Introverts, unite – How to have a fun bridal experience with no friends

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Since my boyfriend asked me to marry him, our wedding date, theme, colors, style, and size have changed approximately 30 times. I've been working hard on focusing on how to balance offbeat with not freaking everyone out, coming to terms with some more traditional aspects of my wedding, while trying to stay true to ourselves. So far, it hasn't been a TOTAL disaster.

What I'm struggling the most with, though, is my lack of friends.

I'm alright with this most of the time — except for when I think about my wedding. I've (mostly) come to terms with the idea of giving up my cute wedding party photos and going dress shopping with “my girls.” But what really makes me feel bummed is thinking about a bridal shower and bachelorette party. I have no one to put these things together for me — and even if I did, I can only think of a vast array of acquaintances to invite, and no one that I feel particularly close to.

How can I manage to have the “bridal experience” that I'm craving so much, without any friends? I want to have fun with wedding planning with no friends…

Here are some great answers from Offbeat Brides who've been there, and done that:

Kasey says: Have fun with your fiance and extended crew

I have very few friends to begin with and when we got married, I didn't live in the same city as any of them nor did any of us actually live in the city (Wellington, NZ) we were getting married in! My best friend and I thought long and hard about how to make a hen's party work for me, and it ended up being WAY too hard (she has social anxiety issues and I am VERY hard to please) so we simply gave up.

There was actually no point in us both stressing over fitting this situation into a pretty, societally approved box. Instead, my fiance and I planned a week full of activities that I love doing (one activity a day, including cooking lessons, sailing, go karting, spa treatments, and more!), and pretty much anyone was welcome to join in, including my husband-to-be and my family. My best friend opted out of some of the activities (she had just broken up with her long term boyf and was struggling with some intense anxiety), I organised a lot of it because I'm fussy and I am so glad that I did it this way. I honestly do not feel like I missed out on anything.

Mahina says: No friends? Treat yo self!

There are pro's and con's to having a large group of friends, and pro's and con's to not having that kind of tribe and pressure! I got asked if I felt stink about not having enough friends to have a proper hen's night and I could honestly say no, I was stoked that I had the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do. No friends gave me the freedom to do exactly that!

How can you have the “bridal experience”? Treat yourself! What is it that makes YOU feel recharged, pampered and relaxed? Do THAT! Even if it's going out for a swanky dinner or something with your finance, or something that may initially seem really boring and un-weddingy. I mean, my wedding dress shopping was a night with my hubby-to-be, a bottle of red wine or two, a tape measure and an online store! And it was perfect for me! I hope you find some way to do this in your own way that sits well and feels special to you

Sara says: DIY your parties

Don't be afraid to organize your own bachelorette party if you want to! I've been to plenty of bachelorette parties where I was more of an acquaintance of the bride than her friend, and they were still a lot of fun–including a couple where the bride herself threw the party, either because she was new to the area (moving to be with her fiance, who most of the attendees knew better than they knew her) or because she just wanted to have control over how the evening played out. Because bachelorette parties aren't a gift-giving occasion, no one batted an eye at them planning their own nights out. You just may need to be the one to pick up the goofy banners and straws if they're part of your ideal bachelorette party.

If you're bummed by the idea of missing out on cute wedding party photos, consider having the same types of shots taken at the reception with different groups from your wedding (work acquaintances, people you know from the same social circle, etc). There won't be any matching dresses, but you can end up capturing most of your guest list with you in one photo or another.

 

Katie says: You don't have to do any of that BS!

There's become all these pre wedding planning things you're told you have to do, and these “traditions” can make you feel bad if you can't partake in them. It's all BS. I just wanted to put that out there first and foremost. Those things do not matter as much as wedding industrial complex would like you to think. In fact none of that stuff matters.

I don't have many friends, and threw my own bachelorette party, which was very small and last minute. It was just me and two friends (I'm not super close to them, but we do hangout from time to time). We went to a tiki bar I love and then a club for dancing. We ran into one of the friends hack club, so most of the night was spent hanging out with nerdy college boys that couldn't really dance, but danced with us anyways. It was great and fun because I didn't have any expectations of the night and no ideas of how it was supposed to go.

My mom said she'd throw a bridal shower, but that never actually happened. I was totally fine with that. I also would've been totally fine with staying in with my guy watching a movie. It's not always easy, but I've learned it's best to just go with the flow of what you have. And if you really want it, get it yourself. There is nothing wrong with throwing yourself a party, if that's what you really want and just isn't pressure of something you think you should have.

KathyRo says: Don't assume the grass is always greener

I think first you have to decide if your angst is part of a deeper problem or if it's simple envy. If you feel like you want to connect to more people, that you can't understand why you don't seem to have all the friends everybody else ( supposedly ) has, then you need to explore options outside of your wedding. Maybe talk to a therapist.

If, on the other hand, you love your social life the way it is and you're just wondering if the grass is greener, let me assure you it's not. I have been to my share of “hen parties” and I've been a traditional bridesmaid a number of times and went through the whole group shopping/bridal shower adventures as well. All them — all of them — came with drama. The more people involved, the more drama. If you're struggling with wedding planning details creating friction and generating worry for you, I promise you these events will more than double that.

Is it worth it? Well that depends. Some people really thrive on social instability. Others don't appreciate it but at the same time don't let it stand in their way of a good time. And still others can't tolerate it at all. Only you can answer that question.


I'm sure we have a lot of other readers who've have gotten married without a giant gaggle of girls, or a super-close crew. Whether it's because you eloped, had to move, or just never was one for close friends…

How did you enjoy the wedding planning with no friends?

Comments on Introverts, unite – How to have a fun bridal experience with no friends

  1. I’m having the same issue. I don’t have people that I’m particularly close to, except my sister, and I can’t even seem to get her interested in any of this. Like you, I’ve tried to stay positive and pretend it doesn’t bother me, but it does.

    • I am totally alone. No friends and alone kid i family. Dad died long ago and mother is ill.
      I don’t know how, where and what kind of wedding to plan. Can anyone come up with the suggestions?

      • Hire actors actresses for your wedding, youll pay them but they will usually rock the wedding and youll have the best time in your life. The awesome feeling originates from being connected with people you dont even know xD. I never had a wedding where guests were actors and actresses. But if i was alone, thats what ill be doing lol if i were so cautious about the party not being lively.
        If it was good for Jay Gatsby then it’ll be good for you too!

    • I am 70 years old, a wife, a mother of 3, grandmother of 1. I have been married twice. My first wedding was a church affair. Most of the guests were relatives of the groom and myself. The second time, not many years later, I married again and the only people present were my mother and my mother-in-law. My wonderful mother-in-law invited her relatives and my mother to her home and gave us a wedding dinner afterwards. I stumbled upon this page as I was searching for reasons why I don’t have and have never had any real friends. It’s still a mystery to me, but I have accepted it. For years in my church no one paid any attention to me. Then, suddenly I more or less had the job of choir director thrust on me ( I am a piano/voice teacher). Over my 11-year career in that position, people got to know and like me as I did what I do best, and for the first time in my life, I felt accepted. Obviously, I still don’t understand why I am alone most of the time, but I have accepted it. My advice to you is to volunteer your time in helping someone, or some organization in an activity that appeals to you. You will make yourself known and be fulfilled in so many new ways.

  2. Don’t be afraid to organize your own bachelorette party if you want to! I’ve been to plenty of bachelorette parties where I was more of an acquaintance of the bride than her friend, and they were still a lot of fun–including a couple where the bride herself threw the party, either because she was new to the area (moving to be with her fiance, who most of the attendees knew better than they knew her) or because she just wanted to have control over how the evening played out. Because bachelorette parties aren’t a gift-giving occasion, no one batted an eye at them planning their own nights out. You just may need to be the one to pick up the goofy banners and straws if they’re part of your ideal bachelorette party.

    If you’re bummed by the idea of missing out on cute wedding party photos, consider having the same types of shots taken at the reception with different groups from your wedding (work acquaintances, people you know from the same social circle, etc). There won’t be any matching dresses, but you can end up capturing most of your guest list with you in one photo or another.

    • So much this. When I was getting married/finishing my masters degree, I had the Emily Post lines about how greedy it is to throw yourself parties pretty much burned into my head. And it never occurred to anyone else to throw me a party, and I was ridiculously sad about it. It might have been less gracious to just throw my own damn parties, but it certainly would have been more mature. Since then, I’ve become a huge advocate for women celebrating themselves. Throw your own party, take yourself out for dinner, get your nails done. Be your own cheerleader, because none of us have enough cheerleaders in our lives. Even better if you can invite other people along for your celebrations, but never feel like you’re obligated to be alone or ignore occasions because other people don’t want to celebrate.

      • I’m 26. I’ve spent so much of my time making a career and also coming from a family that didn’t allow me to make friends as a child. My only friend has been my fiancée who I have known for many years. I try not to let the loneliness bother me but from time to time it does. It hurts now more than ever since weddings are such a social event. I’m trying to deal with planning my own engagement party, thinking it would create some friendships. I’ve seen some people come forward as I do this. Unfortunately some of the anxiety will come up when people ask me when our date will be, if they can see the ring, etc. I don’t have any friends getting married to know what’s normal to ask and what to do if I don’t have an answer.

        • The great thing about weddings is people don’t expect you to know all the answers, and they love it when you ask their opinions. Just be honest that you haven’t made X decision yet, and that if they’ve got any recommendations you’d love to hear them. I find when I get socially anxious, it helps to turn questions on the other person, so if they’re married I ask what advice they’d give based on their wedding day (“Is there anything you’d recommend we definitely do, or anything that if you did it again you wouldn’t bother with?”), and if they’re not whether they’ve got any tips based on weddings they’ve been to (“I could use a guest’s perspective on the food/decorations/speeches/etc”) but be aware the person will assume they’re going to be invited to yours if you ask them about this! With people you know you’re not inviting, feel free to be vague (“we’re still working on that”) and redirect the conversation (“I feel like I’m just in a wedding fog – what’s going on in the real world? What have you been up to recently?”)

          If you want to use your wedding to make more friendships, I’d use the wedding-based events to reach out to as many people as possible, then arrange smaller gatherings with people you clicked most with on the excuse “I really want to do something non-wedding this weekend – who wants to go out for coffee?” You want the friendships to last post wedding, and you need to give yourself a break from wedding stuff too. The people who are coming forward now are doing so because they want to be your friends, they want to get to know you better and help you out and be involved in your life, and your wedding has given them an opening to do so without getting anxious themselves. Help them out, let them in 🙂

  3. This. This is relevant.

    I have no advice, only gratitude that you were brave enough to ask.

  4. This. I’m having the same problem as well, along with the fact that by betrothed’ family is a gazillion times larger than my own. I’m an only child, too. I’m used to being alone and not having many friends, but I guess our offbeat wedding is going to be off the hook in a different way other than having my non-existent squad for photos.

  5. I can relate to this so much, I was even thinking about submitting a similar question. I’m having a difficult time even getting into planning because of my lack of friends. I always thought I would be able to lean on my sisters during my wedding planning but one is planning her own wedding in another state right now and the other is in the middle of a divorce so it hardly seems appropriate to ask either one of them. My future hubby has mentioned eloping and it sounds more and more tempting everyday. Sorry to ramble, it just feels nice to finally be able to get it all out there.

    • I’m in the same boat. I want to be his wife more than anything but I literally haven’t had one day where I’ve actually been excited about the wedding. I only have a few friends and they live out of state. I thought I’d be able to count on my family for support but my dad doesn’t seem to even want to be there and my mom hangs up on me every time I talk about the wedding. My sister tries to be supportive but it just turns into her yelling at me for not having the wedding she wants. My best friend is awesome but like I said she lives out of state so I don’t talk to her often let alone see her, plus she just got engaged and is busy planning her huge wedding with all her supportive family and friends. Not to mention the fact that you get treated like trash at bridal shops and expos if you don’t have a huge party with you. Right now I’m at the point we’re I can’t do any planning or prep without bursting I to tears. The only thing that’s kept my sanity is support from all the other offbeat brides going through similar situations……sorry for the rant.

      • If it helps to hear we’re recently wedded, and I was feeling like this about weddings too. I ended up wearing a family dress and we went to the courthouse with just our parent’s and a family member who we knew we might lose soon. We had naps and then went out for mexican food at a restaurant we both love. It was still super special, but pretty much stress free. recommend a psuedo elopement highly!

        • Honestly Amanda, I would elope if I were you. I mean, why try including a bunch of people that aren’t that supportive? Your mom hangs up on you?! 🙁

          I’m getting married in about 8 days, and the planning has been extremely stressful because like you, my closest friends live out-of-state, are VERY pregnant, or just can’t afford to make it. I’ve had no parties or showers or dinners and I bought my dress online, alone. If you don’t enjoy planning these types of things, don’t do it because the stress will only get worse!

          Pick somewhere that is special to you both, buy a ticket, and get married in a destination that you love, or do something really really small and romantic. You can go anywhere, do anything, the sky is the limit when you only have yourselves or just a small party to consider! I WISH that I had eloped. For the price of our wedding we could have flown to England or France and stayed in one of those old castles. Seriously! Instead I’m having a wedding that has been really stressful to plan and many of the people I care about won’t be there. I’m trying to make the best of it but I wish I could un-do it ALL.

          ELOPE!

          • I’m getting married in 25 days. When my fiance and I decided not to have a wedding party, it felt like a weight had been lifted! His groomsmen expected him to pay for their attire. My bridesmaids NEVER responded to my invite! We’re having a destination wedding. My mom and 1 of my brothers will be there. The rest of the guests are his family, as the destination is his home country. I’m finally excited about our wedding!

      • I can sooooo relate with your experience. I burst into tears just reading it. My beautiful fiancée who I been with for about 8 years now and engaged for 2 years will be eloping this year. It’s not what I had in mind. I know it’s for the best, because the moment I came out as lesbian my close nit family became scattered skittles in my life. From that day forward my fiancée and I had to work twice as hard to get to where we’re at today knowing that our only support is my future mother in law and a few of my coworkers that has become more of my family. I thought for sure us finally getting engaged that would bring cheers and support from my estranged family, but no. So we decided it would be best to elope, because we’ve learned that yes the marriage is ultimately between us and my two stepchildren whom I’ve raised since they were 3 & 2 years old in the most beautiful place that can describe our love for each other and that’s Hawaii. I just had this hope they’ll come through for me, because I’m the type that’ll be there for them. It’s hard even to search for wedding dresses plan out more of our elopement, because my dream was to marry this amazing woman in front of people I love dearly despite me feeling they don’t feel the same way. It’s my first wedding so I have zero guidance so her & I are learning as we go. It has gotten to the point where I don’t talk to family anymore and that’s scary. I feel that if I’m not comfortable or they’re not comfortable with hearing about my special lady, then I tend to avoid to protect my heart. ? This is all so bittersweet. To the ones who has support, cherish that. I’m glad that I was able to find others, especially you in a similar situation. I was beginning to think I’m the oddball. I am proud of the many things I’ve accomplished with my soon to be. I’m fortunate to have someone who loves me so dearly like gosh you’re heaven sent woman. I think on those things to keep me going & remind myself that I cannot let her & our babies down.

  6. Bridal showers are hosted by mother-in-laws as frequently as Maids of Honor and frequently an excuse to invite all the family acquaintances that you might not know well enough to invite to the actual wedding.

    As for a bachellorette party, have you considered doing a wild night out with the fiance (with or with out an additional group)? I love going to strip clubs with my men, but you could also do arcades, laser bowling, or any other extravagant late night party activity. Wear rhinestoned Bride and Groom hats, have a competition for who can pick up the most phone numbers at the bar, fall into a cab together wasted and giggling.

  7. I don’t want a big wedding or a bachelorette party myself so I can’t really give much advice. I would suggest though to think about why you’re marrying the man you love and focus on that – the marriage not the wedding. Elope! Get married in a private ceremony and make it about just the two of you and romanticize the eff out of it!

    • And think about why you have fewer than your idea number of friends at your wedding. Did you move? Think of the opportunities you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Is it because you’re an introvert? Celebrate the fact that your partner probably went through some extra scrutiny to get to know you but he stuck it out and fell in love. It might also lead to you discovering some new truths and get you closer to the life you imagine.

  8. I have very few friends to begin with and when we got married, I didn’t live in the same city as any of them nor did any of us actually live in the city (Wellington, NZ) we were getting married in! My best friend and I thought long and hard about how to make a hen’s party work for me, and it ended up being WAY too hard (she has social anxiety issues and I am VERY hard to please) so we simply gave up. There was actually no point in us both stressing over fitting this situation into a pretty, societally approved box. Instead we planned a week full of activities that I love doing (one activity a day, including cooking lessons, sailing, go karting, spa treatments, and more!), and pretty much anyone was welcome to join in, including my husband to be and my family. My best friend opted out of some of the activities (she had just broken up with her long term boyf and was struggling with some intense anxiety), I organised a lot of it because I’m fussy and I am so glad that I did it this way. I honestly do not feel like I missed out on anything.
    There are pro’s and con’s to having a large group of friends, and pro’s and con’s to not having that kind of tribe and pressure! I got asked if I felt stink about not having enough friends to have a proper hen’s night and I could honestly say no, I was stoked that I had the opportunity to do what I really wanted to do. Not having many friends gave me the freedom to do exactly that!
    How can you have the “bridal experience”? Treat yourself! What is it that makes YOU feel recharged, pampered and relaxed? Do THAT! Even if it’s going out for a swanky dinner or something with your finance, or something that may initially seem really boring and un-weddingy. I mean, my wedding dress shopping was a night with my hubby-to-be, a bottle of red wine or two, a tape measure and an online store! And it was perfect for me!
    I hope you find some way to do this in your own way that sits well and feels special to you xxx

    • Thanks for posting this! It totally just clicked for me, after reading your response. I’m driven by an almost manic need to please everyone, and while I miss having a large social group…reading this made me realize I’d spend the whole time planning a wedding AND trying to make sure all the bridal party felt included, the bachelorette/bridal shower was fun for all, etc. And that IS exhausting, and would probably kill my ability to relax and enjoy the wedding itself. Holy cats, it’s much better this way. Thanks!

    • This is really helpful, as I also moved to Wellington to be with my partner but struggling to find my own social group. Her friends are lovely but I really wish I had some of my own to call on too! Plus since we’re both women I’m not sure whether it’s better to have separate Hen’s nights or not

  9. For the hens night – go to a group activity where there will be other people attending and you have teams… like laser tag, paintball, a board game night, a scavenger hunt, whatever has teams and is going on in your area. That way whoever is assigned to your team will see your getting married shirt / veil / whatever obvious hilarity you and your mother / partner /best acquaintance wear, and they can celebrate with you and make a big deal of you

  10. I also don’t have many friends, although I admittedly had more when I got married at 20 than I do now at 26 thanks to college, a food service job, and only being two years out of high school. I didn’t particularly want a bridal shower, but actually really enjoyed the one that my husband’s aunt hosted. I probably had about three friends attend (1 bridesmaid and two coworkers), and then all of our local female family. The bachelorette party was complicated by a few factors: my sister/MOH’s husband got blown up in Afghanistan two months before my wedding and obviously couldn’t come into town; I was underage for bars; neither of my male and female best friends who were also in my bridal party are the planning sort; numerous other family members were hospitalized and I was too stressed to plan it myself; I don’t enjoy large groups or being embarrassed in public. Roll all that together, and my bachelorette party wound up being planned by my brother’s wife and my mother, was attended by the two of them and the aforementioned two best friends, and consisted of dinner at a Greek restaurant and playing miniature golf in the rain. It was fun, and it was enough to check that box for me. You’ll probably have to adjust your expectations, but you may be able to pull something together or enlist some help and still feel like you didn’t entirely miss out on the tradition if it matters to you.

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