How Many Bridesmaids Can You Have and How to Choose Wisely

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By Eivan’s Wedding Team

Walking down the aisle is every girl’s dream. Most of us already know who our bridesmaids are going to be long before we even met Mr. Right. Now that your big day is finally here, it’s time to decide, out of all your friends and family, who gets to make it to the final list.

Choosing your bridal party is one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make. Your bridesmaids will be your support system, helping you to get every item on the to-do list done so that you don’t get overwhelmed.

The size of your wedding party, including bridesmaids, can be flexible and primarily depends on the total number of guests on your wedding list. The average number of bridesmaids in a wedding party is usually between three to five, but you may decide to include more or less. This decision could be informed by the size of your wedding ceremony, as a larger wedding may accommodate more bridesmaids and groomsmen. It’s important to consider balancing the number of bridesmaids with the number of groomsmen, aiming for an even number to enhance symmetry during the ceremony. However, this is not a hard rule, and modern weddings often feature bridesmen and a best man on either side. When selecting your bridesmaids, consider your good friends and how many people you feel close to. Remember that bridesmaids typically have responsibilities like attending the rehearsal dinner and potentially buying their own dresses, which may affect their willingness to participate. A wedding planner can provide valuable advice tailored to your specific situation. Lastly, keep in mind the ushers and other wedding guests, who also contribute to the overall size of the wedding.

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Generally, there aren’t any fixed rules as to how many bridesmaids you can have. Whatever number of bridesmaids you decide to have, it is a personal choice. But, here are some tips to help you decide on how to choose your bridesmaids.

How to Choose Your Bridesmaids

The tradition of having a wedding party may have originated from ancient Roman law which required weddings to have at least 10 witnesses present. As time went on, this requirement to have a bridal party at the wedding became a tradition infused with cultural beliefs and superstition.

For example, in the old days, the bridesmaids and groomsmen had to wear identical clothes as the bride and groom to confuse evil spirits who may want to harm the couple. Much later, the Victorians introduced white as the official color of the bridal party and the bridesmaids had to wear dresses similar to that of the bride.

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Role of the Bridesmaids

Fortunately, modern tradition has made a shift from the old ways where the bride was obscured by her bridesmaids, to a position where she is the only star shining at her wedding. Traditionally, bridesmaids were women who were chosen to tend to the bride, a role that hasn’t changed much over the course time.

In modern times, the bridesmaids will possibly be your close friends, sister-in-law, and relatives. These are people who you can rely on for emotional, and in some cases, financial support. Your bridesmaids will help you with the wedding planning and will help the maid of honor plan any other associate pre-wedding day events such as the bridal shower and the bachelorette party. They will also come in handy during the big day to make sure everything works out as planned.

Next, let’s look at some advantages and disadvantages of having bridesmaids.

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  • Advantages

Having your best friends stand with you on your special day is undoubtedly one of the biggest advantages of having bridesmaids. Having their support, encouragement, and sharing in your joy will make the day even more special. Plus, you get the assurance that your wedding day will be a success because they will have your back behind the scenes making sure that everything goes as planned.

Another advantage is that they will give you all the emotional support that you need during the planning of the big day. Accepting to be someone’s life-mate is a big decision, and sometimes doubt and anxiety can get the best of you. Your closest friends will help you get through all of the emotional stress that comes about during the planning process. They may also take over some of the responsibilities so that you get some space to breathe and take it easy.

  • Disadvantages

Deciding who among your closest friends and relatives will be in your bridal party can be quite stressful. Realistically, it’s not possible to include everyone, and more often than not, your choice will not go down well with some of your friends. The risk of creating tension between family members and your besties is one of the main reasons why some brides choose not to have bridesmaids at all.

Your bridesmaids may also have such divergent personalities that it becomes a major headache trying to manage them. One way to deal with this is to create time for social interaction like a lunch date that doesn’t involve discussing the wedding. This social time can encourage them to know one another so that it creates harmony within the group.

Another disadvantage is that while your bridal party will cater to the expenses of buying their bridesmaid dresses, hair, and makeup, you’ll have to pay for any personalized gifts that you decide to give them. It can get quite expensive depending on the number of attendants you have in your lineup.

woman in white wedding dress holding bouquet of flowers

How Many Bridesmaids Can You Have?

When it comes to deciding how many attendants you can have in your line up, there is no set number. One way to do it is to pick a number based on the number of guests that you’ll have. For instance, if you’re planning a formal wedding with 200 or more guests, a large wedding party might be okay. In this scenario, you could incorporate flower girls to go along with the ring bearer.

On the other hand, if you’re looking at having a small intimate affair with just 100 guests or less, then you could consider a number below five or none at all with just your maid of honor. On average, you’ll find that most brides choose to have between 4 to 6 bridesmaids. Also, it is not necessary to match the number of bridesmaids to the groomsmen. It might look well organized to have equal numbers on both sides, but you shouldn’t stress over it.

How Do You Choose?

How do you cut down your list of potential bridesmaids? To begin with, you should take some time to consider your choices before you ask any of them. Remember, when you ask someone to be your bridesmaid, you’ll not be able to take back your ask once you get over your initial excitement.

Next, you may want to consider the depth of your relationship with each of the people on your list. Ideally, the people you choose should be people you can talk to and confide in even after the wedding. For some people, like your future sister, it will be an opportunity to develop a relationship and friendship during the planning process.

Choose reliable people who can be honest with you and are able to step up to their responsibilities. Also, be realistic about your expectations so that you avoid conflicts down the road. For instance, if you want to include your high school bestie who lives out of state, it would be unrealistic to expect them to be heavily involved in the wedding planning. Likewise, you should be sensitive to the costs that they are expected to foot, like the bridesmaid’s dress, by choosing something that everybody can pay for comfortably.

The process will also be easy if you are honest with them about what you expect from them and how much they will spend on expenses for their dresses and the like. If you don’t set your expectations early on in the process, you may find your bridesmaids dropping off the lineup unexpectedly and it’s likely to disorganize you.

Leaving People Out

Unfortunately, there will be some friends and family who will be left unhappy when they realize they will not be part of your bridal party. You should be confident at the onset that you don’t owe anybody that position, and that you shouldn’t feel guilty about leaving some of your friends out.

However, there are different ways in which you can handle it so that you don’t lose a friendship over the wedding. One way that worked for me was a lunch date with my cousin where she explained to me how she chose her bridesmaids. It made me feel valued and that our relationship was important enough for her to come to me and explain it to me.

Another way is to give the friend or family member an important role in the wedding such as making a toast or introducing someone who will make a toast. You could also have them dress in the wedding colors or in a certain way that makes them feel as if they are a part of the wedding. Also, make sure that the maid of honor invites them to pre-wedding events such as the bridal shower so that they participate in the wedding journey with you.

How To Manage Your Team

Once you’ve settled on your bridal party, it will be a great idea to get a headstart on some of the items in your to-do list like the bridesmaids‘ gowns. It is important to consult with your bridal party on the dresses since they will be expected to foot that bill themselves. You could discuss the various dress options and how they will complement your wedding dress and the overall color theme of the wedding.

Settle on the best design that everyone is comfortable with early in the process so that it gives everyone time to make the purchase and to do the necessary fittings and alterations in good time. Delegate some wedding planning duties and responsibilities to your bridal team which they could help you with, in preparation for the wedding.

It will be helpful for everyone if the bride and groom have clear ideas of how they want the wedding to be like. In this way, you will avoid much of the indecisiveness that causes tension down the road, and the planning process will run smoothly.

It’s your wedding and you are the only one who gets to decide on how you want your big day to be like. You are also the only one who can decide who gets to be your bridesmaid and why. I can only hope that you get bridesmaids who you can rely on to support you and help to make your day a success, who love you and are excited for you, who will encourage you, and who will stand with you during that season of your life.

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