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Is a Big or Small Bridal Party Right for You?

You'll want to give this a close read before you start asking family and friends to be your bridesmaids.

Contributing Writer
bridesmaids
Photography by: M. K. Sadler

As you start planning your wedding, you'll quickly realize that there are no set rules to help determine the optimal size of your bridal party. Some women choose to have large parties consisting of friends, siblings, cousins, and in-laws. Others prefer a smaller party with just one or two loved ones. If you're trying to figure out exactly how many people should stand by your side on the big day, we've broken down the key factors to help you decide if a big or small group of 'maids is right for you. 

 

How to Have the Most Harmonious Group of Bridesmaids

 

Go Big If...

You Have a Large Friend Group

Does the thought of narrowing down your friend group make you cringe? Then having a larger wedding party may be the best choice. You'll be able to include all of your nearest and dearest—from your college roommate to your future sister-in-law—in the big day festivities. Plus, the decision may prevent hurt feelings within your social circle.

 

You Need Lots of Help

Balancing a full-time job, social obligations, and wedding planning can be extremely daunting, so many women rely on their bridesmaids for assistance, especially if they haven't hired a wedding planner. If you're planning lots of DIY projects and hands-on tasks, know that a larger bridal party generally equals more helpers.

 

You Have a Substantial Guest List

The size of your guest list may determine the size of your bridal party. For smaller weddings with 50 guests, choosing two to four bridesmaids should suffice. Weddings with more than 150 guests generally call for greater numbers of bridesmaids—typically anywhere from five to 10 women. There are two reasons for this guideline. First, the ratio between guests and bridesmaids should feel proportional. Second, larger weddings require more hands on deck, and you'll want a sizeable group of women to split the responsibilities on the big day and at the events leading up to it. Of course, if you only want one person by your side, trust your gut no matter how many guests are attending the party.

 

4 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Bridesmaids Way Before the Wedding

 

Go Small If...

You're Looking to Avoid Any Drama

Larger groups of people create a greater potential for drama, no matter how close you and your girls may be. If you're turned off by disagreements and conflicting opinions, you may get irritated with managing a big bridal party. Keep the tension down by sticking with a few of your closest friends.

 

You Want to Cut Costs

Between the ceremony dresses and the pre-wedding festivities, there are many costs associated with being a bridesmaid. But the bride-to-be also has to shell out for her 'maids, since she traditionally pays for their bouquets, transportation, and gifts. Having a modest party is a viable way to cut costs and adhere to a budget.

 

You Value Organization

Thanks to conflicting schedules and time constraints, coordinating a coffee date with your best friend might seem impossible. Now think about adding the schedules of your other bridesmaids into the mix, and you're looking at a guaranteed headache. For the sake of organization, some brides may prefer to have a smaller bridal party, so they won't have to deal with making travel arrangements, setting meeting times, and divvying up responsibilities between multiple people.