As a wedding photographer, I’ve had the amazing opportunity of capturing the beauty of wedding days in all shapes and sizes. While some couples opt for a traditional wedding party, others choose to skip this tradition. In this blog post, we’ll go over the pros and cons of having a formal wedding party to help you make a more informed decision for your big day. Are you still on the fence? Keep reading, this one’s for you!
Is tradition and formality important to you on your wedding day? If it is, having a wedding party is a great option. While describing wedding party roles – it’s important to be inclusive here, so I will not be gendering or including ages to these roles. A so-called ‘traditional’ wedding party typically consists of a person of honour, best person, attendants, flower people, and ring bearers. Everyone plays an essential role in the wedding ceremony and often throughout the day as well!
Having a formal wedding party can also provide emotional support, which can be especially important on your big day. There’s going to be a lot of emotions that’s for sure! Your wedding party members are typically your closest friends and family members. Having your people by your side can be a source of comfort and encouragement throughout the day.
If you’re planning on getting ready together with your people, having the right space is important! Take a peek at our other blog post for tips and tricks for amazing ‘Getting Ready’ photos. See it HERE. Having a tidy and well-lit space will make all the difference!
I can attest to the fact that a formal wedding party offers a wealth of photography opportunities! The wedding party can add colour, style, and personality to your photos. Having this group of people with you will be sure to help create unique and memorable images… not to mention the genuine moments and memories you’ll create together too! Check out this mini collection from a recent wedding HERE!
On the other hand, it’s important to keep in mind that having a formal wedding party can also come with some added strains. One of the main concerns is the increased cost. Having a wedding party typically means added fees for you and them. These added costs can often include: formal attire & shoes, hair & makeup, gifts, florals, etc…
Additionally, you may need to cover the cost of transportation, meals, lodging, and other expenses. Often there is also the expected custom of gift giving to the wedding party members too. This is usually a little token to say thank you for the variety of tasks they will help you with leading up to your wedding day.
To help you in your decision making, make a wedding party budget. Tally up all the anticipated expenses and see if this fits within your overall budget goal for your wedding.
Another potential drawback is the potential for drama and added stress. Sometimes, more people means more problems. Choosing your wedding party can be a tricky process. Disagreements or hurt feelings can arise if someone is left out or if someone is chosen over someone else. It really depends.
Having a formal wedding party can also limit your flexibility on your wedding day. You’ll need to coordinate everyone’s schedules and make sure they arrive on time and are in the right place. Time management can be a real stress on a wedding day. This is especially true if you have a large group of people you need to manage on your day.
But hey, if you know a wedding party is in your cards – you can always work with your wedding photographer and stylists to make sure you create a realistic wedding day timeline. Yes! It is possible to get everybody ready and on the same page for your big day! And have a whole lotta fun while you do it! Open communication and setting realistic expectations from day one is key to keeping your day stress-free and amazing!
Take a peek at our Wedding Day Timeline Planner to help you map out your day. There are included time estimates for different wedding day activities. Be sure to confirm with any of your stylists or other vendors how much time they might realistically need too.
If you’re considering skipping the formal wedding party tradition, there are plenty of alternatives you can explore. You can have a small wedding party, with just a ‘person of honour’ and ‘best person’. This can be the best of both worlds. Having two people for you and your partner to lean on is great and comes without the added stress of managing a larger group of people.
Another option for a non-traditional wedding party can be to have a close group of friends or family members who all wear the same colour or style of clothing. This option can give you the opportunity to signify these important people in your life, and do so without the extra fuss of doing other activities together besides a few fun photo opts.
Alternatively, another option is to forgo a wedding party altogether. Instead, you might choose to focus on celebrating with your guests! This can be a great way to reduce stress and focus on what really matters: your commitment to each other and the love you share. Having an extended cocktail hour can be a great way to make sure you can mingle with all of your favourite people.
Consider the size of your wedding and the pros and cons of a wedding party. If you’re having a small, intimate wedding, you may not need or want a formal wedding party. On the other hand, if you’re having a large wedding with many guests, a formal wedding party can help you organize and manage the logistics of your day.
Think about the roles and responsibilities and the pros & cons of having a wedding party. While a traditional wedding party has specific roles, you can always tailor these to fit your needs and preferences. For example, you might ask your wedding party to help with DIY decorations. You might ask them to coordinate transportation for out-of-town guests, or plan a pre-wedding brunch or other celebratory event.
Consider the cultural and religious traditions that may influence your decision. In some cases, a formal wedding party is an important and meaningful part of the wedding ceremony. While in other cases, it may be less common or not necessary at all. Do what feels right for you!
Don’t forget about the benefits of having close friends and family members involved in your wedding day. Even if you decide not to have a formal wedding party, you can still involve your closest loved ones in other ways. This might include asking them to give a toast or reading, perform a special song, or simply spend time with you before the ceremony.
I’ve captured beautiful weddings with and without formal wedding parties. I’ve seen firsthand how each option can create a unique and special celebration. No matter what, your closest friends and family are there to support you!
Ultimately, whether or not to have a formal wedding party is a personal decision that depends on your preferences, budget, and vision for your wedding day.
Remember, your wedding day is all about celebrating your love and commitment to each other. There’s no right or wrong way to do that. Whether you choose to have a formal wedding party or not, focus on what’s most important to you as a couple. Don’t be afraid to break or alter a tradition if it doesn’t feel authentic to you.