How Many Bridesmaids to Include in the Ceremony – Wedding Guide

Christine Steuber
May 4, 2022
Planning a wedding but don't know how many bridesmaids to include and what their responsibilities are? Keep reading, I have all the answers!

Your wedding day is around the corner, and you haven’t yet settled down on the number of bridesmaids you’ll have? If so, then you’re in the right place.

Choosing who will be your maid of honor or bridesmaid is one of the most important aspects of wedding preparation and a stressful one as well. There are so many details that you need to take into account here.

So. I’ve prepared this article to help all brides-to-be learn how many bridesmaids they can have and what their responsibilities are.

Keep on reading for all the juicy details!

Role of Bridesmaids in a Wedding

Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash
Gift Habeshaw via Unsplash

No wedding is possible without bridesmaids. I’m sure that any of you has been to a wedding and witnessed the breathtaking scenery where similarly dressed bridesmaids accompany the beautiful bride throughout the wedding.

The bridesmaid’s role is not merely a tradition; it comprises an array of responsibilities and duties. Bridesmaids are usually the sisters and the close friends of the bride who should be on her side during wedding planning and on the very day. Bridesmaids should help the bride organize the wedding and take care of all the details. 

In the early days, a bridesmaid was considered not only an assistant to the bride but also a protector from evil. Hence, the bridesmaids wore similar clothes as the bride to confuse the evil. Times have changed, and nowadays, a bridesmaid’s main role is to help the bride before and during the wedding.

Differences in responsibilities between the maid of honor and a bridesmaid

At first sight, it may seem that the bridesmaid and the maid of honor share the same responsibilities, and there’s nothing different between them. That might be true at some point because they both help the bride but still, they don’t have the same responsibilities. 

Basically, the maid of honor is the right hand of the bride and the leader of all the bridesmaids.

To make it easier for you to tell a bridesmaid and a maid of honor apart, I’ve prepared a side-by-side comparison graph below.

Differences in responsibilities between a bridesmaid and the maid of honor - Firstforhers

These were the main responsibilities of the maid and honor and bridesmaids at the wedding ceremony. Now let’s see the rules bridesmaids must follow.

Fixed rules bridesmaids must follow

Being a bridesmaid is a huge responsibility and way more than just wearing a beautiful gown and standing next to the bride. There are certain wedding etiquette rules each bridesmaid should follow. Let’s take a quick look at them.

  • Pay for your bridesmaid gown – One of the main etiquette rules a bridesmaid should follow is paying for her own dress. However, there are exceptions when the bride covers the expenses.
  • Be prepared to be there when needed – A bridesmaid should be ready to be on-call 24/7 and solve any issue there may appear.
  • Avoid any drama – Life happens but not at a wedding when you’re a bridesmaid. You need to forget all the drama and problems you may have to make sure everything passes smoothly.
  • Be open about financial concerns – Being a bridesmaid can require too much expense, which can seem a burden to some. That’s why a bridesmaid should be honest about her financial struggles with the bride to avoid any unpleasant situations.
  • No complaints – And last but not least, don’t complain to the bride about anything. Be a good friend and let her enjoy the most important day in her life. Believe me, your complaints about the shoes, the music or the food is the last thing she wants to hear on her wedding day.

Following these simple rules will make you an excellent bridesmaid and guarantee a perfect wedding for everyone.

How to Choose Bridesmaids for the Ceremony

Choosing how many bridesmaids to have can be a real struggle, especially when you have many friends or sisters that you don’t want to let down. 

In general, the average number of bridesmaids at American weddings is five. However, this number can vary greatly depending on many factors. Below, I’ll try to answer what’s the best number of bridesmaids for weddings ranging from small to large.

For a big wedding

As one of the responsibilities of a bridesmaid is to communicate with the guests and guide them throughout the receiving line, the number of bridesmaids should correspond to the number of guests. 

So, if you’re planning a big fat wedding, you need more than five bridesmaids. For instance, if you’re going to have around 300 guests and three bridesmaids, they physically won’t be able to make time for each guest. Therefore, for big weddings, go for a larger number of bridesmaids, just like in the image below.

Guy Basabose via Unsplash
Guy Basabose via Unsplash

However, you need to consider that the more bridesmaids you have, the more you need to pay for the gowns, hair, and makeup. The average price for the bridesmaid’s hair and makeup is $150. However, it may vary depending on who covers the wedding expenses. Also, with a large number of bridesmaids, it can be challenging to find similar dresses or get them sawn, especially if you have a tight deadline.

For a small wedding

With smaller weddings, you can stick to the average number of bridesmaids, which is five, as mentioned earlier, or even less. For instance, if you’re having a private wedding with fifty or a maximum of 100 wedding guests, you can go by with 2-3 bridesmaids easily. You can see a perfect example below.

Sincerely Media via Unsplash
Sincerely Media via Unsplash

Another reason why there’s no need to have too many bridesmaids for a small wedding is that they won’t have much to do. When you’re planning a small wedding, there aren’t as many duties for the bridesmaids compared with larger weddings.

How many bridesmaids it too many?

I already mentioned above that you need to have as many bridesmaids as the number of guests requires. If we want to go by a certain law that indicates that the number of bridesmaids is too many, there is no such thing. 

However, when shortlisting the bridesmaids, you may notice that you got a little too far, which can often happen if you have many girlfriends and want each of them to be by your side at the wedding. If you notice that the number is too much, you can eliminate a couple of people from the list. And make sure to keep the number of bridesmaids equal to the number of groomsmen.

Also, remember that having too many bridesmaids will hit your wedding budget heavily because it means paying for too many dresses, makeup artists, and hairstylists, as well as planning a bigger bachelorette party.

Nevertheless, it’s your day, and if you want to have all your siblings and friends among your bridesmaids, no one can stop you.

Is it okay not to have bridesmaids?

Even though bridesmaids and the maid of honor are integral parts of any wedding, you can go without them as well. It is completely fine to have a wedding without bridesmaids. 

When you choose not to have bridesmaids, your best friends still participate in your wedding. This way, you take out the formality and don’t give anyone special responsibilities. 

To me personally, a wedding without bridesmaids is much better since it’s not obligatory for anyone to wear the dress you choose, and it gives your friends freedom to wear whatever they want. 

Also, this way, no one feels like they’re on duty and should be focused throughout the entire wedding. But this doesn’t mean that your friends can’t help you with the organization. They can still take some responsibilities of a bridesmaid but without formalities. For example, you can get ready together, have a pre-wedding party, make a speech, and so on. 

So, it’s your day, and you’re in charge of deciding whether you want to have bridesmaids or not.

Wrapping Up

Voila! Choosing bridesmaids is as simple as that. 

To wrap up the article, the bridesmaids are your helpers throughout the organization of your wedding. They’re the ones to make sure you have the perfect day. 

As for the number, make sure to have as many bridesmaids as the number of the guests requires.

Have your nearest and dearest as your bridesmaids, and they’ll do their best to guarantee a smooth and memorable wedding day for you and your loved one.

Was this article helpful? If so, you can check out my blog, where I constantly share exciting articles about wedding traditions, organization, and much more!

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