If you’ve been asked to be the best woman at a wedding, you may be wondering if it’s the best idea. After all, maybe it’s not something you’ve done in the past. But we say go for it! If you’re close friends with a guy who’s getting married, it makes sense that he would not only want to involve you in his big day but have you standing next to him as well! It’s a huge honour to be asked to be the best woman, so definitely remember that when making your decision. Since this role is kind of new (along with bridesman, grooms woman, a man of honour, etc.), we’ve come up with some pointers to help guide you along the way so you can fulfil your duties and be the best…best woman.
It’s your wedding. If you want to wear a bright red outfit, go for it! If you dream of dining on pizza and ice cream sundaes at the reception, do it! And, if you have your heart set on asking a favourite gal pal to stand in as your best man, don’t think twice. You’re customizing every aspect of your big day, so you should do exactly what you want. When your best man is a woman — or more appropriately — your best woman, there are a few extra considerations you’ll want to take when choosing formalwear for the bridal party, drafting titles in your ceremony programs, and deciding how to conduct your professional. Here’s a handy guide to personalize your wedding and make the day run smoothly.
Whether you grew up with the girl or met at a party five years ago, there are plenty of us who have a female best mate, which makes it slightly awkward and confusing when it comes around to getting married. Can she be the best man? Sure, but what are the protocols? Does it have a different name? Can she come on the stag do? I’ve tried to answer all your questions below.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Is A Female Best Man Called?
- 2 Is It Now Accepted To Have A Female Best Man?
- 3 Can She Come On My Stag Do?
- 4 How Do I Deal With Picture Symmetry?
- 5 How Will The Bride React?
- 6 What Are They Invited To?
- 7 Where Should They Get Ready?
- 8 What Should They Wear?
- 9 How Should They Process?
- 10 What about the bachelor party?
- 11 Can A Woman Be A Groomsman?
- 12 What Do I Call A Female Groomsman?
- 13 Which Events Does She Attend?
- 14 Who Should She Match: The Bridesmaids or Groomsmen?
- 15 Female Groomsman Attire
- 16 What Should She Wear?
- 17 Where Should She Get Ready?
- 18 Female Groomsman At The Bachelor Party
What Is A Female Best Man Called?
Most people call them your Best Woman, but she would be considered as part of the groomsmen. The equivalent exists in the opposite direction, called the Man of Honour.
Is It Now Accepted To Have A Female Best Man?
Yes, we’re in the 21st century and anyone that gives you a hard time is stuck in the stone age—several things brought around this acceptance. For example, it is now commonplace for there to be more than one best man. I plan on having three at mine, as I find it too hard to pick one mate over another.
When we surveyed 1,000 of our past customers, asking them who they asked to be their best man, the brother was by far the biggest response (48%). However, the sister was surprisingly high with 6%. I can only imagine this number is increasing with each year that goes by.
Can She Come On My Stag Do?
Yes, 100%, it is now very common for girls to be present on a stag do or guys present on a hen do. This has gained the nickname hag do, or sten do (whichever way you want to call it). It is worth telling the other lads beforehand, but if they are all close to you, they are probably unsurprised to see her present.
With mixed-gender stag groups, you may need to consider some extra things before booking, such as whether all rooms are twin rooms and whether she has someone she feels comfortable sharing with, but in general, it shouldn’t make any difference at all to your booking.
How Do I Deal With Picture Symmetry?
Something you might not have considered (but your soon to be wife might have) is the photo of the bride and groom with the groomsmen and bridesmaids looking completely symmetrical from a gender perspective. This will be a call for you both to make, but I don’t see the issue with a female being on the male side, it’s an old tradition and a bit ridiculous, but it is worth discussing beforehand, so there isn’t an issue at the time or any confusion. If this is a difficult topic, then there is no issue sending her to the other side with the other ladies.
You may also want to give a heads-up to the photographer, so they know beforehand and don’t leave her out of key pictures or direct her in the wrong way.
How Will The Bride React?
This is subject in which you will want to discuss with her, and I’d recommend mentioning it as early as possible. There is seriously no reason why she should have a negative response, especially as you will know the bride-to-be very closely and she will no doubt already know you are very close to this other person. Jealousy can play a factor with a friend from the opposite gender; however, having them as the best woman surely highlights their status as a close mate rather than a threat.
The only exception to this rule is if the mate is your ex, then it’s time to move on and pick someone else! The golden rule, no ex’s at the wedding (according to How I Met Your Mother).
What Are They Invited To?
As long as both you and the attendant in question are comfortable with the event you have planned, invite them to everything. Check-in with them before you send out the invites to make sure they’ll feel good about attending (for example, your male best friend may not be as excited about your lingerie-themed bridal shower as you…) but extend an invitation to every event that you want them to attend.
Where Should They Get Ready?
While a bridesman may not be eager to spend the morning watching you and your bridesmaids have your hair. Makeup is done, you should invite him to join you for all key moments: Include him in lunch with all of you in the bridal suite, and make sure he’s dressed and back when it’s time for you to show everyone your wedding dress. If your fiancé has a grooms woman stand by his side, ask him (and her) if she’d be interested in getting ready with you and your bridesmaids, or if she’d rather hang out with the guys.
What Should They Wear?
You’ve got a few choices when it comes to attire, but the important thing is to make sure they look like their part of the gang. You could have a man of honour wear the same attire as the groomsmen, or swap out an accessory (like a tie or shirt) to match the rest of the bridesmaids better. We love the look of the best woman in a dress similar to the bridesmaids, but in a darker hue, or a dress that’s all her own that matches the colour of the groomsmen’s suits. Use the flowers to help coordinate everyone, as well, choosing colours or varieties that tie each portion of the wedding party together.
How Should They Process?
A bridesman should walk down the aisle with the bridesmaids and stand on the bride’s side of the altar, and vice-versa for a grooms woman. You may, however, want to skip having the groomsmen escort the bridesmaids and instead have all of the groom’s attendants walk down the aisle, followed by all of the bride’s attendants. You could also alternate each group, having a groomsman, followed by a bridesmaid or bridesman, followed by a groomsman, and so forth.
Here’s a list of best woman duties you should be aware of before taking on this important role.
Help choose—and handle—the ring.
Whether your guy friend or relative consulted you before he bought his partner’s engagement ring or not, it’s a good idea to offer to come along when he selects a wedding band for his partner. After all, a woman’s perspective can only help here, right? And don’t forget that just like any best man, you’ll be the one to keep track of the rings on the big day.
Be a master coordinator.
As the best woman, you should be involved in events like the bachelor party, the shower if it will be a couple’s shower, the rehearsal dinner and wedding itself. For these events, you’ll act as a coordinator and detail-wrangler, handling all the little things that the groom shouldn’t have to worry about. Don’t be shy about stepping right up and helping! Gender doesn’t come into play here—you can guide guests to their seats at the wedding, collect gifts and envelopes after the reception, and help get the wedding party to the right place at the right time.
What about the bachelor party?
Since you’ll be in charge of handling the bachelor party planning, feel free to plan something that works for all of you; the groom, the rest of the groomsmen, and yourself, of course. While you shouldn’t have the guys hitting up a spa for the bachelor party, they should certainly be willing to skip the stripper or similar activities that would make you uncomfortable. If you have any concerns about the bachelor party or any other male-only events, be sure to address them with the groom in advance. Chances are, he’ll be more than happy to accommodate your needs.
Choose your attire.
There are no hard and fast rules to follow when it comes to deciding what you’ll wear for your role as the best woman. Options include a tasteful suit cut for a female, a dress that coordinates with the bridesmaids’ dresses, or a darker-hued gown to coordinate with the groom’s and groomsmen’s suits or tuxedos. If the wedding is a casual one, feel free to go with one of these options, or go in a different direction entirely. But for a more formal affair, a dark-coloured gown may be the most suitable option.
Stand by the groom’s side.
As the best woman, you’ll stand on the groom’s side during the wedding, regardless of your relationship with his partner. But suppose the rest of the wedding party will be comprised of traditional gender roles. In that case, you may find yourself with a one-off situation for the recessional, when bridesmaids and groomsmen typically pair up to walk back up the aisle. The good news is, there’s a myriad of solutions to this issue. Nowadays, couples can pretty much make their processional and recessional as unique as they want—there are truly no rules here. So as the best woman, you should work with the couple to come up with a recessional that works for everyone, whether it’s simply walking side-by-side or doing a completely funky dance.
Can A Woman Be A Groomsman?
Of course, they can! It’s your wedding, your rules. Still, when you decide to go with female groomsmen, there are a few things to pay attention to, from the ceremonial procession to apparel and pre-wedding activities. These are important aspects to think about in advance so that there aren’t any areas of stress or discomfort during the actual wedding.
What Do I Call A Female Groomsman?
If not everybody in your wedding party identifies as male, then the term groomsman isn’t exactly accurate. In these situations, we usually stick to “groom’s party,” groom’s companions,” or “team groom”— trust us, everybody will know what you mean.
Which Events Does She Attend?
This is up to her— and you, of course. If your wedding also includes a team of bridesmaids, she might want to join in on some of their activities, like mani-pedis, or day-of makeup. Similarly, she may opt-out on the wedding-day trip to the barbershop, but the bottom line is to leave the choice up to her.
Who Should She Match: The Bridesmaids or Groomsmen?
This is, again, a personal choice. Some couples prefer for their female groomsmen to match the men in the party, others prefer for them to match the bridesmaids, and some like the idea of her rocking a unique blend of both–think dress in the groom’s party colours or a suit that matches the bridal party theme. Generation Tux has all of the information you could want on female groomsman attire. Being in this formalwear game for a while, we have some ideas up our (beautifully constructed) sleeves.
Female Groomsman Attire
When it comes to finding female groomsmen attire, we’re still in the wild west. Given that having a female groom’s party members is still a relatively new tradition, the rules have yet to be written, and there are plenty of options.
What Should She Wear?
How you want your female groomsman to dress on your big day isn’t dictated by tradition— it’s entirely up to her (as well as you and your partner.) In the weddings we’ve suited recently, we’ve noticed a few major trends:
Suits Are A Good Choice For Her, Too
Plenty of women are perfectly happy to rock a fitted suit or tux— and they always look stunning. If your female groomsman is keen to match her male counterparts, this is a great way to go.
With Generation Tux, she’ll even be able to try on her suit privately at home rather than in a tailor shop, which can get uncomfortable when it’s filled with a bunch of dudes.
A Color, Not A Style
Regardless of the gender of their respective parties, plenty of couples are going for a less streamlined look on their big day. This generally means that the couple will choose a colour palette and then the wedding party will be able to pick their suits and dresses with that theme in mind.
This model of doing things creates an eclectic look that lets everybody’s styles shine through. You can add restrictions in order to help you stand out as the groom— like asking your groom’s party to wear suits and to let you be the only one up there in a tux.
A Special Dress
If menswear isn’t her style, your female groomsman can wear a dress. While the choice in a dress is up to the both of you, she may prefer to match the bridesmaids’ dresses, or she may want to go with a dress inspired by the colours worn by the groom and his party. For example, if all the boys are rocking classic tuxedos with red accessories, she may choose to wear a black gown with ruby heels.
Are you worried about colour coordination? Check out our colour swatches and then get some options shipped straight to your door (for free) so that you can see exactly what these hues look like in real life.
Where Should She Get Ready?
This answer is completely up to you and her. Some women split their time between the two parties, getting dressed and doing their hair and makeup over in the bridal suite before heading over to the groom suite to help everyone get ready. This option makes a lot of sense if your groomsman is friends with the bride and her party as well.
If your female BFF would prefer to just hang with you before the wedding, that works too! Just make sure there’s a private place for her to change, and remind your other groomsmen to be respectful of her space.
Female Groomsman At The Bachelor Party
Of course, your female groomsman can and should be invited to your bachelor party. It would be an insult to exclude her entirely. That being said, whether you have a female groomsman or not, we think that it’s a good idea to check in with your wedding party about what activities they are comfortable with for a bachelor party.
One way to make your bachelor party inclusive? Combine it with your partner’s send-off party. Joint parties allow your friends to get to know each other better, and they take some of the planning pressure off as the responsibility is usually divided across a bigger group.
No matter what she chooses to wear, where you choose to go for your bachelor party, or anything else, the most important thing to keep in mind with a female groomsman is to make sure that she’s treated with the same respect as the men in your party.
Finally, what if both the bride and the groom have someone special in mind to serve as the best man or best woman? You can have two people stand up for the groom in the ‘best’ position. If you do, consider having two maids of honour to balance the flow of the bridal party. It’s not uncommon for couples who have several siblings to have multiple honourable attendees in their bridal party. If you want to give more than one person a prestigious title at your wedding, do it! That’s the bonus of it being your day.