Long gone are the days when bridesmaids had to be just that: maids. Today, having a best guy friend, brother, or even a business partner standing by your side at the altar is becoming more common. After all, if they’re your support system and close confidant, gender doesn't matter.
What Is a Bridesman?
A bridesman is the male equivalent of a bridesmaid. He is chosen by the bride to be a member of the bridal party and is often a relative or close friend.
"The beautiful thing about weddings today is that couples add a lot of personal touches that showcase who they are as individuals and as a duo. Choosing the members of their bridal party is no exception," says wedding industry veteran Maya Holihan. "If a bride’s best friend is a man or she has a special kinship with a male family member, then it’s completely acceptable and encouraged that she include him to stand beside her at the altar."
Meet the Expert
If you’re adding a bridesman or man of honor to your bridal party, there are a few logistics you’ll need to consider, including his attire and expected duties. Keep reading for everything you need to know to make your bridesman's integration into your bridal party as seamless as possible.
If you've chosen to have a bridesman, you may have a few questions about how to best integrate him with your bridesmaids and the rest of the wedding party. Get answers to the most frequently asked ones below.
What should a bridesman wear?
If your ladies are wearing coral and the groomsmen are wearing gray, put your bridesman in a coordinating suit with a tie or pocket square to match your bridesmaids' dresses. "Typically, he will wear the same color suit or tuxedo as the men, and then his tie, pocket square, and perhaps even his socks will complement the color palette of the bridesmaids," says Holihan. That way he'll blend into the wedding party photos while still matching the group in your bridal party pics.
Match the bridesman's boutonniere to the bridesmaids' flowers. Then have the groom and groomsmen wear boutonnieres of a different variety.
What if your bridesman doesn't know your bridesmaids?
The pre-wedding activities and the day of the wedding will be far more fun if everyone is already friendly. "If your bridesman doesn’t know the other bridesmaids, set up a casual lunch or happy hour after work for everyone to get to know each other better and break the ice," suggests Holihan.
Are bridesmen becoming more common?
"I do think bridesmen are becoming more common because society has embraced their role with open arms," says Holihan. "Also, today’s soon-to-weds are ditching tradition with so many elements of their wedding and that extends to the people they have in their wedding and how they participate in their union."
The bridesman's biggest job is to be a great friend, a perfect gentleman, and an extension of the host and hostess for your guests. Any guy friend who can do that definitely deserves the honor, tradition or not.
It's important to keep an open line of communication with your bridesman while you both navigate the waters of what his role will entail. "The most important thing the bride can do to make her bridesman feel comfortable is to be upfront and honest about what she expects from her bridal party, including him," notes Holihan.
Before the Wedding
- Help with wedding projects: Just like you would with your bridesmaids, make use of any abilities your bridesman might have. If he’s crafty or a whiz in the kitchen, include him while you make and package homemade cookies or bottles of limoncello for your favors. If he’s more of a handyman, he could be just the person you needed to construct your altar or photo booth backdrop.
- Offer emotional support to the bride: Just like your bridesmaids, you’ve chosen your bridesman because of the friendship the two of you share. The fact that you’re getting married doesn’t change that in the slightest. "Like the rest of the bridesmaids, the bridesman should offer as much emotional and hands-on support as expected. He’s part of the sounding board and needs to do his part to make sure the bride gets to the aisle with her sanity intact," says Holihan.
- Attend the bridal/coed shower and bachelorette party: While the bridal shower and bachelorette party are traditionally women-only events, that doesn’t mean your bridesman has to get the boot. Instead, make sure the event is something where he’ll feel welcome. That means skipping the lingerie shower in favor of an indulgent cooking class or an afternoon of wine tasting and probably going easy on the body-part paraphernalia at your bachelorette party.
If there are both bridesmen and groomswomen in the mix, consider skipping the separate parties altogether, instead opting for a coed shower and a joint bachelor-bachelorette outing.
- Attend the rehearsal and dinner: The rehearsal is a great way to work out any potential last-minute kinks so it's important for your bridesman and bridesmaids to be there. Make sure your bridesman knows the processional order and if he is expected to walk down the aisle with anyone. You might also opt to ask your bridesman to give a toast at the rehearsal dinner.
On the Day of the Wedding
- Get ready the morning-of: Even if you've planned for you and your bridal party to spend the morning of your wedding being pampered and sipping Champagne (and your bridesman wants to be part of the fun!), he may not have the patience to sit through hours of hair and makeup styling when all he needs is a quick shave and some hair gel. Schedule your morning a little more intentionally, with mimosas and breakfast before the primping begins, so he can join you and then head out for a few hours before it's time for pictures. You could also ask him to pick up lunch on his way over and then spend an hour or so with you all before it's time to put on your wedding dress.
- Run last-minute errands: With the aforementioned extra free time in the morning, ask your bridesman to help run any remaining errands. Need a sewing kit from the local drug store or another bottle of Champagne? Well, if he’s not in hair and makeup, he’s your go-to guy!
- Be there for photo opportunities: The bridesman should be included in any photo opportunities with the bride and the bridesmaids. Be sure to fill him in on your wedding timeline so he's not running errands and missing during important moments.
- Have fun at the reception! Ask your bridesman to interact with the other guests and get the dancing started at the reception. Now is the time to let loose and let everyone really enjoy the moment.
After the Wedding
- Help ensure the vendors are paid and tipped: When the wedding night comes to a close, the vendors will need to paid and tipped out. Ask your bridesman to assist with this task since you're likely to be overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of the evening.
- Attend the morning-after brunch: If you've chosen to host a post-wedding brunch, the bridesman should be in attendance. Despite battling a potential hangover, the brunch presents the perfect opportunity to wrap up the celebration and say farewell to guests.
- Check in with the bride: Whether you've jet-setted off to your honeymoon or you're struggling with post-wedding blues, it can be helpful to hear from your friend. Take this opportunity to recap your favorite memories of the wedding and moments with each other.