Here’s my rule of thumb
1. Missing Maids: Please do your best to choose prompt and reliable individuals.
2. Remember, these people will be in your pictures forever and ever: Make sure to choose attendants who have and will support you as a couple through good and bad times.
3. Don't let the size of your wedding party dwarf your guest list: For every 50 guests invited, have 1 attendant.
Inviting 400 people = 7 bridesmaids, 7 groomsmen
(Note: Thank you to Jannah of Quill & Varnish for letting me use one of her fabulous wedding photos. She did an excellent job of choosing the right number and quality of people for her March 2006 wedding. Photographer: Gravani Studios)
Inviting 100 people = 2 bridesmaids, 2 groomsmen
Get the picture?
While this isn’t a fail proof method and every couple’s situation is different, this is a good framework to get you started. There are all kinds of tasks and honors for dear friends when you don’t have room in your bridal party. Some of them include, ushers, candle lighters, honor attendants, house party (your house party includes the girls who pass out invitations, man the gift table, the guestbook table, etc…it may be a southern term).
As you’re planning the celebration of your life with your love, remember that part of this is to honor the people in your lives who love and support you along the way. I'm sure I'll receive a lil' flack for saying this, but it's really not totally about you.
"Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor." –Emily Post