Holy matrimony, Batman! Lately I've gotten lots of questions from brides in heterosexual weddings asking what to do with a butch lesbian bridesmaid, since many of us would rather pierce our own eyeballs with blunt toothpicks than wear a fetching dress of sea foam green chiffon. Here are some FAQs for traditional or semi-traditional brides-to-be:
Q: Should I make my butch lesbian friend wear a dress if she's my bridesmaid?
A: No, no, no. Give her that option if you want, but don't expect her to take it. You asked a butch dyke to be your bridesmaid, and you should respect who she is. If you had a male best friend and wanted him to be a bridesmaid, would you make him wear a dress? Of course not. Years later, I remain grateful to my friends E&R for inviting me to wear a suit and tie as a bridesmaid at their wedding.
Q: Should I wait till she asks me what she should wear, or until she asks if she has to wear a dress?
A: No. I can guarantee you that if you've already asked her to stand by your side, but haven't told her what to wear, the poor dyke is sweating bullets in fear that she will be forced to choose between: (1) wearing a dress and feeling horribly uncomfortable; (2) pissing you off. Let her off the hook ASAP (and ideally as soon as you ask her to be a bridesmaid) by telling her that you won't make her wear anything that will make her uncomfortable.
Q: But my Aunt Mildred is a devout Christian and will freak out about a woman in guys' clothes!
A: Having your butch friend wear a tie doesn't mean you're disrespecting A.M.'s religion. Explain to your aunt that you allowed your friends to wear what they're most comfortable in, and that this will help everyone enjoy your wedding. If necessary, remind her that Jesus loves everyone, no matter what they wear. Or: don't tell her in advance at all. People are usually on their best behavior at weddings, even if they're surprised by something.
Q: But if my friend doesn't wear a dress, the wedding parties won't be perfectly symmetrical!
A: Oh no! They won't be symmetrical? Holy crap--why not call the whole wedding off? Come on: When you look back at your wedding photos in 10 or 20 years, you'll think fondly of how much fun everyone had, not admire how well everyone matched. When I married my DXH, I had one of my best friends be the "usher" instead of a bridesmaid simply because he's a guy and I thought I was supposed to have the "sides" look the same. What a stupid choice! What matters is that your closest friends are by your side on your big day. Oh: and that the wedding cake doesn't suck. And that the photographer isn't wasted. And that the music is good. (See how many more interesting things there are to worry about?)
Q: Okay, so what should I have my butch bridesmaid wear?
A: [Rubbing hands together] Here's the fun part! You've got a ton of options. I'll throw out a few, but be aware that the possibilities are practically endless:
Q: How do I treat my butch bridesmaid's girlfriend? Does she sit with the wedding party?
A: Do whatever you're doing with your other bridesmaids' significant others. Which I hope is seating them with the wedding party, but if there's not room, people will understand--you just need to treat everyone the same.
Q: If I'm giving all my bridesmaids the traditional gift you give people in your wedding party... what do I give the butch one?
A: If it's a "girly" gift that she'll hate, get her something else. (What is your hubby-to-be getting his groomsmen? That's one option.) Other ideas: a pocket knife (I'd suggest either a cool folding knife like this one or a multitool type like this one) , a Bespoke box of awesome, or a set of cuff links (I love these, these, these, these, and these).
Q: What about the bachelorette party and stuff? Will she feel totally comfortable there?
A: This is a hard one, because she might not, especially if she doesn't know all the other bridesmaids. But you should still invite her. If you want to do girly things, emphasize that you'd love to have her there and give her options that might make her comfortable. For example, if you're all going for manicures, tell her she's welcome to get a men's pedicure or a foot massage instead. Or, say she can come be the official photographer whenever she doesn't feel like participating (butches love having duties). If she expresses discomfort about parts of it, tell her to come to whatever parts she wants to. And no, you aren't obligated to invite her girlfriend to the bachelorette party.
See? With a few small tweaks, you too can have an awesome butch bridesmaid who's stoked about her duties.
How about you butches out there who have been bridesmaids at het weddings? Any tips? Happy anecdotes? Horror stories?