Rebeca Brantes, a computer engineering student in Brazil, was eager to hit all the traditional wedding touchstones leading up to her big day, including having a bridesmaid photo shoot with all her best friends.
There was one hitch, however: she didn’t have any female friends on hand.
“Rebeca had a dream of making [a photo shoot with] bridesmaids, but her [girl]friends live far away,” Fernando Duque, the photographer responsible for the resulting shoot, said to Global News. “[So] she decided to take pictures with her college friends.”
And since Brantes is one of only four women in a computer engineering program that includes 56 men, it’s no surprise that her college besties turned out to be a bunch of guys.
The resulting images show Brantes dressed in a white satin dressing gown surrounded by five of her male friends in matching pink robes. They’re pictured engaging in typical pre-wedding preparations like shaving their legs, cooing over the wedding dress and relaxing with cucumber slices on their eyes.
“The boys were very happy for Rebeca’s invitation, and they did very well,” Duque says. “These were photos that show feelings, friends and lots of laughter.”
From the looks of it, Brantes and her pals felt totally at ease with this modern spin on an otherwise conventional wedding tradition.
“Everyone was taking shots of cheap booze and sometimes we were laughing so much that we had to take some time to recover and go on with the photos,” Brantes said to Bored Panda. “I am very happy with the photos. Sometimes I look at them and find myself laughing like crazy.”
Duque says the response the photos have garnered is a pleasant surprise.
“Social media is loving it! It was a surprise to us because we did not expect all this recognition.”
While this photo shoot was born out of necessity, experts say that many weddings today feature unconventional twists.
“We plan lots of non-traditional weddings,” says Alisha Chadee, owner and lead planner of Whim Event Planning & Design. “Couples are having fun with their menus and foregoing traditional sit-down meals, or they’re saving money by hosting the ceremony, cocktails and reception all in the same space.”
Carmen Luk, principal wedding planner at Devoted To You Inc., says the after-party food offerings are often where couples will let their personal interests shine.
“The late-night stations are more thematic. If a couple opts for a traditional dinner, they often introduce something more fun later on, like popcorn stations or a McDonald’s theme,” she says. “I had one couple do bubble-tea stations because they both love it so much. The groom even proposed at a bubble-tea cafe.”
Ceremonies are also bucking convention by swapping out traditional best men and maids of honour.
“We’ve had lots of weddings this year that have had a best woman or a man of honour,” Chadee says. “With the men, for example, their inner pieces will match the bridesmaids dresses instead of matching with the groomsmen. It makes the photographs look great.”
In some cases, Luk says, the tradition-busting starts early — like when couples start to plan the wedding before it’s even official.
“It’s very common for some couples to approach me before there’s even been a proposal or a ring,” she says. “They like to get a head start.”