Break tradition and incorporate bridesmen and groomsmaids into your bridal party. Here’s everything you need to know about a mixed-gender wedding party…

You have recently got engaged and it’s beginning to dawn on you that your friendship group doesn’t exactly fit the mould when it comes to a traditional wedding party… But fear not, because you are not alone! More and more couples are beginning to realise that the typical wedding party setup doesn’t work for them, and so they are breaking away from these antiquated rules (we say rules loosely, it’s more of an expectation!) and looking at new ways to celebrate their nuptials with their nearest and dearest.

So how does a wedding with a mixed gender wedding party work?

Going against the grain

It is possible to want all the feels of a traditional wedding but to also diversify the day… and we are here for those wanting to mix things up a little!

Let’s take bridesmaids, for example. Following tradition, you may want your besties to play an important role in your wedding – but who is to say that you can only have female friends? It’s about time we started to champion bridesmen walking alongside bridesmaids, and groomsmaids/best women standing side by side with groom, for that matter!

With same-sex marriages having been legalised in the UK for some time now, it is only right it be recognised that not everyone fits into a mould.

“There will not be a magic day when we wake up and it’s now okay to express ourselves publicly. We make that day by doing things publicly until it’s simply the way things are.” – Tammy Baldwin*

While it may feel like you are going against the grain, you will be setting a bold precedent for others to follow. And follow suit they will! And on the subject of suits…

Styling a mixed-gender wedding

Outdated traditions have made it harder to organise a mixed-gender wedding. So how do you style a wedding that incorporates a reversal of the conventional bridal party roles?

Of course, when it comes to the styling of the bridesmaids’ attire, you can use colour as your reference. By settling on a colour theme, you can ensure that your bridesmaids wear dresses in the same colour fabric as your bridesman/men. This may mean opting for a slightly more subtle colour if you don’t want your bridesman to feel like a Willy Wonka tribute, or worse, Harry and Lloyd from Dumb and Dumber in their head-turning tuxedos!

You also have the option of getting your male bridesmen to wear a traditional black or grey suit and just synchronising their tie and handkerchief, but you run the risk of them looking like groomsmen which sort of defeats the object!

To throw another idea out there, have you considered whether your bridesmaids would like to wear a classy trouser suit instead of a traditional floaty dress?

On a similar note, you can’t expect a best woman to want to wear a tailored tux, so we would suggest coordinating the groom and his best friend using accessories or, once again, a colour theme.

What roles should each person play?

There is nothing to stop your bridal party doing all the things they would normally do, but we think you’ll agree that your wedding is centred around freedom and individuality, right?

So, ask your bridesman if he is happy to walk down the aisle with you and the ladies or if he has another suggestion. Your groomswomen can look after the ring and help to greet guests on arrival but they may also like to join the bridal party for part of the morning so that they can get ready with your glam squad!

It can be so easy to fail at the last hurdle when you have all the best intentions of creating a unique and unrestricted wedding, so beware of unwittingly forcing anyone into a mould (albeit a different mould) after all your best efforts to be open and flexible!

Who attends which party?

How do you go about planning stag and hen dos knowing that you have a mixed-gender set up already in your wedding party? Add to that the dilemma of having many shared friends who you’d both want joining your own big celebration!

Of course, the most straightforward answer to this would be to arrange your hen and stag dos on different nights or weekends and invite those who this applies to both events. This could wind up being very expensive for the individuals in question but at least they will feel valued by both of you and it can be left up to them to choose which party they go to.

Alternatively, you could go even further in your attempts to move away from tradition and organise one big joint stag and hen do! This not only saves yourselves and your guests a lot of awkward conversations, but it also allows you to enjoy one last wild outing with all your friends and family before the wedding (all the while keeping an eye on what your other half is up to!).

Still in the early stages of planning your big day? Download our brochure to find out how Fennes could be the perfect venue for your wedding.

* In 2013, Tammy Baldwin made history by becoming the first openly gay Senator in the United States. In her speech at the Millennium March for Equality, she spoke to LGBTQ community, encouraging them to be out and proud. In this quotation, she states that the only way to normalise non-heterosexual orientations is for the community to act like they are normal, because they are.