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Selecting the Wedding Party

Today, the average wedding party consists of 4 to 6 bridesmaids and groomsmen. In general, the more formal the wedding the larger the wedding party will be.  The traditional "rule of thumb" is one groomsman for every 50 guests. However, this number may vary depending on the wishes of the marrying couple.

Remember, bigger isn't always better!
Don't forget about your budget! The larger the wedding party the more costly your wedding will be. With each additional attendant you must provide a bouquet/boutonniere, gift, accommodations, etc. So if cost is an issue, the more is not the merrier.

Don't feel obligated to return the favor.
Just because you were in your friend's wedding doesn't obligate you to give him or her a place in yours.

Consider the individual's circumstance.
Someone who lives across the county, is pregnant, just had a baby, or has an illness in the family may not be able to participate in the way you would like. Don't be offended if someone turns down your invitation to be in your wedding. Being a bridesmaid or groomsmen requires a great financial/time commitment and for many of us those two commodities are in short supply.

Consider personalities.
Enough said, right? You need people who are responsible, dependable, mature and supportive surrounding you on your wedding day. If two of your closest friends don't get along or your cousin always has to be the center of attention, you might not want them as your attendants. You will already have enough stress from planning the wedding; you don't need your wedding party to add to your frustration.

Take your time, but don't wait until the last minute.
Don't run out and ask all of your "best" buds to be your bridesmaids immediately after you get engaged only to decide later that you will be having a small, informal wedding.  It's better to wait than to withdraw an offer.

A good "rule of thumb" is to wait to select the wedding party until after you have set the date, reserved the ceremony/reception site, and firmed up the guest list.  These choices may affect the number of attendants you want and their availability.

That being said, don't wait until the last minute, your attendants will need time to make travel arrangements, get time off of work, save money, etc.  Also you will want plenty of time to find and order the attendants' attire.  Plan on asking at least six months before the wedding or as soon as possible if you don't have that much time!

Don't obsess about the numbers.
Your wedding party should be filled with your nearest and dearest.  Trust me; you will probably regret asking your distant cousin or your long lost college roommate to stand up for you just to have an even number of guys and girls or to have more people in the wedding party!

If you have an uneven number of guys and girls it's not the end of the world.  In fact it is quite common.  You can always have the girls walk by themselves down the aisle or in pairs, while the groomsmen wait up front with the groom.

You have to draw the line somewhere!
Be thoughtful when making your selections, this can be quite a task if you have many friends and loved ones. Remember, you can't include everyone! Make your decision as soon as possible and spread the word.  Don't leave a friend hanging!

If there are some women that you want to be involved but you can't have them as bridesmaids, ask them to be Honorary Bridesmaids (also known as Honor Attendants). They will attend the rehearsal dinner, bridesmaids' luncheon, and sit with the family in the front of the church on the special day.

Including other special people...
After you select the wedding party, there will probably be a few people that you wish you could have included. Don't despair; there are many ways to get them involved in the wedding. For ideas, check out our article on special participants!




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