Tuesday, October 16, 2012

When There are no Ushers or Bridesmaids

From "Our Deportment", by John H. Young, 1881.

When there are no bridesmaids or ushers the marriage ceremonials at the church are as follows:

The members of the bride's family proceed to the church before the bride, who follows with her mother. The bridegroom awaits them at the church and gives his arm to the bride's mother. They walk up the aisle to the altar, the mother falling back to her position on the left.

The father, or relative representing him, conducts the bride to the bridegroom, who stands at the altar with his face turned toward her as she approaches, and the father falls back to the left. The relatives follow, taking their places standing; those of the bride to the left, those of the groom to the right. After kneeling at the altar for a moment, the bride, standing on the left of the bridegroom, takes the glove off from her left hand, while he takes the glove off from his right hand.

The service then begins. The father of the bride gives her away by bowing when the question is asked, which is a much simpler form than stepping forward and placing his daughter's hand in that of the clergyman.

Perfect self-control should be exhibited by all parties during the ceremony.

The bride leaves the altar, taking the bridegroom's right arm, and they pass down the aisle without looking to the right or left. It is considered very bad form to recognize acquaintances by bows and smiles while in the church.

The bride and bridegroom drive away in their own carriage, the rest following in their carriages.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Free Best Man Speeches

Here's a link to an interesting website that is giving away "best man" speeches. Use this to get started with some ideas on how to best give a speech, and personalize these to your particular bride and groom. Enjoy! -- The Editor


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Duties of the Best Man

His first actual duty is that of packer and expressman; he must see that everything necessary for the journey is packed, and that the groom does not absent-mindedly put the furnishings of his room in his valise and leave his belongings hanging in the closet. He must see that the clothes the groom is to "wear away" are put into a special bag to be taken to the house of the bride (where he, as well as she, must change from wedding into traveling clothes).

The best man becomes expressman if the first stage of the wedding journey is to be to a hotel in town. He puts all the groom's luggage into his own car or a taxi, drives to the bride's house, carries the bag with the groom's traveling suit in it to the room set aside for his use—usually the dressing-room of the bride's father or the bedroom of her brother. He then collects, according to pre-arrangement, the luggage of the bride and drives with the entire equipment of both bride and groom to the hotel where rooms have already been engaged, sees it all into the rooms, and makes sure that everything is as it should be. If he is very thoughtful, he may himself put flowers about the rooms. He also registers for the newly-weds, takes the room key, returns to the house of the groom, gives him the key and assures him that everything at the hotel is in readiness. This maneuver allows the young couple when they arrive to go quietly to their rooms without attracting the notice of any one, as would be the case if they arrived with baggage and were conspicuously shown the way by a bell-boy whose manner unmistakably proclaims "Bride and Groom!"

Or, if they are going at once by boat or train, the best man takes the baggage to the station, checks the large pieces, and fees a porter to see that the hand luggage is put in the proper stateroom or parlor car chairs. If they are going by automobile, he takes the luggage out to the garage and personally sees that it is bestowed in the car.

His next duty is that of valet. He must see that the groom is dressed and ready early, and plaster him up if he cuts himself shaving. If he is wise in his day he even provides a small bottle of adrenaline for just such an accident, so that plaster is unnecessary and that the groom may be whole. He may need to find his collar button or even to point out the "missing" clothes that are lying in full view. He must also be sure to ask for the wedding ring and the clergyman's fee, and put them in his own waistcoat pocket. A very careful best man carries a duplicate ring, in case of one being lost during the ceremony.

With the bride's and groom's luggage properly bestowed, the ring and fee in his pocket, the groom's traveling clothes at the bride's house, the groom in complete wedding attire, and himself also ready, the best man has nothing further to do but be gentleman-in-waiting to the groom until it is time to escort him to the church, where he becomes chief of staff.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Bridesmaids

Choosing BridesmaidsAlthough the number of bridesmaids is entirely a matter of choice, it is the fashion at an elaborate church wedding to have not less than five nor more than ten. A maid or matron of honor, two little pages or flower girls, and, if it is desired, a third child to bear the cushion to the altar, completes the bridal train.

The bevy of bridesmaids consists of the bride's dearest friends. If she has sisters, one of them, as well as one of the bridegroom's sisters, must be included in her escort. For maid or matron of honor, the bride selects a sister or intimate friend.

It is sometimes customary for the bride to provide the dresses of her bridesmaids. This, however, is dependent upon circumstances and conditions, and is not really essential. It is important, though, that the bride visit each bridesmaid personally and request her services at the wedding, unless she lives at some distance.

The bride, if the wedding is to be an elaborate one, may suggest to the bridesmaids the kind of gowns she would like them to wear. The young ladies may be trusted to follow her wishes implicitly. No one would willingly mar a friend's wedding by appearing in a gown that does not agree with the general plan. The gowns need not be identical; but the colors must be the same, or at least harmonize. Light shades are always the fashion for bridesmaids. White, of course, for the bride.

The bridesmaids should be invited many weeks before the wedding so that they will have ample time for preparation. Nearly always the dress has to be made, and this takes time.

It is customary for the bridesmaids to be dressed alike or very nearly alike. The custom had its origin in primitive times when evil spirits were supposed to attend wedding ceremonies and the bride and groom were surrounded by friends of their own age and sex dressed similarly so that the spirits could not single out the happy couple for their evil designs. It is a far cry from that time to this, and the only reason why the bridesmaids are dressed similarly now is because the effect is so much prettier than could be attained by a miscellaneous array of gowns, however beautiful each one in itself might be.

They carry flowers, either cut flowers or bouquets, but their bouquets are never so elaborate as that carried by the bride. Usually they wear a bit of jewelry which was presented by the groom. This, too, is a curious survival of primitive marriage customs when the groom had to capture the bride, and because she was fleet-footed and wild (or perhaps because he was lazy), bribed her friends to lure her to the place where he was waiting.

The Church Wedding

The bride and groom decide between them the church where they wish the wedding to take place and the clergyman whom they wish to officiate. When there is no religious difference between the couple the matter is a very simple one and the church which the bride's family regularly attends is the one chosen, but when he is of one faith and she of another it may assume serious proportions. If neither is inclined to yield gracefully the laws of etiquette decree that the groom should give in, not only because chivalry demands it but also because the wedding day by right and tradition belongs primarily to the bride.

The church should be decorated for the occasion but not with great elaboration. Palms, ferns, and smilax, roses, lilies and other flowers are appropriate. Ribbon also may be used effectively. White streamers are sometimes used to mark off the seats which are to be occupied by the relatives and intimate friends of the bride and groom, but there are many people who do not like to indicate so definitely the lines of demarcation among their guests.

Extravagance in any of the appointments of the wedding are in extremely bad taste. It is sometimes well to remember the delightful logic of the old lady who said that she did not dress better than she could afford to at home because everybody knew her and there was no use trying to impress them; and she did not dress better than she could afford when she went to the city because nobody knew her and it did not make any difference whether she impressed them or not. No set form of decoration can be given, but magnificent ornamentation is out of place in a simple chapel or church, and in every place profusion beyond one's means is not only ill-bred but foolish.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Handle Long Engagements

Unless the engaged couple are both so young, or by temperament so irresponsible, that their parents think it best for them to wait until time is given a chance to prove the stability of their affection, no one can honestly advocate a long-delayed marriage.

Where there is no money, it is necessary to wait for better finances. But the old argument that a long engagement was wise in that the young couple were given opportunity to know each other better, has little sense to-day when all young people know each other thoroughly well.

A long engagement is trying to everyone—the man, the girl, both families, and all friends. It is an unnatural state, like that of waiting at the station for a train, and in a measure it is time wasted. The minds of the two most concerned are centered upon each other; to them life seems to consist in saying the inevitable good-by.

Her family think her absent-minded, distrait, aloof and generally useless. His family never see him. Their friends are bored to death with them—not that they are really less devoted or loyal, but her men friends withdraw, naturally refraining from "breaking in." He has no time between business and going to see her to stop at his club or wherever friends of his may be. Her girl friends do see her in the daytime, but gradually they meet less and less because their interests and hers no longer focus in common. Gradually the stream of the social world goes rushing on, leaving the two who are absorbed in each other to drift forgotten in a backwater. He works harder, perhaps, than ever, and she perhaps occupies herself in making things for her trousseau or her house, or otherwise preparing for the more contented days which seem so long in coming.

Once they are married, they no longer belong in a backwater, but find themselves again sailing in midstream. It may be on a slow-moving current, it may be on a swift,—but their barge sails in common with all other craft on the river of life.

Whether to formally announce an engagement that must be of long duration is not a matter of etiquette but of personal preference. On the general principle that frankness is always better than secretiveness, the situation is usually cleared by announcing it. On the other hand, as illustrated above, the certain knowledge of two persons' absorption in each other always creates a marooned situation. When it is only supposed, but not known, that a man and girl particularly like each other, their segregation is not nearly so marked.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Engaged Couple In Public

There is said to be still preserved somewhere in Massachusetts a whispering reed through the long hollow length of which lovers were wont to whisper messages of tenderness to each other while separated by a room's length and the inevitable chaperonage of the fiancée's entire family.

From those days to these is a far cry, but even in this era of liberty and naturalness of impulse, running the gauntlet of people's attention and criticism is no small test of the good taste and sense of a young couple.

The hall-mark of so-called "vulgar people" is unrestricted display of uncontrolled emotions. No one should ever be made to feel like withdrawing in embarrassment from the over-exposed privacy of others. The shrew who publicly berates her husband is no worse than the engaged pair who snuggle in public. Every one supposes that lovers kiss each other, but people of good taste wince at being forced to play audience at love scenes which should be private. Furthermore, such cuddling gives little evidence of the deeper caring—no matter how ardent the demonstration may be.

Great love is seldom flaunted in public, though it very often shows itself in pride—that is a little obvious, perhaps. There is a quality of protectiveness in a man's expression as it falls on his betrothed, as though she were so lovely a breath might break her; and in the eyes of a girl whose love is really deep, there is always evidence of that most beautiful look of championship, as though she thought: "No one else can possibly know how wonderful he is!"

This underlying tenderness and pride which is at the base of the attitude of each, only glints beneath the surface of perfect comradeship. Their frank approval of whatever the other may do or say is very charming; and even more so is their obvious friendliness toward all people, of wanting the whole world beautiful for all because it is so beautiful to them. That is love—as it should be! And its evidence is a very sure sign-post pointing to future happiness.