When my then fiance/now husband & I started discussing the size of bridal parties with his family last fall, we quickly realized there was a difference in matters of how big is just right.
What's the average number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? my mother-in-law asked.
About 8 to 10 people, I said.
They. were. shocked! In the South, once you included siblings, maybe your closest cousin or two, plus your longtime friends & college roomies, you're probably looking at a double-digit bridal party. For Mr. D & his mama, who originally hail from the Midwest, they decided 4 or 5 was about average for weddings they'd seen or been a part of.
So what is the best size for your bridal party? Although space, money & resources can quickly add up with a larger group of bmaids & gmen, let's put that aside for now & ask yourself this question:
Who do I want walking beside me in the months leading up to our wedding & who do I want standing beside me as we say our vows?
When you think about what you're asking your bridal party to do - support you, cheer for your upcoming marriage, help with wedding planning/tasks - & how asking them to be in your wedding reflects just how deep & meaningful your relationship is with them, it helps when deciding to ask or not to ask.
What if I feel like it's simply expected for me to ask this friend? Maybe you were in their wedding. Or y'all were really close buds years ago. Are they automatically in your bridal party? My hubby & I asked 8 girls & guys to stand with us on November 9 (#ourbigSouthernwedding, anyone?). It was almost 9 - I thought about asking another friend because it felt expected, although our relationship had become distanced over time. But we realized that wasn't going to help our friendship or our wedding party. It would only add stress in ways that no one wanted or needed. Do you actually want this friend to celebrate your marriage with you? Then ask away!
Should all of our siblings be included in the bridal party? Realizing family ties are different than friendships formed throughout our life, think about it like this: "Will my brother/sister/soon-to-be in-law be crushed if they're not a groomsman/bridesmaid?" For those with laaaarge families, you may just have your closest siblings at the altar, or those that are unmarried/don't have kids/still enjoying being in weddings. Remember, your wedding is a family affair & a time for your loved ones to gather with you & toast to your marriage. If a family relationship will be drastically impacted for the worse by not including a sibling, it may be wise to ask them.
Do we need to have an equal number of bridesmaids & groomsmen? I've had brides ask if having an uneven number in the bridal party will throw things off or look bad in photos. Honestly, it doesn't! Whether you have 1 bmaid standing next to you or 5 groomsmen next to your fiance, they are there because that person has a special place in your life & they are important to y'all. And that's what matters, & what will shine through, in your wedding photos.
Do y'all have any other suggestions for selecting your bridal party? How did you decide on your bridesmaids & groomsmen?
Happy wedding planning!