounded perfect to me.

    I'm sorry for you loss.

    Lastly, try to keep in mind that being a guest is an honor. You really don't need to (nor should you) try to dig up ways to "include" people in other ways. Your friends know they're special to you, you don't need to try to find a way to publicize it. Asking one or two of these people to do a reading during the ceremony is really the only other thing you can do. 
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    ahoyweddingInLoveInQueens
  • I agree with PPs. We had a small WP of family only, and I have several groups of close friends. I felt bad for a minute that I couldn't "include" them more, but we're all a bit older and have been in our share of weddings. I have a few friends with younger siblings who are getting married recently and they're complaining about being in the WP. A few of them even said to me they were glad they could just show up to our wedding and not worry about anything else.

    If you want to host mani/pedis for them or invite them to get ready with you, that's totally fine, but being invited to a wedding is special enough. Definitely invite them to the bach and shower (if you have one). I agree that a special toast to your friends is kind of weird. 

    Also, what else are you "requiring" of your WP? Their only duty is to show up on time in the agreed upon attire. Anything else you require (professional hair, jewelry, etc) should be paid for by you or made optional. 
    short+sassy
  • MesmrEweMesmrEwe
    Knottie Warrior 2500 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    member
    edited June 18
    If I'm reading correctly and narrowing it down...  You want these people to be guests of honor, but you don't want them to have to do the whole hoopla that typically goes along with being in the WP that seems to impose nor want a huge bridal party.  

    One thing on here is we typically like to do is remind people the only requirements of being in the WP are showing up on the wedding day wearing the designated attire relatively sober, attending the ceremony, standing for pictures, some of the reception (though not ALL/sticking around to the end of the night).  Something that might work that I've heard of being done, though is more something for no WP type situations, is you get those guests a small nosegay type flower arrangement or boutonniere as the case may be as a "surprise" the day of the wedding when they arrive.  You'll have their RSVP's so you know who will be able to attend for numbers.  

    While gathering your close friends together for a mani/pedi party that you host the day/2-days before, the reality is that you're going to run into people having to work and not being able to get the time off.  And, not everyone is into the whole mani/pedi experience, so some may not choose to attend.  Most of all, do not apologize for keeping your WP exclusively family, it's a choice.  The fundamental thing that needs to be addressed in your post is that it may be time to invest into coming to a peace about your loss as it seems to be the bigger shadow being cast.  Your wedding is a day of celebration, your Father will be there with you in spirit, do you want to be surrounded by sad energy that he's not there, or would he want you to be celebrating in the moment the happiness of your marriage/wedding day as I presume he did with his bride?  , Your and FI's energy is what sets the tone for the entire day, as a guest, what energy would you want to experience from the bride and groom - be that energy and start practicing with your planning and marriage prep process (it's not about the day, it's about the lifetime)..  It's o.k. to limit the WP to just family, realize that's your choice to make, most of all, think out 20 years from now looking back on your wedding day, if the choice you'd make in the future is different from the actions you're taking now, change your actions now.  
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  • I'm sorry for your loss.

    It's totally okay that you decided to keep your wedding party to family only. However, since these friends are not in your wedding party, it is inappropriate to dictate their attire. Do not ask them to wear a particular outfit or color.

    It is honor enough to be invited to a wedding, and of course you should feel free to invite your friends to pre-wedding parties. But I would leave it at that if I were in your shoes. I think getting them corsages or having a toast to them at the wedding would only emphasize the fact that you didn't ask them to be in your WP and might make them feel self-conscious. They will probably be more comfortable just being guests like everyone else than if you called this kind of attention to them.
    image
    MesmrEwe
  • I’m sorry for your loss. That sounds nice that you’re keeping your wedding party small and family oriented. I love the subtle reminders that only you will recognize that the other posters suggested. I’m planning to wear a bracelet my dad had engraved before he died. Just make sure it’s something where you’re not going to fall to pieces and cry. Your dad would want you to have a happy wedding day. I wouldn’t worry about doing anything extra for friends. It’s not needed and they’re probably going to throw you a bachelorette party or something anyways. I’m just having my cousin as my bridesmaid and I ended up having 3 showers and 2 bachelorette parties. It was completely unexpected! So people will surprise you and throw you all sorts of parties to celebrate you and if they don’t then that’s ok too because it’s just about you and your future husband anyways and none of that other pre wedding stuff matters. Your friends will be happy to just share the big day with you. 
    short+sassy
  • Jen4948Jen4948 Houston
    10000 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    member
    I'm very sorry for your loss.

    You don't need to make it up to your friends for not including them in your wedding party, as there are no restrictions on whom you ask to be in it. If you want to invite them to additional separate get-togethers or even ask them to get ready with you, that's certainly fine but not required. But it would not be appropriate to instruct them as to what colors to wear or give any other directions about their attire or accessories.
    STARMOON44short+sassy
  • LuckyL93LuckyL93
    First Comment
    member
    edited July 15
    Thank you MesmreEwe however, when losing a parent suddenly, there is sometimes no such thing as "coming to peace" with it, especially during a day as huge as a wedding. I don't think honoring my Dad in front of everyone who knew and loved him sets the tone for a sad day at all. We plan to include his favorite drink at the wedding as well as a song about love that I will dance with my three brothers. Will there be tears? Of course, I wouldn't expect there not to be. We do not intend to set a "sad energy" for the day, however, we also do not intend to leave out the absence of my Dad as so many of his dear friends and family members will be there too. 

    In case my post was misunderstood, of course I would be paying for any hair and makeup if I do go the large WP route. In addition, I would not make them wear a particular color/dress type if they were not bridesmaids. I have been a bridesmaid several times and know that it requires a lot financially. 

    Megs_tx and Jen4948, thank you for your kind words and suggestions! The subtle reminders sound lovely and very well thought out. 
  • LuckyL93LuckyL93
    First Comment
    member
    Thank you for the reply. I have to respectfully disagree since this was a song that my Dad loved and it was the suggestion of my fiance and his parents, not mine. Following the song we will be inviting everyone to start dancing with us on the dance floor. I should have chosen a wiser word instead of 'loss' - it is a beautiful song about loving someone who has passed. I was in a wedding this past March where the groom's mother had passed. He danced with his sister to this song and it was beautiful. Knowing my own day would be approaching, I asked how guests felt about it and they said they loved it and felt the presence of the MOG - it did not seem that it ruined anyone's mood or joy for the day. I don't think that's invoking grief or loss nor do I think it emphasizes mourning. But everyone is allowed an opinion. Thanks for the suggestions of the reminders as well! 
  • MobKazMobKaz Chicago suburbs
    Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
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    LuckyL93 said:
    Thank you for the reply. I have to respectfully disagree since this was a song that my Dad loved and it was the suggestion of my fiance and his parents, not mine. Following the song we will be inviting everyone to start dancing with us on the dance floor. I should have chosen a wiser word instead of 'loss' - it is a beautiful song about loving someone who has passed. I was in a wedding this past March where the groom's mother had passed. He danced with his sister to this song and it was beautiful. Knowing my own day would be approaching, I asked how guests felt about it and they said they loved it and felt the presence of the MOG - it did not seem that it ruined anyone's mood or joy for the day. I don't think that's invoking grief or loss nor do I think it emphasizes mourning. But everyone is allowed an opinion. Thanks for the suggestions of the reminders as well! 
    I would be interested in knowing the name of this song, if you care to share it.

    I am curious though, and with all due respect, how you go from dancing to a song about the passing of someone to “let’s get the party started”.
    ShesSoColdahoyweddingcharlotte989875InLoveInQueens
  • LuckyL93LuckyL93
    First Comment
    member
    Great question. I am dancing with my brothers to the song (all of whom I am very close to and who were very close to my Dad) followed by my fiance and his mom dancing to "What a Wonderful World." We have personally asked both sides of the family as well as family friends/girlfriends their thoughts and I was surprised to find that no one disagreed, even brides who have had their own weddings. Our plan is to then thank everyone for their love/support and attendance and "get the party started". I think that when a parent has passed it might be hard to understand the importance of something like how special a father daughter dance can be and how they might still want to honor the person who has passed but I empathize with that. Thankfully the song is quite beautiful and does not emphasize sadness or grief but rather honoring the person. Thanks for the question! 
  • LuckyL93LuckyL93
    First Comment
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    edited July 16
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