What's a couple to do when one person wants more (or fewer) wedding party members than the other? Well, for one, stop panicking and start looking at the positives. You'll have all the people you adore by your side on your big day, and you don't have to feel pressured to add or subtract people simply to make your numbers match.
"The old rules for weddings are out, and weddings should be the way the couples want them," says Jackie Chaban, owner of About Joy Events in San Francisco. There are a number of instances in which one person may want to ask more of their loved ones to join their wedding party, like if they have a lot of siblings, want to have more than one maid of honor or best man, or simply have a larger circle of close friends.
Meet the Expert
- Jackie Chaban is the owner of About Joy Events, a full-service wedding planning company in the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Samantha Spector is the founder of SaloonBox, a craft cocktail kit subscription service, and was previously the owner of Milk & Honey Special Events, an event planning firm that serviced the San Francisco Bay Area and Wine Country.
Thankfully, there are countless ways to get creative with the ceremony processional and recessional, the wedding photographs, and other aspects of the celebration where bridal party members are front and center. For couples with an uneven wedding party, here's how to strike the perfect balance seamlessly.
Uneven Bridal Party Etiquette
How Should the Wedding Party Members Walk Down the Aisle?
If the processional and recessional has you stressed out, relax; you've got a few options. One is to have each groomsman walk with two bridesmaids (or vice versa if there are more groomsmen), advises Samantha Spector, a decade-long event planner and former owner of Milk & Honey Special Events. Of course, you can adjust how many people in your wedding party need to double-up based on your particular numbers.
You may have to get more creative if the groups are more lopsided. "If the party is something like 10 bridesmaids and two groomsmen, then my suggestion would be to have them enter separately—groomsmen from the side and the bridesmaids down the aisle," says Chaban.
Naturally, there is always the option to have each bridal party member walk down the aisle individually. "It is perfectly fine to have people enter by themselves, but at a quicker pace," says Chaban.
Plan on having your pooch walk down the aisle? Match up the dog lover in the bigger group with your pup.
How Should We Pose for Photographs?
You may be worried about how an uneven bridal party will look in photos, but fortunately, there are solutions. "There are so many ways to pose, and a good photographer can make any photo shine," says Chaban. She suggests that the wedding party forms a semi-circle around the couple instead of the traditional "sides."
How Should the Wedding Party Stand at the Altar?
As always, the wedding party members should stand in order of importance, with the best man and maid/matron of honor closest to the couple. For an uneven party, if it looks too lopsided, Chaban suggests just having the best man and the maid/matron of honor stand beside the couple while the rest of the wedding party takes a seat in the front row.
Uneven Wedding Party Tips
Get Creative With Spacing
Trick the camera and your guests into thinking your numbers are actually even by using space to your advantage. During the ceremony, Spector suggests having the side with fewer attendants spread out, creating extra space in between each person, while the side with more attendants stands closer together. "This would make each side a similar length," she explains.
Mix It Up
Make things symmetrical, and unique at that, by mixing the bridesmaids and groomsmen up on both sides, recommends Spector. "As far as photos go, unless there is just a difference of one or two attendants, this approach is also a good idea," she says.
Have Them All Stand on One Side
This idea definitely works best for wedding parties where there's a very noticeable difference between the number of bridesmaids versus the number of groomsmen.