There is no rule to the number of attendants you want to invite and be part of your bridal party. However, better think about the number of guests you are expecting and the formality of the event. While some wedding experts say that a good rule of thumb is to invite one groomsman and one bridesmaid for every fifty guests, still, it is not about math. Generally, a large wedding party goes with a large, formal wedding while an intimate gathering goes well with a smaller bridal party.
The saying “the more the merrier” does not apply when it comes to your bridesmaids. The more bridesmaids you will have the greater the chances of having different clashes. More bridesmaids would mean more ideas on the type of dress they want to wear, the date and theme for the shower, coordinate with the other tasks for the wedding, and so on. And, if you do not have a big budget, would they want to pay for their own bridesmaids bouquet?
Here are but a few points to consider in choosing your bridal party:
Family first. Even if you are not that close with your future sister-in-law considering family first before your close friends will just avoid unnecessary conflict. For some, not including their own sisters is just not right. Guests will naturally expect to see some of your relatives with you to back you up. Since weddings are all about the family and presenting your sister, cousin, or sister-in-law with you up there will just show the support they have for you.
Try not to pass judgment. While you think one of your friends may not be able to afford that expensive dress you want them to wear, thus not considering her to be part of your bridal party, better ask her first. If you are a real friend, asking tactfully if she still wants to be part of your bridesmaids even with her financial difficulties is the proper thing to do. If she declines, do not get disappointed, but understand her financial situation. Promise her that you will find her something to do at the wedding as a way to support her too.
How about your male best friend? A bridesmaid does not always have to be a woman. If your best friend is a guy, there is no reason that he can’t be part of your big day. Many couples these days are including members of the opposite sex to stand by them. Titles such as an attendant or bridesman for the bride’s male friend or brother, while groomswoman for the groom’s sister or female friend are now becoming common.
No need to return the favor. Just because someone made you part of their bridal party before does not mean you have to return the favor. Your aunt may feel offended that your cousin is not part of your bridal party because her son made you one, but this isn’t dinner party invitation that you need to reciprocate. You can still invite them, but if you do not want your cousin to be part of your bridesmaids, then it is up to you. The same goes with invitation. There is no need to return the favor just because your college roommate invited you to her wedding. If you are not that close anymore and you feel that you have already parted ways, then there is no reason you should invite her.
How about two maids of honors? If you have a very close sister and a best friend, or just two very close friends, there is no rule that says you cannot make them both as your maid of honor. However, they may bring a little complication especially with what duties they need tending. Questions such as: who will hold the ring, who will stand next to you, who will sign the license, help you with your bouquet, and so on may be confusing to them. Better discuss specific responsibilities you want from them to avoid squabble.
Uneven numbers. This is getting common for couples who have so many friends. If you also wish to add more bridesmaids than the groomsmen, then do it. There is no law of symmetry when it comes to your wedding. Do not pressure yourself if you think you have more bridesmaids than the groomsmen, or it could be the other way around. Once you have already decided about who will be part of your bridesmaids, it is time for them to know. There is nothing worse than having a friend assumes she is part of the bridal party when she is not. You may be afraid of hurting their feelings, but any true friend will understand your decision and will still be happy to help you in any way even if they are not your bridesmaids.