"My recommendations are to not overthink gender roles in terms of the wedding party. Wedding rules are over," Tibbets says. "Do what works for you!" If you have a mixed-gender wedding party, what you need to do is just chat with everyone and see who is up to coordinating which wedding task. Khan, for example, is treating his best wo-man no differently than if he had a best man. "Really, the main duties that are important to me are planning the bachelor party, going shopping with me for tuxes and anything else I may need, and a best man speech. My best wo-man can and will do all of these things," Khan says. "Her gender does not change that."
In her nine years of running Equally Wed, Palladino has seen a switch-up in how couples handle splitting up wedding tasks. Palladino says some couples plan their group activities based on their wedding party's interests and personalities, not necessarily according to which traditions have been historically assigned to which genders. One consistent thing Palladino sees is that the honor attendant does get tasked with the bulk of the work: holding bouquets, wrangling the rest of the party for attire shopping, giving a toast and often, organizing an after-party.
In her role as Sincerely Pete's lead planner, Rizzi has seen both queer and straight couples combine wedding duties and events — including combined getaways or "bach" parties. Houston, whose partner has a woman in his wedding party, isn't looking to completely combine her wedding party's festivities with her spouse's. But she is considering inviting the woman in her fiancé's party to join in on some of her bridal events. "One thing that really tripped me up was what to do about the bridal shower," Houston says. "[The woman in her fiancé's party and I] are friends and hang out on our own, but she's closer to my fiancé. I want to extend the invitation with the understanding that I know it's not her thing, but I also don't want to single her out among the groom's attendants. I haven't quite decided what's best to do yet."
And that may be a good part of getting your wedding party together if you opt for a mixed-gender party: Not quite knowing what to do and working your way through it. But you probably won't regret it. Winton says it's crucial not to let gender roles prevent you from having your best possible wedding. "Realize that if you choose right, your attendants on both sides will be there together, loving and supporting you and your spouse as a whole team. Not as one side or another," Winton says. "This is the family you choose and they will be a part of this forever."
The bottom line is, yes, there will be some aspects of a gender-neutral wedding party that will be different than tradition and custom — and that might take some brainstorming and troubleshooting, and extra time and effort. But the best part is: If you do pick groomsmaids or bridesmen or a man of honor for your wedding party, you'll have all the people you'd want or need at your side to figure it all out.