Using Gauss diagrams, one can define the virtual bridge number vb (K) and the welded bridge number wb (K), invariants of virtual and welded knots satisfying wb (K) ≤ vb (K). If K is a classical knot, Chernov and Manturov showed that vb (K) = br (K), the bridge number as a classical knot, and we ask whether the same thing is true for welded knots. The welded bridge number is bounded below by the meridional rank of the knot group GK, and we use this to relate this question to a conjecture of Cappell and Shaneson. We show how to use other virtual and welded invariants to further investigate bridge numbers. Among them are Manturov's parity and the reduced virtual knot group ḠK, and we apply these methods to address Questions 6.1–6.3 and 6.5 raised by Hirasawa, Kamada and Kamada in their paper [Bridge presentation of virtual knots, J. Knot Theory Ramifications 20(6) (2011) 881–893].