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The Schultzes

The men of the moment

Posted: Monday, Mar. 30, 2009

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Of course, the focus of every wedding is going to be the bride and her bridal party. But nothing completes the picture so perfectly as a row of handsome gentlemen, waiting expectantly for the beautiful ladies in their gowns. This is the traditional format for many ceremonies, but modern brides and grooms have other ideas, including having each groomsman escort a bridesmaid, asking the bride’s parents to go with her down the aisle, or even choosing to walk together to the altar. There is no “right” way to have a wedding.

So, other than looking dapper, just what are the men in a wedding expected to do?

The bridegroom – The man of the hour is there to marry the woman he loves. Prior to the wedding, the bridegroom typically helps with the overall planning. He also chooses the groomsmen, selects his and his attendants’ attire, and arranges for fittings and delivery. He orders the bride’s bouquet, mothers’ corsages and men’s boutonnieres. Additionally, he works with the hosts (usually his parents) to determine the style and location of the rehearsal dinner, arranges for transportation to and from the wedding, handles accommodations for out-of-town guests, takes care of the marriage certificate and clergy fees, and plans and pays for the honeymoon.

The best man – This distinguished position, corresponding to the bride’s maid of honor, is usually filled by someone close to the groom, often a brother, father or dear friend. He is there to support the groom, and to make sure nothing is forgotten or overlooked. He is the attendant closest to the groom during the ceremony, and one of the best man’s most important duties is to safeguard the bride’s wedding ring, handing it to the groom at just the right moment. He generally plans the bachelor party and is responsible for seeing that the groom gets home safely, and then to the church on time. He supervises the groomsmen, and may oversee the return of rented formalwear. At the reception, he usually gives the first toast, thanking the bridesmaids and the guests, and saluting the newlyweds with best wishes. If the groom desires, he may have a female honor attendant, in which case she is called the best woman, or the best person.

The groomsmen – Usually selected by the groom from among his friends and family (and sometimes the bride’s family), the groomsmen serve as ushers prior to the ceremony, escorting guests to their seats. Depending on how the wedding is arranged, they may also escort the bridesmaids down the aisle and to the reception, where dancing with the bridesmaids and other single ladies is just one of the many pleasant responsibilities a man takes on when he accepts the honor of serving as a groom’s attendant.

The father of the bride – For Daddy’s Little Girl, what could be sweeter than walking down the aisle to Mendelssohn’s Wedding March, arm in arm with the first man in her life? His conventional role is to respond to that timeless question, “Who gives this woman?” He may answer, “I do,” or, in recent years, it’s become popular to acknowledge his life partner, with a response of “Her mother and I do.” He may lift the bride’s veil and give her a kiss before moving to a seat of honor. And although quite a few couples today prefer to manage their own financial arrangements, the bride’s father traditionally pays for the wedding, as a gift to his daughter and new son-in-law.

The ring bearer – Primarily a symbolic title, the ring bearer usually has no true responsibilities, but he is an awfully cute addition to the marriage celebration. Typically a young male relative of the bride or groom, the ring bearer carries a ceremonial white satin pillow on which two wedding bands rest. Imitation rings are often used (the best man and maid of honor hold the real ones) for safety’s sake, or the actual rings can be attached lightly to the pillow with a piece of thread or ribbon. It is advisable to choose a ring bearer who is at least three years old. Men’s formalwear shops can suggest and provide appropriate attire.

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