So, why, on my wedding day, did I only have my sister standing beside me at the alter? What happened to the other five girls who were supposed to complete my day?
Hurricane Sandy happened, that's what.
When Brian and I originally created our guest list, it had about 170 people. It was immediate family, extended family, childhood friends, work friends, college friends, sports friends and our parents' friends. Our venue could hold up to 200 people so our guest list seemed completely reasonable at the time.
Then Hurricane Sandy swept in, devastated the Jersey Shore and damaged our wedding venue beyond repair. I'll get to that whole story another time but the most important thing you need to know is that we had to re-plan and relocate our entire wedding and we didn't have a whole lot of time to do it. Our "Plan B Wedding" would be in my the backyard of my childhood home. My wonderful parents were more than happy to host but they made it perfectly clear that their yard (and septic system) simply could not handle more than 85 people.
Brian and I were faced with an unthinkable task -- to cut our wedding guest list in half. Actually, we cut it more than in half. We mutilated it. My heart felt heavier and heavier with each guest's name we crossed off. I mean, we had a big guest list for a reason. We loved and cherished all 170 people on that original list. How do you pick and choose who gets invited and who gets cut? We really didn't have a choice but I was terrified of hurting feelings, burning bridges and creating some all around bad juju.
I know that "guest list woes" are at the top of every bride's complaints about planning a wedding. I was physically sick about our cut-down guest list. And to make matters worse, we decided if we were going to have a small wedding, we might as well have a small wedding party. It just didn't make sense to have 12 people in our wedding party (6 on his side, 6 on mine) when our entire wedding was only about 85 people. I would naturally keep my sister as my Matron of Honor - not only because she is my true best friend but because I was her Maid of Honor and that's what sisters are for. Brian would keep his friend, Matt, as his Best Man. Matt was flying all the way in from Chile to be with on our special day so it was very important to Brian to make Matt feel appreciated. So there it was - our bridal party shrank from 12 to 2.
I called each of my (now demoted) bridesmaid and began the conversation with, "Well, this is awkward..." and then I explained with all the good humor I could muster that I as much as I loved them and needed their support, my new, smaller wedding would not have a bridal party.
Their responses were equally humorous and heartfelt, without a single bad feeling to be detected. They consisted of:
"Well I'm glad I already ate that cookie."
"Does this mean I get to wear any dress I want now? Sweet!"
"It's okay friend. I still love you and I will still plan a kick-ass bachelorette for you."
"Does your sister need any help with the shower? I still want to help."
Like I said, I am one lucky girl. :)
Wedding planning is full of awkward moments. "Demoting" my bridesmaids was not the first awkward encounter on my journey to the big day. I did my very best to be genuine and gracious any time I thought one of my decisions might affect the feelings of someone else involved in my wedding. I truly believe that if you're honest, and you're intentions are good, people will understand. All my people did.
Our actual "wedding party" - just an MOH and a Best Man.
Did you experience some super awkward moments while planning your wedding? Share your story in the comments below!