Bridesmen and Groomsmaids: Not Your Mother’s Bridal Party

Bridesmen and Groomsmaids: Not Your Mother’s Bridal Party

For much of my adult life, and even during my teenage years, I’ve felt like “one of the guys” in many ways. Growing up, I even cut off my Shirley Temple curls at the age of three, purportedly so I could run faster like my big brother. My family lived on 55 acres, so what did we do for fun? We dug in the dirt, played in the creek, and rode bikes. I perpetually had bug bites on my legs and sap in my hair from climbing the huge pine trees behind our house in the summer. We didn’t have neighbor kids to play with so my companionship at an early age was my stinky brother. And as we grew older, and he went to college, my best friends became a small group consisting of two guys, Dave and “Chops”, and one girl, Jessica, with whom I bonded over 90’s grunge, an old brown Subaru, and listening to The Barenaked Ladies.

With dozens of other friends on the periphery largely also being male, I’ve always related better to guys, which is a trait I’ve found to have in common with the handful of girlfriends I do have- they also tended to have best guy friends growing up and were seemingly more selective of their gal pals. We were united, for better or worse, in our utter lack of anything resembling a shopping-loving, makeup-wearing gene, which seemed prevalent in many of our female classmates.

Those were the formative years. So, it’s no big surprise that as an adult, some of my best friends are male. And three of these fellows have gotten married in the past 18 months. As the odd “man” out, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the notion of non-traditional bridal parties, but I agree it can be tricky to string together atypical bridal parties when traditional gender roles seem so difficult to bypass in the realm of wedding planning, which is steeped in centuries of tradition.

After one invitation to be a “groomsmaid” {which was rescinded after more consideration by the couple because it would be “awkward” not having a guy on the bride’s side to balance me out} and then standing by as the guys in our small group were asked to be groomsmen for the two upcoming weddings, it’s been pretty hard to not feel like the last kid picked for kickball, simply because I lack the correct anatomy to make the groomsman cut. It’s made me question whether or not in 2017, with so many groups of close friends being mixed-gender these days, if we can effectively challenge the traditional bridal party landscape, and if so, how?

I know there are factors and logistics to consider when the topic at hand is making sure your wedding looks seamless and goes off without a hitch (no pun intended).  So how does today’s modern couple include all of their closest pals–regardless of gender–and unfetter themselves from the notion of having to do things “the way they’ve always been done?” I found this on-point article that addresses these exact issues with ease, courtesy of lover.ly. Hopefully starting this conversation will encourage couples to challenge tradition in the interests of having a wedding that is most meaningful to them, and perhaps inspire them to go against the grain, be true to themselves, and have the people they love by their side.