Gender bender

How to incorporate attendants of a different gender in your wedding party
Jul 13, 2011 | By: Stefanie Wallace

So you've decided to ask your oldest and closest friend to stand up beside you on your wedding day: the boy next door. He will be your man of honour, and your future husband has chosen his closest friend (or maybe his sister) to be his best woman. Sound familiar?

Having wedding attendants of the opposite gender is something that has become quite common in today's weddings, says Natalie Faria, owner of Ontario Weddings & Event Planners in Hamilton, Ont. It's even starting to show up on the big screen, like in Patrick Dempsey's 2008 rom-com Made of Honor or this year's Sex and the City 2.

Though it's a great idea, the logistics don't work out the same. You can't really expect your man of honour to wear a dress and carry a bouquet, can you? And what about attire and flowers for the best woman?

"A best woman can wear a dress in the same colour family as the bridesmaids, or the same colour as the groom's suits," Faria says. "A man of honour can wear the same outfit as the rest of the groomsmen."

As far as flowers go, Faria advises having the man of honour wear a matching boutonniere as the rest of the groomsmen, and instead of carrying a bouquet, give the best woman a special corsage matching the flowers in the boutonnieres.

Despite the (perhaps judgmental) reactions you might get from grandma, the minister or great-aunt Myrtle, having a man of honour or a best woman isn't that strange. If you do, however, receive some negative reactions or questions, Faria offers this advice:

"Remind those who are questioning the tradition of the reasons why the person was selected to stand up in the wedding party," she says. "They could be lifelong friends, or always there as a supporter, and that is better then selecting someone of the same sex who is not as close to the bride or groom." 

Natalie Faria has been planning weddings and events for more than 13 years for two people or up to 250,000 people. She is currently the owner of Ontario Wedding & Event Planners, which specializes in wedding and event planning, as well as destination wedding and honeymoon planning. Natalie is also the instructor of the Wedding Planning course at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ont.

Looking for the perfect ceremony location? Find ceremony locations on iDoo.ca, Canada’s Local Marriage Services Directory.

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