6/8 Real Bride Rachel: Big Wedding Party = Big Money?

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Meg and Steve's New Traditional Wedding || Image: Sharyn Frenkel Photography

Photo: Sharyn Frenkel Photography

Wedding parties. They can be a real pain in the ass. Who do you choose? Is your sibling the automatic choice for maid of honor or best man? Do you have to include someone just because you were a member of their wedding party? What if said wedding was like a decade ago … is there a time limit? My answers are whomever you want, no, no and no, but I also fully realize that not everyone is going to have the same answers. As with all wedding-related decisions, you should do what makes you happy … and as with life in general, that can be easier said than done.

I don’t think of myself as a dramatic person (who does, though?), but there was definitely a little drama when it came to choosing who was going to stand up beside us on our wedding day. Like it or not, that’s what happens when family, friends and feelings are involved. Right off the bat, Russel and I did not agree on the size of our wedding party. He wanted small, I wanted … not small. He made some super valid points. The more people, the more money we would be spending on flowers, our rehearsal dinner and gifts. We’re broke, so more money = bad. Wrangling a huge group of people can really be a pain, too. He also only has one brother and a fairly small circle of close friends, so it was going to be more difficult for him in that regard. I have five brothers and three sisters (yeah, it’s crazy), plus an amazing group of girlfriends, so that was never going to be an issue for me.

So yeah. Russel is super logical and reasonable, but I am a stubborn brat. Even after he made those great arguments, I knew there were seven ladies who I wanted to be there with me on the most important day of my life. Nothing was changing my mind. Once that realization was made, I broached the subject of having an uneven bridal party. I had absolutely no problem with Russel having fewer groomsmen than I had bridesmaids. I’ve seen it done several times, and I think it’s great. I’m actually surprised it’s not done more often. Not every bride and groom have the same number of siblings or close friends, so it makes sense that bridesmaids and groomsmen wouldn’t match up. Russel was not a fan of this idea. And that’s fine! It’s his wedding, too. But now we were at a bit of a stalemate … and we stayed there.

It actually took us almost three months to come to a decision. And by decision, I mean I finally just asked my girls to be my bridesmaids. I couldn’t handle any more conversations about it, since neither of us seemed to be budging. Probably not the best way to do it, but I had to save my sanity. Russel still had the option to have less than seven dudes, plus he also had five of my very awesome brothers to choose from if he really needed help rounding out his side. And it’s not like he would just be settling — he is actually great friends with them. Two good choices, in my opinion. I think it took him another month or two to finally come to terms with a 14-person party (not counting the flower girl and ring bearer), but it did eventually happen. As a bonus, two of my brothers get to be up there with me when I tie the knot. We really couldn’t be happier now that it’s all said and done. Our people are awesome, and they are going to help make our day super legit.

So here we are. We have a big bridal party. So far, it really hasn’t been an issue. We aren’t to the part where we pay for the rehearsal and gifts, but even then I really don’t think it will cost us an arm and a leg. We are planning a super casual BBQ at our wedding venue Friday evening, and burgers, brats and corn on the cob aren’t exactly extravagant. We can choose how much to spend on bridal party gifts, but no matter the cost, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be worth it to have my sister and best friends standing next to me on my wedding day. Add in the fact that my mom is using fake flowers to make the bouquets and boutonnieres, and I can confidently say that big bridal party does NOT have to equal big money. There are so many ways to cut costs, and cutting the people we love doesn’t have to be one.

How did you decide on your wedding party? Are you having a big one or a small one?