Wedding guest fashion

Bridesman and Groomsmaid – what you need to know about the new wedding party roles

it's the 21st Century after all - why should the bridal parties be restricted by gender? Here's what you need to know if you're going co-ed.

Who says we have to have bridesmaids and groomsmen among the couple’s nearest and dearest? More and more people are choosing to mix it up and have men make up part of the bride’s party, or women in the groom’s – and why not? It’s the perfect way to include your best friends or siblings who might not be the same sex but want to play a role in your day.


Obviously a guy might not want to sport a bridesmaid gown – while as slick as a suit can look on some ladies, it’s not every girl’s cup of tea. So if you’re planning on having a ‘bridesman’ or a ‘groomsmaid’ there are a few things to bear in mind that you might have to amend on the big day.

Happy guests
Bridesmaids and bridesman

What should a bridesman wear?

Just because the bridesmaids are wearing pink, doesn’t mean the guy has to find a pink suit to match (unless you’re getting married in Miami and it’s the 1980s). But he doesn’t have to stick out like a sore thumb either – subtle touches like a pocket square, tie or bowtie that matches the bridesmaids’ colour scheme will do. Or you could just do away with the whole ‘matchy-matchy’ tradition altogether and have everyone wear what they want, e.g. within a similar colour scheme. This way, he won’t be mistaken for a member of the groom’s party (although his suit should be in keeping with the groomsmen, for example if the dress code is black tie etc.).

If the groomsmaid wants to wear a dress, there are several ways to distinguish her from the bridal party but still look like more than a regular guest. For example, she can wear a dress in a similar shade to the groom’s suits, or a jacket worn on top that is the same colour with a matching buttonhole flower to those of the groomsmen.

Wedding guest fashion
Bridesmen and groomsmaids are becoming more and more common

Where should they get ready in the morning?

While a bridesman might feel awkward/bored getting ready with all the girls in the morning – especially if it takes him around 15 minutes to get suited and booted – you might want to put him in charge of collecting the flowers while everyone else is busy preening (he might also want to keep the father of the bride company if he’s around!). But make sure he’s back in time for some photos and pre-wedding fizz and when it’s the moment for the big reveal of your wedding dress. And when it comes to the groomsmaid, you might want to invite her to come and get ready with the bridal party if she doesn’t feel like glamming up with the guys (but she might want to!).

Are their duties any different?

They shouldn’t be. The bridesman can help organise the hen do and should walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids (maybe escorting one of the maids on his arm instead of holding a bouquet!). While the groomswoman might want to hand out order of service sheets and usher guests to the correct seats. The main thing is that you chose these people because they are close friends and play a special role in your social circle, so there’s no reason why this should change for your wedding day!

Thinking of getting your bridesmaids/man a gift to say thank you for taking part in the day? Here are some great gift ideas.