Bridesmen and Groomsmaids are a New Trend

Today it's becoming more common for brides to choose a male relation or best friend as a "bridesmaid" and vice versa for grooms, says Bride To Be editor Sarah Gawthorne.

Gawthorne says she's definitely seeing more couples opting to mix up their bridal party, with males standing alongside the bride and females among the groomsmen.

"More often than not they're a life long friend or a brother or sister that means a lot to them," says Gawthorne.

This is also reflected in a growing preference for gender-neutral terms like "bridal party attendant" instead of conventional titles like "maid of honour" or "best man" Gawthorne says.

Wedding planner Kelly Papaioannou, from Sydney-based Iridescent Weddings, says picking a non-traditional bridesmaid has become more popular since SATC2.

She says the trend has taken off in the United States and is beginning to take hold in Australia.

"People are breaking away and getting a lot more relaxed but there's a bit of a way to go," says Papaioannou.

Karly Forshaw, 29, from Melbourne is getting married this year and says in her bridal party there will be a "bridesman" and "groomsmaid".

Forshaw says it's more important for couples to to have people who are special to them involved than worrying about traditions.

"When I think of a bridal party, it's the most influential people in your life," she says.

"It does make it harder and there are some strange reactions but I'd much rather make the effort."

But she admits there are obstacles.

"There's a lot of controversy about what we'll make them wear. People think they will detract from us."

Forshaw's "groomsmaid" wants to wear a tailored suit to match the other groomsmen, while the "bridesman" will wear a shirt in the same colour as the other bridesmaids.

"And I'm happy with that," Forshaw says.

When it comes to other trends of Australian weddings, Papaioannou says more couples are having a vintage-themed reception, while fashion is also changing.

This year, Gawthorne expects to see more brides wearing knee-length or tea-length (mid-shin) gowns as opposed to the full-length floor stopper.

And guys are following suit, so to speak. They're mixing it up when it comes to tuxes, including opting for a coloured suit in shades of light blue or grey.

Gawthorne also says when it comes to hens and bucks parties, newlyweds are shifting toward more sophisticated soirees, such as a joint weekend away with men and women invited.

"Women are leading in that regard," Gawthorne says, "men are a bit slower to catch onto that trend but some are still organising say a golf weekend.

"It's not about having the last hurrah anymore."

If you're planning a wedding but don't want to follow tradition, here are some tips to make your day, and the celebrations that go with it, true to you:

1. As far as the wedding party goes, there's no rule that says the bride must have all female attendants - or any females at all.

If you and your groom share friends, decide between yourselves who will stand where and consider matching the outfits by colour.

2. If you're set on a bridal shower, perhaps your mum or another female relative can plan and host it. You may have heard that this is a no-no, but these days, it's no longer a faux pas for the bride's mum to throw the shower.

You might also consider a couple shower for you and your fiance/fiancee.

3. For your hens party, why not keep it low-key and go out with female and male friends for dinner and drinks? The same goes for a bucks party. Instead of heading to a nightclub, why not organise a golf day that can involve your female friends or sister too?

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