Happy Friday, friends! I’m heading into a super exciting and FUN (but busy!!) weekend! I’m second shooting on Saturday, and on Sunday, I’m driving down to Richmond for the Katelyn James Workshop Experience!! AHH! I absolutely love pouring into my business by means of education. I’ve been following and learning from Katelyn since I was about 17 years old, and to say that I’ll be learning from her in her living room this week is pretty unreal!!! But… more on that later!
Today, I wanted to dive into a question that I get asked a lot— by both clients AND friends: What size would you recommend for my wedding party?! PHEW… this is a little bit of a loaded question because what is right for you may not be what is right for me or for someone else!! But, when it comes to it, if you’re asking, I’ll answer honestly: keep your wedding party on the smaller side when possible.
Before we dive in, I do want you to know that it is so important that you are selecting a wedding party size that feels true to YOU as a couple. You know your friends and your vision and what feels right for you as a couple, and this post is by no means meant to sway you to reduce your size of bridal party. You’re not doing anything right or wrong by having a certain number of people stand by your side! This post is simply a way to inform those that may be on the fence when it comes to their wedding party numbers and to let you know the reasons why I encourage couples to opt for smaller wedding parties.
** If I’m being completely honest, I come from a pretty big family and have lots of close friends, so if I do get married in the future, I’ll probably not take my own advice and will have a larger wedding party myself! **
So, let’s get started… what do I personally consider “small” and “large” when it comes to your wedding party?
Small: 0-2 on each side (Yes, you read that right! You don’t HAVE to have a wedding party at all if you don’t want one!)
Medium: 3-5 on each side
Large: 6+ on each side
Now, why do I recommend sticking to a smaller wedding party?
Minimize drama and opinions
If you are getting married, you’ve probably learned by now that everyone has an opinion when it comes to your wedding day plans! From you, to your fiancé, your family, to your soon-to-be spouses family, to the woman standing in front of you in line at the store, to your vendors, to your grandparents, to your best friend… you get the point. That’s a lot of people AND a lot of opinions! What you may not realize though is that each person in your wedding party will also have opinions too. When there are so many voices being thrown into the mix, there is potential for more drama and for more overwhelm on your end. By keeping your party on the smaller side, you will, hopefully, be reducing the amount of opinions and voices that may cloud you from focusing on what is truly important: your marriage!
Minimize expenses for you & your friends
Let’s face it… weddings are expensive for everyone involved! Before selecting the size of your wedding party, you do need to set your budget. What will you be paying for? What will you be asking your friends to pay for? How many bridesmaids bouquets can you afford? Will you be covering hair and makeup for your girls? Will you be helping the guys out with their suit rental? Are you planning for transportation if you have multiple venues involved in your day? All of these things cost money, and they add up quickly. A larger wedding party means more expenses for you as a bride. A larger wedding party also means larger expenses for more of your friends. Do take time to consider your finances and the finances of your friends while selecting your wedding party.
The more people in your party, the more potential we have to get behind on schedule
I’ve done a post on this before (read it here!), but I've found that larger wedding parties often have a way of causing us to run behind on timeline. If you are the kind of person that gets really stressed when your plans run late, I recommend sticking to a smaller wedding party! A larger wedding party means more time in hair and makeup (and more potential for it to run late), more bathroom breaks, and more people to move from point A to point B. You know your friends best! If you think there is some potential for your friends to cause you stress during your wedding day because they tend to operate on a schedule about 15 minutes behind what they’ve been told, consider alternate ways to have them involved in your wedding day!
On a note of timing and logistics, if you have multiple locations involved in your wedding day, you DO need to account for plenty of travel time. It takes time to get people loaded up before moving your wedding party from your getting ready location to your portrait locations. From your portrait locations to your ceremony. From your ceremony to your reception. You get the point! Keep this in mind! The more people you have in your party, the longer this will take and the more expensive transportation will be.
Keep your day about YOU
It is okay to sound a little selfish here! Your wedding day is about you as a couple. It is about celebrating your union and the life you will be sharing with your spouse. Yes, your friends and families are there to help you celebrate, but it isn’t a day about them. This is a day for you to exchange vows. For you to start a new chapter in your life. If you have individuals that you think could potentially take away from this or would try to make the day about them, consider having them as a guest instead of a member of your wedding party. I know that sounds harsh, but it is okay to be protective of your wedding day experience! You know your friends and family best. You don’t HAVE to have anyone in your party!
You can still involve your best friends in your day
Even if your friends are not directly involved in your wedding party, there are still ways that you can honor your friends in your celebration! Feel free to invite your best friends to your bachelorette or bachelor party, involve them in your shower if they are looking for a way to help, ask your friend that is amazing at baking to make a dessert to be served at your reception, ask your friend with a great sense of humor to MC your reception… there are SO many ways that you can creatively involve and honor your friends in your day without increasing the size of your wedding party.
Bonus: consider your friends’ dates and family situation.
This point may seem a little odd, but it is an important one to consider! What is the date situation going to be like for your wedding party? Does anyone in your wedding party have small children that will be difficult to manage throughout your wedding day? Will the child be at the wedding or will their parents need to hire a sitter? These are all situations that could potentially cause a lot of stress for your friends! Dates (if you are giving your wedding party a +1) may feel really awkward because they have no one to talk to during the majority of the day, especially if you are having a head table. Children may need to have a sitter or someone to keep them safe throughout the day. If you have friends that may fall under these categories, it is okay to ask them how they would feel about being in your wedding party before it is official. This way, they can start to work through plans for your day before they’re fully committed! Don’t take it personally if they opt to be a wedding guest on your day. They still love you!
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