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

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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 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. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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! 🙂

  9. 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?

  10. 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!

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