Tell us if this scenario sounds familiar: You sit down to decide who you'll ask to be a bridesmaid, and begin with your closest girlfriends. Then, you add relatives like sisters, cousins, and nieces. Next comes all the ladies who asked you to be a bridesmaid, and girlfriends or wives of your brothers and guy friends. Before you know it, you've got a list of 20 women in your bridal party! But is there such thing as too many bridesmaids? And how do you edit your list without feeling guilty or hurting anyone's feelings?
First off – yes, it is possible to have too many bridesmaids. Although each bride may feel overwhelmed by a different number of 'maids (an extroverted bride may feel right at home with 10 ladies, while a quieter bride may be more comfortable with four), wedding planner Jordan Payne said you'll know you have too many when you can't keep track of the list. "If you can't quickly remember who are your closest friends, you may have cast too wide of a net when selecting your bridal party," Payne says.
Consider: a large bridal party can lead to more questions, headaches, and drama than a smaller, more managable group. From selecting and ordering bridesmaid dresses, to planning the bachelorette party, to getting ready the morning of the wedding, too many 'maids can cause more stress than they're worth. And don't forget about venue restrictions – your ceremony site may not accommodate a large group.
For brides worried about hurting their friends' feelings, Payne explains that having a large bridal party can cause even more disappointment among ladies who weren't invited. After all, if 15 women made the cut, why weren't they asked?
Ultimately, your wedding party should consist of your dearest friends who will help you celebrate (stress-free!) on your wedding day. "There should be some level of exclusivity to a bridal party to make it a special moment for you and your closest ladies," Payne shares.
All right, so you know your list of bridesmaids is too large... now what? Keep these guidelines in mind when narrowing down your wedding party:
- Remember: Not all your friends are your best friends. "Consider which friends have always been there for you and supported you and your fiancé throughout your relationship," Payne recommends.
- You do not need to invite someone to be a bridesmaid just because she invited you, and you don't need to have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen.
- To recognize and involve ladies who didn't make the cut, Payne suggests having a "house party." This group of ladies does not stand with the bride and bridesmaids at the altar, but they may perform tasks like manning the guest book, are included in pre-wedding parties, and they're listed in the program. Honor them by asking them to wear dresses in your wedding color(s), or giving them special accessories like jewelry or a corsage.
Once you've finalized your list of bridesmaids, it's up to you to keep them happy! Click here to discover the expectations every bride should have for their 'maids.
Opening photo by Davide DePas