The Honorary Bridesmaid Is A Growing Trend — But Is It Rude?

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jessica zaleski the knot wedding trends expert
Jessica Zaleski
jessica zaleski the knot wedding trends expert
Jessica Zaleski
Wedding Trends Expert
  • Jessica Zaleski is a Copywriter for CSTMR Fintech Marketing & Design.
  • Jessica is also a freelance writer, editor, and content strategist.
  • Jessica worked as a Fashion and Beauty Intern and Assistant Editor for

If you've never heard the term, the honorary bridesmaid term hails from the South and it's sort of an off-shoot member of the bridal party. Traditionally the honorary bridesmaid is reserved for an aunt or older cousin who is important to the bride, but not a part of the actual wedding party. In other words, someone who the bride might want to have close by the day of the wedding (to help her put her dress on or give her a hug before she walks down the aisle) but not someone who would actually play an active role in the wedding party activities — like partying at the bachelorette party or ordering a bridesmaid dress.

Well like many Southern wedding traditions, the honorary bridesmaid has made it's way into weddings throughout the entire country. And depending on who you talk to or where you live, the term honorary bridesmaid has a bad rep.

There's nothing rude about honoring a close relative who wouldn't necessarily want to be apart of the other bridal party, but here's what doesn't work: Asking a friend who didn't make the cut to be an honorary bridesmaid. Either invite that friend to be in the bridal party or don't. We know that choosing a wedding party can be ridiculously hard, but if you ask a friend to be an honorary bridesmaid instead of a bridesmaid, you risk making her feel like the black sheep of the bridal party.

Instead, reserve the honorary bridesmaid role for someone like an aunt or older cousin, completely outside of your friend group and and give that friend who you couldn't fit into the bridal party a totally different job. Have her do a ceremony reading or invite her to the rehearsal dinner and ask her to give a special toast. Whatever you do, don't ask anyone to be a half-bridesmaid. It'll only lead to hurt feelings.

Agree? Disagree? Tell us in the comments below or join the honorary bridesmaid discussion right here.

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