Rhode Island Wedding Guide

Wedding Planning

Choosing Attendants

Weddings in nature might be risky, but lots of couples are doing it

By Christina Friedrichsen, Intimate Weddings: Planning a Small Wedding that Fits Your Budget & Style, www.intimate-weddings.com

Having a whole crew of bridesmaids doting over me on my big day definitely would not have suited me. I wanted simplicity; one maid of honor and one flower girl was just perfect for me. My husband felt the same way and chose only a best man and a ring bearer as his attendants.

Some brides and grooms, however, love the idea of having a huge bridal party.

Photo by TNC Photography

For these couples, having lots of loved ones by their side makes the day more fun and special.

Some couples choose a team of attendants simply because they feel pressured to do so. Perhaps they've stood up in friends' weddings and feel obligated to return the favor. Maybe they feel as though a slew of attendants is a wedding requirement.

After speaking to numerous couples, I'm glad to say that the rules about attendants are changing-especially for intimate weddings. Some brides and grooms choose to have no attendants, and others ask their mothers, fathers, or children to stand with them. Gender roles have changed, too. Men choose women as honor attendants and vice versa. A friend of mine, for instance, served as her brother's "best woman."

You should feel free to ask the most special person in your life aside from your sweetie to serve as your honor attendant even if that person is of the opposite sex. If you consider your mother to be your best friend, have her take on the role. You can even go it alone. Do whatever feels right.

Involving family and friends
Because of the personal nature of an intimate ceremony, involving loved ones seems natural. Whether you have five guests or fifty, you have many options for including your friends and family

Having a loved one perform a reading during the ceremony is a wonderful way to get someone close to you involved. My oldest brother read a favorite poem during our ceremony, and a dear friend said a prayer that she had written especially for us.

Those who suffer stage fright might serve as ushers or work behind the scenes before the ceremony. If there are children-your own or someone else's-in your life, you can find several ways to get them involved. Flower girls, ring bearers, and junior bridesmaids can all add special charm to your wedding-and the children will have unforgettable experiences. Keep in mind that not all children enjoy the spotlight. Some children may prefer to distribute wedding programs, light candles, or hand out bubbles for blowing after the ceremony.

If you decide to include children in your ceremony, keep in mind that kids can be unpredictable. If you're the type that can't handle little surprises, you might want to leave the participation to the adults.

Find a task list traditionally assigned to the bridal party | Shop for bridesmaids' gifts.