Will I stay friends with my wedding party after my wedding?

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Original photo by k8luvsmicrobes. Remixed under Creative Commons license.
How often do brides/grooms end up no longer particularly liking some friends from their wedding party?


Quite a few of my friends have gotten married in the past couple of years, myself included, and I'm wondering if I'm noticing a scary trend. I was talking to one friend, and she only talks to one of her bridesmaids now, and her bridal party was created from a very strong friend base for her. I'm still very close to most of my bridal party, with the exception of one person, and I was just wondering if anyone else has experienced this.

Is it common to drift apart from those we've been so close to? -Victoria

A few years after the wedding, I looked over at the photo of that guy I married with our bridal party, and asked the question that's been nagging at me for a while, “Do you think we can Photoshop some of our wedding photos?” So, clearly, I DO have experience with this. Aw, sad face — I know. Out of the six people in our bridal party, we aren't that close to two of them anymore. But — yay for you — Ariel and I are here with some perspective, experiences, and even some advice on how you can mayyyyybe avoid this (and why it's actually not a bad thing if it happens).

MEGAN had a wedding party

Here are four things I wish someone had told me when I was planning my wedding party:

  1. Choose carefully. Seriously, sit with it for a while. I know you're probably excited and want to ask people right away to be your maid of honor, etc. But — duh time — the more you think about it, the better your choices will be.
  2. Don't pick the closest people to you RIGHT NOW, pick the closest of all time. We asked one of our band members to be in the wedding. I mean, we were in a freaking band together — spending HOURS every week in a small room, how could we not be super close? And that's all good and well… until the band breaks up and you realize… you never spend ANY time together anymore.
  3. If someone backs out, they don't necessarily NEED to be replaced. When one of Aaron's best friends couldn't make it to the wedding, we asked our bandmate to replace him. We could have easily had an uneven wedding party and it would've made NO difference. (Except there would have been one less pair of amazing plaid shorts present.)
  4. You can avoid ANY chance of having to Photoshop your wedding party photos by just NOT having a wedding party at all!

Here's something else to keep in mind: when I told Aaron that Ariel and I were going to take on this phenomenon he responded with, “You know, I look at my mom and dad's wedding photos and I've NEVER met any of those people.” So it must be common that the people who were closest to you at one point don't always remain so.

Like I mentioned before, I had two people in my wedding party that I am no longer close to, but on the flip side, there's someone that Aaron and I are SO close to right now that it's unbelievable that she WASN'T in our wedding party.

So the thing is, it doesn't matter when or how you plan your wedding party — you still may have not even met your greatest friend, or your kids may never meet your man of honor. For more on this concept, here's Ariel…

ARIEL didn't have a wedding party

“Is it common to drift apart from those we've been so close to?” Yes. It totally is, and it's actually got nothing to do with weddings, and isn't at all a bad thing. Thankfully, people change and grow. Lives shift. Interests overlap and then diverge. Locations change. Friends are transient, and social spheres can flow and shift without popping like a bubble.

I didn't have a wedding party, but I did have a big ol' campout with 75 friends and family. And then, every year since then, we've had another camp-out for our anniversary. I look at pictures from our wedding, and while I see some of the same faces, there are a lot of faces missing — as in, people I adore who are crucial, close parts of my current life, who I simply didn't know yet. It's like our photos have these ghosts of people we hadn't met yet, waiting patiently in our future to be part of our lives.

And yeah, sure: I also see the very real faces of friends who I don't see as much anymore, for all sorts of reasons. Some wonderful (my best man got an amazing research position at Columbia University) other less so — but it's all fine. I loved our community, and I'm so glad those important people were there with us on that day… even if they're not around much in our daily lives now.

I see this as a good thing: of COURSE your friend groups change and you're not friends with the same people … it can be an indication that your group of friends aren't stagnating. I love that my friends have moved into different spaces in their lives that make them happy, even if it means I don't see them as much. I'm selfish sometimes, but I'm not so selfish as to want, say, my sun-loving LA friends to move to Seattle to be closer to me. I'd rather see them happy once a year than Seasonally Affective Disordered once a week through a grey Seattle winter. (They watched me suffer through a bright, warm LA winter that almost did me in — TOO MUCH LIGHT! SHRIVELING!).

Release the fear that you'll regret something about your wedding because it reflects where you are now and not some sort of imaginary timeless “Perfect Time.” The dress will not always be stylish and not all the friends will be forever. Let it go. Life is a fluid, messy, sticky thing, and for me, I like that my 2004 wedding dress looks a little dated because you know what?! That was eight years ago. After almost a decade of living, I'd hope I'd learned a few things, shifted a few interests, and grown into a different place. That's called personal development, and it's not something to be afraid of — it's something to expect, embrace, and enjoy.

At this point in my life, I've got waves upon waves of social circles and friend groups who've come and gone and looped around and drifted away and reconciled. Childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, raver friends, hippie raver friends, aging Burner friends, media colleagues, web nerds, parent friends, family friends… everyone at all ages is shifting and growing and moving and breaking up and having kids and falling in love and getting new jobs and ditching old hobbies and it's just time and life and it doesn't have to be drama.

It doesn't have to be a tragedy when people find themselves heading on paths that diverge. Send postcards back and forth — how are things going down that path I didn't take with you? These communiques can be dispatches from a you who might have been. We don't have to agree all the time.

At our anniversary party this year, I looked around at my wonderful community of friends, and realized that very few of them were there with us at our wedding. In fact, there was only one friend who'd been there every single year. 2004 – 2011, he had not missed a single year of celebrating with us.

Was this my best man? No. Was this my cousin-in-law? No. This was a guy named Rob, who came to our wedding as the guest of an old friend. We'd hung out casually a few times and I knew he was a nice guy, but if you'd told me that seven years later, of ALL our 60+ friends who were with us at our wedding, Rob would be the ONLY ONE who was with us every year to celebrate!? I would have been shocked. (But yay, Rob!)

This is all to say, don't worry about it. Your life and the lives of your friends will shift in unpredictable ways. It's natural, it's awesome, and it means everything's proceeding along exactly as it should.

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Comments on Will I stay friends with my wedding party after my wedding?

  1. My bridal party consisted of 2 family members, 2 college roommates, and 2 best friends from high school. It’s almost a year later from when I got married, and my contact with those in my bridal party is about the same as it was when I asked them – Family is family, one college roommate is now my neighbor, the other I never talk to (but to be honest we didn’t talk that much after graduation anyway haha), and I still see my two high school friends about once a month.

    When I chose my party I didn’t focus too much on who I was close to RIGHT NOW (Megan’s #2 suggestion). The one friend that I hardly ever talk to is still just as important to me now as she was in college, we just never cross paths like we used to.

    Also, I think if I end up not being friends with some of my bridal party – it’s ok. Looking back at the pictures is a representation of who was important to me at that point in time. It’ll be a nice memory either way.

  2. Wow. This is super timely. I had a serious meltdown last night about people that are already getting distant since we announced our engagement a little over a month ago. Thanks for the post!

    • I’m having that same break down too. Since we got engaged a year ago, the people we thought we wanted to be in our wedding are barely a part of our lives. I’ve spent a year trying to get a small business going and some of those friends have been less than supportive. So now we’re wondering what we should do: keep these people who are pretty caustic in our wedding party because we’ve already asked them or find a delicate way to dis-invite them. Neither option seems like a good solution.

  3. One of my bridesmaids, who I thought was my best friend and would be for a very long time, quit talking to me the day after our wedding with no explanation of why. To this day (6 months later) I still have no idea why she “broke up” with me.

    • I’m dealing with the same thing. My bridesmaid disappeared after my wedding but felt it was okay to wish me a Happy Anniversary on Facebook a year later – adding, “So glad I could be a part of your special day!” Um, what?

  4. My fiance and I had a discussion about this not long after we became engaged. In the end, we decided to have uneven wedding parties for just this reason. He only wanted his brother as his best man, that was it. He chose not to add someone just for the sake of even numbers, and we were both okay with that.

    On my end, my cousin and I have been extremely close my entire life, and it was a no-brainer that she would be my maid of honor (or matron, technically… I was her maid of honor as well). But my best friend and I have known each other for nearly 15 years, and I very much wanted her to be a part of my wedding as well.

    We definitely went with the “closest of all time” criteria. We both chose people that we have known and been close to for many years, if they weren’t already family. Even if I drift apart from my best friend – which seems unlikely, since we’ve been close for over a decade and across continents (she has been in Japan for over a year, while I’m in the US) – our photos will still bring up happy memories of the many years we spent close to one another.

  5. On another note, Megan’s #3 hits very close to home. I was “kicked out” of another friend’s wedding party because one of the groomsmen who was in the military got deployed. The bride (whom I had known for about 10 years at that point) decided there were no other possible groomsmen and they absolutely could not have an uneven number on either side, so I was “demoted” from bridesmaid to usher.

    Even 5 years later, it still kind of stings, and I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that she chose appearances over having her friends by her side, or that out of 5 bridesmaids, I was the one that was deemed the least important. It was a turning point, and we have now become casual acquaintances – no longer nearly as close as we once were. I sometimes wonder if we would have drifted apart anyway, or if that was the key event that kind of broke our close friendship.

  6. A friend of mine got married last summer, and one of our mutual friends who was also a bridesmaid said she wished she could get married again because then she could have all of us in her wedding pictures 🙂 I don’t forsee this one being a problem for me because my whole wedding party is my sister, his brother, and our niece, but the sentiment was appreciated!

  7. My cousin got married last year, only three months after her sister had died. At her sister’s funeral, a very old friend of my cousin’s (and mine) showed up, which was incredibly sweet and appreciated. I asked my cousin if this friend was also invited to the wedding, and my cousin said that she wasn’t. She explained (in approximately these words), that “this funeral is to celebrate my sister’s life, and all the people who were a part of it; my wedding is a celebration of my life with my partner, which is new and a part of our lives now.”

    I really liked the way she put that, and it made a lot of sense to me. When looking forward to my own wedding, I’ve fluctuated between having three bridespeople (who have been the life-longers), or 8, which would include some people I’ve only become close with recently and who, honestly, may or may not be friends for life.

    I’m now leaning towards having a larger party — though the life-longers will get recognized a bit more in certain ways — largely just because I want to have a great group of friends to hang out with and party with as I prepare for and enjoy the Big Day. It will be a celebration of my life with my partner now, and I want to include the people who are so much a part of this stage of our lives, even if there are no guarantees that they’ll be around forever.

    Also — I plan on inviting one of my friends as a token of our friendship, which has struggled some here and there, but which I value very, very much. Regardless of the future, I want her to know that I love her now, and that I value what she has given me.

  8. Super good advice all around.

    To add an “or” to Megan’s number 2, I would say that it’s okay to pick folks close to you right now as long as you’re okay with the bridal party representing a snapshot in time.

    I have a picture from my highschool graduation, me and my friends, and I’m only barely pals with a few of them. The rest I almost never speak to. But I love that picture, I love seeing us together as we were, you know what I mean?

    I guess it helps that we drifted apart instead of fighting; we all wish each other well, we just moved on to different things. I only just got married, so I don’t know how I’ll feel when/if friend drift affects the wedding pictures, but I think I’ll be okay with it. The truth of how happy we were to have those people around us, the amount of love everyone showed for us on that day, that’s truth that can’t be erased, it happened.

    Even if we are separated by geography and interest/pursuit or even death, they were there with us and full of love that day. The picture will be great to me forever.

    • That is a wonderful way of thinking and looking at things. There are no guarantees regarding the relationships of the people in that bridal party photo, but one thing you hope is true that the love between you all is true and deep and real for that moment in time.

  9. I hear lots of folks talking about pictures — maybe the moral of the story is that we need to get better about capturing images of our friends and other loved ones OUTSIDE of weddings. 🙂

  10. Our wedding party is going to be my mom, dad, my two sisters, his mom, grandma, brother, and sister. It is really just who we have known our entire lives and lived with growing up. Basically, it’s my immediate family and his immediate family.

    I thought about including my sister’s husbands and kids and his sister’s husband, but really we didn’t grow up with them. So no matter how much I think of them as family now, they weren’t there holding my hand when I was a little kid.

    My best friend I have known since I was in seventh grade and she has been close with me and my fiance since we started dating 6 years ago. She is going to be our officiant, which is the perfect way for her to be a part of the wedding party without sort of mixing up our theme of immediate family only.

    I have a few other really close friends but I just don’t see including them because as much as they have done for me, they will never have the same significance to me as my family does. But I’m really glad they are coming, and I will spend as much time as I can with them at the wedding because they are important to me too.

  11. For many of the reasons listed above (and others), we’re considering not having a wedding party at all. I kind of hate the idea of picking and choosing which friends to be in it because it feels sort of juvenile somehow. We’re leaning towards just having people who are very important to us (like my best friend since age 6), be in the wedding as readers, chuppah bearers, etc. as a way to acknowledge them without having an official bridal party.

    Regardless of whether I have a bridal party, I’m planning invite all my girlfriends who are attending the wedding to hangout with me while I/we get dressed, and do make up and hair before hand. A few of my friends have done this and it’s worked out really well.

    • I was going to mention this – I was at a wedding recently where my wife was a bridesmaid, and there were five or six of them total, but the bride-to-be invited me and two or three of her other good friends to get ready with her – it was such a fun “the more the merrier” time. I don’t think getting ready has to be limited to just those people!

    • How will you invite your girlfriends to be there while you’re getting ready, without them being in the party? I’ve considered really limiting my bridal party (to like 1 on each side) but I still want to get ready with all my friends! And I don’t want any hurt feelings – how did you handle that?

  12. Ariel, your response is perfect. I’ve been married less than two years, and I know that the makeup of both the wedding party and the guest list would be different now. Do I lose sleep over it? Not at all. Like you said, weddings are just one (big) event and one point in time. We have plenty of other things both big and small to celebrate with the people in our lives now and in the future.

    I know it doesn’t always work this way, but my best friend moved away right after her wedding (and about 10 months before mine). I knew that we’d stay friends anyway, but our presence in each other’s wedding was to us a commitment to stay close despite our distance. It was a way of acknowledging how important we were to each other and how much we wanted that to continue. We’d still be good friends even if it hadn’t been for our bridesmaid experiences, but I think it has pushed us to make some extra efforts to stay close despite the distance.

  13. My original party consisted 7 people including 3 friends that I’d worked with for a very long time. We hung out together almost every weekend. I asked them to be in my bridal party before I moved to my new state. Then they basically stopped talking to me and all 3 backed out of the wedding. Guess you find out who your real friends are when you move! Out of the remaining bridal party I still speak to 3/4.
    We had a large group photo taken at our reception, now that one would have about a dozen X’s through people’s faces. It bums me out when I look at it today.

  14. All I have to say is I wish I would have taken this advice a year ago. Lessons learned, that’s for sure. Seriously, take some time to think and make sure your decisions are for you and your lovely other, not what you think is right for the friends in your life. It’s one thing to think of others and it’s a whole other thing to put them above and beyond yourself.

  15. I actually replaced a couple people, and am thankful for doing so. One of the replaced I’m still close with, the other has fallen off the face of the planet (why I replaced her). Those I replaced them with? Tighter than ever. I’d been tight with them before, and wish I’d chosen them in the first place, but now we talk almost daily. And I’m really pleased with that.

  16. Our wedding party was made up of my sister (because she insisted on being a bridesmaid…which turned out to be brilliant), my best girlfriend for the last 10 years, the hubalicious’s lifelong best friend, and a mutual male friend. I guess the idea that “the photos” would or could look dated never occured to me because everyone who was part of the wedding had an authentic place and importance in our lives. I’m old enough to know there are people who drift into and out of my life. There’s a natural impermenence to the people who surround me, even when they’re timeless staples. I don’t expect relationships to be stagnant. There are times when we’re closer alternating with times when we’re more distant, and that’s fine with me. My best advice would be to make sure you pick people who’ve seen you at your best as well as worst.

  17. I LOVED that you guys discussed this. This was a huge conversation with my fiance and I after we became officially engaged about nine months ago.

    For him: He’s not close to many people. When he thought about who to ask no one immediately popped into his mind. His best friend tragically died in a car accident about two and a half years ago, and he knows that anyone he asked to be his best man would really just be a stand-in for the friend he’s missing.

    For me: I was married once before, and of the three women who were my bridesmaids (back in the long ago year of 2005!) I no longer speak to any of them. It adds another level of sadness to the pictures of that ill-fated wedding. For my impending wedding, I only felt close enough to my best friend to ask her to be in the wedding, but knew that it would hurt my future sister in law’s feelings if she were not also included in the bridal party. I love her, but don’t feel close enough to her to ask her, and I prescribe to the idea that since she is part of my fiance’s family she should be on his side of the ceremony (it’s this idea that the families are split until the ceremony is complete and then THAT brings us together).

    So we solved all of our issues by deciding not to have a wedding party at all from almost the get go. Which worked out wonderfully because within two weeks of being engaged my future sister in law asked about the bridal party and we got avoid any hurt feelings by saying we’d decided to not have one!

    This also worked out because a month ago my best friend and I had an argument that resulted in her “breaking up” with me. As heartbroken as I am to have lost a friendship that meant so much to me (I really do feel like I’m going through a break up!), I do find comfort in realizing that had I asked her to be my maid of honour I would have also been spending this time trying to deal with a huge gap in my wedding and not have anyone to fill it. It’s a small comfort, but it’s comfort none the less!

  18. We only had four people in our wedding party. Two of my siblings and his brother, and my best friend from forever. She actually moved across the country so she could be in our wedding. We sort of thought about having more people, but it didn’t really make sense to us to have people besides family.

  19. We had a small wedding party: my husband had his brother, Alan, and I had my best friend. Which was just what my parents had – Dad’s brother Alan and Mom’s best friend. I have two sisters, and I worried that they would feel left out, but I heard through the grapevine that their response was relief that they could just sit back and enjoy the wedding (and holiday to England) and not have to work. My husband and I don’t hear from our wedding party as much as we’d like to, what with being on separate continents and being bad at email, but when we do talk it’s just as wonderful as it ever was.

  20. I was a bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding in 2006. We were very close friends in college and thanks to Facebook were able to stay in touch even after I moved to another state. But shortly after the wedding she stopped talking to me and de-friended me on Facebook a few months after that. I still don’t know if it was something I did, or what.

  21. Oh yeah, my friend had ONE bridesmaid. She hates that woman now… with a passion.

  22. I have experience with this on the other side of the coin, as an “ex-bridesmaid”. We had an extremely close group of four from high school, so when one got married two years ago, I was hella excited and super honored to be in the wedding party. Cut to a year later, with not a peep from the new bride. I figured, hey, she’s newly married, restarting school, etc……
    BUT but but…When I call her crying from a bad day, her husband calls back and says “We decided you and (other two) are poisonous for us, so no more contact”…
    So, to all brides, if there is somebody you don’t want to continue a relationship with, please, no matter how long the relationship was… just invite them as a guest.

    • You know what scares me is the HE called back. That sounds very much like a classic controller. He let her have you in her wedding, but HE cut off all contact afterwards. Honestly, I hope she’s ok.

      • It wasn’t like that fortunately. I got her on the phone a day later by telling him I wouldn’t leave it until I heard HER voice. She told me she had him call because “It wasn’t a big deal”. Yeah right.

        • Coming from someone that has been there it is still scary…he was still there in the background and that’s what controllers do…they isolate their partner from family and friends and sometimes the partner doesn’t even realize it until it’s way too late ( it took me years!) Anyways I hope that you’re still open to being there for her if she ever needs you because it’s a very lonely place to be.

        • I whole heartedly agree with Luayne!!!
          Please please please PLEASE just stay open minded for this girl.
          Let her know that if she needs you, you can be there for her.
          Otherwise, she may have no other avenue to escape a dreadful situation if she needs to.

    • Me and my roommate were bridesmaids in our other roommate’s wedding. Her mother never cared too much for us and we got the feeling the husband didn’t either after awhile. Cut to 2 years later, we’re treated like pariahs and rarely talk to her or see her (I think it’s about once every 6 months or so) and we only live 5 minutes away from each other. Oh well. She’s too interested in being a Mrs. At least she’s happy.

  23. We opted not to have any official wedding party. However, we structured the ceremony so that 25 people played an active role in the ceremony and even more in the reception. Even if I don’t remain friends with all of them, their participation made me feel so loved that day. People are still just as (if not more) excited to be a part of a wedding-related event even if you don’t have a wedding party. Two friends volunteered to throw me a fab bachelorette party and other friends happily pitched in as they could because they wanted to. It seemed to bring people closer together than driving them apart with stress.

  24. Even though I’m not married, I have been maid of honor in two weddings. It saddens me that I’m not nearly as close to either of ladies for whom I was maid of honor. I no longer live near either of them, and communicate with them sparingly, usually through Facebook. There’s no ill will; life just took over.

    I hope that when they look back at their wedding pictures and see me in there, they don’t regret it because I’m no longer a very active part of their life. I hope that they remember the many awesome times we had together, and remember why they asked me to be a part of their wedding in the first place.

  25. I had a friend apologize to me because she didn’t ask me to be in her wedding party. I was thrilled! The whole matching satin dress etc, so not me. Her husband had wanted me to be in the wedding party since I introduced them and she wanted her 2 friends from high school and a cousin. It wasn’t a big deal to me at all and nope, we didn’t remain friends anyways.

  26. Original question-asker here – thanks so much to Megan and Ariel for their in-depth answer. I really appreciated what you had to say. And thanks to everyone else with stories and comments. Nice to know I’m not alone, and that this seems to be just a natural part of life. 🙂

  27. I struggled with this as well. There are five awesome sisters between me and hubbypants, but I don’t really know them and they all live out of state. I ended up making a criteria of ” does this person understand what we want for our marriage, will they support us in being the partner we want to be? Do they believe in our relationship?” once I made that criteria the right people emerged as people I could count on for support.

    Another point I would like to reiterate is that it is fun to have people you can party and shop with because those are parts of the wedding process I want.

    I hope this group of awesome ladies are always a part of my life but I am only marrying one person that day.

  28. Ok how adorkable is this? My mom only had her sister (my aunt) as a bridesmaid – and my aunt only had my mom as her bridesmaid!! ACK SO CUTE!!! Of course when my middle sister heard about this she got huge eyes and asked if she was going to be my bridesmaid if/when I get married some day (keep in mind we have a mildly sinister little sister who I am not peachy keen on including – but maybe she’ll grow out of it?!) but I love the idea of having family bridesmaids, because friends come and go but my middle sister is still going to be my middle sister in 50 years I presume 😉 I’ve always thought my cousin would be a good one too as I was the flower girl in her parent’s wedding, it would be a nice full circle sort of thing! 🙂

  29. I purposely chose a really small wedding party, partly for the “fear of growing apart” thing, partly because I’m a mom as well as a bride-to-be, and I don’t have as many close friends as I did before having my daughter. I’m having my best friend since I was 7, and my groom’s two sisters (one is technically a junior bridesmaid), and my daughter as a flower girl. He’s having his two brothers (little brother is a ring bearer), his best friend from when he lived in Chicago. I’m glad we’re having people we know who will be there for life rather than choosing people just to have a big bridal party.

    In a way, it’s sad and represents loss to me. When I was in college I was in a sorority and I had a huge, close-knit group of female friends. At one point I probably would have had a ginormous wedding party with all my college girlfriends. But time has passed and I’ve lost touch with nearly all of them. It makes me sad in some ways, but it’s a part of life.

  30. We’re lucky enough to still be best friends with all of our bridal party (4 people) after 7 years, and it’s great that they’re all really good friends too. Actually, my little sister and I have become much closer since then, but I think that’s more of a growing up thing on both sides. We did lose touch with a lot of the wedding guests, but that’s because of different interests and lifepaths. We’re coming back into contact with quite a few as we’re now the go-to people for baby/garden/animal advice!

  31. My sister was my maid of honor and my three best college friends were my bridesmaids – even though it could be argued that at the time I was closer to friends of mine in Taiwan.

    I don’t regret it – although I’m still pretty good friends with all of them, I’m only still super close with one of them (another is busy with two kids – and we have very different lives – and the third doesn’t use social networking and rarely e-mails anyone, so it’s hard to stay in touch from Taiwan). We always make sure to spend time together when I visit home, though.

    My husband doesn’t have a lot of super close friends, but we are mutual friends with the significant others of my bridesmaids (two married, one long-term relationship) so we just asked them to stand up for us on the other side.

  32. I do have my three best friends as my bridesmaids. I already feel like we’re starting to head down different roads in life, but somehow, because of the shit we’ve been through together, we’re still the best of friends and will probably stay that way.

    My mum had her sister and my dad’s sister and a friend. Obviously the family ones are still around, and I believe she’d still be friends with the other one if they hadn’t disappeared completely off the face of the earth. We’re actually fairly sure she may be in witness protection. I know that sounds dramatic but its feasible. It’s sad, and mum gets down about it sometimes, but it doesn’t change the many good years of friendship they did have.

  33. I’m not going to have any bridesmaids at our wedding as I would really find it far to difficult to pick between my friends. Besides I haven’t loved being a bridesmaid in the past – being told what to wear, organising the hen etc I wouldn’t want to inflict it on anyone else!! I just want everyone to come to our wedding as guests and have a blast. My parnter on the other hand is happy to have a whole bunch of bestmen!! LOL

  34. I am just having my two girls (they will be 4 and 3 by the wedding, next year). I am a second-time-around bride and besides my sister I barely even talk to my bride’s maids from my first wedding over facebook, let alone text, phone or in person. My middle sister (not part of the first wedding because of some issues we have had over the years) is attempting to demand to be the Maid of Honour at my upcoming wedding. I polite told her that it will just be my two daughters.

  35. Perhaps its just me, but I don’t understand the need for a bridal party. Sure, my fiance and I will have our maid of honor and best man, but no bridesmaids and groomsmen. My thinking is, either we’re close enough for you to get invited to my wedding or not – I am not willing to rank my guests beyond that. I am hoping that the pictures from that day will capture every one of our guests, regardless of outfits or positions. We’re also inviting all of our guests to contribute to our weekend-long wedding in whichever way they prefer – helping with decorations, reading a poem, playing a song, telling a story, baking a cake. I obviously hope we’ll stay friends with all of them, but what matters is that this wedding is happening at a specific point in time, and at this point, these are the people we want to be there.

  36. I knew from the very beginning that I would only ask one of my sibs to stand with me. The idea is that we really only need one withness each, and FI only has one sib, so I asked the sib I’m closest to. Fortunately, the other two are older, and I really don’t think they care about being in a wedding party (as long as I didn’t have a bunch of other people and NOT them).

    However, I have a core group of 5 friends that are very close to me, but not really close to FI. I want to find a way to include them, but it already feels so imbalanced… like the wedding is rapidly becoming about my people and not his. I’ve asked these friends to help out in other capacities (emcee, reading, get ready with me, etc) and I think I will just make peace with that. But I find myself wishing it would just be my family sometimes; it’s just so many people.

  37. What if your wedding is six months away and you’re already realizing that one of the bridesmaids was a big mistake? She’s someone I used to be close to, and as soon as she found out that I was engaged, she started pestering me about being in the wedding party. I made her a bridesmaid because I couldn’t think of a tactful way to tell her “no.” I wish I hadn’t. It’s not just that we’ve grown apart over the years, it’s that she has grown into someone I don’t like or respect very much. And I suspect she feels the same way about me, even though she’s really attached to preserving the appearance of our friendship. She’s not someone I can go to for support or advice or a shoulder to cry on, and I would so much rather have her show up the day of, drink some, dance some, and leave than have to involve her in the details of wedding preparation. Is there any graceful way out of this, or do I just have to suck it up?

    • That is a tricky situation, and it totally sucks.

      If you don’t really care about preserving the friendship, you can do to her what some previous commentor had done to them: cut her out, and do it now. I believe that this might be a good opportunity for a little white lie of “we’re facing some pretty intense family pressure to just have siblings / family / include cousin Alex. I hope you understand”. It sucks, and she’ll be pissed, but you don’t like her, so you probably will stop caring about it about 30 minutes after you wake up on the morning of your wedding. If the idea of this is too confrontational, replace her bridesmaid duty with (a) coming with you to get ready, (b) giving her another job like ushering, watching the photobooth, seating Great Uncle Tom, etc. However, like a previous commenter said, she’ll view this as a demotion, and she’ll likely be upset, unless she actually believes that you’re besties. In fact, if you do it now, she might bail entirely, and then you won’t have to deal with her at all.

      Personally I don’t think we do people any favours by pretending to be their friends when we’re not. On the chance that she actually believes that you two are friends, she’ll just be MORE embarrassed and hurt to learn otherwise when you cut her out after the wedding (again, see previous commenters who had this happen to them). Not cutting her out (a) makes you unhappy, (b) delays the inevitable, and (c) creates a situation where you both end up more hurt, because no one said what they were thinking.

      If you really can’t cut her out for whatever reason, then I would say that your only other option is to spend time with her and get to know her better, and try to re-establish a new friendship going forward. Otherwise, if you include her and are bitter about it, you might bad-talk her to others, complain about her presence, omit her from things, and otherwise embarrass her because you just don’t want her there and it shows through your actions. I’m not saying you’re a bad person who does this; just that this can happen, and I’m sure neither of you deserve the stress. Good luck!

    • Honestly, if she hasn’t spent any money on dress or shoes yet…kick her to the curb now! If she has, and you can afford it…kick her to the curb now and offer to pay for the dress/shoes. Please find a way to end the charade…for your own sanity, and before the tension explodes all over the place on the day of your wedding. Good luck!

  38. My husband had better luck than I did with our wedding party. My best friend was my maid of honor (when she got married I was hers), another close friend, and my little sister. My best friend and sister are still as close to me as ever. The other friend started dating my husbands best man, which was four years of almost loosing both of them. However, after the disaster which was their relationship ended. She is out of my life for good after declaring after ten years of friendship “we were never that good of friends” and we recently attended the wedding of my husband best man to a lovely person. A wedding my husband also was a groomsman in. So all in all we only lost one person, not too bad but its strange to look at those wedding pictures and see her. Its like those pictures where a stranger jumps in the background. I think ultimately, I knew it would end up that way but I don’t regret it. Its unfortunate it went that way, but the people that matter most to still be here are here and amazing.

  39. Even the best of friends who have been very close for many many years can and do eventually drift apart. It’s not always malicious, it’s just that over time as everyone starts having families of their own it’s so very hard to keep up with friends.

    I’ve only been married 6 months and I hope this doesn’t happen but only time will tell. We had 5 girls and 5 guys, including my husband’s brother as his best man, my brother, and his sister. So hopefully there won’t be any future family fall-outs 😉

    For the other members of the wedding party, I went with Meghan’s rule #2. My wedding party were my closest friends of all time (including one guy friend as a groomsmen). Five years ago, I was a bridesmaid in my matron of honor’s wedding and we have managed to be friends since high school even though we never were in the same grade or even the same school. The other friends I’ve known since at least high school if not elementary school and they’re all friends with each other so collectively as a group we have been friends for probably 20 years now. We’ve had falling outs before but always manage to get back together again.

    My husband had two of his co-workers/friends as groomsmen. They are the only ones I would think we would eventually lose touch with. They spend a lot of time together outside of work but I don’t know how close they would stay if they didn’t work together.

  40. Its kinda funny cause my fiance & I have been wondering what to do now that 2 of his groomsmen have become total douches & never wanna hangout with him or just ignore him unless they’re around & we’re like would it be totally mean to kick them out?? And another thing to add to this post is I’m having 8 bridesmaids (I know alot, trust me I’ve heard all kinds of crap for it) anyway more than half are family (4 are my nieces, was gonna be 2 cousins but just 1 since the other declined) & the other 3 I’ve known for probably 10 years at least. 1 is marrying my nephew so I think & hope that these bridesmaids will be in our future too! Also I’m having my bff be my bridesMAN teehee, which he’s been my bff for like 3 years so hope he’s around too 🙂 Thanks for the post & if anyone read this, thanks too! 🙂

  41. Another thing to keep in mind is that weddings often occur around the same time as other big life changes that can strain friendships like moving, graduating, or having a kid. Plus, your friends might be experiencing these same events as well. Especially if you are all in the same age group. I’m still friends with my wedding party, but we all live in different states now and that’s had a big effect on our relationships.

    • Fantastic post, you guys!

      This brought something to mind that my hubby said last year sometime. I was really worried that I was drifting apart from one of my best friends and was convinced that she didn’t want to spend time with me any more…and we’d hung out one time, and I said to Matt that I was scared of losing her friendship. He said something like, “Don’t try and hang on to her. Sometimes you just have to let life do what it does, and unfortunately you can’t cling on to people forever.”

      Or something of the like. But, I think it’s true. Life happens, and people change, for better or worse. You can certainly make the effort to keep friendships going (and that’s what we plan to do with all our bridal party!), but people do drift apart. For example, I’m still in touch with two girls who were respecitvely my absolute best friends in childhood and in my teens- but we’re not half as close as we once were, simply because we grew up to be such very different people. In saying that, this month marks 20 years since my Maid of Honour and I met in primary school- and we’ve stuck together through a gigantic load of crap life has thrown at us.

      So, not all close friendships drift apart. But, when you do lose a friendship for whatever reason, it really does make the friendships that have lasted all the more precious.

  42. I can relate to this thread from the opposite perspective. My BF since grade school asked me to be her BM at a time when we were still close. However her behavior during the wedding preparations really brought out aspects of personality that I found unattractive and ultimately I decided that I did not want someone that negative, self-serving and ungrateful in my life. Some friends are for a lifetime and others for a season.

  43. We’re having 9 people in our wedding party: My sister, my best friend since grade school (who I am still very close with) and my best friend from the last 7 years. He has his best friend, brother and (surprisingly) ex-fiance! Also my nephew is a junior groomsman, his neice is the flower girl and the son of one of my bridesmaids is the ring bearer.
    These people have been a big part of our lives for a long time, I don’t forsee any sort of falling out. But you never know.
    These people are important to me and I can’t imagine getting married without having them by my side. And that’s what’s important. No one knows what will happen in the future – so I’m not going to stress about it!

  44. I just thought of something – what about a general guideline of: do you have any other photos of them around? If yes, then they were clearly part of other big life events, and so regardless of what happens after your wedding, this person was important to you. No, I can’t guarantee that I will be friends with these women forever BUT they’ve been such a major part of my life until now that I would remember them fondly and in many life memories, regardless. If you have no other photos of this person… why would you want one now? 😉

  45. I think the bottom line is that you’re making a commitment to face all of life’s changes and challenges together with your *spouse* not the individuals in your wedding party. Those snapshots of the wedding party really are just snapshots – the people you considered important at that stage in your life.

    I can’t think of a single person from my parents’ generation who speaks to non-relative party members more than once a year. My husband’s grandparents are totally stumped over the identity of groomsman #3 in their wedding photos. Times change, and that’s okay.

  46. When we picked our wedding party, we decided to go with just one bridemaid and one groomsman. He picked a guy that one of his best friends for the last 6 years and I picked a girl I’ve been friends with since we were 7.

    We have other people that we considered to be in the party and we have given them other jobs, like being at the guest book or helping out in other ways. Its a lot less hassle to get our party together and we know our pictures will work out b/c even if we end up not being friends later in life, they were still a major part of our lives for a long time.

  47. Although I have not had the wedding yet, I have chosen my 3 female cousins, and my 2 best friends. Like best friends for 10-15 years. So I’m comfortable with that. We have grown apart before, but we’ve always grown back together.
    While reading this, I actually thought back to my grand parents wedding pictures. I can name every single person in those photos except for 1 (they had 14 in their party). Now, I don’t think that’s too bad…

  48. A lot of people are talking about this in terms of wedding party pictures…just a suggestion, but your wedding party pictures don’t all have to include everyone in the wedding party. For example, my mother as 3 sisters. Each time a sister got married, all other 3 sisters were bridesmaids, and a close friend to the sister getting married was the maid of honor. At each wedding there were formal pictures taken of just the sisters, and pictures of the sisters with my grandparents, as well as full wedding party pictures. The ones of just family are the ones that are framed in everyone’s houses, because even though each sister thought it was important to have their close friend stand by their side at the ceremony, they all agree that blood is thicker than water. Some sisters have lost touch with their MOH’s, some haven’t. But if you do something like this, you can maybe assure that just in case there is some nasty falling out one day with some friends in the wedding party, you at least have some formal pictures you can look at without getting upset.

  49. I was a bridesmaid for a friend a year ago, we barely talk now – for various reasons which I won’t go into –

    – I just wish we had both sat down at the start and she could have told me how much she wanted from me in terms of money/time/energy/ etc, then I could have come back with what I could actually give… instead of sort of winging it as we did. I honestly have no idea, even now, what she truly expected of me as she kept changing her expectations. I feel like it could have been avoided somewhat had we just talked about it in the beginning.

    I also think looking back (hindsight is a wonderful thing!) that I should have politely declined then, because in between uni, work and depression with intense anxiety, I never really had the time or the energy for anything. A lot of things in my life suffered that year leading up to her wedding, not just our friendship. It wasn’t a positive time, at all.

  50. I didn’t read everyone’s comments, but I agree that it is completely normal for your friend group to change over time. Don’t get stressed about having photos with your friends right now in them versus looking back in the future. I don’t think you should focus on Photoshopping anyone out. They were there for you on the day you got married and that is all that matters. To be honest, most of my married friends, relatives, and even myself, barely look at our own wedding photos anymore. The hard copy wedding album is gathering dust somewhere and the favorite photos are hanging or otherwise displayed. If any of those have friends who are no longer close it is ok. Nothing to be too sad about.

  51. I was recently invited to be a bridesmaid for a two-bride wedding. One of the brides is an old friend of mine, and she told me that she and her fiancee chose their bridesmaids from the people who were the most supportive of them when they came out (this was several relationships ago for both of them). I thought that was a lovely way to do it, and I’m pleased that we’re going to be a group that helped the lovely couple mark two, rather than just one, big events in their lives.

  52. I got married at 19 years old – because I was (and still am!) in love. Nearly 8 years later, out of the 12 people in our wedding party, we only are close to our Maid of Honor and Best Man, and our brothers. I thought I had done my best to pick people that would be in my life forever. I have realized that 4 of the individuals who helped me through that day, should have been standing by my side – two of them are now godmothers to two of my daughters, the other two, lifelong best friends. I don’t know where I was coming from with my choices looking at that selection in hindsight, but I would caution brides out there to really and truly make the decision based not only on current friend status, but past performance also!

  53. I worry about this a lot too. My one married friend is no longer speaking to ANY of her bridesmaids and I never even met my Dad’s best man (he’s just the guys with the perm and the glasses in all the photos). Another friend of mine is planning her wedding now and I’m one of her bridesmaids but she’s stressing me out so much with her preparations I feel like we’re already drifting apart.

  54. I know this trend first hand. I have been in 6 weddings since graduating high school. I still speak to two brides (both of whom will be in mine this June) – 1. my sister 2. my roommate in the dorms. The other girls were friends from high school. I’m honestly not sure why I was in any of their weddings. I think it was to round out the wedding party. I chose my girls wisely. They spread across time. I hope I will remain friends with all of them. It won’t be for lack of trying on my part if our friendships wane. Statistically it doesn’t look great for us though 🙁

  55. When I moved away in college I had 3 exceptional roommates. The roommate I shared a bedroom with and I grew very close and after we moved away a year later, we kept in touch very frequently. Still, when she asked me years later to be her bridesmaid I was very touched and surprised, because she has 4 sisters and are extremely close to them. I was very honored and I helped celebrate their special day with the new couple and families.
    She mentioned that in high school she had a best friend. That best friend showed up to the wedding and was at our table lamenting how my old roommate had promised they would be at each other’s weddings as bridesmaids. Seems like my old roommate had cast her old best friend aside and completely stopped communicating with her. I told myself that my old roommate and I had a strong friendship based on loyalty, respect, and awesome shared memories. Little did I know I would be the next one cast aside.
    A few months later my old roommate and I had a falling out over blatantly made up accusations, misunderstandings, and her narrow minded judgment. It hurt me to see four years of friendship thrown away like trash, but honestly, when I look back, she had never put any real effort into the friendship- it was quite superficial. I always felt like I would be judged if I didn’t say the right things, and I constantly felt like I was walking on eggshells. She was always very disconnected and remote. I was the one driving hundreds of miles back and forth to see her on weekends. I also realized that she was so attached to her family, that there were very few outsiders and friends in her life.
    It has been many years since, and I’ve come to accept that our friendship was never strong to begin with. Lesson learned!
    For my upcoming wedding in December, I am just going to the courthouse. 6 months or a year later we will hold a reception for all our dearest and closest friends so nobody will be left out.

  56. I will go ahead and attribute a percentage of this to mainstream wedding practices. Some people do believe bridesmaids should be your prettiest single friends and groomsmen should be the most wild partying bachelors. Which will make for great pictures. We have also discussed the rift that seems to develop , at least temporarily, between married and single friends. Those who have their best friend of all time despite the fact that she was 7 months pregnant and “ruined” all the photos by wearing that non matching dress, have a good chance of having a Life Party not just a Bridal Party. I think a lot of it depends on the couple’s priorites walking into the decision.

  57. See this is why I have chosen to have just one bridesmaid and she’s my one of two female cousins i have, the other has a little girl who will be our flower girl : ) i just didn’t see the point in trying to figure out who my best friends were and who should be part of a wedding party, this was the focus is on family and i cant imagine losing contact with any of them : ) keeping it simple is really working for us x

  58. My maid of honour didn’t even make it to the wedding (its this Saturday), she was a friend I thought I could count on to be rock and help me wade through everything but she barely helped and left me hanging so I actually had to fire her and now we don’t speak. Her husband is still coming to the wedding though(uni friend)

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