Your wedding is a special day, and at those monumental moments, you want friends and family around to share your joy. On top of that, you might also choose to have a wedding party. The whole point of bridesmaids and groomsmen is to support and celebrate the happy couple. More than just attending the ceremony, your wedding party helps during the planning, plans pre-wedding parties and showers, and stands next to you in support at the altar.
But it can be difficult to choose how big your wedding crew will be. On top of deciding who to include, you also have to consider budget constraints, and if you want the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen.
Bonus Tip: If you have an uneven wedding party, have one group already waiting at the altar—and let the other half walk down the aisle solo.
You might be panicking, “But how big does my wedding party need to be?” And truthfully, it doesn’t matter as long as you’ve carefully chosen a close group who will support you. If it really doesn’t sound that simple, consider our guidelines for choosing the right number below. These scenarios will help make the decision easier for you!
No Wedding Party
Sometimes, having a wedding party can feel like playing favorites. While that might not be the case, it can still be perceived that way and invite unnecessary drama into your celebration. If you have no idea how to narrow down your list—then don’t pick anyone! Just keep it about you and your fiancé, and skip bridesmaids and groomsmen altogether. Plus, the fewer people you have to coordinate, the easier your planning process should be.
Bonus Tip: You can still have a maid of honor or best man if you have a really close friend or family member.
If you go this route, still consider who you want to attend your bachelor or bachelorette parties. The good news is, with no wedding party, your guest list can include anyone you want it to and you can pick all your favorites!
No wedding party is ideal if…
- You want a small wedding
- You’re not sure who to pick
- You plan to elope
Small Wedding Party
Maybe you have a small, close-knit group of friends and it’s easy for you to choose bridesmaids and groomsmen. That’s great! There are still plenty of other benefits to keeping the party to a minimum. A larger group inevitably means a higher cost. While it’s true that most bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, and most groomsmen their tuxes—a wedding party isn’t totally free for you.
You might find yourself contributing a little bit to the costs of dresses and tuxes, as a small, “Thank you” to those in the group. Plus, more people means a larger rehearsal dinner, and perhaps a larger vehicle to transport everyone to and from the venue—overall, adding to the cost.
Keeping your party small blends both of the worlds together—you still have a support group without too many additional costs.
A small wedding party is ideal if…
- You’re having a destination wedding
- You want to keep costs low
- You don’t have a long guest list
Medium Wedding Party
Maybe three people isn’t enough for your wedding party. After all, if you have two siblings and two close friends, you’re already at four! There’s nothing wrong with adding more people to your crew. As we’ve said before, consider both your budget, and the budget of those you’ll ask you join your party.
A medium-sized wedding crew is perfect for most venues, and most wedding styles. There are just enough bridesmaids and groomsmen to take fun group pictures—but not so many that you have to budget extra time in the ceremony and rehearsal to account for everyone.
A medium wedding party is ideal if…
- You’re having a local wedding
- Your friends and family can afford it
- You have designated planners for any pre-wedding parties or showers
Large Wedding Party
There is a certainly a time and a place for a large wedding party! If you have so many friends and family members that you can’t narrow the list down—don’t do it! Plan for a long ceremony so that everyone gets the chance to walk down the aisle, and potentially participate in the ceremony if they can sing or play an instrument.
As you might imagine, it can be challenging to find a dress style that flatters seven or more bridesmaids. That’s a lot of different styles and personalities, and they can’t all be captured in one dress. We recommend getting a little adventurous with your dresses. After all, they’ll all be standing together and some diversity will make for stunning photos!
A large wedding party is ideal if…
- You have lots of friends and family
- Your venue has the space
- You want an elaborate ceremony
Not everyone can afford to be in a wedding, and not everyone will have the time. So always consider that when asking friends and family. This might be a good thing, because it can help you narrow down your long list of friends.
Of course, if it’s really too hard to choose your wedding party, you can always elope! Have you ever been to a wedding with a large crew? What about no wedding party at all?