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5 Rules for Having a Bridesman or a Groomswoman

If you’ve asked a friend to be a bridesman or a groomswoman, you’ll want to be sure you’re doing your best to make them feel included in your wedding party.

Photo: Honey Photographs by Alyss

Most of us have best buds of a different gender, so when it’s time to assemble your wedding crew, you might be looking at a co-ed situation. For modern couples, asking a male bestie to be a bridesman or a female friend to serve as a groomswoman isn’t that uncommon. In fact, according to WeddingWire’s 2017 Newlywed Survey, about 70 percent of couples organize their wedding parties by gender. That means nearly one in three of today’s couples are mixing things up big time when it comes to gender in their bridal party or wedding party.

If you’re planning on having a bridesman or groomswoman, remember these five things!

groomswoman wedding party

Photo: Stefania Bowler Photography

Create lots of opportunities for your mixed gender wedding party to bond.

Bonding activities are important for all wedding parties or bridal parties, whether they’re co-ed or not, but when you have folks of different genders, they become even more important. If you’re only including one person of a different gender — for example, a bridesman when the rest of your wedding party includes bridesmaids — you’ll really want to make sure that friend feels included. Consider activities where everyone is sure to have a good time, like a game night at your home filled with Taboo or Cards Against Humanity, or an afternoon at a local street festival. Stay away from gendered activities that might alienate some members of the wedding party.

Treat everyone equally — including for the bach parties!

Even a childhood or school best friend might seem like an odd addition to an otherwise all-male bachelor party or all-female bachelorette party, but trust us, your opposite-gender wedding attendants shouldn’t be treated differently. Of course, your bridesman may opt out of your bachelorette or bridal shower, but encourage him (or them!) to participate fully in all of your pre-wedding activities so that they get the full experience of being a part of a wedding party. This might mean chatting with your best man or MOH to be sure you’re planning events that are inclusive of your co-ed wedding parties, or even combining some events, like with a co-ed wedding shower rather than gendered celebrations.

Make sure your wedding attendant attire is coordinated.

Whether you were planning on matching attire for your bridesmaids or groomsmen, or a mix-and-match approach, you’ll want to be sure the shades, patterns and fabrics you choose will work well for both suits and dresses. Luckily, large retailers will often help you easily match shades across attire options, so the mint green of your bridesmaid gown can easily be found in a necktie for your bridesman, or something to that effect. Another easy way to ensure your entire wedding party is coordinated is to select some unifying elements — a basic color palette, fabric or even the same designer, if they offer designs for both genders.

Be prepared for hair, makeup and grooming on your wedding day.

It’s common for a groom to pay for pre-wedding grooming for his guys, or for a bride to gift her maids with hair and makeup. Since your coed wedding party will have diverse needs, make a plan to provide the necessary grooming for everyone in your wedding party on your wedding day. If everyone feels comfortable, you might be able to accommodate your wedding party in one suite for getting ready, or you might need to arrange for the getting ready suites to be single-gender, which might also mean that some folks from your “side” of the wedding party get ready with people from the other “side.”

Choose gender-neutral gifts.

The act of thanking your wedding attendants is admittedly a little less complicated when you can select one bridesmaid gift or one groomsman gift for all of your attendants. With a coed wedding party, you’re either faced with gifting different items, or selecting a gift that everyone will enjoy. Just as you would with a single-gender wedding party, think about what your friends really like to do or wear, and what would best commemorate the time you all spent together as a wedding party.