You’ve likely noticed that traditional gender roles are becoming less and less common in bridal parties—brothers as bridesmaids, best female friends as groomsmen. Things are more flexible than ever, allowing a couple to really choose exactly who they want to stand next to them on their big day.
In an article for Marthastewart.com, author Nicole Harris explores the subject of nontraditional gender roles in bridal parties. “As weddings become less traditional, more [people] are opting for a co-ed bridal party. It’s the perfect solution for a bride who wants her brother or best guy friend by her side on the big day.” These roles are known as honor attendants, man of honors, bridesman, or bride’s attendant, according to the article.
Additionally, women on the groom’s side of a bridal party are known as groomswoman, according to an article on Brides.com. In other words, things are more flexible now, allowing a bride or groom to pick exactly who they want in their bridal party regardless of traditional gender roles.
But, how does this fairly new tradition impact wedding fashion choices? Good question. Here’s what to know about dressing for a wedding if you are or have a groomswoman or bridesman in an upcoming bridal party.
According to wedding experts TheKnot.com, “in order for your entire squad to look like they’re a cohesive group, it’s important to find ways to unify all attendants’ outfits. Leaning into your wedding color palette is a great way to do just that.”
In other words, if bridesmaids are in pink women’s dresses and groomsmen are in black suits, you’ll want to make sure bridesmen and groomswomen are in a matching color scheme. For example, if you have a man of honor, have him wear a pink men’s button-down shirt or a pink bow tie to match the pink dresses your bridesmaids are wearing. Oppositely, if you have a groomswoman in your bridal party, put her in something black to match the groomsmen’s black suits. Alternatively, if your wedding colors are navy and tan, put all members of your bridal party (whether bridesmaids, groomsmen, groomswomen, or bridesmen) in those colors. In the end, you don’t want members of the bridal party sticking out because of outfit color choices.
Another option? You can also put a bridesman in the same suits that groomsmen are wearing or a groomswoman in the same dress that the bridesmaids are wearing. This allows for cohesion across the board and is also an easy solution for those who really want a bridal party in matching outfits. Just keep in mind that this option doesn’t allow for gender-neutral dressing, and if members of your bridal party are set on that, they may not be happy with this choice.
Since you’re already going the gender-neutral route with your bridal party choices, it makes sense to allow for gender-neutral outfits in your bridal party—especially if your bridal party members aren’t comfortable in traditional gendered clothes like men’s pants or women’s black dresses. That means: Let a groomswoman wear a suit or two-piece outfit that matches the suits of the groomsmen in the wedding party. On the other hand, have your bridesman wear their own flowy two-piece outfit in a color that compliments the bridesmaids, or even have them wear the same dress as the girls in the wedding party.
When in doubt, those in nontraditional gender roles at weddings can always wear clothing in traditionally gender-neutral shades like black, cream (just not white—you don’t want to take away from the bride!), navy, and grey.
No one wants to be stuck in an uncomfortable men’s suit or women’s dress if it doesn’t feel right for them. Make sure your bridal party, no matter their gender, is in an outfit that speaks to them (as long as it’s the correct color scheme and vibe for your special day). You can give general guidance and be there to give your bridal party member’s outfit advice, but there’s nothing wrong with letting someone in a gender-neutral bridal party role pick their outfit for your day. This will make them feel more comfortable and be more excited to take part in your day. And, in the end, isn’t that what you want?