The size of your bridal party is something that can’t be left until the last minute. The choice of how big your bridal party is can affect what venue you choose, your budget plans, even the size of the reception. It’s worth thinking about as soon as you start your wedding planning. What size wedding party works best with the ceremony you want to have? Here are some considerations when you’re thinking about the size of your wedding party.
Small weddings: Just the maid of honor and best man.
If your wedding has under 50 guests, you’d be best off with just the maid of honor and best man, possibly one more attendant on either side. Any more and it will start to feel like there are more people in your bridal party than are watching the wedding!
Medium weddings: 1-6 bridesmaids and groomsmen
If your wedding has a hundred guests or so, anywhere from one to six attendants on either side is traditional for a normal bridal party size. If you have a venue in mind already, imagine the logistics of your attendants: is there enough room for them all to stand? Are there facilities for them to get dressed? You’ll have to fit the wedding party to the space or vice versa.
Large weddings: 6-10
For an extremely formal ceremony like a large Catholic wedding, with 200 guests or more, you can go all the way up to ten or even twelve attendants on each side. If you’re considering twelve, though, keep in mind that means there will be 26 people standing in front of the congregation on the day, and only two of them will be getting married. That also means 24 significant others of your wedding attendants will also be attending, which makes the final guest count even bigger.
Not everyone has to be in the party
Sure, you only want three bridesmaids, but you have two best friends and two sisters and your maiden aunt who’s like a third sister and… and before you know it, you have five bridesmaids. Don’t be afraid to limit the size of your wedding party and give those who didn’t make the cut other positions of honor. They can be ushers, man the guest book, deliver a reading, or sing a song. It’s possible to keep people from feeling left out without having a huge bridal party.
Gender swaps are okay
If your best and oldest friend, the one you would choose for your maid of honor, happens to be a man, that’s okay. And if the groom’s eldest sister is his choice for best man, that’s lovely as well. There’s nothing wrong with having a Man of Honor (wearing a suit or tie to match the bridesmaids) and a Best Woman (wearing a black dress or even a tux to match the groomsmen).
They’re not rules. They’re more like guidelines
If you have twenty guests at your wedding but you really want five attendants, or you have 300 guests but you only want two attendants, do what makes you happy. These guidelines are intended to help those who really aren’t sure what they want, or those who are concerned about traditional etiquette rules. As long as you and your partner can agree on the number of attendants, there’s no need to bring anyone else into the decision.