How Many Bridesmaids is
Just the Right Number?
Cram Brisbane Marriage Celebrant
| Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Planning
you know that there's a Guinness World Record for most
bridesmaids to bride in a wedding? And that they all
have to be personally known to the bride? In 2010,
Jill Stapleton, who owns Jill's Tumble World, a dance
school, had every one of her students - all 110 of
them - as her bridesmaids. Each girl chose her own
dress (in either purple or teal, the school's
colours), and carried a single rose.
In 2013 a couple in Sri Lanka topped that with 126
bridesmaids (and 25 groomsmen, 20 page boys and and
23 flower girls).
And it continued. Amy Ewing and Radio DJ Alex
Simmons broke two records with 130 bridesmaids and
100 ushers when they married in Yorkshire in
February 2015, a record they held for less for a
month before Tina Ackles had 168 bridesmaids at her
wedding in Florida on in April 2015.
But seriously, there's a lot to think about when
you come to decide how many
bridesmaids/groomsmen/flower girls/page boys would
be appropriate for your wedding.
Basic Rule of Thumb
Ultimately, it is a personal decision that largely
depends on your personal choice of who you want to
stand up with you during the ceremony.
That being said, here is some information that might
help you develop a clearer idea of how many (if any)
attendants (the usual word to describe the wedding
party in gender-free terms) would be perfect for you
and your wedding.
The basic rule of thumb is scale the size of your
wedding party to the number of guests. The
commonly suggested ratio is 1 bridesmaid and
1 groomsman to every 35 -50 guests.
of Formality Rule of Thumb
The more formal the wedding, the bigger the
wedding party. For a semi-formal wedding
a smaller wedding party is
usual. And for a very casual wedding, no wedding
party is the norm.
is Not a Rule
While most advice about wedding parties will
suggest that they should be divided along
gender lines - girls with the bride, guys with
the groom - and that there should be even
numbers, in the 21st century that advice can
safely be ignored! Choose people who are
important to you, regardless of their gender.
Your brother is your best friend? Have him
stand up with you rather than over with the
The reason often given for advising matching
numbers etc, is that it looks better in the
photos. Any good photographer will come up
with ways of arranging the wedding party,
regardless of mix, so the photos are great. In
fact, when the wedding party isn't matched,
you are more likely to end up with great
photos because the photographer has to think
beyond "girls to the left, guys to the
right, couple in the middle".
is so Old School
never seen explicit mention of age in any
wedding etiquette book, or discussion of
wedding parties, except to define what a
Junior Bridesmaid/Junior Groomsman is. But the
unspoken, and generally accepted and
unquestioned custom is that you choose your
wedding party from your own age cohort.
Doesn't have to be that way. I love it when
couples include older family members or other
significant people in their wedding party.
Grandmothers love being a bridesmaid or a
It is also commonly advised (by the bridal
press) that second marriages, and late-in-life
weddings should skip the formal wedding,
dispense with a wedding party, or have a very
small one. Feel
free to ignore that advice. I've
had very memorable weddings where a dozen or
so grandchildren have been involved in
Considerations - Your Own and that of Others
Cultural considerations have a huge influence in
how many bridesmaids/groomsmen would be regarded
to be the norm. But oddly, enough, except for the
traditions of various ethnic groups, culture is
rarely mentioned in advice to the average
Obviously, if your cultural background is one
where large wedding parties are the norm, go for
it. Your aunties will expect it.
But if you're the average Australian couple, do
not forget that the advice you'll be reading on
the internet, in bridal magazines, etc, has a
cultural bias that you might not even be aware of.
For example, much of the Australian bridal press
leans heavily on material from the US. And by far
the lion's share of what we read on the internet
is on websites based in the US, or, to a lesser
extent, to the UK. It pays to be aware of where
the advice is coming from, as well as what
The overall US model of weddings sees more than
three bridesmaids as the norm, but in many of the
southern states a very large proportion of
weddings will have double that number, or more.
While in the UK, following the tradition of
aristocratic weddings, uneven bridal parties where
the majority of the bride's attendants are
children, are very common.
Many is Too Many?
That's the trickiest question of all (apart
from the obvious, going for the record!).
There is a very fine line between an
appropriate number and just too many.
It comes down to judgement (in the overall
context of your wedding, taking into account
how many guests, the venue, the level of
formality of the ceremony, and your personal
style), and your personal choice.
don't forget ...
The bigger the wedding party, the more
complications you'll have to deal with.
Everything from logistics - transport, walking
down the aisle, where and how the wedding
party will stand during the ceremony, and so
on. And, the bigger the wedding party, the
greater the expense - transport, flowers,
gifts, meal, etc etc
Thanks for reading!