Not been asked to be bridesmaid for your mate's big day? This might be why.
It may be time to give up those 'Squad Goals' as the non-existent bridal party is the newest trend to emerge in weddings, and the reasons behind it seem to make a lot of sense to some.
Popular photo-sharing website Pinterest's wedding report earlier this year gave a lot of interesting insights into wedding trends for 2017. The most surprising on the list? A new trend that sees brides giving up their 'squad goals' by ditching the idea of bridesmaids altogether.
Pinterest reported an increased interest in wedding ideas featuring fewer or no bridesmaids at all, with couples looking for ways to adjust traditional wedding concepts such as "the top table" and posed photos.
"Less is more," the influential site reports, noting that searches for wedding ideas without the bridal party have gone up by 100% year-on-year, "brides are choosing to go with fewer bridesmaids, or sometimes non at all! This decision ensures the focus is all about you and your partner."
Will you NOT be my bridesmaid?
Irish editor of international bridal blog Bridal Musings - and author of one of the most popular 'non bridal party' posts on Pinterest - Claire McGowran decided to forego the idea of maids altogether for her wedding day last summer, instead informally sending a mail to her friends with the subject line "Will you not be my bridesmaids?"
For her, there were a multitude of reasons behind walking up the aisle without the traditional girl crew, which contrary to Pinterest, wasn't about the focus being on her and her partner.
"When you think about it," the London-based Irish blogger said, "isn’t it a little odd to call your dearest friends maids, and dress them up in matching clothes, and make them be at your beck and call for not just your big day, but the weeks, or even months beforehand?"
Claire says there were a number of reasons for not having a bridal party, including finding it difficult to choose between friends (she notes that she found herself in the 'lucky' position of having 10 great candidates for bridesmaid), having friends who lived in different countries across the globe, and finding the entire concept "a bit odd."
With the increasing budgets allotted to weddings it's no wonder couples are looking at things to cut from the big day celebrations.
Today, Irish couples often feel like they are expected to pay for the bridal party's full attire (in the US bridesmaids and groomsmen traditionally pay for their own dresses and suits) which along with hair and make-up, token gifts and other miscellaneous items, can add up.
Cutting out the bridal party could potentially save the bride and groom a lot of money and time spent arranging dress and suit shopping, fittings and other get-togethers.
There is also the option to informally ask friends to not wear matching outfits for your celebration, but get involved in helping you to celebrate it.
Wedding party regrets
As with many new and non-traditional concepts in weddings, the notion of not having a bridal party has been widely discussed on many dedicated wedding forums.
Users on popular wedding website Wedding Bee took to the forums there to discuss whether forgoing the bridal party altogether could end up being a major regret.
"I will admit, it was hard at times," said one user about not having a bridal party for her wedding celebrations, "I didn’t have the stereotypical gaggle of females around every weekend, no formal shower, no big parties, etc. But, none of that is me anyway. My close lady-friends were totally involved with my planning process, though. My bestie threw me a bachelorette party/lingerie shower, and she met up with me about once a week to let me vent about wedding things."
"[I] don’t regret it for a minute!" added another user, "In fact, one of the things I liked most about our wedding was that it was just my husband and me up there, committing to each other. It wasn’t a “social event” or a “play” where I had to make sure the characters all stood in their correct places and hit their marks."
"I think in every way, brides and grooms are trying to lose a lot of the fuss and formality around weddings," said Claire about the emerging trend for 2016 "and axing the bridal party is an easy way to do it.
It doesn't mean you can't still involve your friends and siblings in your wedding, or have your hen or stag party, but by not creating tiers and giving certain guests 'titles', it allows everyone at your wedding to feel like they're an important part of your day."
The lack of a bridal party, she says, resulted in her wedding having a more authentic feel. "For me, I think it made our day feel like less of a production, and more natural."
There used to be a time when you could wow wedding guests with a chocolate fountain and a swan-shaped ice sculpture. Not anymore. Nowadays, making a statement on your Big Day means scouring Pinterest, Instagram and Etsy for ideas, and passing them off as your own.