• Few or No Friends

Bridesmaids Advice: Friendships first, bridesmaids second

Published: September 12, 2015 | Last Updated: January 16, 2024 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
Wedding cake - Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Sean Mack

Wedding cake – Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Sean Mack

A shy young woman worries about having no close friends to ask as bridesmaids. Wedding etiquette expert Sharon Naylor offers sage advice on making friends that extends beyond weddings alone.



I am a 23-year-old college student. Throughout my young life, I moved from place to place. I feel as if I never got the chance to establish a lifelong best gal friend. Now, as an adult, I am socially awkward and when I put myself out there, I’m not confident and have yet to establish any close friends.

I am now getting married next summer but don’t have any close friends to ask to be bridesmaids. I would hate to be that one girl who has a bunch of cousins as bridesmaids (And my cousins and I aren’t even close! Other than their names…I know little to nothing about them).

My future husband’s best friend just got married and he’d like me to ask his friend’s wife to be the maid of honor. I can only reach her through texting or Facebook. How can I break the ice for her to like me? Or even become friend’s enough for her to be a bridesmaid let alone a stranger’s maid of honor? We live in different states, too, to make it more complicated. OR, how can I just make friends more than just an acquaintance?

Signed, Beth


Dear Beth,

This dilemma might not feel like a good thing, but it’s actually creating an excellent opportunity for you! You mentioned that you haven’t been able to make good friends, since you’ve moved so often, so finding yourself as a bride thinking about who should be your bridesmaids opens up a great chance for you to learn some new ‘connecting’ and ‘befriending’ skills.

It’s so important for your well-being to have some good friends to share your good news with, and to lean on. And it’s important for your marriage that you have a fulfilled life with a good support system and friends to feel connected to (even at a distance!) When you have friends, you won’t be leaning on your fiancé too much, making him your only sounding board and your only friend. Even if your fiancé has never had a problem being your closest friend, it’s just a wonderful and wise thing to fill your life with a circle of friends who can brighten your day every now and then.

So, as you’re thinking about connecting with your fiancé’s friend’s wife – in general at this point, and not just to get her to be your maid of honor! [I’ll get back to that in a minute!] – I suggest writing her an email, perhaps sending her a photo of her wedding day, or just saying, “I was just thinking about how pretty your centerpieces were, and I thought I’d write to say hello!” as a keep-it-simple first step to connecting. She’ll appreciate your compliment, and the photo if you send one, and you open the door for a nice starting point on which to build a friendship from this ‘acquaintance zone’ you’re in with her.

Yes, the guys are close, but that doesn’t mean that you and she are automatically close! You have to build a friendship from the ground up…even if you’re shy. That’s the great thing about emails and social media…you get to make little connections using the safety of these online methods, and over time, a connection will build.

Notice I said ‘over time.’ It’s a big mistake to try to do too much at once! Don’t write a big, long, rambling email that can be seen by her as ‘too much too soon.’ When you try too hard to connect, it can feel like desperation from the other person (that would be you in this instance,) and the other person can shut down. So pace your attempts to connect with this potential new friend. And as you go, use this method: give her something to respond to. Ask her a question, such as ‘where did you look for your wedding flower inspiration?’ to give her a chance to respond back with some information in a natural way. Make your requests specific. And be sure to connect with her on social media, so that you can click Like on her posts [people love that!] and get clues about her interests that may be common to yours.

See what’s in her Favorites list, or see if she’s commenting about a TV show or reality show you watch too. This way, you can post an answer to her post about the latest reality show competition, and create some connection points. Take it slowly, and – here’s another one of my favorite tips – say that you hope the four of you can get together sometime this fall, or the next time they’re going to be in the area. Nothing too specific, unless you have an event to invite them to. Just an open-ended, friendly wish to spend time as a foursome. Don’t overdo it with the invitations…again, it takes time to grow a friendship, just like it takes time to grow vegetables in your garden. It’s all the same: wait, watch, nourish, enjoy.

Now, to get into the part about your fiance’s wish for his friend’s wife to be your maid of honor—If it doesn’t have to be decided right now, hold up on that (if you haven’t asked already.) Connect with her first on a friendly level, as you decide if you want her to be your maid of honor. It seems like your fiancé was likely to have suggested it in a moment of excitement for the four of you to be best couple friends. He wants you and his friend’s wife to bond, and he thought that would be a great way to achieve that.

But don’t take action on that just yet. Put yourself in her shoes: how would you feel if you were asked to be a stranger’s maid of honor, knowing there are a lot of responsibilities and expenses in that role? Wouldn’t it be a little bit odd? Take your time…as you connect, you might feel very comfortable asking her to be your maid of honor. And tell your fiancé that you’ll be reaching out to her to connect as friends, so that he knows what you’re doing and why you haven’t asked yet.

Now, stepping away from this maid of honor issue for a moment, keep in mind that many brides don’t have big circles of bridesmaids. Even brides WITH big circles of friends are keeping their bridal parties on the smaller side, to save money and to help save their friends’ money and time. Some brides opt to have all children in their bridal party – the kids of their relatives and friends, for instance. So know that you can create your bridal party however you’d like, and you don’t have to have the same exact number of bridesmaids as your groom’s groomsmen. I’ve seen weddings where the groom had four groomsmen, and the bride had just one bridesmaid – and I’ve also seen weddings where the bride had her male friend stand on her side of the aisle for her. So if you have some good male friends, you can ask them to stand with you.

All of the choices are in your hands…if you’re not comfortable having your cousins in your bridal party, don’t invite them. People can be crunched for time and money, and it wouldn’t be the greatest of situations if your cousins said yes, and then couldn’t participate as bridesmaids as much as you would like. You don’t want anyone to feel obligated or resentful to be in your bridal party.

Long story short: don’t rush to solve this now. Work on connecting with this new friend, and reach out to other friends to create some new, additional friendships to enrich your life. You said you’re getting married next summer, so you have a good couple of months to exercise your friend-making skills here! And not stress about it! You and your groom’s friend’s wife may make a fast friendship, one that makes you feel great about asking her to be your maid of honor!

And you may just make some good new friends to be additional bridesmaids who are all too happy to stand up for you. Friendship first, bridal party members second is the way to create your mindset. I wish you luck!

Best, Sharon Naylor

Sharon Naylor, author of 1001 Ways to Save Money and Still Have a Dazzling Wedding

Sharon Naylor

Sharon Naylor

Some prior posts on The Friendship Blog about weddings and friendship:  

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Comments (4)

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  1. Lauren M says:

    Excellent post!! Very good advice.

    Also, I like the picture of the cute wedding cake topper of the bride and groom!

  2. MM says:

    I’ve posted exactly the same thing on the forum. I only had my sister and sister in law as Bridesmaids. Most of our party was my husbands side. Still struggling to make new friends though.

  3. Tania says:

    Hi, I wanted to share my experience and it also depends on the type of person you are. First of all, weddings were never a big deal to me. I never wanted the big wedding. I never had a lot of friends either. So, I did not have any bridesmaids. I had 20 people in total at my wedding. It was a good wedding. Anyway, your post reminded me of that move where a man, who has no close friends goes to an agency that hire people to be his friends and groomsmen. It was very funny.

    You could have a small wedding. I also have a friend that is getting married and having 120 people there but she will not have any bridesmaids either. Although, she has friends, she does not feel close to anyone to ask them and she does not want to hurt feelings of the people she does know. My sister and I were relieved to hear this because I have been a bridesmaid before and it is such a pain and spending so much on a dress that someone picks out for you and you never wear again. So my sister and I were glad she came to the decision of no bridesmaids.

    I guess what I am saying is that it may seem like a worry now, but weddings are whatever you want them to be. It would suck to feel pressure to have bridesmaids. This is about you! It is your wedding day. I mean still connect with others, that is fine. But, don’t feel pressured if it does not happen by time of your wedding. Go with it, make a mental note to get out there, try to make friends etc, but friends are hard to come by and not always easy. So, good luck and congratulations!!!

    • Laura says:

      Great post! It doesn’t seem realistic on such a short time line to form the kind of friendship that would be bridesmaid worthy. It takes years to develop the kind of close friendship that rates bridesmaid.

      I agree that you should develop some friendships and it would be nice if you would like your hubby’s BFFs wife enough to be friends. However, it’s too late in the game for anyone new to be a bridesmaid. It would seem insincere to ask anyone so new in your life. It may make them feel like a placeholder.

      I so agree about the size of the wedding. I’m not a big event person, and I had a smaller wedding, although traditional in format. My personal opinion is spending what can be a years income on one day is ridiculous!

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