The Latest Bridal Party Trend
by Kate Reid
May 2, 2019 / Engagement and Weddings
Mixed gender bridal parties are totally a thing right now. Brides are choosing a male friend or family member as a ‘bridesman’ and grooms are shunning tradition in favour of female ‘groomsmaids’. It’s joyful, practical, inclusive and we can’t get enough of this awesome new trend!
Why go mixed?
It’s pretty simple: couples want to have their closest people beside them on the big day, no matter their gender.
Conventionally, the bridal party would consist of the bride, her maid of honour and her bridesmaids, while the groom would choose his best man and groomsmen. You know, women on the left and men on the right.
But as weddings become less traditional and more personal, it makes a lot of sense that many couples are opting for mixed gender bridal parties and choosing the people they genuinely want to support them. The days of only having friends of the same sex are long gone, not to mention the close relationships many of us share with a sibling or cousin of the opposite gender.
So a growing number of couples are shunning symmetry and identical outfits in favour of including their loved ones in the bridal party, whatever their gender. Sure, the olds might be puzzled, but for many couples, it’s an ideal solution to the bridal party puzzle.
What to call them
As for what to call the members of a mixed gender bridal party, there are no rules. Hurrah! A bride might enlist her brother as her ‘man of honour’ and a groom may designate his closest female buddy as ‘best woman’. Many couples go with bridesman and groomsmaid, while others forgo labels altogether.
What goes on at the hens and bucks?
What of the debauchery of the hens and bucks events, the often infamous last nights of ‘freedom’, for couples with a mixed gender bridal party? Do they follow traditional gender lines or do bridesmen and groomsmaids join in the antics as welcome minorities?
It’s tricky and the short answer is that it depends. Some couples maintain gender-specific events, with bridesmen joining the groom’s group for a weekend away and groomsmaids scoring an invite to high tea with the ladies. Others invite bridesmen to the hens’ night and groomsmaids to the bucks’ and plan inclusive activities.
Others still shun gendered activities and host sophisticated joint pre-wedding soirees, such as a weekend away with men and women invited or a group cocktail party for the couple and their close friends and family.
What to wear?
Bucking trends usually means a little extra research and effort, and choosing outfits for a mixed gender bridal party is no different. For many couples, what their bridesman or groomsmaid wears on the big day is an important consideration – and there are oodles of options.
Colour is an obvious choice. Each side might select its own colour scheme – the bride’s posse in dusty pink and the groom’s in a complementary shade pale grey, for example – with each individual bridal party member charged with picking their own outfit. Alternatively, all of the women may wear identical styles of dress and the men matching suits, with the colour determined by which member of the couple they’re supporting.
For bridal parties with only one member of the opposite sex, bridesmen may choose ties in the same fabric as the bridesmaids’ dresses, and groomsmaids a dress to match the guys’ suits. Some groomsmaids wear tailored suits – think suspenders, buttonholes and sleek black heels – or simply have the freedom to choose a dress that complements the rest of the bridal party.
Sometimes there’s no matchy-matchy, with bridal party members wearing whatever they like and the whole look tied together with matching bouquets and buttonholes – that may or may not follow traditional gender lines. Who said a guy can’t carry a bouquet?
What happens down the aisle?
The traditional route is still really common. The groom’s group stands at the front and the bride and her people walk down the aisle, men included. For couples keen to continue the theme of doing things differently, the entire bridal party may walk – or skip or dance – down the aisle in various same-sex and opposite-sex groupings. If there’s an uneven number on each side, it’s not unheard of for everyone to stroll down the aisle individually.
Image via Instagram @mariemonfortephotography