The media described her as the most stunning ‘best man’ ever. Dressed in a navy blue suit and white shirt, Ayobowale Ilesanmi looked superb serving as the best man at her twin brother’s wedding. This happened in Nigeria late last year. Social media went into overdrive with the discussion centred on whether the stunt was for a movie shoot, but it was a real life story of a man who wanted to honour his twin sister on his big day.
“I would do that to honour my sister in a special way,” remarked Fred Kalimba a university student.
“As long as the female best man is not a friend, I wouldn’t mind. If it’s a relative, it makes sense,” Sima who is getting married in April added to the debate.
Some women took a swipe at those who supported the idea.
“Would my fiancé feel comfortable if I also picked a ‘male matron’,” asked Rachael.
“As long as the male matron is your brother,” came a quick response from Joseph.
However, away from the debate, this unique practice seems to be trending with a number of grooms now opting to have women as their best men.
Whereas some people appreciate the creativity, others are against it, arguing that it’s taking gender equality to the extreme.
But would you have a woman serve as your best man?
Evans Odieki believes that either a man or woman can serve as a best man, depending on one’s preferences.
He says a best man, or woman, is meant to be a person who will offer you counsel on how best to embrace the journey you’re about to embark on, and both men and women can do this.
Odieki also notes that it was a tradition for a best man and maid of honour to be a couple, however, nowadays, things have changed. With this, he says that if that changed; why not embrace a new trend of having a woman for a best man?
Nice Budandi, an event organiser at Smart Africa Secretariat, says he wouldn’t choose a woman for a best man. He argues that he would base his decision mostly on the fact that he needs someone to guide him and help him in the new chapter. So he would need a person who understands what it means to be a man.
“When a man is getting married, he is going into something he doesn’t know about, something I call becoming a real man. I think you need a good example to guide you, so in my opinion, only a fellow man can do that. Someone you can talk to about the things you can’t talk about with a female friend,” he says.
He says he understands one can have a female friend who is really close and one you can talk to about everything, but she can never understand exactly what you are going through as a man and she can’t put herself in your shoes so as to help you in a better way, like a man would.
However, Ronald Kalisa, a businessman, finds this amazing.
“I can only imagine how people’s faces would light up in amazement after seeing a female best man. I think it’s incredible. I would actually have this on my wedding day,” he says.
Kalisa says that if he would have a woman for a best man he would choose a very close friend or a relative, preferably his sister.
Scovia Mutamba would rather not have another woman ‘steal her show’ because her wedding is meant to be her day, so for her, the groom having a female best man is a big no.
“This being a new trend, I am sure that a female best man would ‘steal the show’ and honestly, this wouldn’t make me happy. So I think I would rather stick to the old tradition and have a male for a best man,” she says.
Sonia Nirere agrees with Mutamba saying that she wouldn’t be comfortable having a woman as her groom’s best man.
“I would find it uncomfortable having a woman so close to my man. I mean there is the bachelor’s party, which is actually organised by the best man; would I want her to be there? No. The best man’s responsibilities call for close contact with the groom and to be honest I wouldn’t be comfortable with this whole setting,” Nirere adds.
Rodgers Munyaneza, a banker, says he wouldn’t even give it a thought, or wonder whether he can actually try it, because it’s a flat out ‘no’ for him.
“A woman as my best man? No! A best man should be a man not a woman. It is common sense that a best man should be a man who is your best friend and the guy must be married and with more experience than you,” he says.
“That’s why we use men so as to give us advice on how to act in the home. How you react towards a challenge at home and how you behave towards your wife is something a woman can’t advise you on,” he adds.
Gilbert Tumaini, a knowledge management officer, compares this trend to same sex marriages. He doesn’t understand why someone would opt for a female best man.
“That is unacceptable and I can’t do that. It is the role of a man and not a woman. Everyone has their role in this so I don’t know why people are trying to change this,” Tumaini says.
Tumaini adds that even if many things have changed over the years, he believes that there are traditions that are meant to stay the way they are.
Hitches to watch out for
In an article published on The Wedding Ideas website, Who says you can’t have a best woman and man of honour? the writer points out that though it’s tradition that the groom is supported by a best man and the bride supported by her favourite girls on the big day, in recent years, traditions have been changing and have had lots of couples being accompanied by opposite members of sex.
The article, however, warns that having a ‘best woman’ could cause a bit of controversy.
“Some difficulties that might arise could be the stag and hen parties. If you’re having a bachelorette party or bridal shower, it’s normally the chief bridesmaid’s job to organise this and do you want a man to be doing it? Lingerie bridal shower parties are sometimes popular and if you have an event like this it might cause a bit of embarrassment for you and your man of honour!” the writer pointed out.