OPEN THREAD: How can you have a fun bridal experience with no friends?

Updated Jan 23 2016 (Posted Jan 12 2016)
Guest post by Friendless
Thanks to Sveta Laskina for uploading this to our Flickr Pool.
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'm sure we have a lot of people out there who 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 "bridal experience" without any 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. 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.

  4. 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.


          • 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Maybe you'd like to treat yourself in some way on your own? Take yourself out for a spa day, or book a boudoir photo shoot, or tour a brewery where you might want wedding-beer from, or take a dance lesson, or check out a wedding show? I prefer to do a lot of these sorts of things on my own anyway.

  11. Perhaps you have some family you can tap into? Your mom, fiancé's mom, aunts, cousins, grandmothers, godmothers, etc. These people are great for showers (old ladies especially love them). If you want a bachelorette that is laid back then these people are great for that too. Think spa day and/or a nice dinner, maybe a theatre performance or comedy show. You can also just plan something nice for just you or you and your mom if you're that close, like a spa weekend or something else cool that you'd like to do or a weekend trip that's close.

  12. There's become all these pre-wedding 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 WIC 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.

  13. We so have the same problem. I have 1 friend that I still speak to frequently and my fiancé doesn't have close friends anymore. My family is out of state and his include his mom and an 87 and 91 yr old grandparents. I'm good with focusing the pictures on us and family, I'm good with a combined bachelor party with a few friends, but I wish he had at least 1 person to bounce ideas off. Now a 1 person wedding party I'm going to have to get creative.

  14. I have two bridesmaids/best lady friends, so I'm lucky in that respect. But they live in New York City and London, while I'm in Florida. So the planning stuff (and dress shopping) I'll be doing mostly alone. I'm okay with not having any showers or parties though haha, as long as they're there for the wedding itself 🙂

  15. I had the same problem. I wasn't close to any of my college friends or my work friends, most of my chidhood friends have moved out of town or even out of the country a long time ago and my good friend had just had a baby and couldn't do a whole lot. Bachelorette party ended up being a spa day with my mom and sister, then movie night and sleepover (Pretty Woman!) at an inn. Lovely:) And a joint shower was really fun. My sister organised it and we played games and ate the best chocolate cake (she made it).

  16. 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 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.

    • This is a great response. If you look at the "why" you don't have a large circle of female friends, that may help you work through some of these concerns. For me, the huge circle of friends always felt like a lot of work. I have my close circle, and I'm good. I never will have the eleventy bridesmaids, and I'm ok with that. It doesn't fit some wedding magazine's "perfect" wedding, and I'm more than just ok with THAT!

      If your bigger concern is that you feel like you don't have a support system, those don't appear overnight. That's something you build slowly, perhaps with co-workers, your SO's friends and family, etc. That's when you need to decide if you need to put yourself "out there" more.

      There's nothing wrong with a fun evening with one friend that goes exactly how you want it. In the long run, it may be better than the "traditionally desired" series of events that feel "required."

      I guess what I'm saying is, it's okay to be you. You are wonderful, and you are marrying someone who thinks you're wonderful, too. Focus on that, and the peripherals will take care of themselves. Or they won't. But you'll still be wonderful.

      • "You are wonderful, and you are marrying someone who thinks you're wonderful, too."
        I cannot agree with this enough! There are so many different kinds of wonderful, even thought some want us to think there is only one kind of wonderful.

    • I agree totally with this. If you are mostly ok with not having friends in your life, what is it that makes this not ok for your wedding? Before going any further in wedding planning, maybe you should analyse whether it is the lack of friends in your life that is at the heart of this issue, or whether it is the thought of not having a picture-perfect wedding. As for hen parties – would you actually enjoy having a party thrown for you, attended by a bunch of acquaintances? Dress shopping – do you wish for girlfriends to shop with for everyday clothes in your everyday life, or is it just the wedding dress experience you want friends for? The best thing you can do is know yourself and know how you relate to other people (I did the Myers-Briggs thing). I still occasionally feel a pang of jealousy when I hear of acquaintances having a wonderful social life, but then I think and realise that I love myself the way I am. To have a wedding with all the social trimmings would be totally out of character for me, and leave me completely socially exhausted. My fiance and I are both solitary creatures (he more than me), we enjoy being social with a select few sometimes because we WANT to, but neither of us NEEDS to have friends for anything. On our wedding day we will vow to stand guard over each other's solitude, because that is what both of us need most to function.

  17. I have no family, and no friends. My betrothed and I had to move out of state, and the few friends that I had basically vanished. His family can't be bothered, they don't even want to come to the wedding, despite being local. So for us, there are no fun wedding activities, no bachelor or -ette parties on the horizon, and most daunting for me, no mother or girlfriends to go with me to shop for wedding dresses. It's really sad, and the idea of trying to throw together some type of wedding without all of these rituals and without anyone else makes us both unsure about even proceeding with getting married. The legality seems to be the only point, and that really only requires paperwork. This breaks my heart, I used to have a lot of friends and have always had the image in my head of a fairy tale wedding, especially since I never got to go to prom and never had any specific formal coming-of-age event. Neither of us is sure what to do to remedy it.
    I wish I could help you, but please know that you aren't alone. Hugs.

    • This is just my opinion BUT if I were in your shoes, I'd throw a wedding adventure honeymoon instead of a wedding party. Seems like the wedding itself is mostly a party for everyone attending. Instead, why not make it a party for you and your fiance? Wear your wedding dress for a day or two on your honeymoon (if you're ok with strangers asking you about it, and be prepared for a lot of congratulations!). Make your own celebration. Do what makes you feel pretty and acknowledged and proud, while having fun with your fiance- no guests necessary.

    • You're not under any obligation to have the ceremony and reception on the same day you sign the legal paperwork. You can get legally married ( only the two of you have to know ) and then wait a while and see if any close friendships develop in your new locale before having the wedding of your dreams.

  18. Perhaps you should invite some of your acquaintances, or your fiancé's female friends, or the girlfriends of your fiancé's friends! It would be a great opportunity to get to know them better…and who knows, you may come out of it with some new friends. 🙂

  19. I'm in a similar situation. Neither me nor my fiance have close friends and the few friends we do have don't know each other, so if we did have tiny wedding parties they'd be weird groups that wouldn't talk to each other much. We've opted to not have wedding parties, and to make the events more about family. I'll go dress shopping with my mom and sis-in-law and my fiance will probably have a bachelor party that consists of beers with his dad and brother. At first I was sad but I reminded myself that I'm OK with the way things are outside of the wedding context, and so I just decided to make the wedding more like real life, which is more family than friends. Maybe this is an option for you? I should point out that as an anxious person, I don't like parties or being the center of attention that much anyway, so my situation may be different.

  20. Ok… I can't say this is coming from experience, as I do have a pretty large social circle – so take my words with a grain of salt if need be. But I do echo what others have said – would it behoove you to plan a shindig/some sort of outing with your future spouse? My first wedding – my wife-to-be and I got a group of friends together a couple days before the wedding and had a huge joint "hen party". Of course, it doesn't have to be huge. If it's just you two and maybe a couple of friends, or just you two – that could still be fun. If strippers and drinking isn't your thing – go to the park and picnic. Get a massage. Go skydiving. Catch a movie. Obviously it goes without saying that the important thing at the end of the day is that you two are spending your lives together. Why not make the pre-marriage stuff a part of that?

  21. I'm having a small wedding and no traditional bachlorette party. Instead my 'wedding party' will get together and play board games the day before. Most of them i'd consider acquaintances instead of friends or they are my sister/brother-in-laws. I think that social media has made weddings to be some sort of popularity contest? I do get jealous when I see pictures of a bride with 10 bridesmaids, but when I hear people that were bridesmaids for someone they talked to three years ago, it makes me wonder.

    I've never really had a lot of friends, so I always knew I wouldn't have people to be my bridesmaids. And I'm never going to have a maid of honor because that would have been my little sister, who died last year.

  22. I don't have a ton of girlfriends, and the few I do live out of state and are already flying to the wedding so I don't want to make them fly in again for other events- so we decided both the bachelorette and shower would be co-ed to include my fiancee and our (local) male friends, and we'd basically plan the bachelorette ourselves (weekend trip to Portland ME for brewery tours, for 6-8 of us) and give our family some strong ideas about the shower so they can plan/execute (tour at a local brewery, followed by beers and celebrations). Nothing wrong with doing joint parties, or delegating the planning/planning things yourself- maybe that could work for you as well?

  23. I am a social introvert who currently–for several reasons–has no friends other than my best friend who is in prison. My fiance is a sweetheart and a non-social introvert who despite being the most considerate person in the world does not exactly understand why sometimes I wish I had friends with whom I can at least talk about wedding stuff, or why I sometimes get down when I think about some stuff I want to do to celebrate. (Perhaps because my previous marriage ended in domestic violence, it feels more important to have these little celebrations because I cannot believe that I was capable of feeling love again: I want to share it with everyone.)

    He and I are having a Last Single Date date. " We are going to give each other facials and deep conditioning hair treatments, order in Chinese, and he is going to paint my toenails,while we watch "Queen" (an Indian film) and "Muriel's Wedding. (Maybe not the best "wedding" movies, but we love them.)

    I considered doing henna or woading on myself–which I do–but it seemed a depressing though (considering what a henna night is supposed to be) and I would only be able to do my left hand, since I am right handed. I was going to just forget the whole thing, but my fiance has convinced me to go and have it done by someone else. He said he would come with me. He did offer to dance around to "London Thumakda." I may take him up on it.

  24. Thanks so much for this! This is me. My parents are dead, have No girl friends at all, and I'm self employed so no work mates. This is the main reason I want to elope. It will be embarassing to do any kind of wedding stuff and even the wedding itself when I would only invite 4 people (the Man's list would be 108 guests) I already know Why I don't have friends- I don't trust anyone. I'm one of those super nice people who will help with anything, but sooner or later people Always take advantage and I refuse to turn into a door mat. So not quite sure what to do here. My guy know this and would do anything to make it better but it is what it is..still sucks though

  25. Wasn't there a couple who served food at a homeless shelter on their wedding day? And another family, who after the wedding was canceled but everything paid for, invited under privileged kids to the reception?

    Is there a cause, or a group of disadvantaged people who tug at your heart strings?

    Have local veterans attend, or kids from the War Amps, or ladies from the women's shelter in your area, or use your reception as a fund raising opportunity for a local animal shelter.

    Okay, you can't exactly have women/girls from the local cerebral palsy/autism/victims of abuse organization go wedding dress shopping with you … or can you?

    Damn. Now I wish I had thought of this before my wedding. "Couple hosts wedding as a fundraiser for the Humane Society, raises $3,000" Can you imagine wedding dress shopping with dogs who are up for adoption? TV crew in tow? Having your bridal shower at the shelter, only it's you giving the dogs and cats gifts? Damn.

  26. It's such a relief to read this and know it's not just me! I have no close female friends, at least in this country. I'm self-employed, an only child, and I've just returned home after living abroad for eight years. The few good friends I made there are still over there, or are back in their far-flung home countries. Plus, I've always found it easier to make friends with boys. Now I'm back home almost all of my old friends have either drifted away, or turned out not to be friends. Except, that is, for the one friend I'm now getting married to – he was my best friend for ten years and we've always done things together. The idea that I now have to leave him out of pre-wedding parties, and things like dress shopping, just seems horrible as I value his input and love his company! Anyway, here's what I'm doing: I'm quite close to one of my cousins, so I'm asking her to be my bridesmaid (I'm probably only having one) and I'll go dress shopping with my mum, or maybe just on my own (does that sound tragic? I like shopping alone!) and as for pre-wedding parties, I agree with the other poster who said they're BS. Expensive BS. I just want to get a manicure and have a glass of wine, not fly to some island to get drunk for a week, or whatever you're "supposed" to do!

    • "I'll go dress shopping with my mum, or maybe just on my own (does that sound tragic? I like shopping alone!)"

      Ha! No, that sounds smart. If I went dress shopping with my mom, one of us would end up with a nervous breakdown by the end. (and we have a good relationship!). If you have any close male friends around, you could always have them as bridesmen. Doesn't help with the dress shopping, but at least you'd have stand-up folks at your back?

    • "the idea that I now have to leave him out of pre-wedding parties, and things like dress shopping, just seems horrible as I value his input and love his company!"

      I just wanted to say that no, you don't have to leave him out. When I married my wife (I am female by the way) we bought our outfits together, we did it all together. But it’s not just same sex couples that can throw out the rule book and I am sure there are posts on here about shopping for a dress with a male fiancee! I did wonder if I would miss out on the not having any surprises at the wedding (no first look etc, ) but I really honestly can't say I did.

      There is a really strong and profoundly disempowering message out there (aimed mostly at women) that if it's not a surprise or done by someone else then it's not romantic or not as special. That it's more romantic to be proposed to, that it's more special to have other people throw your pre-wedding party for you, anything else means you are not valued and more insidiously that somehow acting for yourself is bad. One of the most lovely parts of the whole wedding planning process was me and my wife going to the wardrobe together and hugging each other with glee looking at our wedding outfits on their hangers. If that's not romantic I don't know what is!!!

    • Hello Clara. I have quite similar situation. Where did you guys have your wedding? I am planning my wedding for 2017 Summer but have no idea what kind of wedding it will be. I live in a rented flat so it might not be fun to have it in the flat.

  27. I had similar fears and problems. I don't have a ton of girlfriends. In fact, I moved to the city I currently live in 10 years ago and only in the past couple of years have I felt like I'm forging real connections here. So, I didn't have a shower or a bridal party (because I really couldn't figure who I would ask). I did all my dress shopping alone. So, I was really expecting to go through the whole wedding process with just me and partner.

    But, a few women that I know really stepped up to help with the wedding and to give me a small bachelorette party. I guess what I want to say is that you're not alone with this problem! And, even introverts can eventually forge new and meaningful friend relationships. It just takes a while – in my case, only a decade! 🙂

  28. I can relate. How about everyone here get together and have one big bachelorette party (maybe semi-virtually) in the most popularly-voted location on the most popular date and time? Prolly too crazy of an idea… Who's in?

  29. Could you have a joint hen and stag do with your husband-to-be? A couple of friends did this and it worked really well. I desperately wanted to do the same- I don't have many friends and social events stress me out. As it happened my husband had a great stag do with loads of friends, and the turn-out for my hen do was so disappointing I was left feeling resentful. Honestly I'd have been happier not doing anything.

    • My brother and sister-in-law did this! He and his guys went to a whiskey bar for 2 hours while she and her gals went to a nice dinner, then everyone met up at a karaoke bar for hours of fun. It worked beautifully!

  30. I didn't have a full-out bridal shower for other reasons, but my mom and her three best friends all took me out to a very nice dinner. It was really wonderful, and a great reminder that you don't need a whole gaggle of friends—just a few close ones who'll stick around for decades.

  31. I have no advice, but I wanted to let you know that I am ALSO struggling with this. Due to illness, most of my friends are online and wouldn't be able to attend my wedding (probably), let alone be a bridesmaid. I dearly love my sister-in-law, but I wouldn't say I'm close to any other people (not family, not my fiance). My three best friends from childhood all distanced themselves from me over the past decade, with differences in family (two have kids, I don't), distance, etc. So while I dreamed of having 2-4 bridesmaids for my wedding when I was a child, I now have 0. And for the first time, it's bothering me. So, thank you for posting this, and know your situation is not isolated.

  32. Please do not feel that you are worth less, or that your wedding is somehow less 'valid' because of your lack of friends. It takes a lot of self-awareness to recognise the difference between acquaintances and friends, and for you to recognise that you are a fully functioning wonderful human being without the need to be affirmed and propped up by a friends is a great thing. You can totally do this on your own! What better thing can there be than being happy in one's own company? And if that is what your everyday, real life is like, this does not need to change your wedding. Do what feels right to you. You cannot 'magic' friends, or wonderful siblings or non-dysfunctional families for one day. Have a wedding that fits you and your life as it is, not how society thinks it shoud be. Sending you a big pat on the back for being so courageous and independent!

  33. As someone with fewer close friends while in my undergrad no less, I invited people I worked with, my two closer friends and allowed them to invite guests as well to flesh it out. There ended up being a group of about 10 of us for the Bachelorette party and that was plenty in my opinion. As for day of events, I have two bridesmaids, neither of whom am I spending hours of my week with all the time, I have no sister or close cousins so I chose the two friends I consider my closest. I was sad that this meant smaller outings, but I honestly feel that with just two people I have enjoyed everything immensely. I would advocate for stepping out of the box, if you have more male friends than female, invite them, if you spend more time with furry friends that real friends do something with them. Or do something paired with your family and friends that incorporates everyone whether it be risque, sporty, craft, or just silly! The combined option is great especially if you do not like to be the center of attention!

  34. I've had a little wobble like this (my sister got married last year and had lots of school and uni friends there. Her hen weekend contained around 20 people). I've lost touch with a lot of school and uni friends, and my oldest close friends are men (they have cute daughters who I'm thinking of asking to be bridesmaids). I have since remembered that I know quite a few people from hobbies and enjoy their company, so maybe my definition of "friends" was just wrong…

    I don't make friends easily (my sister and I are quite different), but this was a lesson in valuing the friend I do have. And if you are low on friends, be your own best friend. It's cheesy, but it's true. External friends can have all kinds of drama that you have no control over. Your internal friend knows best how to treat you. Best wishes, and have a lovely time!

  35. For my wedding, I ended up not having a bridal party, a bachelorette party, or a bridal shower, and it was just fine. By the time my wedding was coming up, these things weren't in the cards. We had a small wedding, only close friends and family invited. For me, at least, I hate being the center of attention, so having just one event (the wedding) where I had to be the star was a relief for me. If pre-wedding partying is a tradition you'd like to keep rather than cut, plan one that would be fun for you, like so many have suggested. But if you're sad because it feels like you're supposed to have these things, just remember it's not a requirement for marriage.

  36. The first time I got married, I didn't really have any family close by or any close friends. I did have a very small bridal shower I threw for myself. It made me feel good to do that for myself. I'm trying the marriage thing a second time and find myself in the same situation. The few friends I have that live close to me aren't really into weddings. The 3 or 4 friends who don't live near me aren't wedding oriented either. My family lives no where near me. If I decide I want to do something for myself this time around, I'll do it. But more likely, I'll do things solo or with the friend who counts the most in my life- my fiancé. Don't sweat not having close friends. Do things on your terms and as you feel comfortable. You'll do fine. Trust in yourself and your opinions. Much love.

  37. I'm having similar thoughts….
    My friends either live a distance away or are men, and my family consists only of a mother who I rarely speak to. My partner on the other hand has a huge family and a stack of friends.
    I think that because of this, our expectations are different, particularly around the importance of stag/hen do's, he's been planning his before he proposed, whilst I'm indifferent. He's always wanted a few groomsmen, but I won't have bridesmaids and we wonder whether that will look odd and if we care!

  38. The wedding is about you and your husband, try and focus on that. If not have a lot of friends didn't bother you before, don't let it bother you know just because of some stereotypical idea of what weddings and planning are sopped to be. If you have always wanted more friends, then focus on nurturing new friendships for the right reasons, not just so they can be an accessory for your wedding. I've got friends offering to go dress shopping with me, but I'm still shopping online because it's cheaper. I'm choosing to do all of the planning with my fiancé and not involve friends in it because I think it's a great time to spend time together and make our wedding exactly how the two of us envision it.

    • YEEEEES! Love this response! My fiancée and I are opting for planning our own shebang lol
      My BFF has offered to help me though just for a different opinion. Three heads are better than one!

  39. I'm in a similar, nearly friendless situation. I'm planning my wedding but only have about 10 family members/friends/close friends. BUT I'm glad I only have a few. Instead of partying with a bunch of people that may just be judging me, my honey-to-be, or my party, I'll be spending time with people I love and love me back and support me. Besides, I will spend less (or spoil them a little more!) if I have just a few loving friends.

    My Plan:

    My babe and I are getting married at the courthouse (just me, her, and our witnesses).
    Lunch at a restaurant with our close family/friends. (I will decorate and make small favors though!)

    Don't feel bad for not having a multitude of friends! Intimacy and a small entourage can be better 🙂
    I only have 1 BFFFFFFFFFF that will help me with everything, but I'm more of a do-it-yourselfer lol

  40. I can tell you I'm in that boat. I used to get so down ALL THE TIME because I didn't have a ton of friends to celebrate my wedding with. I only have one and she is all over the place and I used to not be able to trust her to handle things for my wedding because she could barely handle her own life, honestly. The other females in my life, wound up walking all over me, treating me like crap and not being in my life within a year. So, needless to say, I have some trust issues with friends. The other HUGE part of my problem is my fiance has a TON of friends. He literally has a line of people to be his groomsmen, and I definitely couldn't compete. I even tried to get out of the comfort zone and tried to be more open and trusting to those friends, that aren't even my friends now, so I could try and match up with his groomsmen. Obviously it didn't work out, and all it did was give me more heartache than happiness. What really made me not care anymore was my fiance and my family. Once I really opened up to the people that I knew really cared about me and knew they wanted to be with me and help me, things got a lot easier. Oh, and I forgot to mention that I know absolutely nothing about planning a wedding. COMPLETELY ZERO! Can you imagine my anxiety when I was trying to pretty much do this alone with just my fiance, who is actually making my anxiety worse than better. Huh.. it's a roller coaster ride. But like I said, once I had figured out what I wanted and figured out who I wanted to do this with, things got a lot better and easier. My fiance and I realized our wedding day is NOT about our friends, or even our family, and talked and we are only having a maid of honor and best man. Sweet and simple, just the way I like it. And my fiance still gets to have his huge bachelor party with all of his boys and I don't get to feel like crap about me not having friends. Opening up about the friend issues with him, which involved a few crying sessions, really put things in perspective for both of us and he really made me feel better about myself and made me feel like I wasn't this awful person because I didn't have friends. The miracles of giving someone your heart. The other thing that really helped, family! If you at least talk to a mom, grandma or aunt, take advantage of it. They are the ones that answer all the questions for me that I can't. They are the ones that are arranging my bridal shower and are even helping my ONE friend (maid of honor) plan my Bachelorette party, as well. And you don't have to be super freaking close, they just have to care about you. I can tell you that I'm not particularly close to my family because of my childhood, but I still talk to them and care about them because who else is going to make all the decisions for your wedding that you have no idea about?? Exactly! Just remember, it's your freaking wedding! People are there to freaking celebrate you! Whether you have a small, big or combo of the two, like me, people will be coming to see you and your fiance because they care about you. So, in my book, having fifty and more guests come to see you be happy and in love is WAY better than stressing out and beating yourself up about a couple of girls who might not even be there the rest of your life. The day is ALL about you and your fiance, so soak up the love and admiration you are already receiving and put some back out there for whoever is helping you with this wedding, even if it only is your fiance. Who better to show love to than the man you're gonna spend the rest of your freaking life with! Good luck!

  41. I am very sorry to hear this. Just know that you're not alone. I went through the same thing, and it was incredibly painful. I had showed up to all my friend's special life events, brought gifts, sent flowers, the whole nine yards. All the things I thought I was "supposed" to do. When my wedding rolled around I had patiently waited to get calls from my friends offering a to organize a bachelorette party or shower, something to acknowledge my special day. No one did. We were in our early thirties so they were very much aware of what the wedding etiquette is. What made matters worse is that my parents died in my early twenties and my sister is special needs who I help care for. My friends and family knew perfectly well I was going through this special day alone; they still did not reach out. I was floored to say the least. When people asked about my bachelorette party/shower, I would awkwardly mumble an excuse and change the subject. It was heartbreaking and I have cut those friends out of my life.
    I am almost forty now, and I've come to realize my life doesn't look like it's "supposed " to , but I'm still very happy and fulfilled. It's very difficult to let go of those rom-com and chick-lit expectations of life with our girlfriends, so I understand where you're coming from. I know a few ex friends who had lavish parties and are now miserable or on their way to a divorce. I say that not in a "ha-ha!" kind of way, but with the knowledge that I would much rather have had no girlfriend stuff and be happily married than had all the big stuff and hate my married life or be alone. For me it's a no brainer. My main relationship is with my husband now and I wouldn't trade it for the world. He doesn't bring any of the typical "woman" drama and it's a relief to let all that stuff go.
    You're not alone is this club, and it's not easy for any of us. I would concentrate on what you and your partner like to do together and make it about that. We like to travel, so we went on a road trip together out West for our honeymoon. We stayed in different hotels, played the honeymoon card, and enjoyed all the upgrades. We wore the bathrobes, used the fireplace, ate out of the minibar and got tipsy in the middle of the day. Just silly little stuff made our time so memorable. All of our focus was on planning the trip and exploring the coast. Instead of focusing on stuff with the ladies, all my energy went into doing activities with him. Looking back, it really was a joyful time spent with my new life partner. I wish you a very happy wedding day and a life of happiness with your future partner!

    • Thanks for sharing. Am in the same boat as well. Wedding is near, yet no family or friends are corresponding with me regarding engagement, bridal shower, bachelorette, or anything of the sort. Like you, I've been there for all of them. Am disappointed. But thankful that I know this is who they are now.

      Will definitely focus on living a wonderful, fulfilled, and fun life with my future life partner!

  42. I've always been the most out-going person ever, my mother says even when I was a baby, I thought every one in the world was my friend, but since I've come out as an atheist here in the South, I have like one friend left from my entire 30 years. It makes my heart sad to suddenly not have "my girls" there for me.

    And now I'm a new resident, having moved to Middle Georgia to live with my guy and I've tried reaching out and trying to find new friends, but this city is really Redneck territory and I hate it here. I have a few acquaintances that have potential to be my new besties, but because they're so great, they have full social lives and have only remained acquaintances. My bf and I are probably getting married in Los Angeles, where he is from, and I don't think any of my friends here in Macon, Georgia, would want / be able to afford to go all the way out there for my, a mere acquaintance's wedding.

    I have seven siblings and my two younger sisters in age and I used to share a room together and used to be inseparable, especially the one two years younger than myself. But she has turned into this drama queen now that we're adults and had all the other sibs in her wedding except for me, saying something vaguely about how we weren't getting along, and our third sister sided with her, besides saying some nasty stuff when left my faith.

    All that to say, I don't want my two adult sisters in my wedding.

    I have one friend left from the gaggle of girls I hung out with at college, but I want more than one friend celebrating with me on my wedding weekend.

  43. I have no "best friends" as such. Not anyone I am comfortable calling one anyway, baring my Fusband was was one of my college besties.
    Me, My sister and our Mum are going to the Theatre for my "hen do"
    At first I was a little sad about not having all the people but then I began to notice something.
    What I've noticed from friends weddings of late though is their bridal parties have all been made up of old friends e.g. we were friends in high school or friends in college but don't really talk now but be in my wedding anyway, sort of deal.
    A lot of people you haven't seen photos of together in years are now bridesmaids. I find that a bit odd myself.
    I have plenty of female friends I was friends with in high school, or college or even the "mum" friends I have now that I see and speak to daily on the school run. But none that I consider close enough to be in my wedding party. Just because we were close 10 years ago doesn't mean we are now, ya know?

    Plus women get two faced and bitchy. Point in case my sister's friend who has been an absolute bridezilla. My sister had to cancel her wedding due to finances and said friend was going to be a bridesmaid. She was invited to see my sister choose her dress etc. Not even a month after my sister cancelled her wedding her supposed friend decided she was booking hers, asked her to be a bridesmaid but then when it came to choose her dress didn't invite my sister and went to the exact same bridal boutique. Wouldn't show my sister the dress she chose. Fell out with my sister (who doesn't drink and has 2 kids) when she wouldn't drop everything to go drinking at any given opportunity. Then completely flipped her top when my sister decided to have baby #3 even though the baby is due months and months before her wedding anyway! :/ Oh and 6 years ago she was made my daughter's godmother, we didnt even get an invite to the wedding reception but my mum did?!

    Less women in your life, less drama!

    • I'm sorry that you have a bad experience with a particular individual, but please cut the crap with the "less women in your life, less drama." That woman sucks because she sucks, not because she's a woman. I've always had plenty of close male and female friends and both have been dramatic in the past. I haven't had to deal with any drama since my early 20s though because I figured out how to surround myself with awesome, drama-free people, many of whom are women.

      Guess what: if you go into a friendship thinking women are inherently crappy, it's likely that YOU will be the reason that you never have good friends.

      • I'm glad you have friends that don't cause drama, but somewhere on the line in all my friendship groups people have gotten bitchy. It's just nature.
        I'm quite happy drama free and hanging out with the guys!

  44. My fiancé and I are in the same situation, we live in Scotland. He has a couple male friends and I have no local friends at all. I was born physically disabled and have been chronically ill since 2011 so am barely able to leave my flat and require a wheelchair most of the time and both my fiancé and I have Asperger Syndrome which makes socialising and making friends very difficult.

    I've never had a birthday party, never been the centre of attention for any good reasons and I feel like I've missed out so I always wanted my wedding to be my chance to shine but the only people who will likely be there is my fiancé's parents and brother and my parents. It breaks me to think I won't have any friends there. I did have someone I regarded as a best friend but last year after 21 years of friendship they just stopped talking to me for no reason.

    My fiancé and I don't want a traditional wedding but I do like some traditions like having a maid of honour and best man but the way things are, we'll be lucky to even get that.

    My fiancé is less bothered about the lack of friends than me as despite my physical disabilities I used to enjoy getting out and about before I became chronically ill (I'm just no good at making friends – to the point my fiancé says it's a miracle that we met each other and became so close).

    Neither of us want a big wedding but I'd like to feel like a real bride and like our wedding was actually a wedding and not just a family get together.

  45. I understand completely where you are coming from. All but two of my bridesmaids lived out of state. My MOH wasn't any help the closer we got to the wedding. She ended up not coming at all. I didn't get a bridal shower or bachlorette party. My ex MOH and I ended up having a falling out. I didn't realize how much I wanted those things until I didn't get them. So take yourself to dinner and a movie. Treat yourself. This way you can fully enjoy the day.

  46. While I am not yet engaged, this will likely be me. Growing up, I had a lot of friends, but despite living in the same area all my life, none of those relationships play a role in my life anymore.

    Later on in high school, I spent tons of time with the sort of "friends" that expected me to eat lunch with them, but never invited me anywhere outside of school. Add in some nasty, childish drama over a longtime crush on a mutual friend who is now an openly gay man (our friends ended up growing closer to him while keeping their distance from me), and I have no lasting connections from that period barring SO.

    Some time-induced distance made me realize that I played a role in these patterns; however, it wasn't precisely my fault, either. I was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome sometime before I started kindergarten, so socialization with peers before I hit adulthood was always been like cycling up a hill when most other people are either on level ground or going downhill: slower, more grueling while being less controlled, and seldom worth the extra effort.

    Thankfully, I do have connections outside of SO, but they largely don't fit the mold. Two of my closest friends who are not my own relatives are his mom and one of her old neighbors. Also, I work a job where I get along swimmingly with pretty much everyone there, coworkers and regular customers alike. Collectively, they all make me happier in my life, but as I said earlier, they will almost certainly have a role already in the case of SO's family, or are just not quite close enough yet.

    This post did make me feel much less alone! My lack of "conventional" friends has played a role in some depression I have battled over the last few years, so knowing that way more people struggle with this than I thought helps.

  47. This is a great thread. I am in a similar situation to the OP, but my fiancee and I have discovered a few things that have been helpful for us that we wanted to share. Neither me nor the groom have any close friends (my few are halfway across the country and don't have time/funds to visit), I cut off my abusive mother and family shortly after meeting my fiancee, my father is deceased, and my fiancee is only moderately close with his family. We have found a few ways around some of the pitfalls and sorrows of planning a wedding without close friends (see below). This is sharing what we did, and how we changed our thinking about weddings in order to make ourselves happy! I hope any part of this helps you, and it may not help everyone, but I know how lonely and sad it can feel. This is just what helped me/us.

    If you don't have tons of friends, go unconventional. If you're on offbeat bride, you are probably already considering this. For me and my fiancee, we recently moved to Seattle from Austin, and our new ships we have here are not relation ships yet, so we decided to do a small destination wedding. This unintentionally ended up being a great excuse for our more informal/distant acquaintances to gracefully bow out of attending. Nobody expects them to actually pay the money to go attend the wedding of someone they don't know well, but should you feel the need, you can at least invite these distant acquaintances with a pretty good idea that they won't attend. That's a no-guilt, no hurt feelings situation, friends! And if one or two of those acquaintance invitees DO want to attend, hey, you have someone there now! Also, when I say destination wedding, it doesn't have to be exotic. We're doing a cruise wedding: Hotel + Venue + Food + Vacation. Many cruises have packages for a stress-free time. If that's a little too plebian, do a more exotic locale if you've got the money. If you don't have close friends, it means you save money on feeding them and can put it towards yourselves! The fiancee and I are way more into traveling and exploring the world and investing in that, than we are for the wedding itself – especially because we don't have close friends and family.

    It took a change of perspective for me to accept we'd have to do things a little differently. Since we've been living together for years, the commitment was already there and already solid – the ceremony is only symbolic of that commitment (we hope) that will not change between now and then. It's so easy to get caught up in the ceremony, pomp, circumstance, and drama of it all that you can lose sight of the fact that you already have a commitment. That thing that you're craving during the planning of your wedding – you have it already. You HAVE a best friend; what you want or need is ANOTHER best friend. And there's nothing wrong with that. The wedding is letting everyone else know about your intention to continue the commitment and friendship you already have, for the rest of your lives. But if you don't have an "everyone else" or your "everyone else" is limited, then YOU and your PARTNER are what's important. It's a beautiful thing, and it's something that can be communicated so many different ways. Your love doesn't have to fit anyone else's mould.

    As the bride, I've struggled most with not having someone to bounce ideas off of for wedding dresses, venues, colors…well, anything really. If you're in the same boat, see if your fiancee would be willing to at least listen. Most would listen, especially if you explained how important it was to you to have someone with whom to discuss these things. I did this with my fiancee. And while he's not great at understanding why I'd care what flowers go where, he's at least asking questions and willing to learn, which gives me an opportunity to talk about things I like, even if i'm teaching him about them. It's actually brought us closer, because now he knows what I like and why. Sometimes these things even become inside jokes and endear you to one another further. For example, I went through a succulents phase for the wedding (aren't they amazing?) and he didn't understand the appeal. He called them "failed flowers", to which I called HIM a failed flower, and we just stood and chuckled for a while. Now, he's suggesting including succulents because of that moment. The point of that is, though the situation may not be ideal, good things can still come out of it.

    Dress shopping was a hurdle I was not looking forward to. I'd never been willing to admit it to anyone, but I secretly really wanted that cliche movie moment; you know, the one where the bride goes with a handful of friends to try on various dresses, and it's a montage of gowns and reactions, yes and nos. Since I don't have my mother to go with me, and I'm not close with my fiancee's sister or mom, I figured I'd have to face it alone. Luckily, I asked myself whether I was doing the tradition of not seeing the bride in the dress because I really believed it, or because I felt I "should". Do whatever works for you because you WANT it, do what you want because you really BELIEVE it. I ended up going with my fiancee to a random dress shop we walked past, and ended up getting what I wanted. I didn't know you were supposed to have an appointment to try on dresses, but someone had just canceled so they fit me in. The ladies in the shop crowded around and acted as my handful of friends, complete with yes/no signs, and genuinely seemed to pick up on the fact that we weren't with anyone else. Instead of giving pity like so many, they just happily helped and celebrated our unconventional situation. If you can find a shop with friendly people, you just might not miss having your close friends around. Some shops have food, too. Like cake. And wine. Which are arguably better friends than some people. Just saying.

    As for Maid of Honor and Bridesmaids, that was one area I really had to compromise in order to NOT compromise. If you have a bit of a broken family like me, you might feel similarly: I knew that it wouldn't be fair to FORCE acquaintances into our wedding just to fill that void, and it was also really important to me not to open the door to my abusive family. I've finally gotten some independence from them and i'm enjoying it – so that was out the door pretty quickly – this also meant no bridesmaids for me. If that's the case for you, decide whether you have anyone in your life that could fill the role of Maid of Honor or Best Man. These are often closer, more meaningful positions of honor, anyway. Maids of Honor and Best Men are there not just for the wedding day, they also help you plan and celebrate, too. If you don't have someone close enough to fill those roles NEAR you, consider someone who would be willing, but is too far away. You could consider a remote maid of honor or best man. There are so many online collaboration and planning tools these days, that if you really want to show someone something, you can do that. For better or worse. If you want people (other than your partner) to bounce ideas off of and help you plan, but they can't attend the wedding for whatever reason, most people would be willing to give feedback on things. In my case, my closest friend (though our friendship is a little strained after the election) lives halfway across the country and doesn't have the funds to fly to us OR take our cruise wedding. Since my fiancee, me, and my friend are all IT professionals, she offered to be Remote Maid of Honor. Now, it does not take an IT professional to collaborate and share ideas online, obviously. Pinterest is your friend, you already know this. You can add contributors, share your pins, all kind of things. There's always Google Hangouts, Wunderlist, Facebook, Facetime, Snapchat, old-fashioned text and e-mail, carrier-pigeon. We as a species are not lacking in WAYS to communicate with each other, we just don't always. The point is, if you have people that care about you far away, you can be flexible in your expectations, and use your resources to minimize distance between you and the people you can stand.

    The bottom line is, the more concessions I made, the more I realized what was important to me: making the day special and making us feel special, and that can be done in so many ways. We don't have to be on a big boat, or go anywhere cool; we could go to the museum, walk through the park, grab balloons, and go do our own vows by the river somewhere. Since we saved money by only doing what's important to us, we found we could afford to do a few more little things for our wedding, before we plan our epic honeymoon! So we're going all out for ourselves, hair and makeup, he's getting a special old-fashioned shave, I spent a little extra on flowers, and we're getting a massage package. I'm way more looking forward to that than having people at my side. I've got the one I need already.

    Our wedding will probably cost about 5k all-in, and I think it will be every bit as awesome as if it cost 25k with friends. I hope yours does too.

    TL;DR: What helped me:

    Screw wedding dress montages; wine and cake are my maids of honor. Also nice sales people.

    If you have broken family and/or no friends, you at least have ONE. The person you're marrying. That's more important than how many people are there. Manage your expectations accordingly.

    If you don't have friends to be bridesmaids/maid of honor, go remote, or elope!

    The money that you're saving on NOT feeding friends/family? You have total 100% permission to spend on yourselves instead. It's not greedy, you're celebrating!

  48. Im thinking about how I would plan mine with only 2 girl friends and I rarely talk to the one. Possible ideas include adding cousins to the bridal party or having a backyard wedding without a bridal party. You dont have to follow a traditional wedding style. Be creative and make this day all you dream it to be.

  49. I can understand, it has been difficult for me as well lately. My fiance and I are planning a wedding for this fall after being engaged almost 2 1/2 years. We're just now getting in better financial standing. So I'm an only child on top of literally having no real close friends or 'bffs'. The sad thing is that I used to have friends and we always talked about being there for each other's weddings one day. Almost 10 years ago I went through the worst experience I've ever endured. I struggled with depression and bipolar disorder type 2 and my friends at the time didn't know what to do, didn't know how to help me and didn't give the the time or support I needed. And they just stopped talking to me and abandoned me yet still they thought it was a good Idea to stay friends on Facebook while I sat back and watched them have the fun that I was once a part of. And to this day I still struggle with missing the closes of a friend or an occasional girls night out. And I'm happy for my fiance because he has friends but at the same time it hurts. And it's made planning this wedding even harder and I don't know who to have for the bridal party let alone the maid of honor…

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