Bridal Party Q&As

Guidelines about the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved, from maid of honor on down.

Q: How many people are considered too many in a bridal party? I have two sisters and a lot of good friends, and I just cannot seem to make up my mind about whom to include! 

A: A wedding party can have as few as two attendants (a best man and a maid of honor) and as many as 24 (12 each for the bride and groom). The only real etiquette rule is that you should have at least one usher for every 50 guests. So, it's up to you as to how many you want in your wedding party.

Although it can be tempting to keep adding people to your party, keep in mind that the larger the group, the more work it will be for you. It may be especially difficult to decide on a dress style to suit the sizes, shapes and personalities of your many bridesmaids. Plus, you'll need to budget for transportation and flowers for each. Coordinating a large group may add unnecessary stress to your wedding planning. This is why many couples find it easier to keep the number of attendants small, and give honored roles to other important people. For example, someone can take charge of the guest book, or perform a song or do a reading during the ceremony.

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Wedding etiquette is a popular subject because they are so many horror stories. It's expensive to be in a bridal party, and it's expensive and stressful to have a large one. One budget line item that often gets overlooked by the future Mr. and Mrs. is the THANK YOU gift for each bridal party member. You should plan to spend at least half the amount of the cost of the bridesmaid dress/suit rental for each person. So if the dress they bought is $300, then be prepared to thank each one with ~$150 worth of gratitude. Bridal showers, bachelorette parties, flights/hotels, hair/shoes/makeup/hair styling -- all these things add up, and some bridesmaids spend over $1000 just to be in your wedding party. These are your most important witnesses to your wedding. And chances are they supported you before, during, and after the big day. Thank you gifts are not the area to skimp. Good luck! Lisa |

I've selected my matron of honor (and asked her) who is engaged and was supposed to get married before me but then had to postpone her wedding. Can she still be my matron of honor??