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When The Best Man Is a Woman

You are getting married and you and your intended are choosing the members of the wedding party. He can’t decide which of his good friends he should ask to be the best man. No matter whom he chooses, someone’s feelings will be hurt. So, he decides to ask his sister. Or perhaps the bride has a friend since childhood that she wants to be in her line, but he happens to be a guy, not a girl. Can she have a male bridesmaid?

Today, it is fine to include a person of the opposite sex among your attendants. Older couples with adult children have been doing this for years. The criteria for choosing attendants remains the same as it has always been – choose people that are relatives or that are close to you and will continue to be a part of your life in the future. If that person is of the opposite sex, that is fine in most instances, unless your wedding will be held in a conservative church or synagogue. Then, you may need to obtain the approval of the pastor/priest/rabbi before asking the person to be in your line.

When a person of the opposite sex is chosen to fill the position of maid of honor or best man, he or she should be called "the bride’s honor attendant" or "the groom’s honor attendant." When a person of the opposite sex is chosen to fill the role of groomsman or bridesmaid, then all of the attendants are called "the bride’s attendants (rather than bridesmaids) and "the groom’s attendants" (rather than groomsmen).

When a woman stands on the groom’s side, she might wear a dress in the same color as the male attendant’s tuxedos or suits and of the same formality as the bridesmaids’ dresses. She should wear a corsage rather than a boutonnière. A man who stands on the bride’s side should dress the same as the other men in the wedding party. He should wear a boutonnière, not carry a bouquet. If he fills the position of the maid of honor, then the bridesmaid standing next to him should hold the bride’s bouquet during the ceremony and she should help the bride with her train if necessary.

A female groom’s attendant will dress with the ladies, but she will appear in the photos along with the groom’s male attendants. Similarly, a male bride’s attendant will dress with the men, but he will appear in the photos along with the bride’s female attendants. Be sure that your photographer is aware of the situation so that the person is included in the correct photos.

It is appropriate to choose a young girl to fill the position of ring bearer if you have no young boys that you would like to include. A female ring bearer carries the title of ring bearer but dresses much like the flower girls. During the ceremony she will stand on the groom’s side.

Whether your attendants are of the same sex or of the opposite sex, choose those who are an important part of your life and that you want to be with you on your special day, thus making your wedding very personal.

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