Brides ditch big groups

By Celeste Gorrell Anstiss

Kate Middleton's decision to have just one lady-in-waiting has inspired the spring wedding season Downunder.

A flurry of Kiwi brides are now foregoing the gaggle of bridesmaids and selecting one special friend or sister to lead them down the aisle.

Wedding planner Lisa Hill said a bridal "entourage" was neither cheap nor easy.

"To be honest, it can get catty," Hill said. "I've seen bridesmaids who don't get along at all and even disagree with the bride. It can get very competitive with who's responsible for what," Hill said.

She once had a client with eight bridesmaids, but the recession had meant bridal parties have shrunk.

Erica Kirkham 29, appointed friend Catherine Miller to be her sole bridesmaid last May.

"It was nice to share everything with one person rather than dealing with all the politics," Kirkham said.

"When you have three or four bridesmaids, there has to be a lot of compromise. There's a lot of extra pressure on the bride because you don't want to let your friends down."

Kirkham and Miller met at Auckland's St Cuthberts College at age 11 and the ceremony, held at the school chapel, was attended by many of their school friends. The pair wore A La Robe gowns and Kirkham said she was more than happy to share the limelight.

"Catherine looked pretty amazing, my husband had tears in his eyes when he saw her," she said. Kirkham said the decision to have just one bridesmaid was not about money.

"She's my best friend. I wouldn't have wanted it any other way."

Kirkham's dress designer Elizabeth Soljak said she encouraged her customers to consider just one bridesmaid.

"You can have one really special dress, something that suits that person rather than compromising to try to please three or four different personalities and body types."

- Herald on Sunday

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