Wedding Parties

Crossing Gender Lines(September, 2004)

One of the Bride’s best friends was Richard. Having known him for years, it was important that he share in her wedding day. Rather than having her fiancé ask him to be a Groomsman, whom he didn’t know that well, she asked him to be a Bridesmaid … or rather, Bridesman.

When actor Dennis Quaid married real-estate agent Kimberly Buffington over the July 4th weekend, the Bride’s brother didn’t stand on the Groom’s side. Instead he was standing by his sister, the Bride.

While still unusual, this type of arrangement is becoming more widespread. Estimates are that 9% of engaged couples are considering opposite-sex attendants. And why not?

Today’s generation is much looser. According to the Association of Bridal Consultants, about 70% of all couples contribute towards or pay for their weddings themselves.With the average wedding costing $24,000, Brides and Grooms want things done their way.

The Bridesman, sometimes call “Dude of Honor”, “Manmaid”, or “Honor Attendant”, is included in the Bridesmaid activities.One Bridesman we know of joined four other ladies in a manicure and pedicure session. Except for turning down the nail polish and waxing, he did everything the women did and had a blast.

Women, too, are crossing the gender line. Often called “Groomswoman” or “Friend of Honor” or “Honor Attendant”, ladies who stand on the Groom’s side of the wedding party might not participate in the traditional bachelor party, but may well dress in dark suits to match the men. They’re also known for partaking in a swig of strong libation with the Groom to calm his nerves on the wedding day. One Groomswoman said it was a real pleasure avoiding the expense of purchasing a Bridesmaid dress that she would never wear again.

Rather than sticking with tradition, modern couples are opting for tailored ceremonies that spotlight their closest friends, regardless if that friend is male or female. For many of them, it isn’t as important to conform to what’s considered customary, as it is to have the important people in their life share their special day.

Question: Do you think it’s appropriate to have a man serve on the Bride’s side of the wedding party or a woman serve on the Groom’s side? Let us know at

Unconventional Wedding Partys (May, 2003)

Once upon a time when a boy and girl wanted to get married, the girl would decide on the ladies she wanted to be her bridal attendants and the boy would select the men to be his groomsmen, both sides being equal in number. The bridesmaids all dressed alike as well as the groomsmen. No one ever thought of changing the way it had always been done. Today, Brides and Grooms are bucking these age-old traditions creating a wedding that is as unique as them.

Who gives the Bride away? It used to be her father. Now many Brides are adopting the Jewish tradition of having both parents walk her down the aisle. If her mother remarried and the Bride is close to both her father and stepfather, she has one escort her down the aisle half-way and the other escort her down the rest of the aisle.

Oh no! What about an uneven number of bridesmaids to groomsmen? So, what about it? There’s no rule that says the number of groomsmen must equal the number of bridesmaids. Today’s modern Bride doesn’t hesitate in asking her friends to be in her wedding party. If the Bride has more bridal attendants than the Groom does groomsmen, so be it.

Is the Bride’s best friend a male, a childhood friend she grew up with? It used to be that person was automatically relegated to the Groom’s side of the wedding party. These days it is not an uncommon occurrence to see a male as the Bride’s “Honor Attendant”. Be reassured that he doesn’t wear a dress and high heels. Instead, many times, he is dressed similarly to the other groomsmen but has a different cummerbund or tie and vest, perhaps complimenting the bridesmaid’s colors.

What about the Brides who have more than one best friend? Who do they choose? The one they grew up with or their college roommate? Both are close in heart. Rather than selecting one over the other, Brides now are having two “Honor Attendants” – thus avoiding hurt feelings.

Do the Bride and Groom have children from a previous marriage/relationship? To symbolize the family joining together as one, Brides and Grooms are selecting their children to be their attendants. Just a word of caution here. Though you can have a small child be your “Maid of Honor” or “Best Man”, you will need an adult (18 years or older) to witness signing the Marriage License.

Some Brides and Groom’s best friends are their mother or father. When this is the case, it’s beautiful to see the Bride’s mother attend her at the altar as her “Matron of Honor” or see the Groom’s father stand proudly by his son as his “Best Man”.

Your wedding is a merging of two lives – past, present and future. It reflects who you are and how you came to be here. Don’t worry about objections you might face in going against the trend. You know what’s really important in your life– or more specifically whom. Go for it.