The role of a bridesmaid is an important one in a wedding. Bridesmaids, along with the maid of honor, play a big supporting role in ensuring your wedding goes off without a hitch.
Bridesmaids offer emotional backing, assist in organizing the bridal shower and bachelorette party, attend pre-wedding events like the rehearsal dinner and dress fitting, help coordinate the wedding day, and much more.
Being asked to be a bridesmaid is also an honor for the bridesmaid, to be considered to be such a pivotal part of your special day. So, considering how valuable a bridesmaid is, how many bridesmaids should you have?
How many bridesmaids?
Most commonly, bridesmaids are best friends, closest friends, sisters, nieces, or a favorite cousin. The average number of bridesmaids is 4-6 bridesmaids, however, this really depends on the size of your wedding.
Commonly there are 4-6 bridesmaids and one maid of honor or matron of honor. For a larger wedding of 200 or more people, that number can go right up to even 10 bridesmaids. In smaller weddings, there may fewer bridesmaids, usually 2-3.
Though the size of the wedding can play a part in deciding the optimal number of bridesmaids, it really comes down to one most important factor – Your personal choice. How many do you want? Nowadays, a modern wedding can be anything you want it to be. Even if you want zero bridesmaids, it’s up to you!
Choosing for the right reasons
When selecting your bridal party, think about your expectations about the role you want your bridal party to play. You need to decide upfront what support you want, so you can pick the right people for the roles you have in mind, and communicate what your expectations of that role will be.
It can be stressful choosing your bridesmaids because sometimes there are close friends and family members who have assumed they will be getting this role, without being asked.
Ensure that you really do choose those that you want for your day without letting the thoughts and opinions of others cloud your judgment.
Weddings and wedding planning can be deeply emotional, stressful – and long! So consider this too, so you pick those that you think can stand by your side throughout the entire process and be reliable and dependable.
The number of bridesmaids you choose has an impact on the formality of your wedding, at least in the ‘feel’ of it it. For a formal wedding, it is much more common to have more bridesmaids, while in an intimate wedding setting there are usually fewer.
- Do the people you are considering have the time to commit to your wedding? If your expectations are that they’ll take an active role in planning the wedding, then you need to communicate this at the outset, so the potential bridesmaid can decide if it’ll work for them.
- How will the potential group of bridesmaids work together? You don’t want to be dealing with any tension or drama on your wedding day.
- The bridal party members are not the only roles you need to fill, so if you feel guilty about a friend who doesn’t ‘make the cut’, could they be suitable as your MC a wedding usher, doing a reading during the wedding ceremony, or even acting as a witness and signing the register. If you have a little sister or someone young that you want to make a part of the wedding party, they could be a junior bridesmaid or a flower girl.
- Do you want to choose an honorary bridesmaid instead? This role is less involved than a traditional bridesmaid.
The logistics of having a large bridal party
If you are going to have a lot of bridesmaids – think through the logistics carefully.
The size of the bridal party affects the budget, timeline, and more. If you are having 10 for example, that’s at least 11 people to get hair and makeup done on the day. That’s 10 bridesmaid dresses and shoes for 10 different body types to think about. If your bridesmaids are buying their own dresses the budget won’t be as affected, but if you’re purchasing them all, it’s definitely something to think about!
Many bridesmaids mean a lot more time to get ready on the day too. Bridesmaids usually stay with the bride the night before – if you’re having a big bridal party, you might struggle to find somewhere you can all bunk down. You don’t want to isolate some of the bridesmaids by having them miss out on a sleepover.
As a bridesmaid, it could be a bit off-putting to hear you are one of 10. But there is always the option to say no to being a bridesmaid. But, at least there are lots of people to split the hen’s night organization with!
Costs of having a large wedding party
It’s important to take into account the various costs that come with having a large wedding party. Consider the following aspects before making your decision:
- Additional transport to the wedding – you might need to arrange/hire another car or two
- Flowers/buttonholes. Each bridesmaid bouquet can be expensive, so if you’re having 10 bridesmaids – it’s not an insignificant amount.
- Extra gifts and jewelry for each bridesmaid (often the gift for a bridesmaid is jewelry, hence why they share a bullet point)
- Photography – large wedding parties mean more time to pose, get round the photo locations, and more time taking photos
- Extra time and money for getting hair, makeup, and dressing done
Once you’ve got your list of potential bridesmaids sorted, it’s time to pop the bridesmaid question. There are many sweet ways to ask. Being a bridesmaid is a really big commitment for the potential person, so asking them for a special gift or token can be really appreciated.
Be prepared that someone may not say yes. A bridesmaid role is an expensive commitment as well as being very time-bound and not everyone will want to take on the job. Don’t be offended if you hear a no.
Addressing bridesmaid disappointment
It’s not uncommon for a bridesmaid to let you down during the wedding planning process. They may seem disinterested, overly busy, or even contribute to tension and conflict.
Wedding planning can be stressful, and people are only human. If you find yourself in this situation, have a conversation with your bridesmaid to understand their perspective. It’s possible they may regret taking on the responsibility and would prefer to attend the wedding as a guest instead. Offering them a way out can be beneficial for both parties.
In the event that you decide to relieve a bridesmaid of her duties, make sure to have a private and empathetic conversation. Keeping the discussion kind and understanding will help avoid burning bridges and maintain your relationship.
Selecting the ideal number of bridesmaids for your wedding is a deeply personal choice, influenced by various factors such as budget, venue size, and the size of your social circle. When choosing your bridesmaids, prioritize your closest relationships and consider alternative roles for those you can’t include in the bridal party.
Remember that the role of a bridesmaid is significant, and these individuals will be there to support and assist you throughout the wedding planning process. It’s essential to be understanding if someone declines the role or underperforms due to personal reasons.
Ultimately, the key to a successful wedding party lies in open communication, flexibility, and mutual understanding. By carefully considering the size and composition of your bridal party, you can create a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
For more bridesmaid information check out some of the following bridal party posts: