Southern brides setting the trend.

Stacey Leasca
November 18, 2018
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If you think you’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride you may be right.

According to new research by The Knot, brides are asking more of their friends to stand up at the altar as bridesmaids than ever before. In 2018, the average bride had five bridesmaids, which is a jump from four in 2017, according to The Knot.

Though that may not seem like a lot, many experts say it’s because Southern brides are pulling up the average.

In the South, forget it,” Meg Keene, the author of A Practical Wedding Planner, told The Atlantic. “You’re going to have 50.”

And this trend may be driving up the number of groomsmen too, as brides tend to select their number of bridesmaids first and grooms typically attempt to match that number to have an aesthetically pleasing wedding party.

“Grooms end up finding enough guys they feel okay about to add to whatever number she’s got,” Gwen Helbush, a wedding planner in San Francisco, shared with The Atlantic.

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The role of bridesmaid has changed over the millennia, The Atlantic noted, from when they acted as a witness in ancient Roman times to now just acting a steady figure helping brides to prepare to say “I do.” If anything, brides today see these maids as less of an actual wedding day helper and simply hand out the position as a way to honor their friendship. And that’s why people like Keene not only believe it’s OK to have a large number of bridesmaids but actually regret not having more themselves.

“I miss being able to look back and say, ‘That person was my maid of honor,’” she said.

And, it also appears that most people are truly happy to fill the bridesmaid role. According to Sheri Shuler, a professor of gender and communication at Creighton University, who conducted a survey of 500 bridesmaids, the “vast majority” of maids were happy to do it, The Atlantic noted. She added that this role is an “unabashed celebration of friendship,” adding, “We are living in the age of isolation, of treating online interactions like real ones. If large wedding parties are a way to counter that, I’m in.”