Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“It’s Wedding Chaos! I Don’t Have Enough Bridesmaids!

Bridezilla

My fiancé and I have been engaged for a little over a year. When we started planning, I immediately asked my best friend to be my maid of honor. We’ve been friends since we were ten, so it was a no-brainer. I wanted to ask my three other friends from high school, but, because there weren’t three guys my fiancé wanted as groomsmen, we decided I would ask different people to be bridesmaids (so as to not pick one or two of my friends over the others). So I asked a friend whom I had met at my job (and whom at the time I was close with) and my fiancé’s cousin whom I hung out with quite often.

Now nearing 4.5 months until the wedding, my one bridesmaid has stopped talking to me. I’m still not totally sure why, but, basically, once she didn’t need me to drive her to school I stopped hearing from her. My maid of honor also had to drop out of the wedding because she will be out of state for an internship (and, of course, I wouldn’t want her to skip that because it’s way too important!). In order to fill in the gaps, we decided to just have siblings and close relatives to make the process easier. So now my finance’s two brothers and my two brothers will be groomsmen, but the bridesmaid side is still a mess. I have my sister-in-law, fiancé’s cousin, and fiancé’s brother’s wife. Since I needed one more bridesmaid, I asked another cousin I hang out with a lot, but she doesn’t want to give me a straight answer. She will be seven months pregnant by the wedding and said she doesn’t want to look fat standing up in front of everyone. Though I reassured her and said she wouldn’t look fat, she said she would try on dresses but probably wouldn’t do it.

I am totally at a loss. Is it me? I can’t possibly be asking my maids for too much. I have done all of the planning myself. The only thing I’ve asked for help with is picking a dress. What should I do? I feel as though I’m out of options. — Hopelessly Confused Bride-to-Be

Instead of asking the people who mean the most to you to be in your wedding party, you’re basically cobbling together a string of somewhat random people — a cousin here, a carpool friend there, a finance’s brother’s wife here — to be your bridesmaids because… because you want the sides to be even? Why? For the photos? So one side of the room doesn’t topple over? I mean, I don’t get it. You’re asking a bunch of randos to wear dresses and stand up next to you so you’ll have pretty pictures? Is that it? Because that’s seriously one of the dumbest things ever. Either have bridesmaids because you think it’s a nice way to honor relationships/friendships that are important to you, or don’t have bridesmaids at all if you’re afraid an uneven number won’t look pretty enough.

What you’re doing is trying desperately to find people to play a role in the play you’re directing, complete with costumes they feel uncomfortable wearing (at least in the case of the pregnant woman). Please…stop the madness. Take a breath, take a step back, and, like, bring yourself back down to earth. No one gives a shit about your wedding except you. These people don’t really want to be bridesmaids. They’re saying yes — IF they’re even saying yes — because it’s awkward to say no when someone asks you to be in her wedding. But you know what else is awkward? Being in a wedding for someone you don’t really know that well. Or squeezing your 7-months’-pregnant belly into some ugly satin concoction. You’re making this awkward for everyone. Because you want an even amount of people flanking you and your husband-to-be. Do you realize how stupid that sounds?

You’re not out of options; you’re just out of your mind if you think an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen actually counts as a problem.

***************

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

55 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Ele4phant January 6, 2016, 2:24 pm

    Wendy that’s terrible advice. You know in many states marriage licenses are invalidated if it’s discovered that there were uneven bridal parties (or heaven forbid, none at all).

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      SpaceySteph January 6, 2016, 2:26 pm

      So true. In Alabama, I think you’re also required to have at least 7 bridesmaids (and matching groomsmen, of course). Better check the laws for your state, LW. Your marriage could be dangerously close to being *gasp* living in sin!

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant January 6, 2016, 2:30 pm

        True the LW really should be writing a lawyer, not an advice columnist.

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    • othy

      othy January 6, 2016, 3:30 pm

      If the thumbs were still around, I would thumbs up this comment so many times.

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    • avatar

      Vathena January 6, 2016, 4:11 pm

      When I told my mom that we weren’t having a wedding party, she seriously said, “Is that even legal? Is the marriage legal if no one is standing up with you?!” (This for a wedding witnessed by 90+ people.)

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 4:16 pm

        Don’t you legally need someone to sign the documents as witnesses though? You do where I live. They don’t have to literally stand beside you during the ceremony, but someone’s got to sign the contract.

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      • avatar

        Vathena January 6, 2016, 4:23 pm

        I honestly don’t remember. (We live in, and got married in, Virginia). I do remember that our officiant asked us to sign something after the ceremony. We have a copy of our marriage certificate from the courthouse, so either way we made it legal!

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 6, 2016, 4:39 pm

        Yeah. You need to have two witnesses sign. I wonder if there are people who work at Vegas wedding chapels or in courthouses whose sole purpose is to witness and sign the certificate. Like if two people were eloping or didn’t invite anyone.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 4:44 pm

        Yeah, they do! Not employees just for that, but they’ll use their other employees (like the receptionist or organist or whatever) to sign the documents for you. Full-service wedding, right there. 🙂

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 7, 2016, 9:44 am

        Definitely location dependent. The Texas marriage license has lines for bride, groom, and officiant. That’s it, no witnesses. (I think they made a gender neutral one after Obergeffel, but ours from 2013 says bride and groom)

        But yeah, having witnesses is not the same as having a bridal party.

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      • avatar

        Jane January 7, 2016, 3:40 pm

        I signed my sister’s Texas marriage certificate as a witness and so did the best man, but I don’t know if that was a hard requirement. That was in Spring 2015 so it could have changed in the last couple of years.

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      • Portia

        Portia January 6, 2016, 4:43 pm

        Funny story: So we had to fill out the application for a marriage certificate, but only one of us needed to be there in person at the courthouse. And we didn’t need to sign the certificate, just the officiant did. And she did it while she was waiting for us to get to the Ketubah signing, which was before the ceremony. And there were no lines for witnesses to sign. So not only did the officiant sign it before we’d said our I-do’s, but Bassanio never technically needed to ever see our marriage license and I’m not sure if he has…

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      • Portia

        Portia January 6, 2016, 4:57 pm

        PS This was for DC. I think requiring witnesses and the number is determined by the state you’re in. But if you want a quickie element, looks like DC is the place to go! You can also get married the same day you apply, no waiting period.

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      • Portia

        Portia January 6, 2016, 5:51 pm

        Arg, can’t edit, should be “quickie elopement”

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      • avatar

        Ele4phant January 6, 2016, 4:52 pm

        We needed two witnesses to sign. They did not, obviously, have to be in a bridal period. They just had to have witnessed us get married.

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      • avatar

        Ange January 6, 2016, 5:24 pm

        We got our mothers to sign, it was nice.

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  • avatar

    ktfran January 6, 2016, 2:29 pm

    Wedding letters make me laugh. I can’t wait for Wendy’s wedding week, if she so chooses to do it again.

    WWS! LW, if you’re that concerned with how your wedding looks, why don’t you ask your three friends you originally wrote off?

    Also, the more I read about weddings and problems with weddings, the more I want to go anti-establishment. I’m talking no engagement ring. Courthouse wedding. Late lunch at a great spot with immediate family and maybe a couple of friends. Although I’d still buy a fun little short white dress because I love dressing up and wearing pretty dresses. Sounds like a dream.

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    • avatar

      Ella_ January 6, 2016, 3:24 pm

      Seriously! Me too. My sister is married and had the big thing and my brother is engaged and planning a big wedding but I am with you on the small courthouse, no-fuss wedding. My parents decided to give me and my siblings all a set amount for a wedding/honeymoon/whatever and I would rather go to Bora Bora than have a big wedding and make a fuss!!

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 3:48 pm

      Honestly, if you’re able to have a big wedding and pretty much do it the way you want it, it’s tons of fun. But if you’re going to stress over appearances and what people think and following all these “rules” then there’s no point, because that’s a total waste of stress. 🙂

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 6, 2016, 4:33 pm

        But also having a simple wedding with the people closest to you can be fun. I’m just over it. When I say I want this kind of thing to friends, they look at me like I’m crazy. Or say that I’ll change my mind.
        .
        I don’t begrudge anyone their wedding day and if big and fun is your style, go for it! But not having an engagement ring. Or not having an even number of attendants. Or not doing whatever you’re “supposed” to do doesn’t make a couple any less married. That was more or less the point I was trying to make.
        .
        To me, this LW seemed like she was more interested in a particular image and that is ultimately what I was responding to.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 4:40 pm

        Oh totally. I thought you meant you were ready to write it off just because of the expectations and everything. Which would be sad if it was something you wanted. But if you don’t want it, then for sure, don’t do it! 🙂 My husband and I considered eloping because I knew how much work it would be (and because eloping is romantic), but in the end I just wanted to have the big wedding, so I did. I think I would have been sad if I skipped it due mainly to thinking it would be too much of a pain, you know? That’s all I meant.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 6, 2016, 5:29 pm

        Oh, I for sure get it. And I have a blast at all my friend’s weddings! I should have stated my position more clear. Don’t do something because you’re supposed to… do something because you want to. And if it’s causing a huge headache, take a step back, breath, and ask yourself how important it is to have equal numbers, or whatever the case may be.
        .
        I will say though, reading all the wedding woes on DW probably has helped me decide the simpler the better for me. It seems somebody is always disappointed.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray January 6, 2016, 2:35 pm

    Yes, for the love of God, “stop the madness.” All wedding letters can probably be answered with “stop the madness” and that’s it. The madness, just stop it.

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  • avatar

    SpaceySteph January 6, 2016, 2:41 pm

    Teasing answer aside, I wonder if the real issue is that you’re sad/upset that you don’t have any friends to be your bridesmaids. Is it really about matching sides, or about the realization that your so-called best friends are flaking out on you? Are you, perhaps, embarrassed about having fewer bridesmaids making it look like you have no friends?
    It really does sound like you’re more concerned about appearances than relationships, and perhaps that same attitude is what led you to have nobody willing to drop everything and stuff themselves into a fluffy pink concoction for your wedding. Take this as a learning opportunity to step back, stop pressuring your friends and “friends” to be in your wedding, and go with the sides as they are. Then once the wedding planning madness is over get back to cultivating real adult friendships, which take work and time and effort and presence.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy January 6, 2016, 4:02 pm

      But she had three friends she could have asked and decided not to because there wouldn’t be an equal three groomsmen and rather than ask only one or two of her three friends to be bridesmaids and have unequal numbers in the wedding party, she decided to ask random people to fulfill the role.

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      • avatar

        SpaceySteph January 6, 2016, 4:08 pm

        This is true, and maybe those friends would have said yes.
        Something about her ending with “Is it me?” makes me wonder if it is her.

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  • avatar

    Essie January 6, 2016, 3:09 pm

    Why on earth do there have to be equal numbers.? The last wedding I attended, there was an unequal number of attendants because of a family squabble. One of the groomsmen walked down the aisle with two of the bridesmaids, one on each arm, and it worked out fine. No one cared. Some people probably didn’t notice. And if anyone was clucking because the sides didn’t match, they were idiots. You don’t have to lose your mind structuring your wedding around the expectations of idiots. Or “tradition”. Or Bride magazine.
    .
    Get back to what matters. You and your fiance are supposed to have the people closest to you as attendants. The ones you want standing with you as you start a new phase of your life. If you have 2 and he has 3, who cares? Do you seriously think there will be people in the church whispering “Ooh, he has more friends than she does, do you think there’s something wrong with her?”

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph January 6, 2016, 3:27 pm

      Definitely plenty of logistical options for the uneven sides: In my sister’s rather lopsided wedding, we just walked down individually rather than escorted by a groomsman. I’ve also been to a wedding where the groom and groomsmen didn’t walk down the aisle at all, they just came in the side and stood at the front before the processional started.
      It’s definitely not a catastrophe. Actually, I know some bridesmaid-friends who prefer to walk solo to being escorted by some rando.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 3:53 pm

        I thought the groom’s side standing at the front already was standard? That’s how I always see it, anyway. With weddings I’ve been to (and at mine) the bridesmaids go up one by one on their own, followed by the bride. At the end they follow the bride and groom out in pairs, but that’s a lot less formal, no one’s really taking pictures or anything, so no one cares how they’re paired up.
        .
        Also I personally wanted matching numbers, just because I’m hardcore about symmetry. Like I hate taking an uneven number of steps, and will take two small ones instead of one big one to even it out, lol. I also constantly count my steps as I walk. I might have a mental disorder. But anyway, as much as I wanted the sides to match, I wouldn’t have cut out my three best friends to do it. No way.

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  • avatar

    Taylor January 6, 2016, 3:41 pm

    Odd numbers are fun! I was in a wedding where I walked up the aisle with a groomsman on each arm =) No one was stressed, the pictures are hilarious, and I got to strut. Deep breath LW!

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  • Moneypenny

    Moneypenny January 6, 2016, 3:42 pm

    What about having a close male friend stand up on your side? (Groomsmaid?) I’ve seen that happen more than a few times.

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    • avatar

      RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 3:55 pm

      My husband had a woman as his best man. I think it’s becoming pretty common, since people have a lot more opposite-sex friends now than they used to.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 6, 2016, 4:29 pm

        Yes! Exactly this.

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    • avatar

      Anna January 6, 2016, 4:00 pm

      I think it would be “Bridesman”? Groomsmaid is probably a woman who stands on the man’s side. I can’t wait to be my friends Groomsmaid and wear a nice pant-suit combo to his wedding! I never get to wear pant-suits…

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 6, 2016, 4:28 pm

        That’s a good point! 🙂

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie January 6, 2016, 4:09 pm

      I always called it the “Dude of Honor”

      If I serve in a wedding party now (please no more) I refer to myself as a “Ma’am of Honor” or “Brides Ma’am” because I am neither maid nor matron.

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      • Moneypenny

        Moneypenny January 6, 2016, 4:28 pm

        Ugh, I hate the term “matron of honor.” Makes me think of an older, victorian-era lady with a scowl on her face.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 6, 2016, 4:47 pm

        The word itself just sounds so ugly, too. Matron. Matron. Ugh. It’s hideous.

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      • avatar

        spaceysteph January 7, 2016, 9:51 am

        Ugh I was just “matron of honor” at my sister’s wedding and I agree– it sounded so awful. We got shirts made for the bachelorette party and I was like I feel like this sparkly tank top should go over some saggy boobs if its gonna say “Matron.” Funny thing though, none of the dudes who came to hit on us even bothered to read it because more than one dude asked if I was single. The answer is literally written on my boobs, guys.

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      • avatar

        RedRoverRedRover January 7, 2016, 10:24 am

        That reminds me of what happened at my bachelorette party…. I was clearly the bride, because my friends had given me one of those silly little “bride” tiaras and necklaces and stuff. This guy starts hitting on me, and I tell him that I’m getting married last week. Then he’s like “yeah, but it’ll be like one last hurrah before you’re trapped” and all this stuff. He kept pushing on that idea of one last night, no strings attached, etc. He wouldn’t go away until I literally told him I wasn’t having sex with him.
        .
        I’m guessing it works for him a decent amount of time. After he left I realized that he had beelined for me. I think this is his schtick. So gross. And we were in Niagara Falls, which means there are probably tons of brides-to-be coming through the clubs. I just can’t believe there are really people who think it’s not cheating if you’re not married yet. I mean, SOME of the women must be sleeping with him, or he’d give up on that approach. Crazy.

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph January 7, 2016, 9:53 am

      My sister had a bridesman and he was awesome. They got married at a park and it had rained the day before so the ground was really soft, and on a few occasions he had to assist as our heels kept getting stuck in the mud. We even had those little plastic things to keep you from sinking in, but it was so soft THOSE got stuck in the mud and we walked right out of them after about 2 minutes. So it was kinda handy to have him around!

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  • avatar

    Steph January 6, 2016, 3:54 pm

    Why not have your two brothers be on your side?! I mean after all they are more important to you than they are your fiance. My best friend just got married and had me as her maid of honor, and her brother and her sister in law on her side. And her wife had her cousin and her 2 closest guy friends on her side.
    .
    If you’re worried about walking back down the aisle, I walked with a guy from the other side, and then the 2 married couples walked down together. It worked out fine.

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  • avatar

    K January 6, 2016, 4:14 pm

    Once the two bridesmaids dropped out, you should’ve asked your 3 friends to be in it (to total 4 bridesmaids), especially because you managed to cobble together 4 groomsmen. Pretty dumb that you’re just asking whoever, but also dumb that you cared enough about even-ness to leave out your 3 friends. If I get married I already know I’ll have at least one more bridesmaid than my boyfriend would have groomsmen, and who cares. I wouldn’t leave someone out because of that.

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  • avatar

    wobster109 January 6, 2016, 4:17 pm

    WWS! Matching numbers don’t matter a bit. Nor genders, on that note! Pick as few or as many people (of any gender) as you want to be your attendants. They can walk in very charming mixed-gender pairs with a trio at the end. Or your person of honor can either walk alone or with another attendant; it won’t be weird either way. Or just have your two brothers as your attendants, his two brothers as his. Good golly! Number and gender in wedding parties are an overrated wrench messing everything up. Pick the people closest to you.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy January 6, 2016, 5:23 pm

    From the LW:

    I guess I wasn’t totally detailed in my question. I’m not doing this purely because I want the sides to be even. That’s not even it at all. I had a lot of people that I wanted to ask but I couldn’t choose certain people over others. Like that would have caused a whole lot of problems and I didn’t want that. I wouldn’t want them to feel left out. The family we chose are very close to me as well. Like the cousins are people we get together with quite frequently. And though I chose his sister in law ( whom I don’t particularly get along with), I did so because I’m hoping that having her involved could be a way to mend the friendship we once had

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    • avatar

      Ange January 6, 2016, 5:30 pm

      Still doesn’t really answer why she’s freaking over uneven numbers then when that seems to be the answer. Get whoever, if the numbers don’t match big deal. If you can’t pick between your friends don’t have bridesmaids at all, it can be done! I didn’t, nobody died.

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      • avatar

        ktfran January 6, 2016, 5:37 pm

        I’m still confused. If her fiance ended up with four in the wedding party, why didn’t you keep the cousin that said yes and then ask your three friends?!?

        You are making this way more difficult than it needs to be.

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    • Portia

      Portia January 6, 2016, 5:50 pm

      Yes, the people you’re picking are not only because of uneven numbers. But you’ve made a lot of decisions with “unevenness” in mind. And if you end up with an uneven number, what’s the big deal? Is it really a mess? The pregnant cousin doesn’t want to do it, don’t make her. What if she goes on bed rest or into early labor? Then just let things be.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant January 6, 2016, 10:50 pm

      I was pretty snarky, but I get it. Weddings are hard, a lot of people use their inclusion as a measuring stick of how much you care about them, even though there are so many other factors at play and people really shouldn’t take everything as a personal affront.

      Just ask who you want to be there, and then don’t sweat it if people drop out or get their feelings all in a bunch.

      At the end of this day, this is one day, and furthermore, it’s really about you and your fiance. Keep your focus on that. Most people will get over any perceived slights, and the few that don’t? Well they didn’t really care about you that much if they can’t give you one day to just be happy for you.

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    • avatar

      wobster109 January 6, 2016, 11:07 pm

      I also still don’t get it. You have 3 friends you wanted to ask. That would make a total of 7. Is that so bad? You wouldn’t have to choose between any of the 3 friends because you’d ask all of them. It also doesn’t explain why you’re pressuring the pregnant woman. Without her, you’d have 3 while your fiancé has 4. That’s fine too. Seriously, forget about the even numbers.

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    • bagge72

      bagge72 January 7, 2016, 10:40 am

      I don’t think the problem here is unevenness anymore, I think the problem is that because she didn’t initially pick the people she wanted because she didn’t have even numbers she is stuck with three bridesmaids that are her fiance’s family and nobody close to her because her cousin doesn’t want to big all pregnant on stage in front of everyone, and she has now alienated everyone else who she originally wanted. Honestly like everyone else said just ask your three friends hope the say yes and since you don’t care about uneven numbers anymore you should be fine.

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  • avatar

    dinoceros January 6, 2016, 5:35 pm

    To a person you aren’t close to (who probably realizes they’re your last-ditch option), being a bridesmaid is too much to ask. Most people don’t enjoy it, and the only good part is that you can support a close loved one. If you aren’t close, you lose that positive part and it becomes a chore.

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  • avatar

    Fancy Pants January 6, 2016, 10:55 pm

    Oddly enough, I asked six girls to be my bridesmaids and my husband asked 5 groomsmen, because those were the people we were close to and we didn’t care about even sides. Lo and behold, six months before the wedding, one of my bridesmaids had to move far away and it would have been a huge burden for her to make it back for the wedding. So despite not caring, I magically ended up with the “dream” even amount of wedding party people flanking us. Some brides need to chill out. Your pictures will look fine even if the sides aren’t even. I would have preferred having my friend there and having the odd number that no one would have noticed.

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    • avatar

      ktfran January 7, 2016, 9:05 am

      I just wanted to comment to say I like your screen name.

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  • avatar

    Married by Elvis January 7, 2016, 4:02 pm

    WWS a thousand times over! Good God!! This isn’t a problem if you get Married by Elvis. My cousin was my bridesmaid just because she was there and the bridesmaid bouquet came with the wedding package. My dad walked me down the aisle and then was the best man because he was the only other man there.

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