What's the biggest wedding party you have seen?

gellchomFebruary 12, 2008

We went to a lovely wedding this weekend. It was very big -- I think almost 450 people! Both the bride and groom are local and have big families. It was a lot of fun; I love when I know both sides.

What was remarkable, though, was the size of the wedding party itself. I lost count of the bridesmaids and ushers -- probably a dozen or so of each. At least the guys came in two at a time, but the processional still took forever (especially because, with such a large group, it was a long aisle). People were kind of giggling -- really, it did look kind of silly to have such a huge group. It was surprising, as they are 31 and 26, not silly young kids, and it wasn't that they had a lot of siblings or cousins to include; only 4 attendants were even related. I wonder how their friends who didn't make the cut into such a large party felt. And before anyone flames me for being judgmental, no, it was NOT all that anyone noticed or cared about! The ceremony and reception were lovely, and we all had a great time.

Oh, and I made a point of noticing that the bridesmaids (even the pregnant one) wore matching dresses but NOT even remotely matching shoes (except for the color), and I am sure that but for this forum I would never even have noticed the shoes, even though the dresses were not long gowns.

Anyway, the total of that wedding party, including the grandparents, parents, and officiants but not the musicians, was 46. I am sure that's the largest group I've ever seen! What's your record?

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You've got me beat gellchom. The biggest one I went to was some 15 years ago. It was in Ct., at a country club. Maybe 325 people were there. The bride had 7 attendants and the groom had the same number. They walked down the aisle together so it didn't take toooooo long! lol Gosh, I don't think I even know 450 people to ask to a wedding and you figure there may have been some declines and no-shows, WOW! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:09AM
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As a coordinator I have seen a number of weddings with a large guest count and those with a large number of attendants. The largest guest count was a destination wedding to a resort community about 2 hours from here. We had 450 guests for a ceremony on the golf course with the reception at the golf resort which is located on a lake.

The next largest was the former governor's daughter's wedding which occurred when her dad was still governor. They invited over 500 and 380 attended. The struggle was finding the balance between what the bride and groom wanted - all of their friends invited - and what the governor and his wife wanted - only 100 to 125, largely family and his political cronies.

The wedding with the largest wedding party was my niece's and she was 36. She had been in so many weddings that she felt she needed to include all of her friends. They had 9 on each side and her two brothers as ushers. Because she was estranged from her father and didn't want to walk with him, yet didn't want to walk in alone, she asked all of the nieces and nephews and a couple of friend's children to be her escorts. There were 7 of them. You should have seen the full wedding party pictures!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:46PM
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I have only been to 3 weddings, but my best friend's wedding was the largest, 230 people including bride and groom and 10 attendants (5 of each). Most of the guests were invited by the parents. We all wore same style dress but mine a different color, shoes matched dresses.

She wore an old fashioned gown and he a tux with tails. Her father walked her down aisle just like the old days. We found a version of Mendelssohn wedding march played on piano that had a ragtime music sound to it for when they walked back down the aisle. Was so fun!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 2:12AM
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Oh, SweetPea, that bride's entrance must have been delightful!

Gellcom, I have certainly noticed a departure from matching shoes to formal attire. Even at the Grammies, gorgeous colorful dress and black leather heels. UGH!!! It just ruins the look.

I wonder if it is not easy to find matching shoes any longer. I have certainly had shoes dyed to match, and the color has been completely off.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 5:59PM
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"Her father walked her down aisle just like the old days."

Is this not standard anymore? I've never been to a wedding where the bride wasn't walked down the aisle by her father. Unless the father had passed away, of course.

The largest wedding party I ever saw was about 10 bridesmaids and 10 ushers, plus a handful of flower girls, ring bearers, etc. The procession took forever.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2008 at 9:22PM
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sue36 - these days alot of us think a father walking us down the aisle is rather degrading, like a cow being lead to slaughter. We are no longer "possesions" to be "given away". It's 2008, we leave home, work, support ourselves, pay for our own weddings, etc.

But to each their own!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 7:54AM
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Pattie33 makes a valid point. Today, dads do still escort their daughters but the question of who presents her is often omitted. One thing that is becoming increasingly common is for the dad and bride to enter, then the officiant asks all of the parents to stand, including the groom's parents and any steps involved. Then the officiant asks the parents if they will commit to loving, encouraging, supporting, etc. the couple during the good times and bad... This involves the groom's family and it can be quite emotional.

Brides walk in alone, or in some cases the bride and groom enter together. Today, just about anything goes as long as it is done tastefully.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 3:13PM
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I never said the father HAS TO walk the daughter down, I just pointed out that doing that is not something from the "old days" since it is still done in the majority of cases. You said WALK DOWN, you didn't say "give away". A big and important difference.

I don't think most fathers think of walking their daughter down the aisle as leading her to slaughter or passing on ownership. I think they view it as one of the meaningful things fathers do with their daughters. I was a corporate attorney, 35 yo and paid for my wedding...and my father would have been devastated if I snubbed him by excluding him from this.

Now, the grooming asking the parents for permission, IMO THAT is from the old days. I don't know anyone who has done it in 20 years.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 7:14PM
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Must be a generation thing, or a local phenomenon, because I honestly don't know anyone my age who wants to be walked.

"Meaningful" means full of meaning - what exactly, in your opinion, is the meaning of the tradition? Is there a current day purpose?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 3:10AM
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You know what Patty, if it isn't meaningful to you then don't do it. There are a lot of wedding traditions I think are plain dumb (throwing the bouquet, the garter, the cheesy way the wedding party is usually introduced) that I chose not to do.

Purpose? How much of it really has a purpose? Why wear a white dress, a veil? Why do any of it? Just go to City Hall and exchange vows. Or don't get married at all, what's the purpose of that?

In my case, making my father happy is purpose enough for me. Every wedding I attended between 1986 and 2007 the father walked the bride down the aisle, except in the few cases where the father had passed away. These brides ranged in age from 21 to 38. I went to a few wedding where the bride was older and it was a second or third marriage. In those cases the fathers had all passed away. The bride was escorted by her son in one case. What's the purpose of that?

I doubt very much that the father walking the bride down the aisle is a "local phemonenon" here, especially since I live in an area where women are highly educated and often don't change their names (as I didn't).

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 12:08PM
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A woman entering a gathering is "escorted" accompanied as it were. The bride's mother is escorted down the aisle...the grooms grand parents. The brid being escorted down the aisle it long steeped in tradition much deeper than the father "giving" her.
I have been to a wedding where the bride's 8 year old son walked her down the aisle, and where she was escorted down the aisle by a beloved great aunt.
Only one wedding can I think of where the bride entered alone...and that was a back yard wedding and she entered from the far reaches of the property and sort of traipsed to where the groom was standing....looked very odd.
You say no one your age wants to be walked...I'm wondering how old you are? I have been to 2 weddings recently of 40 and some women, first marriage sucessful women...and their father walked each of them down the aisle...are you older than that?
Of course in Jewish tradition both parents escort the bride in, as do the groom's parents...I think that's nice.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 10:58PM
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As lindac just point out, at a Jewish wedding, both the bride and groom are walked down the aisle by their parents, who remain standing at the sides of the wedding canopy through the service. It definitely lends a very different feeling from that of the western Christian tradition.

Last night we went to a beautiful and very touching wedding of a friend's daughter. The groom is in his early 30s or so, and both his parents are dead. He was escorted down the aisle by his sister, who is a bit younger and is his best friend. It was so moving.

That whole wedding was so gorgeous, and the food and the band were both so fantastic, I kept thinking of you all the whole time!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2008 at 4:25PM
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I'm 28, and none of my friends who have gotten married have been walked down the aisle by their fathers alone either. Most have either walked with both parents, or none. I think alot of it has to do with where you live, and much people in the area follow the "traditions". I have seen very little bouquet throwing, "giving away", father/daughter dances, wearing something old, new, blue, etc. I don't knock any of those things, I think everyone should do what they are comfortable with and what will make them happy. It seems like most people I have known who have recently been married also have paid for their own weddings, mostly so they won't feel obligated to do things the way the parents want them to, instead of what they want to do.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 6:27PM
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I have never attended a wedding where the bride was not escorted down the aisle.

The most recent one was my daughter's... and my husband was proud to be asked to perform that duty. Her choice.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 2:30PM
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The biggest wedding party I have ever seen was during my years in the Peace Corps - the bride's entire dowry of 45 cows attended, as well as the whole village. Shoes did not match dresses because they had neither. This young (really young!)lady was literally given away by her father, in trade for the herd of cattle. Otherwise, the wedding was remarkably like ours here in regards to festivity and expectations of the couple. People are people the world over!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 12:38PM
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Wow, Scarlett! Thanks for sharing that amazing story. I'd love to hear more. Lucky you that you were in the Peace Corps. What country was it?

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 2:14PM
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Our future SIL is serving in Afganistan. Since he couldn't ask my DH in person for permission to ask for my daughter's (33 yr old) hand in marriage he sent a registered letter instead. Both families are of Italian heritage and it's a traditional custom within our circle of friends and family.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 1:10PM
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That is so sweet! I love it. Way back when I was in high school, my boyfriend decided he would ask my dad for my hand - unbeknownst to me! My dad replied, "Her HAND? Jeez, boy, take the whole darn thing."

    Bookmark   February 29, 2008 at 1:36PM
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