How many bridesmaids can I have?

Hi ladies

I am facing a dilemma in being able to pick a small amount of bridesmaids and need some advice. I have different friends from different groups (obviously I am very lucky to have this) and within those groups I have some really good friends. At the moment I can short list a possible 11 girls (2 are my sisters) 1 of which has already hinted she doesnt want to be one as we will be in Italy and she will have her husband and 2 year old with her to deal with, this I totally understand - this leaves 10. A few of the girls have asked me what I am going to do and after leaving it a while and avoiding it I eventually felt I had to tell them my dilemma and have told them all that I hadn't decided but in an ideal world I would like all of them but the number seems insane at the moment. I would just take the easy option of having my sisters, however I always imagined having my best friends with me but I don't have 1 stand out friend who I am closer to than anyone than anyone else. 1 of the girls just wouldn't understand if I had two of the others girls without her so I feel this would cause a friendship divide that I know she wouldn't forgive me for.

So, is it wrong to have a large number of girls? They have all indicated they would pay for the dresses. Should I be ruthless and cut the number down but risk really upsetting some friends? Or should I just take my sisters but go against what I always hoped for?

God knows what I will do when it comes to picking a chief bridesmaid!

Sorry for the lack of decision-making but I would appreciate any advice you may have.



  • It 100% up to you, I was in the same sort of situation not as many girls though.

    I had 6 adult friends and 1 child who I was thinking of having as bridesmaid.

    In the end, I deiceded I personally didn't want 6 bridesmaid, as cost would have been crazy, once got dresses, shoes, flowers, hair, make-up, gifts etc

    And I thought that's ALOT of women getting ready in one house.

    I want the morning to be really really children and relaxed, not rushing about fighting for mirrors haha!
  • ezz100ezz100 Posts: 1,029 New bride
    BMs are often the hardest part of wedding planning so beware. They are sooo expensive and frequently hard to manage. They may offer to pay but think of bouquets at 25 - 40 EACH! Think what it will be like on the morning ...a tad chaotic perhaps ??

    I'm having 8 and wish I was having 2 or 3. Just because someone is not a BM doesn't mean they can't get involved.

    Take your time to decide and if I were you I would pick those people who are supportive once the planning gets going.
  • MrsHunt110611MrsHunt110611 Posts: 1,992
    If it were me, I'd have your sisters, and keep all your friends as guests.

    That way no one is a bridesmaid above anyone else, and your friends will understand you having your sisters.

    I just think that from a cost point of view, even if they pay for their dresses, theres shoes, makeup, hair, gifts, jewellery, bouquets...

    then there's the politics. I've had a nightmare trying to co-ordinate fittings for two bridesmaids let alone ten!

    At the end of the day it's your decision, but you could still include them without them being bridesmaids x
  • gemmacaidengemmacaiden Posts: 237
    I have 6 bms and this is without having any of my friends I have 3 really close friends who i could not have one without the other,they have children so i would have had 9 bms 2 flower girls and 3 page boys but I decided not to have my friends.

    I was bm and my son page boy for my friends wedding so i know she might of been a bit upset but i could not afford to have all of these, i think 6 is too much to start with. The 6 are my 2 sisters and 2 nieces and his sister and his niece so i felt like i had to have them all and i am very close to them all , my sisters and his sister are my best friends image x x
  • I had a similar problem and just couldn't choose so I'm only having one bm now and that's my sister. I'm happy this way as I can spoil her and single her out, plus I will be saving a lot of money on dresses, bouquets etc! Hopefully some of my friends can do readings and be involved that way.
  • shoe_gal_84shoe_gal_84 Posts: 769
    I had a similar problem. I have one sister and one sister inlaw to be. Then a group of 6 very close friends, but there was no way I wanted 8 bridesmaids!

    I decided to have my sister and one friend as a bridesmaid. I made the other 6 'unofficial bridesmaids' and i have given them all bridesmaidy things to do.

    * 2 will be planning my hen do

    * 1 will be helping make stationary

    * 1 will be helping decorate the rooms

    * 1 will be doing a reading at the ceremony

    * 1 will be an usherette at the ceremony

    So i essentially broke the role of a bridesmaid into little pieces and dished it out. The one friend i asked to walk down the aisle, I asked her to be the representative of all my friends when she was doing it.

    This went down really well, and everyone thought it was a great way of getting everyone involved. Plus I only have to buy 2 dresses now.

    I think I may get everyone a corsage or something, so they are all linked together a bit.
  • Honestly, I would probably just have your sisters as official bridesmaids and maybe think of another name for your friends, like 'best girls' or something. If you wanted you could perhaps ask them to all wear a dress of their own choosing within your colour scheme so they feel part of it and you can have some lovley photos with them but you will avoid the costs of getting bouquets etc for all of them.

    I say this because I wish I had done it! I had 7 people I wanted, in the end after much stressing I cut it down to 4 of them and asked the other 3 to do different jobs. But honestly I wish I had just had the guts to pick one or two, as even 4 people to co-ordinate with all their different opinions and availability has been a bit of a nightmare!
  • MrsBarrowmanMrsBarrowman Posts: 687
    You can have as many as you want! If you are having a big wedding I think a lot of bridesmaids are ok. If you are only having around 30 people then it's a bit strange to have a 1/3 as bridesmaids.

    I had 5, due to expense I wish i'd just kept it at my sisters. My 2 sisters organised my hen do, and helped me go to the toilet on the day. The rest didn't actually do anything! You can make people feel special without being maids. My sister was an usherette at a wedding, they did all the same things as the ushers but could wear what they want!
  • 1SmartBride1SmartBride Posts: 1,579
    This may not sister had 22 bridesmaids and pageboys!! We have alot of family and she couldnt say no to one and not the others!! We all helped pay for the dresses etc though so it wasn't too bad!!
  • NM2012NM2012 Posts: 152
    I have 5 (4 friends and my sister). But i have kept the costs down by ordering their dresses from ebay (made to measure in china), they are wearing their own shoes and the bouquets are £25 each (just white hydrangea).

    I would say pick your sisters and ask the others to help out in someway - 11 bridesmaids is just going to cause you so much stress!
  • NowMrsT62011NowMrsT62011 Posts: 2,580
    I have 3 adults and 4 little ones. One best man, one usher and a pageboy. The three adults are my nieces. I think you need to seriously consider the cost involved before you make a deciosion. 10 bm's would be hard to manage in the run up to the wedding, they would all need to be available for fittings, hair/makeup appointments etc. Not to mention flowers, gifts (if you are doing this) transport on the day!

    They may offer to buy the dreses but what about shoes and accessories? Will they all agree on a budget for the dresses or will you have to add to it if they can't find one they all like at that agreed price?

    It's totally your decision but if I were you, I'd have the sisters and that way you haven't picked one friend over another and they would all be equal as guests.
  • flossycat100flossycat100 Posts: 6,527 New bride
    How big is your wedding? If you only have 50 guests then 10 or 11 BMs will look totally excessive. If, on the other hand you're going for broke and inviting 500 people then that number might be more appropriate. I agree you are probably best having just your sisters as this is an easy line to draw and is easily explained to everyone.
  • I think I read in a magazine that as a rule of thumb one bridesmaid for every 10 guests is appropriate and the same for ushers. At the moment I have 2 maybe 3 (depends on what H2Bs little sister decides, she is quite shy and a tom boy so I said no pressure just have a think and let me know) but if only I could stretch my budget far enough I would love to have 4 or 5 (i.e. ask my two other close friends)

    @MrsC2b2012: Maybe you could say to the twins that you were thinking it might be nice to have some sort of indication that they are the grooms sisters and so why don't they, between them, chose a dress that they both like that is the same length as your bridesmaids but in a different colour/style that is still in keeping (i.e has to be a colour that either the groom or the other bridesmaids are wearing NOT WHITE) let them sort out their own hair and make up and on the day and just give them a matching bouquet and that's that! Though we fortunately don't have quite this problem, H2Bs best friend is a woman so we were going to let her choose her own dress that matches the men's outfits and let her choose whether she wanted a bouquet like the bridesmaids or a corsage to pin to her dress that matched the buttonholes, having said that, if she wants to dress like the bridesmaids of course she can, I just thought it might look nice for the photos because then she could stand on the grooms side without looking out of place.

    @genome42: How much are the dresses costing please? Have they arrived yet? If so are they the quality you expected? And finally, could you link me to the seller please? Thanks
  • I have 6 bridesmaids (all friends) 2 flower girls (daugter & sister) a paige boy (cousin) a best man (friend) & 5 ushers (H2b's brothers, my brother, friend & my uncle) I thought that was a huge wedding party but do you know what? I love each and everyone one of them & I'm more than happy with my choice. More people to get excited with! image X
  • MrsDMDaviesMrsDMDavies Posts: 1,794 New bride
    Gosh, I haven't read many of the responses but I think 10 is too many! Your photos would look a bit crazy and they would have to be taken from so far back to fit everyone in! I actually think it would be very stressful too, can you imagine getting ready with that many girls on the morning of your wedding - would there be enough mirrors?! You want them to be useful, not to be tripping over them! I would just have your sisters and then give each of them a task i.e. hen do, readings, female ushers, etc etc. I wouldn't rely on them paying for dresses, in fact I wouldn't allow my bms to pay as I don't think they should, but that's for another thread! You also have to think about shoes, flowers, accessories, hair and make-up, gifts etc etc. I have 3 bms and am spending £500 on each of them which includes everything, so £1500 in total.

  • sweetjouksweetjouk Posts: 792
    Yeah, as much as you love these girls - and I had exactly the same issue - you have to think about practicalities like getting ready AND how much it will cost.

    They may say they'll pay for their own dresses but if paying for their own they'll expect a say in colour, shape, style etc. Also, some may be able to afford a £150 dress, others might only be able to pay for a £50 dress. Can you imagine trying to negotiate price, style, colour etc to suit 10 individuals tastes and budgets? I think you're more likely to put noses out of joint and get stressed doing it like that than simply explaining you love them but can't have everyone!

    You have to remember as well the incidentals like bouquets, shoes, handbags, hair, make up, jewellery, headpieces, gifts for them... Some will not expect you to pay for this and some will - some will think, 'Hang on I'm paying for my dress so where's my hair band? I'm not paying for that too!'

    I went really over budget on bridesmaids even though I only had 3 because I fell in love with a dress that was £60 more than I'd budgeted for (times 3 that's a lot), add on alterations to dresses. I know that was my decision though. Then they assumed I'd buy them handbags, shoes and wraps which I hadn't thought about! It was really difficult to say, 'Actually I hadn't budgeted for this!' After spending money on hairdressing, handbags, jewellery (which I gave as a pressie), headpieces etc I then ended up saying I'd pay up to £20 for shoes each if they found them themselves and as long as they were ivory. If they wanted to spend more they could. And when it came to wraps I just said, 'I'm sorry but I genuinely have NO money!' If you want them get them but I am not able to pay.

    Even if you buy cheaper jewellery £15 for earrings and a necklace times 10 is £150.

    Sorry to focus on the monetary issue but it can be very difficult to talk about amongst friends and you are very likely to upset someone re: money.

    I'd steer well clear! Perhaps you could buy a buttonhole flower for each of the special friends and send them to their rooms on the wedding morning with a little note telling them how much they mean to you. This should soothe them.

    Good luck!
  • MrsBarrowmanMrsBarrowman Posts: 687
    I think I read in a magazine that as a rule of thumb one bridesmaid for every 10 guests is appropriate and the same for ushers.

    Are you sure?? That sounds like a lot! a 200 guest wedding with 20BMs and 20 Ushers would be crazy!! image
  • NM2012NM2012 Posts: 152

    They were from this seller

    I paid about £35 each for the dresses and the quality of the fabric is good. One of the dresses wasn't quite right (something wrong with the front so it gapped open - a little revealing! image ) but they offered to fix it if I sent it back (in the end my mum managed to fix it so all is well!)

    The sizes of the dresses were good. I did ask them to put labels/notes with a number I had asigned each set of measurements but I think this may have got lost in translation and although they had numbers on them they weren't the numbers I had given them so we had to try a few of the dresses on two people (they are similar sizes) to work it out!
  • Quoted:
    Are you sure?? That sounds like a lot! a 200 guest wedding with 20BMs and 20 Ushers would be crazy!!
    hmm you are right! Perhaps I remembered wrong I read it a while a go.... Oh ok found it, it says no more than one per 30 guests OOPS! *blush* and (an american site that I sometimes browse for pictures) says 1 for every 50 guests... Sorry!

    @genome42 Thankyou! £35 a dress! WOW that is so affordable, I can't believe the price, will have a look but I think I will probably do this, was going to go on several high street sale shopping trips and try to get things in vaguely matching colours but this sounds wonderful! My MOH is pretty nifty with a sewing machine so if there are minor mistakes she should be able to sort them.

    Edited to say I have been on there and there are only two dresses and they are both more than £50 image Do they change their stock regularly or something?
  • Hi everyone

    Thanks so much for all your replies it is really helpful to hear all your opinions on the subject and pointing out things I hadnt thought of like money for shoes, handbags etc and then the getting ready nightmares. I think I seriously need to do more thinking on this subject. I wish I was better at making decisions!

    I'll let you know what I decide and how it pans out.

  • singo44singo44 Posts: 3,420
    im having 6 adult bridesmaid and my daughter as flowergirl

    its totally your decision x
  • I am having 10 bridesmaids as i have a big family and everyone i have picked i am really close too. I have found there dressing a the internet, all i typed in was china bridesmaids dresses, they dresses are £34 each. x
  • BeauvallonBeauvallon Posts: 217
    My friend had 13 and it didn't look good- sometimes less really is more.
  • jjb2012jjb2012 Posts: 18
    We're having 30-40 people at the wedding and I'm having 4 bridesmaids. It seems a lot but there are 4 people I wanted as bridesmaids so thought why not.

    It's totally up to you.
  • mummydcmummydc Posts: 199
    Im having 9 bridesmaids. 5 adult bridesmaids, one teengager, one child and two toddlers. Reason being because my 5 friends are my BEST friends and i couldnt choose, the three younger ones are my cousins who iv always wanted to be my bridesmaids, and my toddler daughter (who will be 18 months) but she will probly end up being carried by one of the girls! In regards to cost, i was very frank with my adult bridesmaids, and they are paying for their outfits. I am paying for flowers, maybe their hair and that it. I am paying for my maid of honour though, and the little ones dresses too. xxxxx
  • Aurelia13Aurelia13 Posts: 122
    I wasn't going to have bridesmaids as I couldn't choose and due to costs but my friends were so disappointed I am now having 4 bm's. They offered to pay for their dresses and I am paying for their flowers. (which I am making myself as a cost saver)

    We are getting ready at the hotel and the bed rooms are massive so plenty of space for all of us but I am thinking it's going to be a bit hectic, I don't think I could cope with anymore just on pure logistics!
  • susanluosusanluo Posts: 32
    I had a similar problem and just couldn't choose .I just want only one bridesmaid,I have a lot of friend,so I choose my sister nas my bridemaid,my frined do other thing.
  • MrsBreese2BMrsBreese2B Posts: 483
    The 'bridesmaid dilemma' seems to be a big one for a lot of brides.

    I've only decided on having one BM in the end - my one best friend. I have loads of other girls I could have had, but that would have made my wedding party far bigger than I want. In addition, my H2B is only having his Best Man and no Ushers so we're keeping our wedding party relatively small and balanced. I was feeling bad about not having my H2B's Sister as a BM, the only reason being that she lives in Oz and sorting out a dress for her and fittings etc would be a nightmare! However, I would love our Nephews to walk down the aisle so thought she would walk with them anyway. Mind you, Since all these decisions I've heard she's pregnant again so am unsure if she'll even be able to make it.

    If it's not one thing, it's another with BMs!!! image
  • I think you should go with your heart and not your head on this one image if you want 20 bridesmaids then go for it, if your truly happy with just having your sisters then go for that instead! Whatever the outcome you just have to have made the right decision for yourself and your wedding!

    I'm having 6 adult bridesmaids, 2 flower girls, 1 best man, 5 ushers and 2 page boys and it's exactly how I want it. All the girls have been amazing and if they are true friends then they won't make problems for you as they'll realise you already have enough image

    Good luck with everything, I'm sure you'll get it right! x x x
  • mism1mism1 Posts: 307
    im just having my sister as i have 7really close girlfriends and cant have them all. were all doing thatastime goes by choosing people away from our groupthinkits better that way
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