Okay, so you may have four sisters, 11 female cousins, and two best friends but 17 bridesmaids is out of control! Wedding party size is a tricky business. So often it comes down to including people or not including people based on unwritten rules, family guilt, obligation, etc. The bottom line is, there is such thing as too many bridesmaids and/or groomsmen.
Your mother insists that you include your cousins among the mix. You were a bridesmaid in your friend’s wedding and it would seem wrong not to reciprocate. It can get to be frustrating and confusing to choose your wedding party. But as you do so, you need to keep the logistics of wedding party size in mind. There are a number of things that vary significantly based on the size of the wedding party. Here are a few examples:
1. Venue. Where is the ceremony? How is the ceremony area to be set up? Are you getting married in a tiny chapel, a small rose garden, etc.? Is there enough room for all of the people you hope to ask to stand up with you? Often times couples don’t consider their ceremony location when choosing attendants and the rehearsal proves quite interesting when trying to fit 11 people on each side of a small set of altar steps or inside a gazebo in a garden wedding. What about how it photographs with all those people squished up there? Think it through.
2. Personalities. You, yourself will have a big personality on your wedding day, it’s a lot of emotions. Do you really want 11 other personalities all over the place. Having lots of attendants can create chaos in terms of people following directions, getting along, etc.
3. Logistics. Purse and simple – a lot of people means a lot of details. Two bridesmaids means two dresses, two pairs of shoes, two sets of jewelry to figure out, two people to fix their hair and makeup, two people getting ready with you. Nine bridesmaids means nine of all those things, nine people you have to make sure are getting their dresses ordered, nine people you have to give guidelines to for shoes or, worse, nine people who all have to agree on one pair of shoes, nine of everything. It’s just a lot of details.
4. Money. More attendants costs more money. More bouquets, more boutonnieres, a larger car, van, bus or whatever if you are having group transport, a more complicated head table which can often cost more. (For tips on how to set up your head table, click here) If you are giving attendants gifts, obviously there is that to consider in cost. It just costs more money.
5. Consistency. It is much harder to maintain consistency in your attendants when there are more of them. The bride can also begin to feel overwhelmed because there is a sense of responsibility she often feels for her bridesmaids. To read my article on bridesmaid consistency issues, click here.
6. Focus. The focus of the wedding needs to be about the bride and groom. An army of attendants can take away from that focus both literally and figuratively. Literally, you have a giant wedding photo with 20 people lined up, two of which are the happy couple. Figuratively, the bride and groom often feel that they are herding their attendants and keeping everyone on track and that can get exhausting with so many people.
In the end, you want to choose the people who are most important to you and who you can’t imagine getting ready for your wedding without. And while it may seem unkind to not include everyone, the alternative can be complicated. So think about other ways that some of those people might be able to be involved. If you’re not including children in the ceremony, you could ask some relatives to be responsible for the rings. You could ask people to serve as ushers, readers, etc. Perhaps someone is a musician and could, instead, play or sing something for the ceremony or reception. Think creatively about how to include the people you would like to include while maintaining your sanity for the big day.