Photo by Viera Photographics from Shasta and Guard

Stepping around her desk to lean authoritatively on the partition between us, my co-worker eyed me sternly. “I’m sorry Karen but your bridal photos will be deformed. Deformed. I’m sorry but I’m just telling you the truth. You cannot have uneven numbers.”

So it was that I came to learn that even for the modern bride, some things are seen as non-negotiable. I had just informed my co-worker that I would be having two bridesmaids and three groomsmen. Apparently, this was a bridal faux pas of epic proportions. I was alarmed to find that her reaction was mirrored by almost every person I told about my subversive choice of numbers. Their responses ranged from “Oh. How’s that going to work?” to “I think the photos will look better with even numbers “ to “so how are they going to do the bridal waltz? Is one bridesmaid going to dance alone?” One person even went so far as to suggest that I ask my fiancé to get rid of one of his groomsmen! Another exclaimed, “so will one bridesmaid have to walk down the aisle by herself?!” Clearly, it would be preferable to have locusts descend on my wedding than a lone bridesmaid walking down the aisle.

As time wore on, I found myself becoming more and more irritated with these ridiculous statements. Firstly, I had never intended for my bridal photos to involve symmetrical lines of any kind. In fact, I was rather hoping for some lovely candid shots where it really wouldn’t matter whether the numbers were even or not. Also, considering that my second bridesmaid was bringing her boyfriend to the wedding, and the third groomsmen his girlfriend, I had naturally assumed that they would dance with each other. Call me crazy, but I’ve never been one for enforced dance partners. Last but certainly not least, I had envisioned these two girls as bridesmaids for my wedding. They were exactly the people I wanted to share my day with. Whilst I had other friends I could substitute in for numbers, I had no intention of doing so just to please the world at large (although this type of conviction, like most others, is much easier said than done).

As I pondered the strange reactions of those around me, I decided that here was more evidence of the double-standards I had encountered since I had begun planning our nuptials. In a world where weddings can be eco-friendly, mod, circus-themed and even superhero themed, why is there still such an emphasis on what a wedding should look like? Despite the original weddings happening everywhere it seemed that the “ideal” vision of an even bridal party was not going away any time soon. On the other hand, if I’d said my dogs were ring bearers, I doubt I’d have elicited anything more than an “oh how cute!”. This truly was a world gone nutty!

To date, I still have two bridesmaids and three groomsmen, and I couldn’t be happier. As one wise friend said to me, “I have contacted the mechanical engineers at your venue and they have confirmed that the chapel won’t fall over if your bridal party is uneven.” Enough said!

Ms Gingham says: I totally agree here. It’s your wedding, a celebration of taking the next step with your chosen partner in life. Let’s look at the bigger picture people!!

Karen says: “I’m 25 years old and I’m an aspiring writer trapped in the body of a lawyer! I also have an Arts degree with a Major in English, which saved my sanity during university and allowed me to do what I love – write! Last but not least, I’m a bride-to-be and I’m writing a book about planning my wedding and all the craziness that comes along with it (see, for example, being told that my wedding photos will be ”deformed” because my bridal party is uneven). I’m also working on a children’s manuscript.

I’m looking to inject some colour (and some polkadots if possible!) into my career. It’s my dream to write full time – so here’s hoping!”

Check out more posts from Karen here.