Men at the wedding
PUBLISHED: 16:11 18 October 2011 | UPDATED: 14:56 21 October 2011
(c) Buccina Studios
Weddings tend to centre on the arrangements and activities of the bride, her mother and the bridesmaids who are all very important players in the ‘production’. There are however men at the celebration too. Indeed without the groom there can be no wedding, but the bride’s father, best man and ushers should not be overlooked because they too have important parts to play.
On the groom’s shoulders rests the responsibility for providing all the information necessary for the marriage application to be accepted. He must see to it that all the necessary documentation, licences and certificates are ready and presented to the officiator of the wedding. In the case of an Anglican church wedding, if he doesn’t live in the same parish as the bride, it is his responsibility to co-ordinate the reading of the banns in both churches.
When he has dealt with the financial and legal side of the arrangements, he must appoint his Best Man and the ushers. If the wedding is to be very formal and morning suits are required, the groom must arrange for the hire and delivery of sufficient suits for himself, the best man and ushers. He usually pays for all the hire charges. If however his retinue are to buy or have their suits made, then each man is responsible for his own outfit.
The groom usually pays for the engagement and wedding ring, flowers for the bride’s bouquet and those of her attendants, plus corsages for both mothers and buttonholes for the guests. He must also arrange for transport to get him and the best man to the wedding venue, and himself and his bride to the reception afterwards.
He must then write his speech. He cannot get out of this as it is a formal ‘thank you’ for the wedding itself to the bride’s parents, to the guests for coming, to his retinue for their efficiency, and to the bride for marrying him. It need not however be very long.
His final duty is to present the bridesmaids and other attendants, ushers and best man with small gifts of appreciation for their attendance.
THE BEST MAN
He acts as the groom’s social secretary, making sure the groom attends to all his official arrangements before the wedding. He usually also arranges the stag night and attends to make sure the groom is in a fit and proper state to attend the wedding!
On the day of the wedding he usually collects the service sheets and buttonholes from the bride’s
mother. He makes sure he has the wedding rings safe in his possession. After that it is his prime responsibility to ensure the groom arrives at the wedding venue in good time - preferably before the bride.
The best man then organises the ushers, makes sure all the main wedding party know of their place in the procession to the vestry. He will of course sign the register as a witness to the marriage.
After the wedding he should try to organise the photographer making sure they don’t take up too much time. He will then see the bride and groom off to the reception and remain to make sure every last guest has transport or means to get to the reception as well.
If there is no master of ceremonies employed at the wedding, the best man will usually act on his behalf introducing the speeches and various stages of the event. He will also read the letters and cards that have arrived and of course make his own much awaited speech.
FATHER OF THE BRIDE
The bride’s father traditionally pays for everything except the flowers, the rings, the bride and groom’s transport to the reception, and the honeymoon. These days however, it is usual for both families to contribute. He must make sure the transport arrives on time to take him and his daughter to the wedding venue, and he must ensure the rest of the family leave in good time ahead of his own departure. He usually escorts his daughter to the wedding venue and ‘gives her away’. If he is physically unable to do this he can appoint someone, male or female, to stand in his place. He will be present in the vestry at the signing of the register. He will partner the groom’s mother from the church in the after wedding procession, and will accompany her to the reception where he will stand in line to receive the guests with the bride and groom, his wife, and the groom’s parents.
He usually delivers a speech though again, if for whatever reason he cannot, he may appoint another male member of his family to deliver it on his behalf. He will not give up his place at the top table in this case however, as his stand-in may deliver the speech from wherever he happens to be seated.
They will comply with the dress choice of the groom. On the day of the wedding they must arrive at the venue at least an hour before the ceremony is due to start. They usually hand out the service sheets, prayer and hymn books or ceremonial programme as the case may be, to the guests as they arrive. They offer the guests buttonholes if they have been provided, and then show the guests to their seats.
The bride’s mother especially is escorted to her seat. They must be prepared to deal quietly and diplomatically with late-comers and any disturbances - noisy or bored children outside if necessary.
After the wedding they should assist the best man in getting all the guests to the reception, and should collect up any litter left by the departing guests.