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Things you don't have to do at your wedding (Part 2)

Two – Have a Bridal Party

You must have two adults to witness the marriage and sign the paperwork but they don’t have to be the bridesmaid and best man – and you don’t have to have bridesmaids and groomsmen at all.

Traditionally bridesmaids were in attendance to confuse the evil spirits in Roman times. They dressed the same as the bride so the evil ones wouldn’t know which woman they were supposed to curse or kidnap.

The best man dates back to the dark ages (after the fall of the Roman Empire and before the Norman Conquests for those playing at home) where he was there to help the groom fight off the bride’s family if they changed their mind about giving her to him.

These days punch ups at the wedding are usually toward the end of the reception when uncle Frank starts telling cousin Andrew what he really thinks, but in the time of the Goths (the real ones, not the kids with black eye liner) weapons were stashed in the church for just such an occasion.

Of course you can have as many as you want of any gender, and you don’t have to have the same number on each side. You can have 3 bridesmaids and 4 bridesmen on one side, a best woman leading 9 groomsmen on the other.

Because you are not trying to confuse the evil spirits or fend off marauding hoards, they also don’t have to dress alike. At one of my favourite gigs this year the 4 groomsmen wore matching shirts and ties (not suits) and four bridesmaids wore something nice they already had and felt comfortable in. Thousands of dollars were saved and they all felt comfortable in the Queensland summer heat.

I’ve seen a video recently of “flower grandmas” – two nannas in matching frocks scattering petals instead of a 4 year old and I expect you’ve all seen the one where the first person down the aisle is a blokey bloke tossing the flowers.

And well, if her bestie is a dude and his main support is his sister- (drum roll please)……………. you have a Bestwoman and Mate of Honour. Regardless of whether you have a formal bridal party or not you will probably want to nominate someone to hold the flowers while you do the business and someone to keep the rings safe until they’re needed but they don’t have to be in a Bridal Party per se, just sitting up the front with easy access to you.

Your witnesses can be parents (a great way to honour your mums) other guests, siblings, grand parents your kids if they’re over 18 or the photographer and a passing jogger!

Yeah, nah, realistically the jogger is a bit problematic because I should know their full name before I print up the documents and if it’s raining or too hot they might skip the run and head straight for the coffee club; but you get the drift.

Traditions are lovely but with a little understanding of how and why they came about you might feel more comfortable about not including them if you really don’t want to.

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