New Trends in Bridal Party Selections
Bridal party members are selected for their best-friend status, their closeness as sisters and cousins, their value to the bride and groom, and their enthusiasm for assisting in wedding plans. In today’s weddings, the bride’s lineup and the groom’s lineup are more personalized than ever, sometimes comprised of unexpected participants.
Here are some ways in which our New Jersey and New York City-region brides and grooms have invited very special people into their bridal parties:
On the Bride’s Side:
• The bride may invite close male friends to serve as ‘bride’s attendants.’
• The bride may select her closest male friend or brother to be her ‘Man of Honor,’ in place of the traditional maid of honor.
• The bride may ask her mother to be her Matron of Honor.
• The bride may have more than one maid or matron of honor, perhaps one of each, perhaps three if she’d like to honor multiple friends or sisters.
• The bride may invite her groom’s sisters to be bridal party members.
• The bride may choose instead to have only a circle of flowergirls, including her nieces, friends’ children and perhaps her own daughters, instead of adult bridesmaids.
• The bride may invite tweens and teens to be ‘junior bridesmaids.’
• The bride no longer feels any compulsion to leave out a friend who will be pregnant at the time of the wedding. Today’s bridal gown designers now offer so many beautiful maternity bridesmaid dresses that it’s quite common to see many radiant, pregnant bridesmaids standing up for the bride.
On the Groom’s Side:
• The groom may invite close female friends to stand on his side, serving as a ‘groom’s attendant’ or ‘grooms woman.’
• The groom may select his closest female friend to stand up as his ‘Best Woman,’ although some of our New Jersey brides prefer to think of themselves as the Best Woman of the day, choosing instead the title of ‘Groom’s Honored Attendant’ for this female bridal party participant.
• The groom may ask his father to be his best man.
• The groom may have more than one best man.
• The groom may invite the bride’s brothers to be groomsmen.
• The groom may include more than one ring-bearer, as we see often with our local wedding couples who have several boys in their family circle.
Since New Jersey is home to so many different cultures and faiths, our couples often subscribe to the practices of their heritages and religions, which may present unique opportunities within the bridal party. For instance, in a heritage that embraces a wedding ritual of having a married couple named as the bride and groom’s ‘mentor married couple,’ they too may be included in the wedding party.
Bridal parties are getting larger right now, with over eight members on the average. Many of our local wedding couples tell us that they wish for larger wedding couples so that there are more bridesmaids to share the planning and payment responsibilities for a bridal shower or bridal lunch, not just three to bear the role. Another factor is an inclusive mindset, with couples wishing to include more friends, not leave anyone out. Some couples create their bridal party size from the traditional formula of one groomsman for every fifty guests, so they formulate their wedding party size from there. And some couples say that a larger bridal party allows for their desired effect at a large, formal wedding.
Michael Mahle, Director of Communications, Pleasantdale Château