Tell us if this scenario sounds familiar: You sit down to decide who you'll ask to be a bridesmaid. You begin with your close friends. Then, you add relatives like sisters, cousins, and nieces. Next comes all the ladies who have asked you to be a bridesmaid, high-school friends you've stayed in touch with, 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? How many bridesmaids is too many bridesmaids? And how do you edit the number of bridesmaids on your list without feeling guilty or hurting anyone's feelings?
First off – yes, it is possible to have too many bridesmaids. Every bride has a different expectation for the bridesmaids on their big day – and depending on your personality, you may feel overwhelmed by a different number of bridesmaids. For example, an extroverted bride may feel right at home with 10 ladies serving as bridesmaid and groomsmen of an equal number, while a quieter bride may be more comfortable with just four. Wedding planner Jordan Payne says you'll know you have too many groomsmen and bridesmaid roles 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 shares.
A large bridal party can lead to more questions, headaches, and drama than a smaller, more manageable group of bridesmaids. From selecting and ordering bridesmaid dresses, to planning the bachelorette party, to getting ready on the morning of the wedding, too many 'maids can cause more stress than they may be worth. After all, some of your girlfriends may even prefer to just attend the wedding as a guest! 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. When the ceremony is over, all of your 'maids and friends will be celebrating you on the same dance floor – it's okay to not have everyone be part of the wedding party!
All right, so if you decide your list of bridesmaids is too large, you're probably thinking... now what? Keep these guidelines in mind when narrowing down the wedding party for your big day:
- Remember: Not all of 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. Think about who will likely be in your life three, five, 10, even 50 years from now. Newer friends are likely to understand that they weren't asked to be in the wedding party, just like older friends may feel the same way if you don't talk more than once a year.
- 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. While it can feel like you need to have both sides match in terms of number, it's definitely not a requirement! Include those who you want to include, not those you feel you need to include.
- 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, they are included in pre-wedding parties, and they're listed in the program. Honor these house-party members by asking them to wear dresses of their choice in your wedding color palette 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. Curious how many groomsmen you should have? Consider the same advice above for the opposite sex and once you choose your groomsmen, find out how to keep them happy as well!