What could have been a logistical and emotional nightmare turned out to be quite the beautiful, momentous day—all thanks to one bride’s strong sense of “fellowship.” Casmé Carter, who married love Gary Carter Sr. in Destin, Florida, on June 2, had not one, not two, but 34 bridesmaids at her wedding.
The singer-songwriter originally meant to have even more women in her bridal party, but of the 50 close friends she asked, 16 weren’t able to be a part of the wedding party due to scheduling conflicts. “[I] know how to deal with women,” Carter told USA Today. “We work things out, no cattiness, no drama.” Carter herself grew up with six sisters (who were among the bridesmaids) and wanted to celebrate the strength of female friendships by inviting these women from all areas of her life to be a part of her big day.
Homeland Photography’s Whitney Thetford, a mom of two toddlers and full-time lifestyle photographer, tells The Knot that it was clear that the love Carter felt for her friends was definitely mutual.
“This was the largest wedding party I have ever photographed solo, no second shooter or assistant,” Thetford says. “These ladies knew it was about Casmé and Gary that weekend, and they bent over backwards to give her everything she envisioned! No drama, no fights, just 34 God-loving women celebrating their friend’s love story.”
Carter met all of her bridesmaids over the last 20 years, she told USA Today; in that time, she’s lived in eight different cities and traveled a ton, which explains why she was able to meet so many people
“A lot of these young ladies I met either on set somewhere, or at church, at work, performing, or in college,” she said, adding, “I didn’t do this for any coverage or anything. I had them there because those ladies deserved to be there.” (It should be noted that Carter’s unusual wedding party has caught the eye of numerous outlets, and even celebrities like India Arie are fans of how she’s brought such a powerful group of women together; the singer gave Carter a shoutout that’s already been viewed over 600,000 times.)
Importantly, in order to make sure that everyone would be able to participate without breaking the bank, Carter kept her directions for her bridesmaids super simple, with no mandatory events or even bridesmaids dress. She simply asked everyone to wear a neutral color, light makeup, and red lipstick.
“It wasn’t about the money, it was about the fellowship,” she said. Many of the women who didn’t know each other prior to the wedding are now bonded for life, according to the bride.
Thetford tells us a similar story: “[This was] my absolute favorite wedding to shoot. Just a bunch of women who loved each other and were about lifting each other up. I tried to capture the real and authentic moments throughout the entire weekend, and felt more like a 35th bridesmaid versus the photographer.”
Carter’s now-husband didn’t have quite as expansive of a wedding party on his end—he stuck with a mere 12 groomsmen.