More thoughts on what and how weddings should be. A wedding, in the olden days, was a community event. You didn't really need an invite to a wedding because the church announced you were getting married and the whole village responded. You know that part where the minister asks if anyone knows any reason why you should not be allowed to be married? That was in there because everyone was allowed to attend and anyone who knew you were secretly married to someone else could stand up and say so.
But I digress. I feel the need to express some more thoughts about weddings. Specifically, who should be in the wedding party and who should be invited. And who should plan it and such.
To have a semi traditional wedding you need a best man and a maid of honor. Everyone else is optional. The best man takes charge of the rings and is generally there to make sure the groom is supposed to be where he is supposed to be. When your cute nephew walks up to the front of the church he should be directed to handle the pillow thing to the best man who will be in charge of it. The groom will soon need to be holding hands with his soon to be wife so the best man hands out the rings at the appropriate time in the ceremony and is generally, along with the maid of honor, in charge of making sure people like small children are where they are supposed to be. The maid of honor holds the bridal bouquet. When the bride reaches the altar, her Dad or other giver awayer if she has one, withdraws and hands her over to the maid of honor who takes the bouquet and makes sure her dress is okay and what have you.
Whom to select. This is a BIG ISSUE. I have heard reports that some people select bridesmaids et cetera based on how attractive they are. SHAME ON YOU. This is a family and community affair in which your family and his family and all of your friends are getting together to help you form a marriage. Whoever is your best friend should be your attendant, Period. Put a nice dress or good suit on him or her and they will look fine. Yes they will. If you are worried that other people are going to think your best friend is too fat, SHAME ON YOU. You should not be putting looks before relationships. The person who is your attendant at the wedding should be the person you confided in when you fell in love, whom you turned to for help when the caterer fell through at the last moment et cetra. That person.
Having said that your bridesmaids, aka attendants should also be your friends with one exception. It used to be customary to ask any sisters of the groom to be bridesmaids. This is a good practice and one which helps to form a new family unit. And we can at least all pretend to be friends. Some people do not want to be bridesmaids or be in weddings, but at least extend the invitation.
A wedding is a family formation event, not just for the bride and groom, but for their families and friends as well. So, again, my preference, weddings should be held where people can get to them without much expense I have been invited to weddings at distant places and I hardly ever go because it costs a lot of money and I can't afford it or don't have the time to travel. If you both live in some big urban area where all your friends are but have family elsewhere, that is a problem. You have to choose a place where most of the people you love can come. In the hard choices area, I say pick family over friends and hope for the best with regard to travelling. Your family will always be your family.
I think flower girls and ring bearers add a lot to any wedding and most of them (especially the girls) really love being in weddings. Wow. You are the princess that day and the flower girl gets to be princess junior. Mostly, because little girls like to dress up, being a flower girl is a very special memory for a girl. Flower girl dresses can cost a hundred dollars or so even at David's Bridal, so I say encourage the mom of the flower girl to shop at Penny's or elsewhere for a pretty white dress (or whatever color.) Weddings shouldn't break anyone's bank.
If you choose wisely and kindly who will be part of your wedding party, your wedding will be a happy memory for your whole extended family and long time friends. So remember, that is what the choice is all about.
With regard to wedding vows, what can I say. I'm an Episcopalian. As one of our priests not so delicately put it to one couple who were agonizing over writing their vows, Not to worry dear, we already wrote them for you. You will find them in the Book of Common Prayer. The priest continued that "if you want to be married in an Episcopal Church, you will have an Episcopal wedding." Even if you are not an Episcopalian, it is a very lovely and traditional ceremony. I especially like this part
The Celebrant then addresses the congregation, saying
Will all of you witnessing these promises do all in your
power to uphold these two persons in their marriage?
People We will.
It is a strong reminder that this isn't just a piece of paper or a big party, it is about two people comitting to spend their lives together, loving and caring for each other.
Because it is that, turning it into an exercise in statuts seeking or excessive spending or an occasion to be bridezilla are all inappropriate. A very wise priest commented at one rehearsal I was at that all the fithts and all the distress and conflict were really not about the things people were saying they were about. They were about two whole big families coming togther and becoming connected. That is what a marriage is really about. So have a beautiful wedding, but use the occasion to build up your family and your community. And have fun.