Alternative Brides - Bridal Party Swap-out
When my brother was getting married a few years ago, he asked me to be in the wedding. As an assumed bridesmaid, I headed over to his house to look at dresses online with his soon-to-be bride. “This is what the girls are wearing, but since you’re standing with the boys, you can have your choice of dress style,” she said.
I called my brother. “Am I a Grooms… Girl?” “Well, yeah,” he said, slowly. “I wanted…you to stand near me.” I was even more flattered than when I was originally asked to be a part of their wedding. I love my Sister-in-Law, but growing up, it was just me and my brother. Despite an age gap of a decade, we managed to stay pretty close. Standing near him and his Best Man, who’d known me since I was a baby, felt the most right. Plus, the female half of the bridal party was petite. With my four-inch stilettos, I towered at almost six feet tall. Being with the boys was the only way I escaped looking like a giant in photos.
The phenomenon of swapping out Groomsmen for chicks - and Bridesmaids for gents - is gaining in popularity. In days gone by, choosing your bridal party followed a simple and dependable formula. Male and female family members and close friends went to their respective sides of the altar. It’s not the same today. The bride and groom want their nearest and dearest to be even closer than a stone’s throw away. While the difference in physical distance is barely measurable, the emotional distance is much less. Your favorite boy cousin or your little sister can now support you by standing on your half of the bridal split.
The Man of Honor
Put your second favorite guy last in the bridal procession because he’ll likely be taller than all of your bridesmaids. Have him wear a tuxedo, just like the groomsmen, and don’t make him carry a bouquet of flowers. If you have a Brides-man, ask him to wear a suit that’s the same color as, or at least coordinates with, the bridesmaids’ dresses.
If your guy wants a girl as his Best “Man” - or women as his Grooms-girls - there are a few different ways to approach the question of ensemble. Girls can make even a tuxedo look pretty great, if it’s fitted in the right areas instead of looking too boxy and man-ish. Let the ladies choose - they can either wear a fitted tuxedo, preferably with a skirt instead of pants, or a black dress so that everyone at least looks uniform. Even though the girls are standing on the boy’s side, they can still carry bouquets, if you want them to.
Tip Off Your Photographer
Make sure your photographer knows who’s who. That way, he won't leave out an important part of your bridal party because he thinks a girl or guy belongs to the other side. My brother’s wedding photos have me in shots with both the bridesmaids and the groomsmen, as well as shots with just the boys.
When it comes to having a member of the opposite sex in your bridal party, you have to make them feel comfortable. Inviting your sister to your bachelor party may make her feel like one of the guys but, well, she really isn’t. Believe me, your Man of Honor or Best Broad isn’t going to feel left out if they don’t get an invitation to your bachelor/ette party - they’ll probably feel relieved.
There will be other opportunities to include your contrasting bridal party member, though. When my brother and soon-to-be SIL were getting ready to walk down the aisle, I got dolled up right along with the girls. When the guys were dressed and killing time, I tagged along with them.