Your reaction to a male bridesmaid commonly known as bridesman or sometimes male attendant might be exactly like mine.
At first when I read about the idea of having a man as a bridesmaid I laughed and thought what are weddings turning into. But then when I looked at the reason behind it, it made a lot of sense. Although I'm sure many brides, especially many Nigerian brides, will still object to having a man as one of their bridesmaids no matter the reason.
However I thought I'd just still explain the reason behind male bridesmaid anyway and give guidelines should you decide to have a man bridesmaid.
But more than that, this article is to let you know how far weddings have come. You no longer have to feel obligated to keep to any wedding tradition. You can adjust the traditions to suit what you want or totally create your own style.
The white wedding is not a Nigerian culture so most of our brides don't really follow the white wedding culture thoroughly. If it was our culture then you'll understand easily why it's okay for a male to be a bridesmaid also.
The people that make up a bride's bridesmaids are supposed to be people who are close to her; people she considers real friends or that she loves. Now the society assumes that the bride's closest friends will be females, but that's not always the case. Sometimes a bride-to-be has more male close friends than females and vice versa; which is also why some groom-to-be would want to have a groomswoman among their groomsmen.
Or like in the case of one bride who said she only had one very close male friend. She could choose the man to be her man of honor instead of randomly picking a female to be her maid of honor or something we Nigerians know as chief bridesmaid.
I know that immediately raises a lot of questions in your mind. Isn't this madness, a man as a chief bridesmaid? Will he have to carry the bride's gown after her too? (That will really be nice to see :)) What reasons could make this acceptable? How will it work if opposite sexes are allowed at the sides of the bride and groom on the wedding day?
It's not madness because no rule is written anywhere that all of a bride's maids must be women or that all of a grooms men must be men or even any of them for that matter.
Moreover, your wedding is your wedding. It's supposed to be uniquely you. So the rules that should apply are the ones that you and your groom-to-be are satisfied with. So don't be afraid to adjust anything that relates to your wedding that seemed to be tradition when there's a good reason for it or entirely create your own style.
For example if your husband-to-be has more of female friends and you more of male friends you both could decide to use opposite sexes. He uses groomswomen instead of groomsmen and you use bridesmen instead of bridesmaids! Believe me, you'll keep people talking about your wedding for a long time and possibly start a trend in Nigerian weddings.
Some brides in some countries are already having male bridesmaid mixed with their bridesmaids and some grooms groomswoman mixed with their groomsmen. But I doubt this has been done in a Nigerian wedding. Here people are always worried about what others think. Or it's possible no one has ever thought of it. Come to think of it, most of our average brides and grooms don't even pick their bridesmaids and groomsmen based on who is a friend and who is not. Or who has always been there and who hasn't. Most just pick people to complete the formalities.
But if you really want to follow the reason behind having bridesmaids and groomsmens at a wedding then you would agree that having opposite sexes is not ridiculous.
Your wedding should be about celebrating your love and commitment as a couple. So whatever does that for the two of you is acceptable.
It's usually about choosing people you care about to stand by you throughout your wedding planning and on your wedding day verse choosing people based on their sex.
There are other reasons for a bride to consider a male bridesmaid and they are:
It doesn't have to be awkward. The opposite sex man or woman can play their role without getting in anyone's way.
The male bridesmaid doesn't have to host the bridal shower, the bride's mom can. And he doesn't have to attend the shower if the bride only invite are female friends; nor does he have to carry a bouquet.
A bride using a man bridesmaid has to plan the wedding activities always in consideration of the man. You gave him the role to make him feel special to you during the planning of your wedding and your wedding day that is likely to be the most special day of your life, not to make him feel uncomfortable or humiliated. So assign him roles he's comfortable with.
If you want him to attend your bridal shower, then invite both sexes to your shower so that he doesn't feel out of place. I would say a bouquet is totally out of it for a man bridesmaid. And about what he should wear, he can dress the same way as the groomsmen but for him to stand out as special or connected to the bride he should use a bit of colors from the bridesmaids colors. His shirt, vest, bow tie or pocket square should differ from that of the groomsmen.
When using a groomswoman the dress options are:
The woman can wear a female suit in colors of the other groomsmen or wear a dress to match their colors.
Depending on what your male bridesmaid is more comfortable with, he could stand with the other bridesmaids or stand with the groomsmen on your wedding day and same for a female groomsman.
I say why not if you your best friend is a man. If you and your friend have always stuck together why change that now? Wouldn't it be great if someone like that can always be there to help out and for emotional support?
And you'll be surprised if you start it, it will become a trend in Nigerian weddings. Some of Nigerian weddings these days are taking a trend much different from what we're used to. For example color blocking in weddings now is something brides 10 years back would never have thought of. But now it's a trend in weddings. And more and more brides are picking very daring wedding colors too. So I'm sure our society is ready for a male bridesmaid.
You may have to discuss it with your fiancé but I'm almost sure he would care less whether you use all female bridesmaids, mixed or all male bridesmaids; as long as that's what you want.
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