Bridesmaids can wear suits, bridesmen can wear suits, groomswomen can wear suits—the look of bridal parties is transforming to include everyone. "The rule that men have to be groomsmen and women have to be bridesmaids has gone out the door. “There’s a spectrum within gender—your masculine friend who is a woman doesn’t want to be a maid,” said Kirsten Palladino, founder of EquallyWed. com, an LGBTQ+ wedding site. “I’ve seen an evolution in the last 10 years of couples letting attendants choose outfits that are most comfortable to them, letting attendants speak to their identity rather than forcing a masculine woman into a chiffon gown that doesn’t fit with who she is in her everyday life.
The professional bridesmaid, who attends at least twenty weddings a year, has yet to stand on a groom’s side, though she has seen a “huge increase” in the past year of nongendered bride and groom attendants. “Instead of choosing people [for their wedding parties] based on gender, people are choosing people based on their relationships to them,” Glantz says. “The rule that men have to just be groomsmen and female friends have to just be bridesmaids has gone out the door.
The wedding party of fourteen people entered as a group—“Rather than doing the Noah's Ark, two-by-two dance,” she says—singing along to the Beatles’ “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and wearing whatever made them feel comfortable (though no pastels). “It’s becoming more of a norm to stray away from wedding traditions that don’t quite live up to the modern age we are living in,” says Jen Glantz, author of Always a Bridesmaid for Hire.
Those outdated notions are further challenged by the legalization of gay marriage and the rise of LGBTQ visibility. “Queer relationships have been at the forefront of dismantling gender norms in terms of egalitarianism in relationships, our society, and what a wedding looks like,” says Anita Dolce Vita, founder of the queer style and empowerment website DapperQ, which covers everything from LGBT weddings to androgynous designers.
When husbands Marc and Matt Sherwin planned their wedding in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2014, the couple defaulted to a mixed-gender wedding party out of necessity, since there was no “bride’s side” for the closest women in their lives to stand on. “We weren’t trying to change up [tradition], but we had people in our lives—our closest friends and siblings—we wanted in our wedding party,” Marc said.
While many couples, regardless of their identites or sexualities, do away with heteronormative traditions on their wedding days (a friend of mine recently wrote “The Patriarchy” on the glass she and her husband smashed under their wedding chuppah), the reality of having opposite-sex friends, or friends who don't fit within a gender binary, may further push couples to reconsider the roles their wedding attendants will play.
In a few years, she says, people “won’t even question” mixing genders during the ceremony, “[it] will just be what we do. ” And as restrictive traditions about gender norms become obsolete, the idea of sequestering loved ones by any metric will disappear, making each wedding even more personal, unique, and focused on the couple getting hitched.
The look of bridal parties is transforming to include *everyone*.— Glamour (@glamourmag) June 29, 2020