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After a total of 10 years of horrible relationships and the sole desire of being married to the right person, I finally got my wish. I'm getting married, officially, at a music festival, with a guy who is just as creative as I am.
We are thrilled to announce the wedding and have already made plans on how we're going to do it. However, when it came to our wedding party, there were a lot of problems that we couldn't really figure out how to handle.
The most pressing one was that his family was all either dead or estranged. To make matters worse, our guest list was pretty lopsided.
Most of our mutual friends were also male, which meant that the groom's party had a total of 30 people on it. My female friends were all either dead, out of state, or otherwise unable to attend. Of the girls we could invite, only one could afford to come.
So, we didn't have enough female friends to be bridesmaids. It was awkward, to say the least. So, how did we solve it? Here were some of the tips and tricks we considered using, plus what ended up working for us.
The first thing to ask is if you really need bridesmaids.
Look, I'm going to be very frank. Bridesmaids are awesome to have at your wedding and if you have a very large wedding, you might need them. However, if you have a very small wedding, you probably won't need more than one or two friends to be bridesmaids.
In many cases, brides tend to just feel disappointed about how their special day rolls out. It's normal to feel a little cheated when you look at all the rom-coms with plenty of supportive girls by the bride's side on the big day. This isn't Hollywood though. It's real life. Sometimes, real life isn't perfect.
Dig deep for potential bridesmaids.
We actually considered asking very loosely-associated friends to be bridesmaids for the wedding, and even mulled over the idea of inviting everyone we worked with as wedding guests of ours. But, then we were honest with ourselves.
Though this solution could work for others who have much wider networks of friends, we felt it was a bit extreme for us. After all, we wanted this to be full of people who were very close to us as friends.
Consider asking people who refused what's up.
Sometimes, the fact that a lot of people refuse to participate could be a sign that your relationship has deeper problems than just a wedding planning gaffe. You might want to ask your friends if something is bothering them about the wedding.
Though this wasn't an issue with our wedding, I've refused to be a bridesmaid for a girl whose now-spouse beat her. If many friends are refusing to stand by you as you exchange vows, it could be a sign that you should call off the wedding.
Ask female relatives if they can be bridesmaids.
Those who have a large family need not worry about trying to cajole friends to be bridesmaids. In many cases, you can find siblings, cousins, nieces, and sisters-in-law to help you out with your guest list problems.
They may not be as close to you as some friends who couldn't be there, but they'll try. At the very least, your family members will be happy to reenact some of the Bridesmaids movie scenes in your wedding timeline.
You might also convert male friends into bridesmaids.
Hey, sometimes your crowd will be a bit skewed in one direction or another. With us, the vast majority of our circle consists of men and androgynes. So, the end result was that I ended up with two androgyne bridesmaids, two female bridesmaids, and a dozen male bridesmaids.
This actually worked out really well for us all, simply because some of our guy friends wanted to get better seats at the wedding and being a bridesmaid would allow it to happen.
Though it's rare, some women have actually found bridesmaids via online forums.
Leave it to the internet to create ways to solve problems that would have been otherwise unsolvable, right? Well, there have been some women who have managed to find girls willing to be bridesmaids by talking to people online.
To do this, you would have to minimize the costs of being a bridesmaid and also grovel online. It's rough. If you really are desperate to find online friends to be bridesmaids, you may want to take a step back. Do you really want total strangers to be bridesmaids?
Consider having an alternative wedding setup.
We all know how bridesmaids and groomsmen are supposed to be. It's a one-to-one ratio. It's also kind of weird to have to have an equal number of people on each side, especially when it's so hard to actually make female friends.
Isn't it just plain stupid, having to go through that much effort just so that "tradition" make it look okay? Maybe it's time to rethink having guests on unequal footing. Abolishing the concept altogether would be a good idea in many cases, and you might even take away some lessons learned from a non-traditional wedding.
Cut the wedding party list down a bit.
People who insist on keeping things traditional but still don't have enough friends to be bridesmaids will need to think things out. If you really, truly need bridesmaids and groomsmen to be equal in number, you should consider asking your partner to pare down the number of groomsmen he has.
You might lose out on a bachelorette party and other good times, but it has to happen. It might not be an ideal solution, but in many cases, that's exactly what ends up happening.
If it's a matter of destination or budget, offer to foot the bill.
Not all people have budgets that are ready to be drained for a wedding. The average American household really isn't doing well when it comes to finances, and that can make being a bridesmaid expensive.
Trying to plan a wedding on a budget isn't easy either, but if you don't have enough friends to be bridesmaids for financial reasons, it could be time to just pony up the cash for dresses and hair. It's not financially sound, but it could get you bridesmaids.
If you're all out of ideas, you may want to hire a bridesmaid.
Some women who have been crafty about everything bridal-related started to become very popular as paid bridesmaids. If all else fails and you're absolutely, positively dead set on having bridesmaids at your wedding, then hiring someone is definitely doable.
Sure, it might tack on a couple thousand dollars, but it's one way to pay friends to be bridesmaids without too many people getting an idea.