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Group of UshersWhen ready to say “I do,” it’s great to have a special person standing near you, offering support and encouragement. This is true not only for the big day but all the days leading up to the wedding ceremony. This maid of honor or best man traditionally serves an important role throughout the engagement period and on the day you solemnize your union. Serving in either of these roles is no small task. For some people, the choice might be easy, but you might need some guidance when it comes to choosing a loved one to stand with you.

Understanding the Role

For many people, the maid of honor or best man is either a sibling or a best friend. While those may seem like easy choices, you should consider what is expected of these roles. Often, the best man and maid of honor or chief bridesmaid serve as official witnesses on a marriage license. Beyond that, these witnesses are mainly there to support the couple getting married in several ways traditionally:

  • Offer up a toast or speech dedicated to the couple at a reception, engagement party or rehearsal dinner
  • Supervise the other members of the wedding party, and in the case of a best man, the ushers as well
  • Provide emotional and logistical support, especially on the big day
  • Plan and throw a party for the person getting married (i.e., a bachelor, bachelorette party, bridal shower, etc.)
  • Be in charge of the rings or wedding bands
  • Help the person getting married choose the attire and get ready for the ceremony

A sibling or best friend may seem like an obvious choice, but best men and maids of honor serve as the “right hands” throughout the entire process. You need someone who is reliable, trustworthy, supportive and calm under pressure.

Taking Stock of Your Choices

If there are multiple people who would be great as a best man or maid of honor, you should take stock of the pros and cons involved. Recognize that someone might be great as a groomsman or bridesmaid but not necessarily the best choice as a lead role. Be honest with yourself about friends or family members’ strengths and weaknesses. Your bestie may have awesome opinions in helping you choose an outfit, but if that person gets stressed easily, you should reconsider having that person in such an important role. If you absolutely must have him or her standing next to you, consider balancing that individual’s weaknesses with others who have contrasting strengths.

Counting the Costs

One important thing to consider when selecting members of a wedding party is the cost. Either you and your partner will pay for all bridesmaid and groomsman costs, each person covers all his or her expenses, or you share the costs. This is especially true for a best man and maid of honor. Between wedding-day attire, event planning and travel costs for a destination event, serving in the wedding party can be quite expensive. Don’t make assumptions about what the person you have in mind can or cannot afford. Money can be an awkward topic of conversation, but it’s best to make sure that everyone’s on the same page from the beginning.

It’s also important to remember that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to who you choose. Traditionally, wedding events have many gender-specific customs. Your maid of honor can easily be a man of honor, and similarly, a best man may be a best woman. A non-binary friend or family member can also be a person of honor or best person.

It’s your special day. It’s entirely up to you to choose who represents your union as official witnesses and chief attendants.

Category: Wedding Planning

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