How Many People Should You Have in Your Wedding Party? - Wed Mayhem
5 min

How Many People Should You Have in Your Wedding Party?

Wedding Party

Front cover photo by Caroline’s Collective

Weddings are about celebrating love—not just with your other half, but with the family and friends who have supported you. From college roommates to childhood besties, inviting your favorite people to join the wedding party is a thoughtful way to show appreciation.

But where do you draw the line? How many people are too many?

The industry-wide consensus: There is no “right” or “wrong” number! Whether you want 20 people at your side or you don’t want a wedding party at all, it’s your day to do as you please.

If you’re wondering about an “average” wedding party, Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services says that most couples have “about 10-12 people in their wedding party, so 5-6 people for each.” While Dennis stresses that there are no rules, he explains that this average “makes for a balanced group that’s not too small or too large in size.”

But your wedding isn’t meant to be average! Beyond industry standards, there are other considerations to keep in mind when planning your wedding party. Here are a few factors to think about before popping the question to any loved ones.

Wedding Day Vibes

When you picture your wedding day, do you envision a rowdy bunch keeping your glass (and heart) full? Or do you see it as a quiet, peaceful time with your VIPs? The size of your wedding party plays a big role in how your wedding day feels, so consider what will achieve your ideal experience.

Nora Sheils of Rock Paper Coin and Bridal Bliss notes that small wedding parties allow for a more intimate time with your squad. “You can spend your wedding morning truly spending time with those closest to you in a calm, intimate setting, preparing yourself for the most important day of your life,” she explains.

In addition, you’ll likely find the day flows more smoothly with fewer delays and interruptions. (Large groups can feel like herding cats at times!) “With fewer people involved, the preparation process can be less chaotic, and the photo sessions can be more efficient,” Kelsey Strickland of Twickenham House and Hall confirms.

But not everyone prefers the slower pace of an intimate group. If you want dance-your-feet-off fun, Story Alley Photography’s Monica Garcia recommends a larger wedding party full of personality. “It’s like an instant ‘party,’” she assures. “More people will be sharing in the joy of your big day.”

It’s not just the wedding day, either. “The bachelorette and bachelor parties might be more fun as well since there will be more people to share the responsibility of planning these events,” Garcia adds.

Before creating a list of wedding party members, sit down with your partner to discuss how you each want to feel and experience your big day. That should clue you into the right size for your wedding party!

Budget Allowance

It might go without saying, but larger wedding parties carry larger price tags. While you might not foot the bill for attire or accommodations, you’ll likely cover other costs like flowers, jewelry, and beauty services.

Stacie Marshall of Marshall Arts Photography elaborates, explaining that “a smaller wedding party can save you time and money in several ways.”

“Bachelorette/bachelor parties become easier to coordinate, and accommodations are easier to find and afford,” Marshall continues. “Rehearsal dinners become much more intimate with smaller wedding parties. Hair and makeup on the wedding day take less time and money, allowing you to start a little later in the day for this.”

What’s Your Wedding Party Budget?

“I need all my friends by my side, no matter the cost!”

“I’m all about saving money! I want an intimate celebration with my besties.”

Another expense you shouldn’t overlook? Transportation. “If you’re planning on moving your wedding party from one location to another, it will cost more to rent a larger vehicle or multiple vehicles,” shares Kimberly Sisti of SISTI & CO.

It’s common practice for couples to gift their wedding party members on the big day. Tokens of appreciation—like shawls for the ladies or flasks for the guys—are a sweet way to say thank you, but costs add up with each additional member.

So, while you might want to invite the whole group chat to stand at your side, be realistic about what you can afford to avoid blowing your budget on a too-large wedding party.

Logistical Planning

The more, the merrier! Well, except for when more people cause more headaches. Weddings run on strict timelines, and just one missing bridesmaid can throw a wrench in the mix. In other words, bigger groups can become chaotic if not managed properly!

“A large wedding party tends to bring out logistical considerations,” states Vijay Goel of Bite Catering Couture. “From sourcing outfits that match, fitting into group photos, time spent walking down the aisle, and seating at a head table, there are a number of elements that a larger wedding party will need to take into account.”

For one, a larger wedding party means more people at the altar. Can your ceremony space accommodate everyone without feeling crowded? “Some locations may have restrictions that keep you from having larger parties standing comfortably next to you,” adds Jen Sulak of Weirdo Weddings. Look to your venue coordinator, wedding planner, and officiant for advice about your ceremony setup.

With more people, you’ll also need to review timing with the photographer.

Wedding photographer Jessica K. Feiden explains that larger groups need more time for portraits between the ceremony and reception. If not considered in advance, “you will have to sacrifice photo time of you and your partner or forego special group combinations or individual portraits with those in your wedding party.”

It probably seems like larger wedding parties are more trouble than they’re worth. But wedding photographer Colton Simmons promises that isn’t the case. “A larger party doesn’t always mean that it becomes more stressful,” he assures. If anything, “you’ll have more hands on deck to help on the big day.”

“you’ll have more hands on deck to help on the big day.”

Colton Simmons

Regardless of wedding party size, the secret to a stress-free wedding day is an experienced wedding planner! Coordinating dozens of people comes easily to a pro, and they’ll manage everyone in your group without issue.

One last note: If you’re concerned with balanced sides (a common worry!), wedding photographer Rebecca Love says not to stress over it. You don’t “have to have the same number of people on both sides,” she confirms. “Most days, photographers mix everyone in for the large group photos, so it might not matter if the numbers are even.”

Rest easy knowing you can’t get this one wrong. As long as your wedding party includes folks who cherish and support you, you’re all set for a love-filled experience!

Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.

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