Tuesday, March 15, 2005

The Purpose of a Wedding Party

About three years ago I attended the reception of a friend. Jason was the DJ for them, so I was a little more in tune with the technical goings on then normal.
This friend had a fairly formal reception in that she had: a full Wedding party of about 5 groomsmen and 5 bridesmaids plus a Wedding Party table, tuxes and all that jazz.
I really have no idea what they were there for; they didn’t do anything except walk around in matching outfits. I think this is what people picture when they think about a Wedding party. This is NOT what the wedding party is there for! They are supposed to make sure the day goes smoothly for the couple and the couple’s parents.
I think Matt’s Best Man is a perfect example: He made sure Mary Ann had what she needed to look beautiful for her big day, he arranged for transportation for family members coming in the day of the event (Joseph). He delt with the reception site staff making sure things went smoothly and that Matt and Mary Ann didn’t have to think about any of the stuff. He arranged pictures so that all the important ones were taken before the light failed. He was awesome and the role model for all Best Men from then on.

Instead we have a political mess where people think that they can heal/build bridges by including people in wedding parties which will give the title of “special person” to whoever gets to walk around board out of their minds for two to three hours in an uncomfortable outfit.

THIS is what bridal parties are supposed to do: they confirm dates, gather information, pick up dresses, run errands, and listen to the bride ask AGAIN if she should really go with the pink…? And generally make sure the bride, groom plus family are all happy and present on the wedding day rather than running around retrieving things that were forgotten. Generally only close friends are willing to put up with that level of responsibility for a day that isn’t even about them.
In return the bride or groom gives a little present/token and promises to baby-sit and/or do the same for those people who helped make that day one of the most special in their lives.


Josh said...

i really feel like it is impractical to expect a bunch of friends to take responsibilities for such logisitics. as a pianist i have attended far too many weddings when i would have rather been playing video games, etc. i have also dealt with more than my fair share of rehearsals and wedding planners/directors. wedding directors are by nature very high-strung control freaks. but they have to be to get the job done. some weddings are planned more intricately than musical theater and some are simple and put together in a few minutes. i have never seen a best man go above and beyond his duty of making the first toast at the rehearsal dinner. i have never seen an usher do more than seat guests and stand at the alter with a great friend on his friend's special day. i have never seen a bridesmaid do anything but look good for the service and pictures. civil wedding ceremonies are so much pomp and circumstance. perhaps your descriptions of wedding party "duties" are from some LDS tradition of which i am not aware. at any rate things may go more smoothly if you do not expect everyone to assume their roles without some instruction. despite any tradition, LDS or otherwise, reality is that wedding party invitations are more "feel-good" than practical. but i have heard that it's kind of taken for granted that brothers-in-law of brides are to be asked to be groomsmen... so...

Matthew said...

Certainly, giving instruction on the role/responsibility thing is a good idea. However, my best man was absolutely phenomenal as a wedding planner. It's been my understanding that this is how best men should run things. But, what the heck, even if it isn't tradition, it did work very well in my case. I hope everyone's wedding could have someone like that, best man or not.

Mrs. K said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mrs. K said...

I don't think Terra will have any trouble doling out "some instruction" to the wedding party. :) I think she is making it clear that this is going to require participation, but what I'm not sure of, is if she will be willing to let us do the jobs we are assigned. She has so much desire to make sure that every single family member is cared for, that she may very well forget to enjoy the moments for themselves.

I grew up in a non-LDS environment, and have been to my share of weddings as a singer. The job is clear, and defined. I show up, I sing, hopefully on key. I don't get in the way, and am allowed to watch the wedding party scurry around with the details.

The Best Man has the biggest Job. The Toast, returning the rentals, making sure the groom remembers black socks, calming him down, the bachelor party, decorating the car, and running interference. The Bridesmaid's jobs are less clearly defined but include remembering all sorts of toiletries, safety pins, needle and thread, Kleenexes(a big one), calming the bride down, and in Terra's case making sure she takes a minute to enjoy and cherish what she is doing. We also get to host a bachlorette party, clean up at the reception, and make sure that the gifts get delivered. Most importantly we are available to do whatever is needed to make the bride and groom (and family) as comfy as possible on the big day.

I am so excited! :)

Terra said...

I’m not sure which point you are addressing Josh. Is it, you don’t think friends ought to be asked to help with weddings or that wedding planners are high strung or that weddings in general are boring and you would rather play a video game than be there?

Josh said...

it's not so much a question of which point i'm addressing as which point i'm NOT addressing. i guess that would be that I "don’t think friends ought to be asked to help with weddings." in fact i only said it was impractical to expect help without asking for it specifically. if someone asked me to be a groomsman (or usher), i would expect to seat people. if it were an LDS wedding, i would expect to do absolutely nothing.

also, i don't want to be misrepresented concerning my affinity for video games. i've been to a lot of weddings for people i don't know. so, yeah, i could really care less. the only thing holding me there is the $100. no more irritating to have to play a wedding on a nice sunny day than it is to have to teach school.

further, every wedding planner (i'm not talking about your mother who did a fine job arranging our reception... we didn't have a wedding planner) i've met is a high-strung control freak. but, i'm a high-strung control freak. there's no shame in that.

megan said...

i think if you weren't getting married in teh temple then you might need a wedding party like that. you shouldn't have that many things to worry about on your wedding day. that is one of the purposes of the temple wedding. to focus ont he wedding not he party! there is no reason to need a wedding party in and lds wedding other than for pictures.

Terra said...

I will have one to help me with the reception planning rather than leaving it all for Mom or myself to do.