Sometimes choosing the bridal party is easy: the bride and groom each have an equal number of friends or relatives that they would like to invite to be their attendants. But what if the bride wants a different number of attendants than the groom? The good news is that it is perfectly acceptable to have an asymmetrical bridal party. Here is how to handle it graciously.
There is an image that we hold in our minds of the perfect wedding. Invariably, it includes nice and even numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen marching down the aisle arm in arm during the recessional at the end of the ceremony, while seated during the dinner, and sharing the spotlight dance. However, real life does not always include perfectly matched sets, and that is fine too. Unequal numbers of bridesmaids and groomsmen do not need to pose a problem.
More to the point, there is no need to scramble around to find another body to even out the numbers. You should only invite those who you truly wish to have with you. If the bride has three attendants and the groom has five, no one is going to assume that it means she is less popular than he is! Better to have three attendants you really love than five that you barely know.
During the processional, the groomsmen will be standing up at the altar with the groom, so there is no question of how to manage unequal numbers. The music plays, the bridesmaids come gliding down the aisle in their beautiful dresses and bridesmaid jewelry, the bride makes her grand entrance, and everyone heads up to the altar. At this point, the first question of unbalanced sides may arise. If there is only a difference of one or two people, simply have the bridesmaids stand by the bride and the groomsmen by the groom in the usual fashion. If, however, the sides are more disparate in size, you could ask your officiant about having only the maid of honor and best man stand by the bride and groom for the ceremony; the rest of the attendants can be seated in nearby chairs.
Okay, so the ceremony is finished, the groom has kissed the bride, and it is time for the recessional, now what? There are a few approaches that will work. First of all, you should keep in mind that the guests will be focusing their attention on the newlyweds as they walk down the aisle together for the first time as husband and wife. Nobody is really focused on the attendants at this point.
When there is one more female attendant in the wedding party, the best man can have the honor of escorting two lovely ladies in their fabulous bridesmaid dresses and jewelry back up the aisle. He simply extends an arm to each one. If the gentlemen outnumber the ladies, a nice idea is to let the maid of honor walk up the aisle unescorted, which will simply help to single her out as the bride’s chief honor attendant.
Having different numbers of attendants on the bride’s side and the groom’s side is one of those things that can drive a bride crazy, but in truth it is no problem at all. As long as you have with you the people who mean the most in your life, that is all that matters.