For all of their beauty, joy, and excitement, weddings also have a dark side. They have a certain way of showing us what we may not have, but think we need: an Insta-worthy venue, the perfect dress, a candlelit aisle and canopy of flowers. And let’s not forget the people. A wedding party, for instance. We see photos of lovely ladies and their bride tribes at bridal showers, in matching floral robes in the bridal suite, and standing beside one another, arms intertwined during the wedding.

Related: The Pros and Cons of First Look Wedding Photos & How to Feel Comfortable in Front of the Camera

There’s nothing wrong with those things, but for future brides who may not have many, if any, friends, it can be hard not to compare.

There are so many ladies out there wondering if they are alone in this situation, but the truth is, they’re not. Take a look at any wedding forum and you’re sure to see someone asking, “Help! I don’t have any friends to ask to be my bridesmaids. What do I do?!”

There are many reasons why someone might not have potential bridesmaids:

  • Just moved to a new city and hasn’t had time to meet anyone
  • Co-workers are not an option
  • Best friends live too far away
  • Hard to make friends/everyone is so busy with their own lives
  • Have acquaintances, but no one close enough to ask to be a bridesmaid
  • Shy/introvert/don’t make friends easily

Bride and her 2 bridesmaid in sequin dresses holding their bouquets and smiling at each other on the lawn of the House on the Hill in Austin, Texas. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

If any of these sound familiar please know that there is no reason to feel lonely or embarrassed. Everyone’s situation is different, and when it comes to wedding, at least for the most part, there are no rules. You don’t need a bridal party.

“But my significant other has groomsmen and I can’t have a lopsided wedding party.”

Yes, you can! Despite what you see in photos, despite what other people are doing, there are no rules! I love what Liz Moorhead wrote for A Practical Wedding: “Your wedding isn’t supposed to measure up to some imagined ideal; it’s supposed to reflect where you are right at this moment.”

One huge thing to take away from all of this is that you shouldn’t go into finding friends for the sole purpose of asking them to be in your bridal party. You should make friends because you want them in your life.

With that being said, here are some alternative bridesmaid ideas and a few tips on how to make friends (friends first, bridesmaids later).

Alternative Bridal Party Ideas

  • Have your/your fiancé's siblings walk down the aisle with their partners
  • Ask family members to be your bridesmaids
  • Ask your fiancé's sis/niece/cousin to stand beside you
  • Nix the bridal party altogether (Brides who choose this option say it’s less stress and cost effective)

Five female wedding guests standing side-by-side and smiling at the camera in Austin, Texas during the reception and with other wedding guests mingling behind them. Photograph by Austin, Texas wedding photographer Nikk Nguyen.

Friend-Finding Ideas

  • Use Bumble BFF - it’s like a dating app, but for friends, and helps you find people in your area to meet up with.
  • Search Meetup for all kinds of groups in your area. Join a cooking group, a gamer’s group, a tea group, or start your own!
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about.
  • Sign up for a class (yoga, dance, flower arranging, piano, whatever!).
  • Does your fiancé have a friend whose wife/gf you’re interested in? Reach out, get to know her!

Whatever your situation, and whether it’s easy or difficult for you to make friends, just know that having a bridal party isn’t the end all, be all of your wedding. It’s not the most important thing and no one will judge or fault you for not having 10 ladies standing by your side. And if they do judge, that’s more of a reflection on them than it is on you.

Remember that you will have an amazing, supportive, loving friend at the wedding - your fiancé!

Related: How to Say No to Family and Friends' Wedding Services

Did these ideas and tips help you find bridesmaids for your big day? I'd love to hear about it, let me know by clicking the button below!

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