Spoiler alert. There’s no right or wrong answer.
It’s a question as old as time itself. One that has dogged the minds of brides for millennia and divided the heads and hearts of those around them. Queen Victoria pondered it, Monroe couldn’t decide, and Cleopatra plain gave up thinking about it.
But what did these famous brides, and today’s engaged girls, all have in common? None of them knew how many bridesmaids are too many to have on their wedding day. And it’s a tricky question. It truly is.
You want to have the best day ever, surrounded by your favorite people, and you don’t want any drama. And to achieve that, you need to pick the perfect group of maids and the right number of individuals. But when choosing your bridesmaids, it can feel like you’re picking teams on a soccer field, and eventually, someone will get left out.
We understand this situation all too well (trust us), and that’s why we want to guide you through this tricky process and hopefully answer a few vital questions along the way, in the hope that you come out the other side with at least a better idea of the numbers needed for your own squad.
What Is The Average Number Of Bridesmaids?
When it comes to the number of bridesmaids to have in a wedding ceremony, American brides tend to opt for a handful. A tight gang of 3 to 5 bridesmaids is the average size for a bridal party. But we’ll continue to reiterate one point as we go along, there is no right or wrong answer here. Yes, the average number of bridesmaids is usually less than six. But if you can’t even consider tying the knot without your seven dearest friends by your side, that’s ok.
Furthermore, this average is only an American statistic and doesn’t consider the ‘normal’ bridesmaids group size in Europe, for example. Over the pond, the average is much lower, and if you’re marrying in the UK, Germany, or France, it’s not uncommon to have three bridesmaids or fewer at formal weddings. So if you want to inject some European vibes into your maids’ selection, think quality, not quantity.
What Is the Maximum Number of Bridesmaids?
The answer to this question is multi-faceted and depends on how you’re choosing to wed. At one end of the scale, if you have an unlimited wedding budget, space and patience, there is no maximum number of bridesmaids for your “bride tribe”. However, this situation is rarely the case, and 168 bridesmaids walking down the aisle doesn’t happen all that often.
And for us, this has as much to do with sentimentality as it has to do with the additional cost. Because at the end of the day, it’s an honor to be selected as someone’s bridesmaid and a real highlight in any friendship dynamic or family history.
Therefore, while it makes for some amazing wedding photos, to choose more than ten bridesmaids would feel a little less special and a lot more scattergun in approach.
Can You Have 2 Maids of Honor?
Again, this is down to personal style and choice, and actually, it’s not uncommon. Modern brides are more than happy to rip up the rule book these days and select two maids of honor for their big day. But if you’re considering a duo or even multiple MOH’s for your wedding, first ask yourself why?
The Maid of Honor is a big deal, and it’s literally an honor to be chosen as one. So, should that privilege be shared, halved? And why are you sharing it?
If it’s because you have a best friend from high-school, and a best friend from college, and they are both absolutely equal in your affection, then honor them both.
Or if you’ve grown up as part of a little trio of friends or sisters, and you’ve always talked together about how you want to be each other’s Maid of Honors’, then that’s adorable; you should totally do that.
But, if you’ve already picked your maid of honor, and now one of your friends or relatives is pressurizing you into selecting them too, don’t just say yes. The person you pick should not only be someone you love but also trust. There are a ton of responsibilities involved with being a maid of honor, and you need to feel as though the person you pick is up to the task.
Will they be able to organize the other bridesmaids? Do you trust them to be by your side during the big day and put out any fires (literal and figurative)? Can they arrange a booming bachelorette party or bridal shower that doesn’t suck? Think hard on these questions, and consider if that person pushing you to pick them is really the right candidate for the job.
Does It Matter How Many Groomsmen There Are?
If you want your group shots in your wedding photos to be completely symmetrical, then yes. If you’re organizing some kind of dance routine involving your whole wedding party, then yeah, it might matter. But otherwise, no, it does not matter how many groomsmen there are, compared to the number of bridesmaids.
In a traditional wedding, grooms walked down the aisle arm in arm with the bridesmaids, and therefore you needed equal numbers of grooms to bridesmaids to do this. But during modern weddings, this is often not the case anymore, so the necessity to be matchy-matchy is gone.
However, make sure to speak to your groom and decide together roughly how many people you’re going to have in the entire wedding party. Otherwise, it may look a bit uneven if they ask fifteen of their closest friends to be by their side, and you’ve only asked Susan from work to be your bridesmaid.
I Was Their Bridesmaid, Do They Need to Be Mine?
This is a common query and one that can certainly cause some stress. But we’re here to say that there is no rule stating that just because you were their bridesmaid, they now have to be yours. And frankly, it would be weird if there was!
Choosing one’s potential bridesmaids is a very personal choice and a really fun decision to make. Therefore, it should never be influenced by guilt or a sense of duty. If your friend selected you five or six years ago to be her bridesmaid, but since then, you’ve lost touch or any sense of connection, don’t feel obliged to choose her to be yours. She’d probably think it was weird and kind of a pain anyway!
Equally, if someone in your current friendship group chose you, you don’t need to return the favor. All weddings are not the same, and you may want just family by your side on your wedding day. Or maybe you’re planning an intimate wedding, with only a handful of guests, and just a maid of honor, with no bridesmaids. However you’re marrying, choose your bridesmaids not by obligation, but with your heart and head.
How Many Bridesmaids Do You Need?
Need, and want, are two very different things. However, the general rule of thumb is the number of bridesmaids you need is usually based on the size of your wedding.
Having a larger than average number of bridesmaids would certainly be advantageous if you’re throwing a large occasion with a giant wedding guest list since you’ll have eyes and ears everywhere, helping, advising, and generally making sure everything goes off without a hitch.
On the flip side, intimate celebrations do not demand much attention, and therefore you only need as many bridesmaids as you want.
How to Decide the Number of Bridesmaids
For an average-sized wedding, emotions aside, look at the possible bridesmaid roles that will need to be filled throughout the day and let this dictate your final number of maids.
Do you have someone to lace you up on your actual wedding day? Do you have someone responsible who’ll keep track of the schedule? Do you have a bathroom buddy? If you haven’t got that special someone, i.e., a bridesmaid you’re comfortable with when it comes to helping you in the bathroom, then please check out Bridal Buddy. It’s a game-changer!
Most importantly, you’ll need emotional support from someone who’s happy to listen, knows when to be 100% honest, and who’ll (attempt to) keep everything drama-free. Moreover, remember that it’s nice (not obligatory) to include brothers and sisters as bridesmaids and groomsmen.
Therefore, if you’ve already chosen 5 of your loved ones to be on your list of bridesmaids, maybe consider ordering another bachelorette T-shirt for your future sister-in-law. She’ll certainly appreciate being so involved, and your future family will love how inclusive you’re already being.
Remember: This Is Your Wedding!
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: it’s your dream wedding. And because it’s your wedding, you can’t have too many bridesmaids. There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to your big day, and you’re free to pick and choose whichever traditions you wish to adhere to during this exciting moment.
And, if you don’t want any bridesmaids at all, that’s totally cool. We really love the trend for ‘bridesmen‘! So if you’re thinking, hey, I don’t really have any female friends, and in reality, all my friends are guys. Then, I guess all you need to consider is, how many ‘Men of Honor’ is too many?