Hitched 2.0: Pros And Cons Of A Large Wedding Party
When I stand under the chuppah on my wedding day, I’ll have seven bridesmaids by my side, and my fiancé will have six groomsmen by his (plus my brother-in-law who, though officiating, will be the seventh for all intents and purposes). I never envisioned myself with a large wedding party. And, by some people’s standards, I don’t have one. But by others’, my seven-person lineup is huge. In fact, I don’t think there’s been once instance when I’ve told someone how many people we have in the wedding party that wasn’t met with an eyebrow raise, eye roll, or even a snarky comment. (I get it, lots of you think it’s just so outrageous that we have so many bridesmaids and groomsmen—but I’m not sure why this is one of the few wedding aspects that people feel so comfortable outwardly and obviously judging. If you must avert your eyes from my massive line-up or withhold from viewing my wedding photos, feel free, but please keep your opinion to yourself.)
When Andy and I discussed attendants, we thought about limiting it to just family, but ultimately decided to add a few friends as well—and though we weighed some pros and cons at the time, the decision was made more with the heart than the head. It’s only now, when we’re in the final stretch of the engagement, that I can look back and share the pros and cons of a having large-ish wedding party.
Pro: You Have Plenty of Worker Bees
As we attempt to nail down the nitty-gritty wedding day details, I’m quickly realizing we’ll need plenty of help to keep everything running smoothly. And you better believe we plan on delegating everything from stocking the bridal party bus with champagne to ensuring there’s tissues on hand at the ceremony, to our handy attendants.
Con: You Have Plenty Of People Asking For Jobs
If you’re anything like me, you have trouble asking for and accepting help. But, aside from the symbolic aspect, the bridal party is there to provide it. So, the more bridesmaids (or groomsmen) you have, the more people there will be checking in with you regularly asking, “What can I do?” and “What do you need?” and “What’s left on your list?” Sure, they have the best intentions, and I personally have finally learned to embrace it, but it can definitely be overwhelming at times.
Pro: They Help Divert Attention
Don’t like being the center of attention? Well, too bad—on your wedding day, it’s inevitable. That said, a large group standing next to you during the ceremony, or mugging for photos with you, or surrounding you on the dance floor, will divert at least a few peoples’ attention.
Con: The “Line Up” Is a Beast Of Its Own
I’d imagine, if you only have two or three bridesmaids and groomsmen, it’s fairly easy to decide who stands where during the ceremony. With seven, it’s a bit trickier. Do we arrange everyone by height? Do we put family closest to us? Or perhaps the people who bought us the most drinks at our bachelor/bachelorette parties? Every scenario involves intense overanalyzing (at least on my part), and it can be exhausting.
Pro: There Are More People to Help You Pee
Sure, holding up the bride’s dress while she pees is arguably the least glamorous job a bridesmaid can have, but someone’s gotta do it (That is, if the bride is in an even semi-large gown). But with seven bridesmaids, I can ask a different person every time nature calls—and depending on my water and champagne intake, maybe not make my eight-months-pregnant maid-of-honor sister do repeat rounds.
Con: There Are More People to Wrangle—And More Time Needed to Do It
Our wedding ceremony isn’t until 5PM, but shockingly (to me, at least), my bridesmaids and I will still have to set our alarms and get moving almost as early as on a workday. It’s amazing, when you add up the time needed for professional hair and makeup for eight people (and moms), plus transportation, plus getting sixteen people on and off a bus for photos multiple times, how many hours it totals.
Pro: You Get To Spread The Love
I know not everyone is dying to be in a wedding party (mine or otherwise), and some people even dread it. But I’d venture to say most people are touched and excited when asked to stand up with a friend or family on such a special day. The more people you’re including, the more opportunities you have to share your love.
Con: You Have To Cut It Off Somewhere
Had my fiancé and I limited the wedding party to family only, it would’ve been a very clear line. Once we started adding friends, that line got much fuzzier. We’re lucky enough to have so many amazing friends in our lives; people who we’ve known for varying amounts of time and with whom we have such unique relationships. The decision to include certain friends in our bridal party is not indicative of how we feel about others. There are so many people who are immeasurably meaningful to us, and we can only hope we’ve been—and will continue to be—able to demonstrate how much we value all of those people.
Pro: You Get To Spend The Day Surrounded By So Much Love
I’m a sensitive, emotional person to begin with, and I know all that emotion will be amplified by about a billion on our wedding day. And as I go through that day, from the hair-and-makeup stage all the way through to the last dance and inevitable after party, I’m going to be so happy to look around and see I’m surrounded by such amazing and special people. My bridesmaids aren’t the only “important” people in my life; every guest at our wedding, some of whom will participate in other ways, is meaningful to us. I wish I could find a way to involve even more of them. But as it stands, I feel damn lucky to have seven bridesmaids with whom I can share this wild, wonderful experience.
Hitched, our weekly column about getting married, is back! This time around, we’ll be walking down the aisle (well, in spirit) with writer Emma Sarran, who will be sharing her thoughts on long engagements, the institution of matrimony and that godforsaken wedding industrial complex every Thursday. Follow her on Twitter!