I love that you are asking these questions and figuring out what is best for you all. That's what this whole process is about! It's your wedding and your life. There are times when it makes sense to follow tradition. There are times when it makes sense to modify it. And there are times when it makes sense to reject it all together.
Life is about figuring out when to do what. It requires thoughtful consideration, conversation, multiple perspectives, courage, and an ability to apologize (when we realize we wish we would have done it differently). Planning a wedding is really just more practice for navigating through life.
So, the answer is simultaneously simple and complex: Do what makes sense to you! Talk with your friends. Talk with your families. Brainstorm ideas together. And then decide (and, once you decide, don't waste a whole lot of time, energy, and emotional resources second-guessing yourselves!).
There are so many ways to do it:
- You can stand alone during your ceremony (like my friends Loren and Lisa did at one of my favorite weddings of all time) and forgo the idea of a wedding party altogether.
- You can invite a whole bunch of people to be part of your "Wedding Team." They can each take on different roles to help make the wedding happen (and you could acknowledge them with fun buttons?).
- You can form a wedding party out of family members.
- You can ask a bunch of people who are important to you in your life to play different roles throughout the ceremony.
And the list goes on and on!
I think with any decisions like this, the key is to start with the purpose. What is the traditional purpose behind having a wedding party? What does having a wedding party accomplish? Are those goals aligned with your own goals? What are your goals? What modifications, revisions, and decisions most align with your own goals?
If your goals are simply to have your friends help out, feel included, and be acknowledged for the important role they play in your life, there are lots of ways to accomplish those goals. You can toast them at your wedding. You can include a blurb in your wedding ceremony program (if you have one), you can write them thank-you cards to distribute at the wedding, you could include their pictures and bios on your wedsite (again, if you have one).
The choice is yours!
I would love to hear others' ideas on this...