What Is a Wedding House Party?

If you have a large group of friends that you'd like to include in your wedding, then read up on this Southern tradition.

natalie jamey wedding bridesmaids
Photo: KT Merry

Brides blessed with a ton of friends are often torn between whether to have a huge bridal party or to find some other way to involve all their girlfriends. In the South, especially in Texas, there's a creative solution to solving this common wedding dilemma, and it's known as the wedding house party. Here's the story behind the tradition.

What's a wedding house party?

When a bride has a large group of friends she'd like to include in her wedding but can't fit everyone in the bridal party, she'll often create an additional group of family or close girlfriends known as the wedding house party. Lindsay Sims of Toast Events says, "House parties are common with Southern brides, especially Texans, and consist of family or close female friends that the bride wishes to honor and include in addition to her bridesmaids."

How's a wedding house party different from a bridal party?

The responsibilities and ceremony involvement differ between the bridal party and house party. Wedding planner Lynn Easton, owner of Easton Events, says, "Bridesmaids are active and recognized ceremony participants preceding the bride, while a house party does not enter during the ceremony." She explains that the house party is very involved in the wedding process and activities like the bridal shower, bachelorette parties, and wedding-day photos.

What are the duties of a wedding house party?

On the wedding day, these ladies are usually given specific tasks like distributing programs and greeting guests. "We usually find they participate in the getting-ready rituals, but not always," says Sims, "Sometimes they're seated together in a group, and other times they process in before the ceremony begins." She encourages brides to make their own rules with regards to how they'll honor their wedding house party.

Who should be included in the wedding house party?

The wedding house party works well for anyone who wouldn't be considered close enough to be a bridesmaid, but still merits a place in the wedding. "It's a perfect solution for brides with big families and groups of friends, as the house party allows for inclusion without overextension," Easton says, "This concept works well for distant family members and that sorority sister you love but maybe you weren't the closest with."

Take your guest count into consideration.

Easton recommends brides opt to have a house party only if there are going to be over one hundred guests in attendance. She says, "The concept of a house party is best in practice at large weddings where there is a place for everyone to participate." Besides, you wouldn't want all of the women attending your big day to also have a role in the wedding party or house party.

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