This post is adapted from the blog of Weddington Way, a Priceonomics customer
If you have 10 bridesmaids, is that a lot?
It feels like it’s on the high side for a bridal party, but what does the data say? We analyzed sales data from Weddington Way, which sells bridesmaid dresses. The data set has the convenient property that you can analyze exactly how big a wedding party is based on how many dresses a group orders.
We found that the average wedding party in America has 4.39 bridesmaids. So yes, 10 bridesmaids is a lot!
Which city has the most bridesmaids on average? The winner is Charleston, South Carolina, which we dub the Bridesmaid Capital of the United States. Which state takes the top spot for most people in a bridal party? Louisiana.
Louisiana and Charleston are part of a trend. By looking at the bridal party data, we discovered that when it comes to bridal parties, the South does it bigger.
Across America, the average number of bridesmaids is 4.39. So if you have 4 bridesmaids, that puts your wedding below the national average. If you have 5 bridesmaids, the size of your wedding is above average. The median size of a bridal party is 4 bridesmaids. We should point out that our data set only includes bridal parties, which is defined as at least 2 bridesmaids.
Once your bridal party includes 7 or more bridesmaids, it is uncommonly large. Once you get to 10 or more bridesmaids, you are in the rarefied air of the top 2%.
Note: Bridal party defined as two or more bridesmaids
If you want to make it into the top 1% of bridal parties in America, you need 11 bridesmaids. And if you have a bridal party of 15 or more, that puts you in the top 0.07%. These may seem like very large wedding parties, but they happen fairly regularly.
Charleston: The Bridesmaid Capital of the United States
Next, we break the US data into a city level analysis. In which cities do brides tend to put together larger wedding parties? We look at the city that the bride lives in and calculate the average number bridesmaids in her wedding party.
Charleston takes the top spot, followed by Birmingham and New Orleans:
Southern cities sweep the top 4 positions and make up 7 of the top 10 positions.
Next, let’s look at which cities tend to have the highest proportion of “mega-sized” bridal parties: 7 or more bridesmaids.
In cities like Birmingham, New Orleans, Charleston, and Waco, there is roughly a 25% chance that any wedding you attend will have 7 or more bridesmaids!
Finally, let’s rank all the states to see where bridal parties tend to be largest. Again, the South sweeps the top 3 spots:
New Mexico ranks last. On average, a wedding party in Louisiana is 26% bigger than one in New Mexico!
There is no “normal” number of bridesmaids for a wedding. But the average in America is around four and a half. If you live in the South, it’s a bit higher.
And if you live Charleston, Carolina, there is a good chance you’re going to have a really big wedding party.