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Published on August 19th, 2009 | by Staggered


When The Best Man Is A Woman

A female best man is, of course, a contradiction in terms, but if your best friend is a woman, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t ask her to do the job. Well, OK, there are a few reasons why it might complicate things.

The first, not always the most obvious, is that women get jealous. It’s probable that, female psychology being what it is, the woman you’re marrying isn’t madly keen on you having a close relationship, even platonic, with another woman.

Whether or not she’s already made that clear, she might not be over the moon to find another woman in the spotlight on her big day. A female best man is still an unusual thing and she will be more of a talking point than if she had dangly bits. Some brides dislike this kind of thing.

Even if your bride is totally happy for you to have a best girl who isn’t her, and some will be, the relationship between them is still bound to be a bit weird. “I was asked to be a best man because I had introduced my friend to the bride,” says Patricia. “It went fine, but the bride did take me aside beforehand to ask me what I was planning to say in the speech, and censor any stories that she thought were too risqué for her family. I don’t know whether she’d have done that if I were a man.”

Another problem is the stag do, which is traditionally organised by the best man. You’ll need to decide whether to bring a woman on the stag-do. On the plus side, they’re much more detail-oriented than men, so you shouldn’t have the bother of getting to the airport and realising that the best man has booked the wrong flights (a horror story that Staggered once heard of). On the minus side, it may be controversial with your male friends who want to let their hair/pants down, and/or lead to complicated sexual encounters that create issues for the wedding, and are the whole reason these things were segregated in the first place.

One solution may be to ask a male friend to organise the stag instead. Many best women won’t actually be too disappointed not to be spending a weekend with 15 lairy, drunken, off-the-leash men.

As wedding rules and protocol fall away best women are becoming increasingly common and clearly couples are allowed to choose exactly the day they want. But Staggered does wonder – if your closest friend, the one you have the most fun with, the person you could tell anything to, the one who makes you laugh, who you trust to meet and charm your family, if that person is a woman… aren’t you marrying the wrong one?

Brownie Points

  • Think about whether your bride will be cool with a female best man, and if you’re not sure, ask her.
  • If she’s not keen to share the limelight, offer to put the best woman in a trouser suit that matches yours. Unless your best woman looks like Natalie Portman (in which case, MARRY THE PORTMAN-A-LIKE), this should make her look quite rough. A rough-looking best woman is more than fine with most brides.
  • If you’re rapidly going off the best woman idea, a nice way to recognise her significance in your life without it being such a big deal is to get her to be an usher. Female ushers happen too. Way.

What do you think? Can the best man be a woman? Have you had a female best man, if so why didn’t you marry her?



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About the Author

Staggered is the world’s leading publisher for grooms, best men and fathers of the bride. Across websites, emails and magazines we help over 73,000 men every month.

27 Responses to When The Best Man Is A Woman

  1. Andrew Shanahan says:

    I’m really not sure about this issue. I’m conflicted.

    Sure, it’s reasonable that men and women can be friends (although – but the point that I keep coming back to is – if your best mate in the entire world is a woman, why isn’t she the one in the frilly white dress?

  2. Margo says:

    Well Andrew, it’s quite simple. There are the one’s you marry, and the one’s you shag. Quite often men get it so wrong and marry the wrong way round. I know. I’ve been the best woman. Without the sausage. Give it time, they generally wake up and realise. Usually too late.

  3. Andrew Shanahan says:

    Call me an old romantic but I think you can find ones you’d like to both shag and marry. And then you’ve truly found: The One.

    HAHHAAHAHAHAHA, no I’m just kidding, it’s either/or.

  4. Emma B says:

    Wouldn’t all men basically shag any woman? So I usually find it annoying rather than flattering when my male friends try it on. If you’ve been a best man and they haven’t tried to shag you, they must really be concentrating on not ruining your friendship. Which is quite sweet, I feel

  5. Andrew Shanahan says:

    “Wouldn’t all men basically shag any woman?” That’s offensive to the power of infinity. On behalf of all men everywhere I demand a retraction.

  6. Emma B says:

    Name a woman who is no blood relation that you wouldn’t shag under any circumstances and I’ll take it back. Let’s say you’ve been going through a bit of a dry patch… like ten years… and Margaret Thatcher tries it on with you. Yes, you would

  7. Andrew Shanahan says:

    I’d totally bang Thatch, course I would. After all, she fucked us for so long it would be nice to give it back. Nice and slow. Yeah. You like that Thatch? Yeah. Squeal like a lift in a disused mineshaft. Yeah.

    No, you’re right. All men would basically shag any woman. So it’s really not like that for women? What’s it like to have standards?

  8. Emma B says:

    I’ll tell you what it’s like: wearying. Picture the scene: there you are, having a quiet pint with your best mate on a Wednesday night, and suddenly he leans in for a snog. WTF?

  9. Andrew Shanahan says:

    It’s been an education to see life from the other side. Thank-you, I feel more in touch with the sisterhood now.

    Can I suggest that you beat any men in the direction of Margo as I’m relatively sure she’ll thank you for’t.

  10. Margo says:

    “No, you’re right. All men would basically shag any woman”

    Would they? Why has my canal been dry for the last god knows how long, then?

    Please, I can only assume that you are a walking goddess, give me some of your powers, or better still point those pork swords in my direction.

    No really.

  11. Elle says:

    Hey folks, can I join in? Can I? Can I? Hey Mr. Shanahan! I agree. Except that my H2B did consider asking my godsister to be his best man-woman-man because, basically, she’s awesome and calls him “lovely Chris”. And I’m almost 100% sure he doesn’t want to shag her. I hope.

    What about if said friend is a lesbian? Didn’t think of that now, did ye?


  12. Elle says:

    P.s. I’m so happy that my avatar is a Henry.

  13. bigal says:

    Margo – are you sure you are on the correct site?

  14. cinemagrrl says:

    i’ve seen this both ways. one wedding, the bride had her gay best male friend as her man-of-honor. and another wedding where the groom had his best girl friend as his BM. i know for sure, the bride did NOT want to shag her Manbride. however, i’ve always wondered about the groom and his Bestgirl…they are awfully close.

  15. cinemagrrl says:

    oh, and the best girl DID organize the stag. she and couple of other girls took the groom to a strip joint and bought him lots of lap dances and shots of whiskey. was my first time at a strip joint..and my last.

  16. lincsbride says:

    our BM is grooms sister, who to be frank, looks mightily like a brother!

  17. Planking says:

    I’m all for it, but I agree it could be uncomfortable to have a female best man. I never even thought about it or had heard of it happening. I guess it is not too common.

  18. I agree it’s not an every day occurence but weirdly I’ve been to two weddings recently where there was either a female best man, or a female usher. Usually it would sound crazy to say to leave the ladies out (after all if they’re an important part of your life, what’s the problem), but brides are 9/10ths crazy at all times and this issue might be enough to hit up that final 1/10th.

    A big hello to all our bride readers, you know it’s true.

  19. Howard Keele says:

    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.” Ultimately, one factor alone does not decide the outcome of the wedding, whether people will remember it for the good things and not the awkwardness that the Best Man was a woman. A perfect location, a perfect theme, a perfect setting, will remain in the memories of all the guests. Wedding venues in Stoke on Trent would be ideal for any couple to have their dream wedding or civil ceremony. Located halfway between Manchester and Birmingham, this Stafford-shire city forms part of the Potteries Urban Area. Stoke lies adjacent to Newcastle Under Lyme and is bordered to the East by the resplendent scenery of the Peak District. Stoke is made up of six towns, each offering perfect locations for wedding ceremonies and receptions from hotels to country houses and town halls to castles. The famous Alton Towers Theme Park and Water world can also be found in this city. Within the Cultural Quarter you will find an abundance of theaters, galleries and museums – many of which are licensed to hold weddings services or offer their magnificent space to couples for their wedding receptions. Stoke also has a vibrant music scene, both in terms of popular and classical music and this is reflected in the nightlife opportunities which are plentiful.

  20. wendy benge says:

    I am going to be my dads best man/person this week end, which i am really excited about and proud of. finding it hard to do a speach though as he is my dad after all.

  21. Melanie says:

    My brother just asked me to be the best man at his wedding :) I’m really excited, but I will probably let one of the other groomsmen organize the bachelor party lol

  22. iamstaggered says:

    Congratulations Melanie. I’m sure you could thrash out a great bachelor party plan. Men are simple creatures we just want to kick or throw things until we’re tired and then drink or smoke things until we’re tired. Then we want to eat and have sex until we’re tired. Then we want to sleep until we’re not tired.

  23. Dave says:

    cos she’s gay?

  24. That’s great Melanie! I’ll also be the best (wo)man at my bro’s wedding in June. I am not giving up my chance to plan a bachelor party! I want to prove that not all females are hormonal, sex drunk, attention craving bimbos. That’s exactly why I was chosen; because I’m the “best man” for the job. I, and every woman, have quite enough “balls” for these occasions, I assure you. Hell, my brother wouldn’t be as kick ass now if it weren’t for having me as an older sister ;) jk. Enjoy yourself! Don’t let the man get you down!

  25. Polly Wants a Cracker. says:

    I’ll be my bro’s best man – but the stag party will be organized by his other best man who won’t be able to make it… The bride was ok with it since I’m the only one who know both the bride and groom well – after all, he just told my parents a couple of months ago and they’re getting married next month! The bride won’t have her bride maids since she’s not on good terms with her sister and hated her family… which means I’m doubling as secret maid of honor as well as substitute best man.

  26. Margaret Blackman says:

    I am to be a best man next year. The groom and I have virtually no family and we have filled that role for each other. I love him dearly as a brother but as a boyfriend, I would kill him inside 24 hours. I knew the bride separately before she and the groom met. No jealousies anywhere, he is marrying the right person and I will be wearing a tux. I will plan the paintball boys’ party, but not attending. As for the recessional, the maid of honor will walk out alone behind the couple, me behind her and a bridesmaid and usher will bring up the rear together.

  27. Jen says:

    “Have you had a female best man, if so why didn’t you marry her?”

    – Because my fiancee’s “Best Men” are his sisters, that’s why.

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