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Are co-ed wedding parties appropriate? Hoda and Jenna weigh in

Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager feel strongly about co-ed wedding parties.
/ Source: TODAY

Picking your bridesmaids and groomsmen when planning a wedding can often be stressful when choosing your closest pals of one gender. And now, co-ed wedding parties are becoming more common.

Data from The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study shows that more couples are opting for nontraditional wedding parties, with nearly 4 in 10 couples (37%) saying they had a co-ed wedding party. Kristen Maxwell Cooper, editor-in-chief of The Knot, told TODAY Style that many engaged couples are abandoning tradition to host weddings that fit their unique lifestyles and relationships.

"We’re seeing an increase in fluidity across the board with weddings, not just when it comes to wedding parties but with fashion as well," she said. "We love how couples are feeling empowered to have a wedding that feels like them, and incorporating all their loved ones — regardless of gender — as they see fit. This allows the celebrations to feel authentic and celebratory of who they are as individuals and as a couple, whatever that may look like.”

While more couples are including bridesmen and groomswomen into their special day, the question remains: Are co-ed wedding parties appropriate? Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager weighed in on the polarizing topic on TODAY with Hoda & Jenna Thursday morning.

"I didn't have (a co-ed wedding party) because I just didn't," Jenna said. "In high school, I was definitely the type that was friends with more men. I mean I had girlfriends, too, but also had some guy friends. And when you get married, some of that — I hate to say it, or at least for me — I've lost touch (with them) because Henry kind of fills that void."

Co-ed wedding parties
Co-ed wedding parties are becoming increasingly common.Getty Images

As you grow in your relationship, opposite sex friendships can and should evolve, according to Hoda. "I always found it like a little weird to have a good girlfriend calling at night with a problem and your boyfriend or husband is on the phone with them," she said, revealing this was something she dealt with in prior relationships.

"I remember thinking 'I feel uncomfortable but I feel weird saying (something). Like, I'm not trying to pick your friends, have your friends.' But I didn't want her calling late at night. I thought that was strange," she said.

Needless to say, Hoda doesn't plan on having any bridesmen in her wedding. "I actually think it's gonna be so small. It'll probably just be my sister," she said.

In a new article titled "Single-Sex Wedding Parties Don’t Make Sense Anymore," the Atlantic makes a case for the somewhat unconventional practice: "Close, platonic, mixed-gender friendships are more common than ever. Marriage ceremonies should adapt accordingly."

At the same time, the article acknowledges that co-ed wedding parties can often be met with disapproval from more traditional family members. Friends of the same gender can also feel offended if you choose an opposite gender friend over them: "Because the number of spots in a wedding party is often limited to just a handful, choosing to include one friend often means choosing to exclude another. Single-sex wedding parties can already cause hurt feelings."

WeddingWire's senior creative director, Jeffra Trumpower, told TODAY Style she hopes couples do whatever makes them happiest, even if that means disappointing some: “As with straying from any conventional tradition, opting for a mixed-gender wedding party (or not having any wedding attendants at all) may come as a shock to some loved ones and traditionalists that are celebrating with the to-be-weds, but at the end of the day, we encourage couples to plan a wedding that ultimately showcases their personalities and embraces their unique visions."