The number of bridesmaids is determined by the formality of your ceremony. Four to eight bridesmaids are appropriate for semi-formal and formal weddings. If your ceremony is informal and casual, or part of your second marriage, opt for having only one attendant — your maid or matron of honor.

After you’ve decided on your bridesmaids, you may find you have more of them than groomsmen. To determine if you want an equal number, think about the processional and how you want it to look. If including everyone on your list is important, devise your own processional order. For example, bridesmaids and groomsmen can walk the aisle alone in the processional and recessional. Be sure to ask members of your bridal party if they’re comfortable with the arrangement.

There are many ways to honor an important guest. If the groom’s sister, for example, can’t serve as a bridesmaid, you have other options to include her in the wedding:

  • Reader: At a religious ceremony a reader can read from a religious text. She could also read a poem chosen by you.
  • Singer: If she has the talent, she can perform at your wedding ceremony or reception.
  • Planner: Ask your friend to help you with the details of your wedding, such as choosing the wedding gown, the flowers or the reception site.
  • Usher: The usher plays an important role by helping people to their seats and giving directions to the reception.
  • Opposite gender attendant: She can serve as an attendant on the groom’s side. She’ll wear a bridesmaid dress but have the duties of a groomsman.

Picking your bridesmaids might not be easy. How do you include everyone without feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. If assigning the role of bridesmaid to all your friends and relatives isn’t possible, you can use these other options to include them.

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