How Big Should Your Wedding Bridal Party Be?
It’s your wedding day. You are meeting your mate for life at the altar, and when you look around, who do you see? Hopefully you will be surrounded by your bridesmaids and groomsmen – the people who are there to stand up with you and support your marriage from this day forward.
And how many loved ones should stand up with you and your betrothed? No surprise here – as many as you want! If you are unsure of the number, I suggest keeping it somewhat proportional to the number of invited guests. If your total guest list is 30, you may not want to choose eight maids and eight groomsmen.
That doesn’t mean you have to have eight of each if your guest list is 100-plus. Further, don’t be afraid to venture outside the norm if your situation calls for it. A friend of mine recently attended the wedding of a bride who had 22 bridesmaids out of 300 guests. But before you start asking all your friends, consider the following:
Cost of A Wedding Party
As always, think about the cost first. Remember that the more wedding attendants you have, the more it will cost you. And it does add up – flowers for each wedding attendant, gifts, transportation, etc. Logistically, think about the size of your venue and where you plan to get ready to ensure there is enough space to accommodate everyone.
Pleasing Your Wedding Attendants
Another thing you should consider is the consensus factor. Hopefully your wedding party will support all of your decisions along the way, including attire, but you should consider how difficult it might be to delight the masses before committing to a large group. Or if you really want your 10 best friends, be flexible on things like accessories and shoes. I let my bridesmaids choose their own shoes – their personalities were evident, they were all comfortable, and I didn’t love my photos any less!
Family. If possible, try to include your family, and not just your side but also your in-laws. It is a meaningful way to honor your new family members. Siblings and cousins give the event a family feel too. And parents are also a great option! I have seen several fathers stand up with the groom.
Other Possible Roles for Your Wedding Party
Which brings me to multiple VIPs. If you are blessed with many people to recognize on your wedding day, think about other fitting roles such as usher, junior bridesmaid and groomsman, flower girl, ring bearer, wedding reader, and religious roles like the presenting of gifts, the lighting of candles or the holding of the chuppah. There are also things like distributing programs and manning the guestbook. (But I’ll be honest – I couldn’t ask anyone to hang out with the guestbook.)
On the flip side, if there are so many people to honor that it becomes overwhelming, then go solo. If it is just the two of you and the minister/justice at the altar, then all eyes will be focused on the union and not the fidgety bridesmaid. Ask a couple relatives or close friends to witness the license after the ceremony.
Non-traditional Wedding Attendants
So you have no sisters and your best friend is a guy. Or vice versa, you are without brothers and your best friend is a gal. No problem! You don’t have to be traditional. In those cases, love and friendship win!
Or what if your best friend has four legs? I love it when pets become part of the ceremony. A dogs trot down the aisle to deliver the ring is always a hoot! However, a runaway pet is not. Don’t force your pet down the aisle if he or she isn’t confident and well trained.
Wedding Bridal Party Responsibilities
Last but certainly not least, consider your desires against the financial and other responsibilities you are asking from your potential wedding attendants. One of our ushers was preparing for graduation and not quite gainfully employed during the months preceding our wedding. It was important to us that he be part of our wedding, so we paid for his tux.
Also think about your expectations when it comes to showers, the bachelor/bachelorette parties and the wedding. It is also traditionally the role of your best man/maid of honor and wedding bridal party to organize the pre-wedding events and assist on the big day. Are these people going to be helpful and organized, or are they habitually late and forgetful? Do they live far away or outside of the country? All things you may want to consider.
I am fortunate to have many best friends in my life, so there were many people I would have been honored to have stand up with me. But I didn’t want many more than five bridesmaids. I also gained a sister-in-law. In the end, I chose seven bridesmaids out of our 200-person guest list. They have all had a great effect on my life! Further, two of them have really put in the time over the years, so I wanted to honor them both. Since one was single and one married, they became my maid and matron of honor. Who says you can’t have both?