– Ask a Real Bride – What Are Honorary Bridesmaids, Hypemaids, and Something Blue Crews?

One of the most frequently discussed topics on our @askarealbride Instagram page is bridesmaids. I hear variations of these questions all the time: How do I choose my bridesmaids? What if I don’t want the chaos of a huge bridal party? Will my friends be disappointed if they aren’t asked to be in the wedding?

For many brides, the answer to all of the above is choosing terms like “honorary bridesmaids,” “hypemaids,” or a “something blue crew” to honor certain friends instead. Some brides see it as a solution for including more friends, but if you’re not careful, it could actually end up creating hurt feelings instead.

Our real brides are weighing on how to carry out this trend in a way that is truly honoring, and not offensive, to your non-bridesmaid friends. Read on for examples of why brides are choosing honorary bridesmaids, how they asked their girls to participate, and ideas for how to make it all work!.

Choosing bridesmaids
Choosing bridesmaids can be a struggle. Are honorary bridesmaids, “hypemaids,” or “something blue crews” the answer?
Image Source: Camera Shi Photography

What is an honorary bridesmaid?

An honorary bridesmaid is someone you want to honor on your wedding day, but don’t want to give the official title of bridesmaid for whatever reason: costs, chaos, or having to choose a handful of friends out of a much larger group.

Honorary bridesmaids usually have more leeway when it comes to choosing their own outfits, and are not expected to perform any “extra” tasks like planning a shower or bachelorette.

Ask a Real Bride: What Are Honorary Bridesmaids, Hypemaids, and Something Blue Crews?
Your honorary bridesmaids can choose their own outfits, but this bride gave each a flower to wear in their hair or as a corsage! Image Source: Jenny Fu Studio

What can you ask an honorary bridesmaid to do?

“Invite them dress shopping, to the bachelorette party, and involve them in any plans they want to help with.”

“My friend didn’t want bridesmaids, but still wanted to honor her best friends. So she sent us “hypemaids proposal boxes” (her way of saying “honorary bridesmaids”). We can wear what we want, we won’t be in the ceremony, but we will be in the getting ready suite with her all day, and she even offered hair and makeup services if we wanted to pay for it!”

“I’m calling mine a ‘something blue crew!’ I told them they can pick anything blue for a dress!”

“I’m doing a ‘first look’ with my honorary bridesmaids before the wedding!”

“I’ve seen honorary bridesmaids participate in the ceremony by carrying a single large bloom and process in with it, then place in an arrangement at the front.” –Jenny Dansby, Threefold Events

first look
Many brides stage a “first look” with their honorary bridesmaids before the wedding. You can invite them to get ready with you beforehand, or just ask them to arrive dressed and ready for photos.
Image Source: Jenny Fu Studio

Are Honorary Bridesmaids, Hypemaids, or a Something Blue Crew Right For You?

The majority of brides I surveyed (65%) agree that these titles only work if they are no actual bridesmaids. Creating a second designation (like honorary or “something blue”) can create a “best” and “second best” dynamic.

“I do feel like some of my friends would have hurt feelings if some were ‘official’ and some were ‘honorary.’”

Asking them to be “honorary,” a “hypemaid,” or “something blue,” when you’re choosing others to be bridesmaids can feel like a consolation prize. It might be better to let them enjoy the wedding as guests–and wear whatever they want!

blue crew
Before you invite someone to be a “something blue,” consider if this will be received as a compliment or a consolation prize. If you’re choosing some friends to be bridesmaids and others to be “blue,” you run the risk of offending your crew!

The exceptions:

If you’re only having a maid of honor, having honorary bridesmaids won’t feel like a second tier.

And age makes a difference too:

If your honorary bridesmaids are much older or younger than your bridesmaids, the designation works well. Here’s how real brides are including honorary bridesmaids along with traditional bridal parties:

“I asked my ten best friends to be my bridesmaids. We are all around the same age. I asked my older sister (11 years older with 4 kids–way out of her bridesmaid era) to be my “something blue.” We’re going dress shopping together, she’ll walk down the aisle with family, and she’s joining my bachelorette trip. I just wanted to include her in a way that didn’t make her feel obligated to do the whole bridesmaid thing since she’s older and has a family, etc.!”

“I have five younger girl cousins that I would like to be involved in my wedding, ranging from high school age to college. I don’t want to ask them to be bridesmaids because it’s a lot to ask financially and with their schedules. My idea is that we would do a ‘first look’ an hour before the ceremony at the church. Then they would walk down the aisle together in navy dresses. I’m hoping this is a way to honor them and show them how much they mean to me, without burdening them with costs or responsibilities!”

Another option that works: having a family-only bridal party and friends as honorary bridesmaids:

“We are doing just our siblings for our bridal party, and then all of our friends are our honorary bridal party. They’re still getting ready with us and taking pictures on the day-of, but aren’t obligated to buy any specific clothes or be there all weekend. Most of our friends live far away or are married and have children. This has helped them save time and cash!”

wedding morning
If your honorary bridesmaids are spending the morning with you, be sure to feed them and offer transportation to the ceremony and reception!
Image Source: Camera Shi Photography

What should brides do for honorary bridesmaids?

Your obligations toward an honorary bridesmaid are similar to the ones you’d have for official bridesmaids. If you’re asking them to spend the morning of the wedding with you, you’ll have to feed them and transport them to the ceremony. You should also give them a gift, though you can spend less than you might on bridesmaid gifts.

If your honorary bridal party is participating in the ceremony processional, you’ll need to invite them to the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. If they don’t have a role in the ceremony, it’s ok to skip this!

At what point is an honorary bridesmaid…a bridesmaid?

Think this through: if you’re asking them to wear a specific color, attend your bachelorette, get ready with you, and pose for photos…aren’t they effectively “bridesmaids?” Before you ask friends to be honorary, hypemaids, or something blue, ask yourself if you should go all the way and make them bridesmaids, or let them enjoy the wedding as guests.

Believe it or not, your friends might not be as hurt as you would think to avoid the obligations and costs of being a bridesmaid, whether that’s an official title or an honorary one. They might actually be relieved!

The Bottom Line on Honorary Bridesmaids

The honorary bridesmaid title works best when:

  • There are no official bridesmaids, just a maid of honor, or the bridesmaids are all family
  • The honorary bridesmaids are in a different stage of life than the official bridesmaids
  • Their obligations and costs are significantly less than what you would expect from an official bridesmaid

Whether you call them bridesmaids, honorary bridesmaids, or simply “friends,” I hope your wedding day is spent surrounded by love and laughter!

Have a Question for our Real Brides?

Let me know what topic you’d like us to tackle next! And if you’re interested in learning more about etiquette, gift-giving, and celebrating in style, be sure to subscribe to the RegistryFinder GiveIt blog for weekly posts on wedding etiquette, bridal showers, wedding trends, and of course, wedding registry guidelines and tips! Questions in this post are received from followers of @askarealbride. Questions may be edited for spelling, length, and grammar or to remove sensitive information. However, we are careful not to alter the intent or content of the question.

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2 thoughts on “Ask a Real Bride: What Are Honorary Bridesmaids, Hypemaids, and Something Blue Crews?

  1. I want to know what I should do for the bride as her”something blue.” She told me she would like me to wear blue on her wedding day. Is there something else I should do as well?

  2. Christina Peterson

    Hi Melaina,

    It sounds like all you need to do is find something blue that you feel beautiful wearing! You can ask the bride if she’d like you to wear a long or short dress, or if a print is ok. I would imagine that as you get closer to the wedding day, she’ll give you further instructions about when to arrive for pictures and any other details. Otherwise, just plan to attend and celebrate joyfully as you would for any other wedding celebration!


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