Sometimes tradition needs a little revamp. And, increasingly, brides and grooms are including pals of the opposite sex in their wedding parties. The trend gets a nod this month in Patrick Dempsey
's movie Made of Honor
, and etiquette mavens agree that the gender of those who catch your bouquet is up to you. In any case "my fiancé and I don't care what the rules for weddings are," says Jessica Lee, who asked pal Peter Magic to be her bridesmaid. "It just made sense for him to be on my side."
Jessica Lee, 28, food blogger, New York City
Peter Magic, 27, recent law school grad, Ann Arbor, Mich. (He's one of 12 bridal attendants.)
June 1, 2008
WHY SHE PICKED HIM
"Pete is my friend, not my fiancé's," says Lee, who clicked with Magic after meeting him through a college friend in '04. "We instantly connected as friends," says Lee, who included Magic in her wedding plans when her boyfriend, Lon Binder, 29, popped the question. "I wanted him to be a part of the bridal party even though he's male." Adds Magic, who is also buddies with the groom, "No guy really expects to be on the bride's side of the wedding. [But] I don't feel any loss of manliness."
So far: sounding board for wedding drama. "Just having someone to call is enough," says Lee. "He's not really friends with the other bridesmaids, so he's always an objective person I can talk to about anything." No dress fittings for him, though. "I don't have anything to offer," Magic says. "I'm just there to support her."
Wendy Jones, 27, manager at an e-mail hosting company, Denver
MALE OF HONOR
Anthony West, 27, clinical medical researcher, Denver
May 10, 2008
WHY SHE PICKED HIM
Jones and West dated twice in high school—once for 10 days, the next time for 14 months. "We always thought we were meant to be together, and we were right—just not in the way we thought," explains Jones. "We're just better as friends." The pair stayed close through college, and West supported Jones when she went through a divorce two years ago. It was her turn to support West last fall when, only 12 days after getting married, his wife, Stephanie, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.
WHAT THEIR SPOUSES THINK
"I wouldn't have asked Wendy to marry me if I didn't trust her," says fiancé David Kopp. As for Stephanie, "she knows Wendy and it's not at all awkward," says West.
HIS ATTENDANT DUTIES
West helped Jones and Kopp choose their wedding cake (white with strawberry filling) at a tasting recently, though West points out, "I had as much say as [David] did." Anthony also planned the May 3 bachelorette party.
Kimberly Rush, 34, high-tech recruiter, Houston
Pals Clayton Brooks, 32, broker, Houston; Blake Beyer, 36, equity manager, Houston; Louis Erickson, 40, software company owner, Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
Dec. 9, 2006
THE MEN FOR THE JOB
Close pals Brooks and Beyer helped Rush get ready on her big day. "We made her laugh," says Brooks. A bit too much. Their playfulness—like trying on Rush's hair extensions and tiara—got the pair ejected from the bridal suite. Luckily they rallied: Brooks carried safety pins and a handkerchief in case Rush's dress got dirty, and they both held her train to make sure the satin didn't snag while she posed for pictures. Meanwhile Erickson, a former colleague, fluffed Rush's dress every time she stood up during the ceremony and was the only one of the trio to attend her Vegas bachelorette party. "I was with 12 crazy, heathen women," recalls Erickson. "Everywhere I'd go, guys shook my hand." But that's where Beyer drew the line. "I wasn't going to run around with a bachelorette party. He's braver than I am!"