How to Create a Mixed & Modern Wedding Party

If you haven’t noticed this trend yet, many vendors and couples no longer use the word ‘bridal party’, or do so sparingly. 

In the movement to be free of stereotypes, gender roles, and traditional ideas about marriage and weddings, the bridal party has been replaced by the much more inclusive ‘wedding party'. 

Today we are chatting about the mixed and modern wedding party. This is the wedding party where literally anything goes! 

The wedding party is comprised of bridesmaids, groomsmen, ushers, flower girls, and ring bearers. Their primary responsibility is to witness the vows and support the couple in doing so. 

If we boil it down to that simple explanation, it’s easy to see that the modern wedding party can be as traditional or as unexpected as you like!

The Mixed and Modern Wedding Party

The modern wedding party doesn’t have to subscribe to any traditions. 

Keep the traditions that you believe in, and feel free to ditch the rest. There are NO rules. 

Here are some ways to ‘buck tradition’ when assembling your wedding party:

  • Have no wedding party at all (they aren’t required!)

1001 Angels Photography  - Matt and Donnie

1001 Angels Photography - Matt and Donnie

  • Have an ‘uneven’ wedding party. Nobody says that both sides have to be exactly the same. 

  • Skip the matchy-matchy attire, and allow members of your party to choose their own outfits. Assign guidelines that are as relaxed or as strict as you would like. 

  • Flip flop the guys and the girls. Have them stand on either side because they are there for you collectively as a couple. 

  • Have each member walk down the aisle individually, instead of paired up in couples (traditional).

Simply Love  - Devil’s Thumb Ranch

Simply Love - Devil’s Thumb Ranch

  • Have a ‘Best Woman’ or ‘Man of Honor’. This has become increasingly more popular as couples are finding that there is room for a best friend and spouse of the opposite or same gender. 

  • Have no ‘honor’ positions at all.

  • Have multiple ‘honor’ positions.

  • Instead of having a bachelor or bachelorette party, go out together as a group and celebrate. 

  • Consider organizing your wedding ceremony in a circle formation (search on Pinterest for ideas), so that wedding party members can stand around you instead of beside you. 

  • Don’t be afraid to allow wedding party members to truly be themselves. That may mean that they do their own hair, display their tattoos, and choose their own shoes or jewelry that best fit their personal style. 

  • Celebrate each member of the wedding party as an individual. Instead of finding them matching gifts, give each something thoughtful and tailored just for them. 

  • Help cover costs. Instead of expecting your wedding party to cover not only party planning but travel, attire, and hair-and-makeup, find a way to help them out. Even just paying for a manicure the day before or helping to defray the cost of new shoes can go a long ways to make them feel loved and appreciated. 

  • Have your wedding party sit during the ceremony so that the actual moment is all about you as a couple. 

  • Instead of dated poses and cheesy wedding party photos, connect with a photographer who will make the experience fun for everybody. Laugh, cry, celebrate, and have fun together and the photos will be amazing!

  • Include children in the wedding party. I have even seen young men stand in the ‘Best Man’ position at weddings. 

  • Host a fun party for your wedding party so that they can get to know each other before the rehearsal dinner. Rent a cabin and spend a weekend together. You never know when you might spark a new friendship between two members of your group. 

  • 100% stick with traditions because they are fun and sentimental and important to you. 

  • Include parents and grandparents in the wedding party. 

  • Allow members of your wedding party to sit with their partners and families during the reception, instead of at a ‘head table’.

Simply Love  - Shuvayev 262

Simply Love - Shuvayev 262

  • Use a head table, but make it a huge one and invite spouses and partners to join. 

  • Tell every guest as the ceremony begins that THEY are the wedding party. Instead of having a ‘formal’ group, share a moment with guests about what it means to stand in support of the marriage, and ask them to be your ‘wedding party’. 

  • Consider skipping the toasts. While tradition states that both the Best Man and Maid of Honor should give a toast, it’s just tradition. Nobody is requiring it, and for some people, this may be a welcome change! 

  • Think outside of the box for ushers. They don’t have to be the guys that didn’t make the cut into the wedding party; anybody can be invited to usher, including your female guests!

  • Think outside of the box for flower girls, and ring bearers. They don’t have to be young children. As a matter of fact, one of the most popular recent wedding stories is of a Grandmother who acted as the flower girl at her Granddaughter’s wedding. 

  • Make a member of your wedding party your officiant! In many states, it’s perfectly simple and legal to have a family member or friend officiate your ceremony. Check your state laws and requirements (for Colorado couples, send me a note! I plan weddings and can help with this). 

  • Remember their contribution. Your wedding party, no matter how you assemble them, is not out to frustrate you or frustrate each other. Keep the peace and ditch the drama; it’s not fun for anybody.

  • HAVE FUN. I say this a lot, but it’s true. Have fun. Enjoy your wedding party, every single one of them. Have fun with tradition, or have fun bucking tradition. Be yourselves. Plan the wedding of your dreams, whatever that looks like. 

Looking for a wedding planner who is fun, organized, AND inclusive? Let’s chat!

Colorado Wedding Vendors Featured in this post:

Kara Pearson Photography

1001 Angels Photography

Simply Love

Silver Sparrow Weddings

Wanda Bonner