One of the most difficult decisions a couple faces in their wedding planning is deciding who to ask to be their attendants. Attendants are usually close family members and friends who support the couple throughout the planning process, witness the exchange of vows and share in the joy of the wedding day.
The average number of attendants for a formal wedding is four to six bridesmaids and a corresponding number of ushers. Traditionally, the ushers seat the guest for the ceremony and it is customary to have one usher per fifty guests. Also, traditionally, you would have the same number of bridesmaids and ushers.
Today, many couples forego many of the traditions accociated wtih the attendants. For example, it is not uncommon to have an uneven number of male and female attendants or for the bride to have a male attendant and for the groom to have a female attenant. Moreover, more and more couples are electing to only have a maid/matron of honor and a best man and some couples ask their parents to serve as matron of honor/best man. Other breaks from tradition include having two best men and/or two maid of honors where selecting one would cause hurt feelings.
In determining who to have as attendants, each couple has differenet considerations and concens. Many couples find this to be one of the most stressful decisions because they do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Many times, a bride feels pressure because she has a large family and feels that she has to ask a friend who she was a bridesmaid for to be in her wedding party. Also, many couples feel they need to include the other’s siblinges in their wedding party, ie, the bride includes the groom’s sisters as bridesmaids and the groom includes the bride’s brothers as ushers. These are sticky situations and if you elect to have a small wedidng party or you decide not to include someone who is expecting to be asked, you should handle the situation in a tactful and diplomatic way. If you are having a small wedding party or have a large family and are precluded from asking a friend or close family, you should explain that to the person and ask them to take on another role of honor, such as doing a reading during the ceremony.
Another consideration is your budget and the finances of the propesed attendant. Obvioulsy, the larger the bridal party, the more expenses you will have since you have to provide flowers for your attendants and you have to buy them a gift. Additionally, if you are covering any other costs such as attire or lodgings that should be taken into consideration. You should also consider if asking a friend or family member to be in your wedding party will be a financial hardship on them.