I hesitate every time I sit down to pen a blog about weddings these days. Will it be relevant to you, my reader? And what COVID-19 regulation is going to spring up and invalidate my comment?
To be fair, even before March, things had been evolving in the wedding world. The bride wearing white was no longer a given. Some chose to marry at the seashore. Many were writing their own vows.
So I’m not going to be prescriptive, but I’d like to define the roles that could be played at weddings post-2020. And I’m making no assumptions about social distancing.
Bride and Groom
There’s a little positive stuff for the couple to do apart from just turning up and “tying the knot”.
The bride will not normally be around when the guests arrive, so it should be down to the groom to welcome them. Otherwise, he will wait with the celebrant for his bride to sweep in.
He may have a few things to say during the ceremony, but his main role, apart from that, will be to give a speech at the reception – if there is one at all.
The bride will be the star of the show, of course. She should relish the attention!
Depending on arrangements (and social distancing), the couple should try and speak to every guest at some point during the event. At the least, they should thank their guests for attending.
These days, the bride may deliver a speech too (another example of the evolution I spoke of).
The couple may well have at least the first dance together.
The bride’s father’s role (apart from a financial one, possibly!) may well be to welcome the guests at the start of the reception.
He should keep it short, say how happy he is this day and thank the guests for coming.
Nowadays (further evolution!) you can come across “Best Women”, but I hope I will be forgiven, if I refer only to “Best Man” for simplicity’s sake.
The Best Man may play a minor role – the minimum of his tasks is normally to liaise between the groom and the venue or suppliers. He may also have to do something on spec, like fetching a glass of water for the groom. He should generally look after the groom and help him control his nerves.
Additionally, he may serve as a toastmaster (“please assemble for the photographs now” etc.).
The Best Man’s main public role is normally giving the speech at the reception. Though groom-centred, it should not omit mention of the bride, if at all possible. If all the talk is about the groom, there is a risk of excluding about half the guests after a while.
The Best Man should aim at about 10 minutes, and, although humour is more than welcome, malicious, crude or controversial comments are not.
I am not going to do more than mention flower-girls, bridesmaids or ushers. They will probably not be able to play a part in most weddings for the foreseeable future (or even longer).
So there it is.
Roles may matter to you, depending on how traditional you want your ceremony to be, but, if you are having them, then it’s good to honour friends and/or relatives by sharing them out judiciously.
Do make sure they understand your expectations, though!
Don’t forget that you can always have a chat with your celebrant, if you’re not sure how to go about things.