I'm both maid of honor AND best woman at my best friends' wedding


Guest post by Robin Fletcher
I'm both maid of honor AND best woman at my best friends' wedding
Sometimes wedding party members have ALL THE DUTIES | Photo by Wild About You Photography

"I'm sort of with someone."

This is a little strange. Beth, my best friend of ten years, would normally tell me about a guy well before they were "together," even if our only means of communication lately is over the phone. And she sounds nervous, too apprehensive for it to be someone who I don't know.

"Okay…" I say, prompting her to spit it out.

"Guess."

I roll my eyes, but it's not the hopeless game that others might believe it to be. Her tone of voice has fed my nagging intuition enough that I only need one guess.

"Is is Eric?"

She pauses, but just long enough that her answer is unnecessary. She gives it anyway. "Yes."

Beth and Eric have been my best friends since middle school. They've grown a lot closer since I left for college, but middle school me would've been floored by this news, mainly because I was under the impression that we were all women. Eric wasn't Eric then, he was Katrina, a girl who wore more dresses and makeup than I did. But that changed slowly, until one summer after college, he let me know that it was "Eric" now. Practically nothing had changed between us, but, obviously, this had a big impact between Beth and Eric.

Fast forward a few years later, and the impact has only resounded. They're getting married, and I'm both the maid of honor and best woman. Yeah. Even for somebody completely qualified to fulfill these roles, this is a daunting task, and I am probably one of the least qualified people to be given such an honor. Still, friends for over a decade, yada yada yada. Balancing both of these roles is challenging no matter how much I care for both of them. Especially when they come into conflict.

The Bachelor/ette Party

There is a certain… culture around these parties. They are the last hoo-rahs and woo-hoos. Best men push the limits, wanting to make sure that their friend has a night that he'll never forget. Maid of honors face a similar expectation. But all this is done with the understanding that the person getting marries is not there to police their future spouse.

Things that honor attendants should not say

  • "Did you just check out that girl/guy?"
  • "Maybe you should slow down, you don't want to go home a complete mess."
  • "Did you get Beth's/Eric's approval for this?"

Things that as maid of honor/best woman I'd be obligated to say

  • "Did you just check out that girl/guy?"
  • "Maybe you should slow down, you don't want to go home a complete mess."
  • "Did you get Beth's/Eric's approval for this?"

See how they sort of overlap? Now, by no measure would I encourage anything the other would consider cheating, but I don't want them to feel like I'm some sort of double agent either. As it happens, Eric wants something low-key, camping and RV riding, but Beth is going to Vegas, under heavy suggestion from yours truly. Although we haven't gone yet, I can already feel the tension when it's brought up. Eric trusts her, but I still feel the obligation to back him up every step of the way.

So it's a little complicated.

Where do I stand? Do I dance with myself? With whom do I walk down the aisle?

I mean, they're not really questions. It's been determined that I'll stand with the bridesmaids, so as to keep the color and attendant balance. I'll dance with one of the other groomsman and then whoever I damn well please. I'll walk down the aisle with one of the groomsmen too, just to keep everyone paired up.

But I'm prepared for these answers to be reworked a thousand times as everything gets shifted around. I'm prepared to answer the repeated questions of conservative relatives at least five times ("Wait, Katrina and Beth are getting married? And you're the best man? How does that work?"…. "Yep, Eric and Beth are getting married, I'm the best woman and the maid of honor, and it works pretty much exactly like all other weddings.") I'm prepared for Eric or Beth to simply declare that this is too complicated, and they're just going to have someone else be their honor attendant. Because it is ridiculously complicated, and not just for them. There's a reason that these jobs usually go to two separate people.

Working overtime

There are a lot of responsibilities for both the maid of honor and the best man. Luckily, Beth is quite the planner, so we're completing tasks months in advance. Eric, not so much. We'll be scrambling the week of, I can feel it, but it'll all miraculously fit together.

Unfortunately, my opinion is twice as relevant as most honor attendants, which would be great if I had any competency when it comes to planning or weddings.

Unfortunately, my opinion is twice as relevant as most honor attendants, which would be great if I had any competency when it comes to planning or weddings. That is far from the case. While Beth and the other bridesmaids are happy to educate me, I still feel like I should know this stuff better than anyone. In fact, the only thing I am confident in, the booze, is a lot more complicated than I thought. Obviously, it has to pair with the meal, but little (HUGE) things like corkage fees turn something that supposed to fun into a business negotiation. This means a lot of research for me, which just adds to the entire frantic experience.

All of this to say, my opinion shouldn't be valued nearly as much as it is.

I wouldn't change anything

Yeah, it's not the traditional experience, but how many people are lucky enough to be dubbed the honor attendants of BOTH members of the couple, defying expectations of gender norms on multiple levels in the process? And how many people's best friends actually get married to each other? And, more importantly, how many people get to take credit for introducing them?

It's stressful, but I'll be so proud and grateful and honored when I stand up to give my best woman speech. And I'll be just as proud and grateful and honored when I jump over the table to the other side and give it all over again as maid of honor.

… I'll have to double-check with them on that one.

  1. This is epic!
    Please, please please do a follow-up post-wedding and let us know how it all goes!
    Good luck to you. The whole experience is going to be an amazing memory for all three of you! 🙂

    • I definitely will! I hope I can do my jobs justice. Either way, I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes, no matter how many bumps we hit. 😀

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