Man of honor isn't just the name of the cute rom-com starring Patrick Dempsey, it's also a very common thing in weddings today! Many brides choose a male attendant to fill the role of maid of honor or bridesmaid when they want to include a close male friend or family member in the bridal party. Alternately, the groom may choose a woman to fill many of the traditional roles of the best man (she's referred to as an honor attendant) or a female usher. These new roles can be incorporated into the most traditional wedding if done tastefully. We consulted the advice of etiquette experts to find out just how to do that!
Does a male bridesmaid stand on the same side as groomsmen in pictures?
Nope! He should be grouped with the rest of your bridesmaids when taking group pictures. Inform wedding professionals, such as photographers, in advance that you have nontraditional attendants, to ensure that they are not left out of photos or inserted by the photographer into traditional portrait positions (the male attendant with the ushers, the best woman with the bridesmaids).
What pre-wedding activities are opposite-sex attendants exempt from?
A bride should not ask a man to attend all-female showers unless he has expressed interest in attending, nor should she ask him to help bustle her gown at the reception (her other bridesmaids, who will be allowed into the restrooms and fitting rooms, can assist). Similarly, a groom need not expect his female attendant to go to the tuxedo fitting or attend the bachelor party (unless it's co-ed).
How do the processional and recessional work, then?
A male attendant walks down the aisle with the bridesmaids and stands with them during the ceremony. If the bridesmaids are being escorted by ushers during the recessional, the bride's male attendant can escort an unaccompanied female family member, such as the bride's grandmother. Another option: Each attendant can walk back up the aisle alone.