When the Best Man Is a Woman

Erika's Best woMan dress(Erika/Mom) This post should have been written about a month ago, when I had the honor and pleasure of standing up for my friend David Sowell, whom I’ve known since 7th grade. He married my friend Diana Markarian, whom I’ve known since 5th grade. The two of them, however, didn’t know each other until I introduced them a little over a year ago. This apparently awarded me one of the top spots in the wedding party and I wanted to look the part.

The happy couple

The happy couple

You’ll see in a previous post I mulled over various options, focusing on some kind of tuxedo-style dress that would give the feel of tradition. But when I looked at them in the stores, they screamed “costume” and seemed overly conspicuous.

As the event grew closer I started having fits about spending a lot of money on a new dress. In uncharacteristic frugality, I began trying on dresses I already had, starting with the bridesmaid dress from my own wedding…nearly 15 years ago. I thought it looked pretty good on me and was thrilled that the size 8 my sister wore actually fit me. When I showed it to Lizzi, however, she threw cold water on my enthusiasm. She did this using only her eyes–those beautiful green eyes expressing first incredulity that I would even consider wearing such an old, outdated dress, followed by compassion for my severe fashion naivete.

So it was back to the closet, where we combed through everything I had and finally decided a light, pretty Ann Taylor sundress would work well. It bothered me that the dress was a few years old and the hemline hit me at that singularly unattractive spot above the knees, but I tried to ignore my misgivings. Because the wedding was taking place outside, I figured a more casual dress would be fine.

The day before the wedding I went up to see if I could help with last-minute details. Diana showed me her dress (gorgeous, with a small train) and David confirmed that he was wearing a very formal black tux. I also saw the bridesmaid/matron-of-honor dresses, which were silk with a large fuschia floral design. In a flash, I knew my tired summer dress was not going to do AT ALL.

I had one hour to hit the Santa Rosa Macys. As I parked, I prayed that they would have the perfect Best Man dress.

Scouring the “Occasion” section, I scooped up about 7 or 8 dresses with ceremonial potential and low-three-digit price tags.  It was difficult to walk the line successfully between dressy yet not too formal; feminine but not fussy; flattering yet complementary with the bold florals of the bridesmaid dresses.


You can see that despite the very bold pattern I chose, it still somehow looked good with everyone else’s while setting me apart as the groom’s sidekick. And for that I have to thank Jones New York. You guys somehow manage to give off that wonderful aroma of “designer” yet make the ordinary woman like me feel (and look) pretty damn extraordinary. Check out how this filmy, flowing dress hides the fact that I’m terrified I’ll impale one of the mothers as I’m pinning on their corsages:



The wedding was fabulous. I got to see two friends who mean so much to me find happiness together. I danced, I toasted the happy couple, I basked in the warm sunshine of a beautiful Northern California summer’s day. Life doesn’t get much better than that.


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One Response to “When the Best Man Is a Woman”

  1. Francesca Says:

    This is so sweet. I love your dress!

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