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We’ve all been there: you get an unexpected face time call, and your close friend is engaged. After you squeal, cheer, and admire the ring, the dread sets in. How much is this going to cost me?

It doesn’t make you a bad friend. Not by any means. Weddings are expensive, no matter which side of the aisle you’re on. And for the most part, people don’t plan their budgets around the possibility a member of their inner circle could get engaged.

In biblical times, bridesmaids weren’t close friends or relatives, but actual maids (hence the name). But somewhere along the line best friends and sisters-in-law became responsible for straightening trains and helping brides get on the toilet.

Since we were little girls, most of us have dreamed about being surrounded by our best friends, wearing pretty dresses and smiling all in unison. Then, over the years those friends came and went. The faces replaced with new ones. Where is your college best friend even living these days?

My question is: are bridesmaids out-of-date?

I’ve decided not to have bridesmaids. For the most part, our wedding is pretty non-traditional. We are getting married abroad and having a reception for family and friends when we get back. In the early planning stages, even the thought of having to choose one friend over the other made me nauseous. Then ensuring my fiance had the same number of friends to also stand by him, is that even realistic? Not to mention the thought of choosing a maid of honor. How could I possibly pick a favorite friend? And would that friend have the time/money to commit?

I’ve loved being a bridesmaid, don’t get me wrong. It’s such a special time to spend with friends, but it’s a huge commitment, both financially and personally. As a multi-media-journalist working my first job, most of my days off were dedicated to wedding obligations. That left very little time or money for anything else.

Instead of having bridesmaids, I’ve included my closest friends in all traditional wedding festivities: the bridal showers, bachelorette, wedding, and reception. The difference is, I don’t expect them to make it to each and every event, and won’t hold it against them if they can’t. They’ve let me know what they can afford and how many days they can get off work. In exchange, I’ve given them my vision for the wedding and let them pick their own attire.

So far, it’s worked out brilliantly, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. My friends have dropped everything to shower me with love and champagne for my bachelorette party. More of them than I could have imagined will be traveling overseas with us, and others will be at the reception. They’ve all helped me in the planning process, doing anything I asked when I needed a lifeline, and with a smile. In the meantime, I’ve avoided many of the awkward conversations and have been able to focus on what’s important: getting down that aisle and beginning our new lives together.

If you’re in the early stages of wedding planning or maybe planning ahead, take it from me – if your friends are worth a damn, they’ll be there for you throughout the process, even without the title of bridesmaid. And honestly, they’ll probably thank you for not having to purchase another dress they’ll end up stuffing into the back of their closet or selling on Poshmark later.