You have a unique situation in that you aren’t having a ceremony, so it sounds like a number of the “traditional” Bridesmaid or Best Man roles don’t apply here. There is no reason a friend or family member can’t help you with your planning if they offer, but that wouldn’t automatically make them a bridesmaid. A warm and thoughtful thank-you card, plus a sweet mention in your speech if you make one, would be lovely.
As for my own experience: I did not ask anyone to be a bridesmaid, and my husband only had his brother stand with us. While I normally think this kind of decision is a very personal one to make, I’ll share some of my thoughts with you if it will give some insight. For the record, we had 90 guests.
I don’t have any siblings, and I barely know my cousins — they’re all male and the youngest is 15 years older than me — so the family option would be out.
If I’d had anyone at all up there, it could have been the two women I’ve been friends with for a long time. But my oldest and perhaps “best” friend lives a plane ride away and is in the military, so we weren’t even sure she could be there, let alone participate. I would never, ever have considered asking her only for her to decline for military reasons, since it would have been very complicated for her. My other friend I’ve known since high school, and to be frank, we’re not close anymore. She has said some very inconsiderate things to me over the last few years, and I didn’t feel that participating would be anything other than an imposition for her.
Both of these women attended our wedding, and it was wonderful to have them present. The military friend and her husband were fantastic– she made me laugh when I was a little stressed at the welcome dinner, and they danced the whole time. The high school friend did not speak to me much other than to say “congratulations” but she and her fiancee did dance (this is a big deal for her; as a lesbian couple they aren’t always accepted by her family, but at our wedding they could be together without judgement).
The decision to do away with the wedding party was an easy one for us to make, and looking back at the wedding, I would not have changed a thing.
Whew, sorry that was rather long! But, that’s my story 🙂