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How to Choose Your Attendants



Lei Lydle

By Lei Lydle, Founder and Editor
Last Updated: 5/9/2008 9:02:12 AM

How Many Attendants? Swing Studio Photography

There are no set rules on how many attendants that you need to have for your wedding but there are some standard guidelines to help you.

The average wedding party is comprised of 4 to 6 bridesmaids and groomsmen. The more formal the wedding the more attendants you should usually have. In general, most couples usually have an equal number of bridesmaids and groomsmen. However, this is not absolutely necessary. A good guideline is to have one groomsmen for every 50 guests and then choose the number of bridesmaids to equal this number. You can, however, have more groomsmen than bridesmaids - but the rules of etiquette dictate that you should never have more bridesmaids than groomsmen.

The More You Have, The Higher The Cost

In choosing your attendants keep your budget in mind. Obviously, the more attendants you have, the more the wedding will cost because you will have to buy more bouquets, boutonnieres and gifts. And, if you are supplying room accommodations for them...well you get the picture.

Avoid Hurt Feelings

Use discretion when choosing your attendants. It can be hard and you certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. But, you have to remember that you can't have everyone in your wedding.

If there are some women that you want to be included but you can't have them as bridesmaids, ask them to be Honorary Bridesmaids (also known as Honor Attendants). They can sit in the front of the church with the family and they will be able to attend the rehearsal dinner and bridesmaids' luncheon, etc.

This rule doesn't only apply to the ladies in the wedding. I have heard of plenty of men whose feelings were hurt because they weren't asked to stand up for a friend.

Be Courteous To Those You Ask

And one last thing - be courteous to your attendants. Ask them to be in your wedding at least six months in advance. This will allow them time to save some money, make travel arrangements, and buy their attire.

And, keep in mind that although being in the wedding party is a great honor, you are asking a lot of these people. They are having to make a significant time and financial commitment. You should not be offended if someone you ask has to decline for one of these reasons.

Comments (12)

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Posted by: klee from Oakland on 5/3/2008 11:17:00 PM
i think my idea was really cute, i set up a free wedding online site and asked my wedding party from there...they were not expecting anything but to see if i had grammar errors and misspelling...but when they read under the wedding party and saw their picture and a note from me, they were very happy and thanked me and said they would be honored. i was going to send them all a bridesmaid/ maid of honor tank tops from snail mail but most online stores run them too small and didnt want them to get something that MIGHT not fit them. but if you know your parties size you can do that...and have a pretty note attched to the tank top or shirt. good luck.

Wedding Date: 04/11/09


Posted by: hilary from Las Vegas, NV on 10/18/2005 4:01:41 AM
Help. I wanna creatively ask my bridesmaids to be part of my wedding. Any fun ideas?

Wedding Date: 2.11.2006


Posted by: Lynn from Houston on 8/17/2005 10:26:23 PM
Hey, I don't know if you will see this but I saw your question...choose the people that are closest to you and support your marriage...do NOT feel obligated to do something because they were in another wedding party. If they have a problem with it they'll move on and you won't be forsaking a happy wedding...you know?

Wedding Date: September 2006


Posted by: gapeach from marietta, Ga on 7/14/2005 9:35:27 AM
Here is my dilemma- I have several close cousins and friends that i want to ask to be bridesmaids. The problem is my fiance has a sister and and 2 sister-in-laws. I feel obligated to ask them because at both of his brothers weddings they were all in the wedding parties ( I was not asked because at the time we were not engaged.) The problem snowballs from here. His sister is 20 years older than I am ( i dont want her to feel uncomfortable next to all my young bridesmaids), one of the SIL is around my age but we aren't close(she lives out of state.) -and the other one I have never even met (but the rest of the family doesn't like her very much!) So I dont know what do. i am afraid that if I dont ask them I will be on the bad side of the family with SIL #2. Any suggestions?

Wedding Date: Feb. O6


Posted by: Sadie from Platte,SD on 6/23/2005 11:39:29 AM
I am having a really hard time choosing who to be in my wedding. There are so many people but I know I can't have them all participate. I also feel like I am having too many people from my side of the family in the wedding and not enough of my fiance's. How do I go about choosing who to be what?

Wedding Date: undecided


Posted by: Jennifer Behlau from maple shade nj on 5/19/2005 9:19:18 PM
I have 3 women I want to have as maid of honor. Two Best friends and one older sister (18 years older). I truly want to have my two best friends stand for me but I'm worried about hurting my sister's feeling if I just have her a bridesmaid. Is it OK to have my sister be a bridesmaid and my 2 friends be my maids of honor? Do I have to have a maid of honor?

Wedding Date: 06/09/2006


Posted by: Michelle from NH on 1/21/2005 3:21:42 PM
In response to Miss Jess from Iowa: It is OK to skip having a wedding party. We are not having one because it is too much of a hassle. We are asking two of my nieces to be flowergirls, but that is it. Having a wedding party goes way back...bridesmaids were traditionally single "maids" who could be courted by the groomsmen. Also, the maid of honor would marry the groom if something happened to the bride or the bride would marry the best man if something happened to the groom. Obviously these traditions are VERY OLD, but that's where it comes from (since you asked). It is becoming more and more common to either not have a wedding party at all, or to just have a maid of honor and a best man.

Wedding Date: 5/14/05


Posted by: Miss Jess from IOwa on 1/20/2005 6:56:02 PM
I am thinking of having no wedding party at all IT would be too hard to choose too unequal and I have also had people say ARen't I going to be your maid of honor ? Just when I was simply telling them when I would get married. It will be less hassle to deal with and I am not traditional What is the point of having attendants, brides maids anyway? Thanks

Wedding Date: Aug. 2005


Posted by: missy from schaumburg,il on 11/11/2004 10:22:02 AM
when we decided to get married we planned on having 4 attendents each. well it didn't end up turning out that way because when i decided to tell a friend of mine that we were going to get married the first words out of her mouth was "am i a bridesmaid?" not congradulations, not wow that's great, i get, "am i a bridesmaid?" what do you say when you are put on the spot like that and you weren't planning on having her in the wedding? well of course i said yes and now i really regret it. my fiance can't find an extra person for his side and to top it all off, i've only talked to her twice in the 5 months since she thought she should invite herself into my wedding. is there a way to be nice about telling her she can't be in the wedding?

Wedding Date: 9/24/2004


Posted by: Lisa P. from Lynbrook, NY on 11/10/2004 11:41:01 PM
I wonder if you can help me with one problem I've been having: How can I (creatively) ask my friends and family to be bridesmaids and a maid of honor? I really appreciate your assistance with this matter. Thank you. Lisa P.

Wedding Date: June 24, 2004


Posted by: Creah Orr from Tampa, Fl on 5/10/2004
After asking all your special friends to be honorary attendants, make sure you find out if they can afford thier attire. If not you will foot a few extra bills.

Wedding Date: April 17, 2004


Posted by: ECW from St. Croix, USVI on 3/16/2004
I was told that planning a wedding was very stressful but I didn't know that dealing with my fiance's family would be the most stressful. His sisters who I don't know feel that I should have asked them to be bridesmaids in my wedding. I say NO. I asked my sisters and friends that I know I've known for years or grown up with. My fiance and myself are at our wits end. We're thinking to elope and call an end to all the bickering.

Wedding Date: 11-20-04




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