Figuring out how many bridesmaids to choose (let alone who to choose) can be... well, complicated. Sometimes choosing bridesmaids can feel like you're the captain of the kickball team, trying to decide on the top five or 10 of the most eligible players for your squad. But just because you have a lot of close friends or family members doesn't mean they all need to stand by your side on your wedding day. There are plenty of ways they can be there for you that don't require a hand-picked chiffon dress or a rehearsed stroll down the aisle. If you find yourself breaking out in a stress sweat over how many bridesmaids to have in your bridal party, remember these four simple rules.
1. There is no 'correct' number of bridesmaids
The bottom line: You don't need a certain number of bridesmaids. You don't have to choose an odd number or an even number or a certain number, like five, because you've been to (or have been a part of) other weddings where that was the case. It's not a numbers game and there's certainly no hard and fast rule you should abide by when it comes to how many ladies (or gents) you want to lead the way for you down the aisle.
2. Don't feel pressured to have the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen
You also don't need to have a matching number of bridesmaids to groomsmen. The only time anyone might notice that one side has less than the other is when it's time for them to walk down the aisle—which, by the way, your guests aren't really paying that much attention to anyway, because they are sitting there fidgeting in anticipation, waiting for you to walk down the aisle.
If you're nervous about how your group photos will look with an uneven bridal party, ask the photographer to stage different setups and poses, so that it's not just a straight line of people standing beside one another.
3. Just because someone chose you to be one of their bridesmaids doesn't mean you have to return the favor
There's no rule that says you have to select your bridesmaids based on who asked you to be a part of their bridal party in the past—and you definitely don't have to extend the invite to someone just because you stood by their side some years ago. If you're still close with them, go for it! But if you haven't spoken in a couple of years (or more) it's going to be a little awkward rekindling your friendship while you're also in the midst of wedding planning.
4. It's totally okay to not have any bridesmaids—and to have 'bridesmen,' too
You absolutely don't have to have any bridesmaids at all. Even without an official "bride tribe" you can still have a booming bachelorette party and invite all your besties—who may even be happier in the long run, seeing as you saved them from having to spend money on a bridesmaid dress they might never wear again. On the other hand, do you have a guy in your life that you can't imagine leaving out? By all means, ask him to join your bridal party along with the rest of the 'maids!
What your number of bridesmaids reveals about you
The number of girls (and guys) you choose to include in your bridal party can reveal a lot about you as a person, as well as your likes and hobbies. Whether you're going big or keeping it super small, find out what your number of bridesmaids says about you.
You're a social butterfly and always love to have a gaggle of friends around you. Your motto in life is to work hard, play hard—and that you do! Even after a long day at work, you can still often be found partaking in happy hour, meeting up with one of your many social groups or inviting friends over for an impromptu dinner party. You're charming and utterly irresistible so it's no wonder people are naturally drawn to your bubbly energy.
7 to 9 Bridesmaids
You're a modern day nomad with besties scattered all across the country—maybe even around the world. Some may say you're indecisive, but your friends mean the world to you, and there's no way you could picture saying "I do" without these 'maids all standing by your side. You jump at the chance to organize a friends' vacay and can talk for hours with them about everything from the latest celeb gossip and binge-worthy shows to the current state of their love lives. Others would definitely describe you as outgoing, fun to be around and even the life of the party from time to time.
4 to 6 Bridesmaids
While you love socializing and hanging out with your friends, you also like your alone time and can get overwhelmed when there's too many people around at once. Your bridal party most likely consists of your sister(s) or sister-in-law, your BFF since childhood and a few other super-close friends you've known and loved for years. You may have been a dancing machine in your single days, but now you enjoy drinks and dinner (and brunch, of course) with a more close-knit circle of friends and their significant others on the weekends.
1 to 3 Bridesmaids
You couldn't decide whom to choose among your closest friends so you simply opted to ask only your bestie and/or your sister(s) instead. That doesn't mean you won't have some of the rest of your squad stop by for a quick champagne toast before the ceremony or all hit the dance floor together at the reception. You're fiercely loyal, all about family and would do anything for the people you love in your life. In your free time, you like nothing more than hitting up an art show or even checking out your favorite up-and-coming band at a dive bar. On the other hand, you're also completely happy having a movie night in with your significant other—soon-to-be spouse!
You march to the beat of your own drum, and as far as tradition goes, you're certainly not afraid to break with it. Of course, you have several close friends you could ask, but your wedding is already on the smaller side and you really want the focus to be on the two of you. That's not to say you like being the center of attention though; in fact, there's a chance it might be quite the opposite. Small talk totally isn't your thing; you much prefer deeper conversations to mindless chitchat.