When I got engaged last June, I thought answering that question would be a snap. I have a tight-knit group of close friends and had already thought about who I’d want standing up there with me. However, one thing I didn’t take into consideration was how many guys my fiancé would be bringing into the mix. Suddenly our respective bridal party numbers were way off, and I had to reevaluate just how many ladies I could conceivably handle on the wedding wagon.
It sounds silly, I know, but the size of your bridal party says a lot about the kind of wedding you end up having. If you’re recently engaged or just dreaming about your potential wedding, you have to think about this stuff. And if you’re like me and don’t want to have an overwhelming number of maids but don’t quite know what a “normal” number is, Weddington Way has some handy data for you.
Light gray translates to under four bridesmaids, while the darkest pink shade indicates about five bridesmaids, with everything else falling somewhere between 3.8 and 4.6 as an average.
They gathered the average number of bridesmaids in bridal parties across all 50 states and came up with a bridesmaid median for the entire country. In the United States, the average number of bridesmaids is — drumroll — 4.39. That means if you’ve landed on four or five maids (or four maids and your pet golden retriever), you’re pretty standard for a millennial bride.
However, their infographic also divulges which cities boast much higher bridesmaids numbers on average. According to their calculations, Charleston, South Carolina, takes the award for largest average number of ladies standing in a row, wearing matching dresses. They average 5.01 bridesmaids per wedding, which means I should probably move my ceremony from Cape Cod to a Charleston plantation.
Weddington Way also made note of the cities that tend to have “mega bridal parties,” aka seven or more bridesmaids on average. Again, the South dominated here as well, with Birmingham, Alabama; Waco, Texas; and New Orleans, Louisiana, taking the top spots. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Southern colleges are all about Greek Life, so Southern ladies are probably more inclined to have a bunch of sorority sisters as bridesmaids. The South is also big on wedding traditions and social charm, which usually means inviting everyone and their mother to the big day and having an army standing beside you at the altar (or chuppah).
It may also have something to do with the average age of a Southern bride being younger than that of a Northern bride. If you’re getting married closer to college age, odds are you have more close friends at your beck and call than someone in their 30s. This is just a fact of life — as we age, our friend circle tends to diminish somewhat.
So the moral here is, go with your gut when it comes to picking bridesmaids, because you can’t really go wrong when it comes to numbers. However, if you want to go for the bridesmaid record, you have to top 130, and at that point, you might as well just nix the entire guest list and have a maids-only reception.