(Closed) What do do for a friend who isn’t in the wedding party?

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1189 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

There’s no reason you have to include her as a bridesmaid just because she is including you as one. If you want to give her a special role, you could ask her to do a reading, or if she’s musically inclined you could have her sing/ play some ceremony music.

Post # 4
14498 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Ask her to be your personal attendant, it is an honorary position for just that situation.  She is the person that helps you get ready, fixes your train right before you head down the aisle, holds the bouquet while you fix your veil, all the little things that help you get through your day.

Post # 5
735 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My best friend got married 2 years ago.  She had a small bridal party.  She had asked me to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man the first time she got engaged, and early on in this engagement, but then her (F)MIL got very upset that her (F)SIL was not going to be a Bridesmaid or Best Man.  So I stepped down and the bridal party ended up being her sister and her (now) SIL.

I still got ready with them, I helped her get her dress on,  I still attended the rehearsal dinner, I was still in some of the pictures, and I ran PLENTY of errands for that frazzled bride.  She asked me to wear a dress that was a similar color to the BMs… (They wore navy, I wore a silvery blue) She got me a Bridesmaid or Best Man gift (in a different color so she didn’t offend the Mother-In-Law, but mine was prettier. IMO!)

I walked in with her family and sat with them in the reserved rows – not the PRIMO Mom/grandma seating, but better than average. 

Any of these things could be done to honor your friend.  My friend went all out for me – She’s always called me the “honorary bridesmaid” or “the only bridesmaid who was able to actually help” so you might not feel the need to do ALL of the things that she did for me – but each of these things meant a lot to me. 

It also would have meant a lot if I had been invited to get my nails done with her – she lives far away and I don’t see her often.  But the hair and nails were paid for by someone else as a gift, so I wasn’t included.  (But if you have some say in who attends you might want to consider inviting your friend – even if it’s on her own dime.)


Ultimately though – when my best friend got married – I didn’t care that I wasn’t a bridesmaid.  I just wanted to be there to celebrate with her.  I wanted to see her marry the man she loved.

Next spring she’ll be my only Bridesmaid or Best Man – as I don’t have any sisters.  I think she’s almost as excited as I am.

Post # 6
593 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I agree with @eryepye: have her involved in the ceremony!

My HS bestfriend was devastated that I did not aske her to be a bridesmaid.  It was never to minimalize her role in my life just that my two current best friends are friend of both Fiance and I and are who we wanted up there.  Anyways – I asked her to be one of our readers for the ceremony and plan to have her come by while we are all getting ready.  She also will be included in the rehearsal dinner and will receive flowers on the day of the wedding (corsage or small bouquet).  She was not thrilled at first but I think she has realized that it is a big thing to be involved in someones wedding ceremony.

Post # 7
1696 posts
Bumble bee

You will have to rely on your knowledge of your friend, to ask her to some role that is substantive enough that she doesn’t feel it is just a token joe-job, and honourary enough that she doesn’t feel put-upon. Think about what her talents and values are:

  • Don’t try “Guest Book Attendant” — that is one of those jobs people give to the twelve-year-old niece to make her feel special. Most grown-ups will feel trivialized by such a request
  • “Personal Attendant” is great if the girl is close to you and generous-spirited, but some girls see the “personal attendant” role as a request to do all the work without any of the glory — for them, it’s the dress and flowers that count, I guess.
  • Ditto “reception hostess” — I have done that and, obviously, love the honour, for all that it is a remendous amount of work to do it full out. You can always do the majority of the grunt work and just give her the easier parts with full honours.
  • I have been asked to sing the solo during signing the registry, but it helps to be able to sing. If your friend is not so much of a vocalist, but plays an instrument, she might play an interlude during this or another part of the service.
  • I have also been asked to read the lesson at church, which I turned down as I happen to know the priest of that particular denomination prefers that the Scriptures be proclaimed by someone who happens to believe them. My niece who falls into that category did it instead.
  • The same pious niece also assisted in serving communion at a different wedding, although that is admittedly possible only if you are having the kind of pious wedding where communion gets served.
  • An old-fashioned lady is always honoured to be asked to “pour” (in the unlikely event that you are having a tea-and-cake reception with the tea actually poured by ladies using a silver tea-service)
  • Other old-fashioned ladies are honoured in a more intimate “we’re-all-in-this-together-let’s-help” way to be asked to circulate through the receiving line. The way this is done is that they hover around the end of the receiving line so that the last person in line can introduce each guest to one of them, and then they can conduct the guest away to introduce him or her into a conversation group while the next of her company steps up into her place, to meet the next guest to emerge from the receiving line and introduce him around a little.
  • If your friend is a gifted speaker, you could ask her to propose a toast; or if she is very gifted you could ask her to take on the role of toastmaster (also known as “master of ceremonies”.)

Any of these things can be used as a reason to give her a corsage and include her at the reception dinner or any wedding-related events that you wish to include her in, which are the kind of thing that contribute a lot to how honoured she feels.

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