UPDATE 2020! Mary has relocated to Toronto, Canada. You can find information about Canadian weddings at ElopeToronto.com I'm keeping this blog because I've been told it's very helpful for couples in New York! If you need a wedding officiant in New York or Toronto, email me at MaryBeaty (at) gmail (dot) com, and I'll try to help. Best wishes! Stay safe!


Best man, and Maid of Honour - wedding attendants, what is their role?

Why have a best man? What does the maid of honor do? Why all those bridesmaids? Why BOTHER with it all?

The traditional role of the 'best man' was to be the groom's supporter and legal witness -- and in some cases, to bravely fight off the bride's father and male relatives while the groom (Romeo) rushed out of side exit of the wedding chapel with the bride (Juliet). Obviously, the Maid of Honor was needed to pull her veil down over her head and stand-in for the bride, as Father Lawrence confuses everyone and gains time for the newlyweds.

But I digress. The maid of honor and the best man are the 'mini-me' mirror image of the bridal couple. They are often married (to each other) and represent married love. Or they're not married and represent "the next marriage". But they are not really necessary. Their 'traditional' role is to hold the rings, hold the bouquets, help the bride with her dress, and make speeches at the reception. But anyone over 18 can be your witness (your mom, the photographer, the waiter in the restaurant where you elope) and you don't really need rings at all.

So unless you want matching rows of brown tuxedos with chocolate-tipped ruffles (on the boys?), or those wine-coloured taffeta bridesmaids dresses, consider being un-traditional about your attendants. Have none. Or have odd numbers. Or mix and match the sexes (dress the girls in tuxes and the men in kilts). Or just have a couple of good friends or siblings stand up with you and hold things and then sign your license.

Ask your male friends to dress nicely -- and identify them with a buttonhole flower, bought at a deli. Ask your girl friends to pick a nice dress and just let you know what they have in mind (theme? black and white?). Give them some flowers from the deli as well, that you can simply wrap in ribbon and let the ties hang down.

And, of course, the couple can have witnesses and attendants of ANY sex - boys on the bride's side, girls on the groom's side - or both, if the couple  is same sex,  SO - any combination of relatives or friends or family can be your wedding party.  They are there as your friends and supporters - however they dress, and whatever they wear.  Thank them!

Or just have your friends sit or stand near you, and come forward at the appropriate time to help. No procession, no dyed shoes -- but a clearer idea of their role: to act as the representatives of the community, supporting you in your decision to form a new family unit. It's a good enough role without the matching shoes...