Do You Need To Have The Same Number Of Bridesmaids And Groomsmen? The Answer.

September 7, 2016 by Justine Schwartz
shefinds | Weddings

There are so many things to stress about when it comes to planning a wedding–one of them should not be choosing your bridal party (or at least, the number of people in it). From dealing with vendors to managing the guest list and keeping peace among family members, there’s plenty for a bride to concern herself with during the months leading up to the wedding.

READ MORE: 7 Questions To Ask Before Choosing Your Wedding Party

If one of your questions as a bride is whether it’s OK to have an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, here’s the short answer: yes, it is absolutely Ok for photos, for the ceremony itself and for the overall appearance/theme. Now, here’s more on why:

The bridal party doesn’t actually do much.

Yes, it’s true.

Let’s start with what we know: the day is truly about you and your groom, and the bridal party is just there to support you. What bridesmaids and groomsmen are expected to do varies from wedding to wedding, there really isn’t a real cookie cutter mold for it.

READ MORE: 9 Things Your Bridesmaids Should Be Doing

If you go all the way back, bridal parties were originated in Ancient Roman times, where they were meant to confuse vengeful spirit presences who might try to harm the couple. There was actually a law that required 10 witnesses to be present at the altar.

Obviously, the tradition has evolved since then, and the bridal party really doesn’t do much. Groomsmen may help show guests to their seats, but you can also have designated ushers for that. A maid of honor is good because she can hold your purse for you, remind you to use oil-blotting strips before pictures, and help bustle your dress for the reception. Having a whole gaggle of girls is not necessary–it’s more for appearances, because brides like the look of being surrounded by “their girls.” Sometimes, the bride just feels like she doesn’t want to leave anyone out so she asks a group of friends. 90% of the time, most of your bridesmaids don’t really “do” much on the day of the wedding, other than walking down the aisle and standing for pictures.

READ MORE: 6 Things The Groomsmen Can Do

Why is his important? It means that you don’t actually *need* (in terms of functional purposes) any specific number of bridesmaids OR groomsmen. They are mostly ornamental.

Symmetry doesn’t matter at the altar or in photos.

Bridesmaids and groomsmen will get to be in a lot of your wedding portraits, so there is a visual component to this. Nowadays, the trend with wedding photography is not perfect symmetry, though. Think about how brides have moved away from even having their bridesmaids wear the same dresses. Poses tend to vary–it’s not all about standing in a straight line, it’s more about creating depth and visually interesting components (like, say, posing on a live volcano).

Ditto for the altar. Having your brides and groomsmen stand the entire time at the altar is a practice that’s fading out. It is now offend done that the officiant will invite the bridal party to sit, thus blending in with the guests, so the number on each side doesn’t matter.

READ MORE: 6 Mistakes Bridal Parties Make When Selecting Bridesmaid Dresses

[Photo: Samm Blake Photos]


Editorial Director

Justine Schwartz is a veteran women's lifestyle editor; she's written extensively about style & beauty tips, health advice and wedding planning for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in New York Magazine, Huffington Post and New York Weddings. Justine has been with SheFinds since 2010; you can reach her via email at [email protected]

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