I recently got engaged to the most fantastic man. We are very excited, but there’s one thing that is putting a damper on plans for me. Since I’ve been little, I’ve moved around a lot, including a move across country a couple of years back after college to be with my now-fiancé. Because I’m so used to moving far away, I tend to pull away from good friends after moving so the distance doesn’t hurt as much. I still try to keep in touch with them, but we’re definitely more Facebook acquaintances than friends. I’m naturally shy, and have a harder time making friends to begin with, so in my new town, I have a group of girlfriends, but we’re not super close, nor have we been friends for that long.
My dilemma here is how to choose bridesmaids. My fiancé is so wonderful he would be willing to forgo attendants at our wedding if it made me feel better, but I know it means a lot to him that his best friend and his older brother both be groomsmen. I thought about having only our siblings and his best friend as attendants, but that would make the count very lopsided towards the male side, and the only women on my side would be his sister and sister-in-law (who are both wonderful people, but I wish I had someone from “my” side up there). I also don’t have any sisters or family members to be there (except for my mom, whom I love, but no). I feel like bridesmaids and maids-of-honor should be women who are very close to you and have been in your life a long time, but I don’t feel I have that.
Should I consider having my new girlfriends in the wedding, even though we haven’t known each other that long? Would they be creeped out if I asked, like I’m over-thinking how close we actually are? I also have a life-long friend from my childhood whom I keep in touch with and could offer a position to, but she lives very far away from me (it would take almost a day of traveling by plane for either one of us to reach the other), and I wouldn’t want to impose the financial burden on her, nor has she really shown interest in being in the wedding. — Bride Without Maids
Let’s get this out of the way first: no, do not ask your new female acquaintances to be attendants in your wedding. For the love of God, do not do this. Especially if you want them to continue talking to you. That role is reserved for people you or your fiancé are close to, not casual friends you may not know very well. Asking them to be in your wedding for the sole purpose of evening out the bride’s side with the groom’s side would be weird for everyone, so don’t do it.
I have a couple of other suggestions for you. First, since your fiancé is the one who has people — a brother and a best friend — he wants to honor with special roles in his wedding, why not make them ushers or readers (or even officiants)? If he won’t be satisfied unless they’re both groomsmen, why not have his sister be a bridesmaid for you along with your brother — I’m assuming you have a brother since you mention “our siblings” in your letter — as a bridesman. Yes, a bridesman. Nowhere does it say that the attendants on the bride’s side have to all be women. It’s 2012. Let’s get with it.
If these suggestions still don’t seem right to you — if you’re uncomfortable with the idea of three out of four attendants being more closely tied to the groom, I’d really just chuck the whole idea of attendants. Your fiancé already told you he’d be fine with that. I’m sure he doesn’t want you agonizing over this. His brother and best friend are still going to support him even if they can’t stand right next to him at the altar. What’s the big deal? My husband and I didn’t have attendants and it was great. Our siblings signed our marriage license and we had four close friends (including my male BFF) hold the chuppah. Done and done. No one went broke buying taffeta dresses or any of that nonsense. No one had hurt feelings because they weren’t asked to be in the wedding. And people threw us bachelor and bachelorette parties because they wanted to not because they’d been appointed some silly role that made them feel obligated. Seriously, this is your wedding. It’s about celebrating you and your fiancé. Everyone else is going to come to the wedding, have a great time and feel happy for you whether they walk down the aisle before you or not.
One more thing: now that you’re getting married, don’t turn your back on that group of girlfriends you’ve started to make. People need friends outside their significant others. It’s good for you personally and it’s good for your relationship if you have some other people you can talk to and hang out with. You aren’t that young girl moving around all the time. You don’t have to protect yourself from the pain of losing friends. But maybe it’s time to protect yourself from the pain of not having close friends…
*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to follow me on Twitter.