Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7



Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Wedding Party



party: n. A group of people taking part in a particular activity or trip, especially one for which they have been chosen. Oxford University Press

The definition of the wedding party used to be much more clear than it is today. When I was growing up, I understood the wedding party to be the "village" that supports the bride and groom as they plan and execute their wedding -- as in the definition found above. Today the wedding party is more likely to be "a social gathering of invited guests, typically involving eating, drinking, and entertainment" Oxford University Press

My experience with the wedding party, as it related to Joshua and Taylor's wedding was definitely the latter definition. Other than measuring girls and scheduling fittings for their dresses (and one or two bridal showers) I saw no participation from either the guys or the girls. In fact, it really wasn't until the rehearsal that I realized how poorly prepared this generation is for participating in a wedding, not to mention wedding etiquette. Our manners have flown out the window. Buh bye!






Doug and I talked about this the night of the rehearsal when I was rapid-fire typing up a "what to do" sheet for the groomsmen. How did our children not just naturally learn how to be a groomsmen, like my brothers and I did (right now I'm just speaking to their role in the actual wedding, I'll get to their role before the wedding later)? Well, we realized our children had only been to a very small handful of weddings themselves. Many weddings today are "adult only" affairs, unlike those of my childhood. When I was a kid, and a teen, if their weren't 20 kids running around the dance floor, it wasn't a wedding. Today people tend to want dignified affairs without kids dancing in their bare feet. Call me a hillbilly, but where's the fun in that? 


Or maybe it's because weddings have gotten so wildly expensive that any extra bodies aren't wanted. Our caterer fed all the children under age 12 a plate of chicken fingers and macaroni and cheese at no charge (if you're local to central Ohio I can't say enough nice things about Berwick Manor -- the caterer they chose for the reception), so extra children were not discouraged at all. And fortunately, the bride and groom and the bride's parents were in agreement with Doug and I, that children belong at weddings.





The reason could also be that many people in our culture either don't have traditional weddings anymore (the destination wedding!), or they just don't get married at all. Whatever the reason, I think we have raised a generation of adults who don't have a clue as to what to do at a traditional church wedding, something I think is very sad (and makes you wonder why we are surprised when our own Supreme Court doesn't understand the definition of marriage -- we're off the rails, folks).

I hope that your experience is different and your children have been to dozens of traditional weddings and know just what the role of the bridesmaid and groomsmen is. If not, you might want to chat about it around the dinner table some night (or get invited to some weddings!).





Joshua and his best man chatting and waiting for the wedding to begin. I have to say, Jon was the best best man ever, as he took Joshua to Eucharistic Adoration for an hour before they arrived at the wedding chapel.


The job of the bridesmaids and groomsmen, from the moment they are asked to participate, is to help the bride and groom plan and execute the wedding, not just to show up and be pretty (that comes later). Though the duties will vary depend on how elaborate the wedding, and how many bridesmaids there are, in general the bridesmaids might: go with the bride to find a reception and/or wedding venue, help her find a dress, help her find (or make) bridesmaids dresses, throw a bridal shower or bachelorette party, help her make or find decorations and/or flowers, address invitations, and even help to write Thank You notes. An out-of-town bridesmaid might not be able to do as much but she would need to be in town for at least the rehearsal. The Maid of Honor will need to be the bride's right hand the day of the wedding (help her dress, fan her, hold her hand, talk to her, feed and water her -- whatever it takes to keep her calm and feeling well), hold her flowers during the vows and ring exchange, sign the marriage certificate, and give a short (but sweet) toast. 

On the day of the wedding, the bridesmaids need to be supportive in any way they can. Taylor chose the have all the bridesmaids at the school with her and someone came and did all the makeup and hair. Whatever the situation, the bridesmaids should be on-hand to help in any way they can. It's the bride's day, not the bridesmaid's day, so the bride should be calm, cool, and really shine with the help of her "court." At the reception, the bridesmaids should help the bride in the restroom (assuming the bride has a long, full dress that needs to be held up), get people out on the dance floor and generally be happy to meet and greet (not sit like a lump at the head table). In the case of our wedding, the bridesmaids were very agreeable and fun the day of the wedding, but they didn't do much ahead of time. The bride's mother held a shower (a no-no if you are a real stickler for wedding etiquette) because no one else stepped up to the plate. There were many aunts on both sides of the family, but apparently no one felt inclined to host. My aunt from Cincinnati helped host the shower that the bride's mother held, but because she lives two hours away, mostly all she could do was help pay for it. The bride's mother also coordinated a "bachelorette party" -- really just a nice dinner out two days before the wedding with the bridal party. Again, no one stepped up to the plate, so the bride's mother did.



Faith and her co-junior bridesmaid, Madison.




Waiting...one of my favorite photos.


The groomsmen don't really have many duties before the wedding (other than getting measured for and shelling out for the rental of a tux), but they could organize a bachelor party (a tasteful one, please!). Again, none of the groomsmen or best man stepped up to the plate for my son, so my husband organized a dinner -- wings and craft beer -- at a local restaurant and invited all the uncles, male cousins, and male wedding party members (minus the junior groomsman). They spent several hours watching wide screen TV coverage of every sport possible, sampling a variety of chicken wings and drinking craft beers -- what more could a mature, Catholic man want? ;-)







The junior groomsman and flower girl -- brother and sister.


As I mentioned, the night of the rehearsal we realized that none of the groomsmen had a clue what to do at the wedding, so I rapid-fire typed up a "to-do" sheet for them to read while they were waiting for the wedding to begin. You can find it here if you have a need for specific and traditional instructions. (Our groomsmen all acted as ushers.) The best man needs to be the groom's right-hand man, stay with him, talk him down from the ledge if need be (wink), and just be, well, the best man. He also needs to sign the wedding certificate, be sociable at the reception and give a nice toast. Josh's best man gave an excellent toast -- one that included God. Amen!





The groomsmen were also all great sports and danced the night away, both with the bridesmaids and the moms and the other guests. No one drank too much, and many of the guests commented that the wedding party seemed to be having so much fun, yet it was the family-friendly kind of fun. 






What the groomsmen did during the reception after the rain stopped and before the sun went down. The dads were both out there too, taking a break from responsibilities!


That's about all I have on the topic of "the wedding." I do have two more posts, one a video of my husband dancing at the wedding -- it's a hoot. I hope I can get it to load. And another -- a small world story.

Until then -- here's a photo for Kimberlee -- I promised. It's the whole gang.








24 comments:

  1. Beautiful picture of the whole family!

    I don't think I knew the responsibilities of a bridesmaid. Now that I think of it, I was probably pretty crummy. :-( I'll have to ask Katie what she knows. I think she googled it when she was a bridesmaid!

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    1. Thanks, Sara. I bet you weren't a crummy bridesmaid! And if Katie googled her responsibilities, she is way ahead of the curve (in my experience)!

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  2. I've enjoyed reading your wedding posts. It's all so beautiful...the bride, the groom, the dresses you made, you...all just lovely!! Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Cheryl. That means a lot coming from a "real" seamstress.

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  3. I grew up going to a ton of weddings and wedding dances. Not anymore. If they do get married...sure not in a church. Been to a lot with no children...those are the worst. Not going to your destination wedding...no money for that! I am guessing those young people just didn't know. Beautiful pictures. My favorite of the bride also.

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    1. Thanks, Christine, and it sounds like your experiences with your children and weddings sounds just like mine.

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  4. Lovely...Faith looks sooo grown up and beautiful. :)

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    1. Thanks, Mel. Yes, she does (mixed feelings on that!).

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  5. Love that picture of your whole family. Beautiful!!!

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  6. I grew up going to a ton of weddings, and I was in my first wedding when I was three years old. My brother and I ,between us, have been IN (not to, but IN) 20 weddings. So we know what's going on and what's expected of us.
    As far as showers go: it gets tricky when the bridesmaids don't have the space to host. In the last wedding I was in, I, as maid of honor, did not have the room to host 20 some people. I have a townhouse. None of the other bridesmaids had their own place. In the end, we chose to take a room at Spaghetti Warehouse, and we split the costs between the members of the bridal party. But that being said, that's an expensive option--yet it was the only one we had (for various reasons, the bride's mom couldn't host the shower, even if it would've been socially correct). Even though I know all these things, if you don't have the space or the money to do these things, it can be hard to execute them.

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    1. I agree, Emily, that with young bridesmaids, space is often a problem. We, however, had several aunts and adult friends who just never offered. The mother of the bride hosted her shower at a condo party house, which was plenty big. I think a lot of bridal showers have gotten as out-of-hand as weddings. It seems every female who is invited to the wedding is often invited to a shower, too. Showers should be intimate affairs, with only close friends and family invited (not an excuse to haul in more loot!). ;-)

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    2. Awww boo hiss to those people! Come on guys!
      You ar TOTALLY right about showers. They are out of hand in so many ways. I grew up going to big ones, because my family is...well....large. :) But when I've gone to some as a member of the wedding party I've been surprised at how many people are invited, and how elaborate they are (expected) to be.

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  7. What GORGEOUS photos, Grace!!

    I have said it before, thank you! Thank you for the insight here. You made so many valuable points. As for what you wrote ::
    "The reason could also be that many people in our culture either don't have traditional weddings anymore (the destination wedding!), or they just don't get married at all. Whatever the reason, I think we have raised a generation of adults who don't have a clue as to what to do at a traditional church wedding, something I think is very sad (and makes you wonder why we are surprised when our own Supreme Court doesn't understand the definition of marriage -- we're off the rails, folks)." I find this at funerals, too! So sad!

    You made a beautiful Mother of the Groom!

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    1. Thank you so much, Patty. And I agree about funerals, too. And often they are so poorly attended -- which is even sadder.

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  8. This was the family one!! Love it!! You looked so beautiful an everyone looks so happy! What an exciting, special, blessed day!

    Congratulations to you all!!

    The dresses are amazing by the way. Really pretty.

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    1. Thanks, Jamie. The girls really did look pretty. It was a good color for everyone.

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  9. OK, last comment was on the pictures, I went back and actually read this one...that's why I got confused as to where I saw the family picture. (I had not read this post and was for some reason saving it for last!)

    I love your words of wisdom. I agree, kids do not get to go to many weddings. I think my kids went to one...my brothers. And there were no other kids there, so not much to do. I look back to my childhood and it was so much fun going to my aunt's weddings, and cousins, and just getting to see them in their wedding dresses and getting to dance afterward with all the other kids. I think today it's just too expensive. Kids are looked as an expense. They should be looked as guests, like everyone else.

    I love that your son's best man took him to Adoration before getting married, gets me choked up. Tom and I went to Adoration right after together before heading over to our reception.

    Even the whole shower situation, it's expensive to host a shower and I think young people today just expect it to be taken care of by other people. My mom hosted a shower for my brother's wife, it was a "family shower" but she had several of her friends and family too. BECAUSE no one else was doing it!

    Anyway....I am loving all the photos....

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    1. I think you're right, Jamie, and I think it's sad that everyone thinks it has to be expensive. Nothing has to be Pinterest-worthy! Just support the bride and groom, show them they are loved and pitch in just a little.

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  10. I love all the pictures! Taylor's dress is really beautiful, but my favorite is the picture of all you. So perfect!

    And I agree about people not knowing what to do at weddings these days. My kids have not been invited to any of my cousins' weddings. In fact, for 2 separate family weddings, no one under 21 was invited! At the time, this meant that everyone in my immediate family was invited except for my youngest brother, who was 20. I thought that was pretty crummy that he stayed home alone while the rest of his family was attending his cousin's wedding!

    I feel like it's the same for people and babies. Before Mollie was old enough to babysit for us, there were several girls advertising babysitting services in our neighborhood. They specifically said they would not watch anyone under 1 year of age because they were "uncomfortable" with babies. I think it's because they just have had no exposure to any babies. Families have a couple kids, close in age, and all their cousins are close to the same age, so by the time these kids are teenagers, everyone is done having babies and they don't know what to do.

    Anyway, I'm loving your wedding series and it makes me wish that you could have planned my wedding, hahaha! :)

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  11. Beautiful! Thanks for the shot of you - you look so lovely! (as I knew you would!)
    And the one of Taylor you call 'Waiting' - so beautiful it made me tear up. Truly gorgeous shot of a most beautiful moment. (sniff)
    As for your thoughts on weddings- I didn't go to any of the weddings of my cousin's children as my children weren't invited to them. So my kids have definitely not been to a lot of weddings. I think it's part of our whole confused anti-life culture; folks don't know that the primary purpose of marriage is to bring forth new life, hence they don't see how children belong at weddings. Very sad. As you said, fancy weddings are so ridiculously expensive that providing for the children just adds to the cost. And some just want a 'sophisticated' grown up affair.
    I think the trend of fancy and destination weddings and so forth is because most couples are already co-habitating. My theory is that they are thus not very excited about the 'marriage', so they get themselves all worked up and excited about the 'wedding.' I think I read somewhere that the success of the marriage is inversely correlated to the costliness of the wedding. :-(
    Your family is so blessed. Such a joy to see a truly Catholic wedding!
    This has been a great series, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as well as the beautiful pictures of your beautiful family. Gives one hope as well as joy. :-)

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  12. I love all of these photos! What a beautiful wedding! And I am so impressed at the dresses you made! You are so gifted!

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  13. You are right; I cannot even imagine a wedding without kids, I am getting married at Lincoln park wedding venues and have done special arrangements for kids. Hope my wedding will be a blast.

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  14. Oh, I loved seeing these pictures! Faith looks so grown up (!!) and I especially love the picture of your whole beautiful family. Congratulations to you all!

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I appreciate your comments -- sometimes I feel like I'm talking to myself!