Many brides ask the question – how many bridesmaids should I have? It can be hard to decide when you have many family members or friends that are all potential bridesmaids. Well, if you aren’t sure how many to pick, or how to select your maids, here are some tips to help you make your decision.


How many bridesmaids should I choose?

Consider how large your wedding will be, how many people you have to choose from, and whether you think you might like to choose relatives or friends.

Relative to the size of your wedding

From a practical standpoint, you could make the number of bridesmaids relative to the size of your wedding. It is customary to have one bridesmaid and one usher to every fifty guests, so if you are having a small intimate wedding just ask your best mate, and if you are having a flamboyant bash for three hundred, you can opt for six ladies in waiting!

All or nothing

Choosing bridesmaids can sometimes become an emotional minefield when selecting from yours or your future spouse’s family members. Sometimes the ‘all or nothing’ rule can be applied in this context – you may have to commit to asking eight cousins/sisters/nieces to be bridesmaids, or forgo the relative route altogether and instead opt for a two or three close friends.

Odd numbers

If your groom has chosen three groomsmen, and you would like four bridesmaids, it can be a tricky situation to navigate. While having odd numbers is completely fine, you may want make sure that your lone maid will be comfortable with riding solo on your wedding day before you designate her to an evening of unaccompanied dancing at the reception.



Consider what tasks or traditions you would like your bridesmaids to partake in on your wedding day. If you want your maids to take part in a receiving line for example, or perhaps walk around the alter during a religious ceremony, you may not want to choose too many as it could make the procession take longer. Consider the processes and structure of your day as this will help determine how big or small you would like you bridal party to be.

Blood is thicker than water

The expression ‘blood is thicker than water’ may be cliched but most friends will understand if you ask your sisters to be bridesmaids over them, and many will expect you to do so. Look at how many sisters you have, including any step sisters and future sisters-in-law. If that is the right number of bridesmaids for you it could be the simplest solution.

Bridesmaid budget

Many brides wonder who pays for the bridesmaids dresses, and in Western culture many brides will ask their maids to pay, while just as many brides won’t. If a bride has chosen many bridesmaids then she may decide to ask her bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses, as she may not be able to bear the cost of funding 10 or so gowns. However, if you are choosing to pay for your bridesmaid’s dresses, shoes, jewellery, hair and makeup, it can help to first consider how much of your wedding budget you would like to allocate to your bridesmaids before committing to a number.

I know how many bridesmaids I want, but how do I choose them?

Your special day can be enhanced by the people you choose to share it with, and that is especially true when it comes to your bridal party. Who you select to be by your side on your wedding day will help create the atmosphere you desire.

Follow your heart

When you are deciding how many bridesmaids to have, make sure you look for the ladies that you really want by your side on your big day. Don’t be too guided by practical issues such as the fact that they live out of town and can’t make your rehearsal, or the fact that they are trying for a baby and may be pregnant by the wedding date.

Consider your entourage environment

Think about the kind of pre-wedding atmosphere you want to create. Do you imagine getting ready with a crowd of giggling girls, or would you prefer a more calm and serene morning being pampered with just your sister or best friend? Your bridesmaids will be with you in the hours before the wedding so who you choose will impact how your pre-wedding preparation will go!

Mix it up

Choosing both younger and older bridesmaids is a great way to include different family members and means you don’t have to feel restricted by factors like age when making your decision. The older bridesmaids can help guide the younger ones too as the last thing you want to be doing in your bridal gown is chasing after a runaway flower girl!