Having a Man of Honor or a Groomslady? Here's How to Mix It Up

There are a few things you might want to keep in mind

Updated 10/30/19

Photo by Sylvie Gil

The terms “bridesmaid” and “groomsman” definitely have gendered associations and are firmly rooted in tradition, but there’s no hard and fast rule saying you’ve got to separate your wedding party into his and hers. If you’d rather mix it up and have a male bridesmaid or a female groomsman, we say go for it. No matter how you or your BFFs identify, having men and women on either side of the aisle is a sweet way to include your friends in your big day.

What Are They Invited To?

As long as both you and the attendant in question are comfortable with the event you have planned, invite them to everything. Check in with them before you send out the invites to make sure they’ll feel good about attending (for example, your male best friend may not be as excited about your lingerie-themed bridal shower as you...), but extend an invitation to every event that you want them to attend. If you have a man of honor or your fiancé has a best woman, you might want to consider planning a bachelorette or bachelor party that they’ll be able to join in on, so keep that in mind as you start working on the details.

Where Should They Get Ready?

While a bridesman may not be eager to spend the morning watching you and your bridesmaids have your hair and makeup done, you should invite him to join you for all key moments: Include him in lunch with all of you in the bridal suite, and make sure he’s dressed and back when it’s time for you to show everyone your wedding dress. If your fiancé is having a groomswoman stand by his side, ask him (and her) if she’d be interested in getting ready with you and your bridesmaids, or if she’d rather hang out with the guys.

What Should They Wear?

You’ve got a few choices when it comes to attire, but the important thing is to make sure they look like they’re part of the gang. You could have a man of honor wear the same attire as the groomsmen, or swap out an accessory (like a tie or shirt) to better match the rest of the bridesmaids. We love the look of a best woman in a dress similar to the bridesmaids, but in a darker hue, or a dress that’s all her own that matches the color of the groomsmen’s suits. Use the flowers to help coordinate everyone, as well, choosing colors or varieties that tie each portion of the wedding party together.

How Should They Process?

A bridesman should walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids and stand on the bride’s side of the altar, and vice-versa for a groomswoman. You may, however, want to skip having the groomsmen escort the bridesmaids and instead have all of the groom’s attendants walk down the aisle, followed by all of the bride’s attendants. You could also alternate each group, having a groomsman, followed by a bridesmaid or bridesman, followed by a groomsman, and so forth.

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