How Many Bridesmaids is Too Many?

When you started your list of potential bridesmaids, it included your best friend from elementary school, your college roommate, your sister…and then your office bestie, your future sister-in-law, your cousin/BFF…and of course your summer sister from camp, your we-got-matching-tattoos-after-graduation pal from high school, and your got-sort-of-weird-after-college friend who you promised would be a bridesmaid. Sound familiar? Don’t sweat it! We’re here to help you figure out how many bridesmaids is too many — and how to whittle down your list if necessary!

bridesmaids list

Photo by Lauren Stirling Photography

On average, North American brides have between three and five bridesmaids. Some have way, way more than that; others forgo the bridal party altogether. If you’re considering going above average (six bridesmaids or more), first consider some pros and cons of having a big bridal party.

Pros:

– No one feels left out, and you don’t have to break any hearts. You get to include your whole list of ladies and have a gaggle of supporters up at the altar with you on the big day.

– You’ll be able to take some pretty amazing photos. Put your gals in a rainbow of dresses or an ombre fade and then take some creative pictures!

– There will be more hands to help with DIY projects. Yes, you could always ask your friends for help even if they’re not in your wedding, but they’ll be more likely to say yes if they are!

– You’ll have a great turnout at your pre-wedding events. All those ‘maids and their partners mean a good time at your engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette, and other events is pretty much guaranteed.

Cons:

– It can get expensive. If you want your girls to have a certain look you may be footing the bill for hair, makeup, and accessories — so consider that before choosing 10 ‘maids. (Hair and makeup is typically $50-$100 per person!)

– Too many cooks in the kitchen can get really stressful, really fast. Your bridesmaids know you well and want the best for you, but sometimes friends get a little too exuberant with their advice and opinions. If you don’t like the way a bridesmaid is behaving, you may find yourself questioning your relationship with her — and the last thing you want is for your wedding to ruin one of your friendships!

– Dress drama can escalate quickly. More women in the bridal party means more body types, personal styles, and voices to mitigate. Having a lot of ‘maids means having to choose a dress that satisfies a whole flock of women…you can imagine how challenging that can be!

– Planning your bachelorette party and bridal shower could get really complicated. Your bridesmaids may know each other, but it’s more likely that they don’t. Having to collaborate on your pre-wedding parties could raise tensions if some of the gals butt heads.

– Keeping track of everyone on the day-of can be tough. Ready to take all those great photos you plotted out with your photographer? Hold that flash! Two of your bridesmaids had to hit the loo. If you want to have a lot of bridesmaids, develop a quick roll-call system to keep track of everyone.

If you need a little help narrowing down the list, remember that it’s totally up to you to decide who’s in and who’s out. There are no hard-and-fast rules about choosing bridesmaids (though it’s definitely courteous to include your sisters/sisters-in-law if you’re on good terms with them). Considering who will be the most supportive and helpful throughout the planning process should help you whittle it down; then think about who you want to bear witness to your marriage in this special way and make your final decisions!

XO,

More from Loverly:

Shop beautiful bridesmaids dresses

The basics of being a bridesmaid

How to plan your bridesmaids’ accessories