Symmetry Is Optional

uneven wedding party

I was reading about the 20 weirdest Craigslist postings when I came across this unusual want ad:

So, my fiancee and I are getting married in June. He has 8 groomsmen lined up and I only have one bridesmaid. So, I need some girls who are attractive and around my age to stand up in my wedding. You can be single or taken. It doesn’t matter….you just have to be hot. But, not hotter then me. Email me for more information. The wedding will be in Madison and you won’t have to pay for a thing.

Gee, I wonder if the whole “you just have to be hot. But, not hotter then me” thing has anything to do with this bride not having enough friends to fill out her bridal party? That aside, it’s easy to see why a bride would automatically feel the need to find extra girlfriends or guyfriends to ensure wedding attendant symmetry. At almost every wedding I’ve attended (and I’ve been to quite a few) there were an equal number of guys and gals on either side of the officiant.

But just because that’s the usual way of doing things doesn’t mean it’s the only way of doing things. Sometimes the groom has groomsmaids and the bride has bridesmen, or both sides are entirely mixed. Sometimes brides and grooms have no attendants standing with them at all. And occasionally, a wedding party is made up of lots and lots of bridesmaids (or groomsmen) and just a few groomsmen (or bridesmaids).

When you’re facing bridesmaid/groomsman inequity, the processional and recessional are the trickiest things to coordinate… and it’s not even that tricky! You can have all the men wait at the altar with the groom and let all the ladies walk the aisle solo. Everyone can walk solo, if you prefer. When there are two men to every woman (or vice versa), you can double up as long as your aisle is wide enough for three. You can also have some groups of three, some doubles, and some people walking solo, as necessary. Or, heck, you might just have everyone run out crazy-style all at once. Anything goes, provided your ceremony location or house of worship is okay with your decision.

But if you share the OP’s conundrum and are mainly worried about how your wedding photos will look, my advice is chill. There’s no law stating that you have to line everyone up on either side of the bride and groom in your pictures. Group up like the huge wedding party in the above wedding pic and the difference in numbers between the bride’s attendants and the groom’s attendants will be a lot less obvious.

Image via

11 Responses to “Symmetry Is Optional”

  1. Annika says:

    So true! People get so hung up on matching numbers of men and women. Everyone seems to think it’s a RULE! I have 6 bridesmaids, and my fiance asked, “Does that mean I can only choose 6 groomsmen?” Of course not! So we have 6 bridesmaids and 9 groomsmen. And everyone is happy.

  2. Ashleyrah says:

    I can sympathize. I have 2 attendants, and my FH has 6. To make the spacing even we’re putting two of his (the ones that I am closest to) on my side during the wedding, since we really are just a big group of friends.

  3. La BellaDonna says:

    Well, I wish the bride-to-be the best of luck; with that particular ad, she’s going to need it. There’s really no reason why the single bridesmaid can’t walk up to the front, either by herself or escorted on each side by one of the groomsmen, with the remaining groomsmen following in pairs. It would look perfectly balanced, rather than identical. And why would the photos look bad, with the women surrounded by guys? This is bad, how?

    Ashleyrah, if you’re concerned about how the attendants look going up the aisle, you may want to have your attendants pairing with each other, and the groom’s attendants following in pairs, until they go to stand with each of you. In my mind’s eye, Bridesmaid/Bridesmaid, Groomsman/Groomsman, Groomsman/Groomsman, Groomsman/Groomsman seems more balanced than Bridesmaid/Groomsman, Bridesmaid/Groomsman, Groomsman/Groomsman, Groomsman/Groomsman. (Of course, your mind’s eye may see totally differently, and why should it not?)

    I figure male/female pairs which are equal in number are really necessary only if you’re stocking Noah’s Ark.

  4. Melissa B. says:

    We had unbalanced sides too — 4 bridesmaids, 3 groomsmen. No one cared.

    I’m a little puzzled about why the bride is looking for strangers on Craigslist to fulfill this function. Isn’t there *anyone* on her guest list who’d be willing to put on a nice dress and walk down the aisle for her, if she’s really that worried about gender symmetry? The girlfriends of the groomsmen, maybe? Sisters of groomsmen? Or are they not “hot” enough for her wedding pictures?

  5. SusanC says:

    We violated all the matchy-matchy attendant rules. We had 3 attendants, all women. Oh, and the one on the groom’s side probably weighed as much as the 2 on my side together. But so what? They were our friends, and the pictures look perfectly fine to us- but then, I find many of the photos with the line of matching brides maids and groom can be a little hokey looking, like everyone is about to break out into a song-and-dance routine for a corny off-broadway musical.

  6. not sure why people stick to the traditions so badly – breaking the rules is a way to go!

  7. Fenny says:

    I often wonder where the Leftpondian “traditions” come from and can only think that there are other European countries where there are usually more than one male attendant.

    Until *very* recently in the UK, the groom would have a single Best Man, while the bride may have a number of attendants, usually female, but with some small boys. My SiL had her niece and 3 nephews, all under the age of 10, as her attendants and her sister as MoH. Groomsmen are a very recent import here.

    I have been “Best Man” at a couple of weddings where the bride has had male attendants. As far as I’m concerned, it’s more important to have the people you want there than to worry about whether or not there are the “right” number of each type.

  8. Twistie says:

    I think the answer to the question of why the bride ‘had’ to place the ad in the first place is duly answered in the text. She’s not putting together a wedding party, she’s holding a casting call.

    I’d much, much rather see a mismatched set of attendants (and really, I have never once sat at someone’s wedding and been shocked/horrified or otherwise smirksome about whether there was an even number of attendants on each side of the altar) than sit in my pew watching a total stranger walk up to stand beside the bride because I was considered too fat, too flat, too ugly, too pretty, too tall, too short, or just not sparkly enough to be in my friends’ wedding party.

    SusanC speaks for me. It’s a wedding. The people standing at the altar should be there because they are the people the couple is closest to, no matter what they look like or how lopsided the numbers happen to be. Anyone who would choose ‘pretty’ photos over honoring the people they love isn’t mature enough to be getting married.

  9. What an odd request! I wonder if it’s a joke…either way, she can totally just have 1 bridesmaid and 8 groomsmen. I’ve photo-shot several weddings before where the the bridal party has an uneven #.

  10. Katy says:

    Ha! When I got married, there was only one other person in our wedding party. My best friend at the time was both maid of honor and best woman! My sister had an even number in her party but it was all friends and family. I say go with what you want and who cares about the rules!

  11. Pencils says:

    Symmetry makes nice photos, but I think having the people who are important to you standing up for you on your wedding day is much more important. But that’s just my opinion!