By Emily Cornelius, Staff Writer
Most people, including students, will attend a wedding, participate in a wedding party or have a wedding of their own at some point in their lives.
Weddings, however, can break up friendships and cause rifts if not handled properly. Weddings are stressful for everyone, so it is important to know expected roles when involved in them.
Kristin Fowler, senior psychology major from Dallas, participated in a wedding as a bridesmaid alongside her sister.
“I’m sure we made it harder because of our ignorance about weddings and how to behave during them,” Fowler said.
Jacqueline Lawson, a freelance wedding planner in San Angelo who married last year, has advice for couples based on her own experience.
“My wedding was complete chaos,” Lawson said. “No one knew what to do or where to be at any point in time. I almost wanted to kick everyone out right then and there. It was bad.”
To avoid this situation, it is imperative the bride and grooms’ wishes are met above all else. If you are expected to wear a bright blue tea-length dress homemade by the bride’s grandmother and Wal-Mart gold slippers two sizes too small, do it. Bite the bullet, stuff your feet into the shoes and put a Band-aid on the blisters later.
The wedding is something the bride may have spent years imagining, but one false move can ruin it. ‘Bridezillas,’ as they are called in the wedding industry, are boisterous about the quest for a flawless day. It is understandable. This is the single most important day in many women’s lives, so the pressure is severe.
Elizabeth McVey, senior English and digital media major from Jacksonville, Fla., who married Kyle McVey in August 2008, offered her perspective on who does what for the wedding.
“In my knowledge, the bride pays for everything except the rehearsal dinner, the honeymoon and preacher,” McVey said. “The bridesmaids, groomsmen and children pay for their own clothing and any other expense that comes along with being in the wedding.”
Lawson said the bride and groom pay for each other’s rings. The bride and her family are responsible for the gown, wedding cake, invitations, venue fee, reception, photography and videography, as well as all of the food and entertainment involved.
The groom and his family are responsible for the clergyman fee, marriage license, groom’s cake, limousine services if applicable and the rehearsal dinner. The bachelor and bachelorette parties are paid for by the bridal party. They are completely planned and funded by the groomsmen and bridesmaids.
“These days, there’s been a shift in responsibility from the entire fiasco being footed by the bride’s father to there being several gray areas,” Lawson said. “It is now socially acceptable to request the bridesmaids pay for their own dresses, for example.”
The bride should offer to pay for hotel rooms for out-of-town guests, but Lawson said it is socially unacceptable to allow her to do so. The out-of-towners should pay their own room expenses, regardless of their role in the wedding.
The bridesmaids’ primary job is to help the bride.
“I have watched bridesmaid after bridesmaid be the No. 1 source of stress on the bride due to fights within the bridal party,” Lawson said.
Fowler knows first-hand about bridesmaids and stress.
“I remember my sister throwing a fit about her dress because she thought it wasn’t as pretty as mine,” Fowler said. “It really threw off the entire dynamic and made the bride really upset and stressed.”
Courteous bridesmaids do their best to be polite to the other bridesmaids and never outshine the bride.
“Let the bride have her moment,” Fowler said. “Just try to help her de-stress. Humor is a great way to do this.”
Bridesmaids assist in sending invitations, make gifts for the guests and attend or sponsor at least one prenuptial party.
“I would not put too much responsibility on the bridesmaids,” Fowler said. “I think it is a great idea to hire a wedding coordinator. If not, you may run into a situation similar to ours. It was a train wreck. Luckily the bride was very easy-going about everything and knew how to roll with the punches.”
McVey said she ensured her day was stress-free by making schedules and assigning tasks to specific people. The more organized the day is beforehand is inversely proportional to the amount of stress and conflict one may encounter.
Groomsmen should offer to pay for their tux rentals and ensure the groom has the marriage license. If the reception has a band, it is proper etiquette for them to dance with the bride, the woman they walked down the aisle and at least one elderly woman in attendance.
For guests, the presents they give to the newlyweds should be directly proportional to their relationship to them. If the couple is registered anywhere, they should choose items strictly on their registry, so as to make sure they are giving them something they desire. They also should be on time and respectful.
“My general advice would be do your research (actually read the invite and call if unclear) and be prepared for the wedding so you don’t show up and have no clue what is going on,” McVey said.
Follow these wedding tips to help the big day go more smoothly, for this is a joyous occasion, and the marriage of the bride and groom should be the only thing on everyone’s minds.
posted 4/26/09 @ 6:46 AM CST
As a rigorously practical person, I found the attention given to weddings in the recent Optimist to be sadly indicative of a frustrating, costly tradition that had better to be scaled down to more humble proportions. In other words, I simply don’t see the point of embarking upon one’s marriage with a $10k+ ceremony, the legal and spiritual implications of which could have been achieved with a minimal fee and the cooperation of a trusted minister. It would have been wiser to invest that sum toward paying off student loans, making a down-payment on a first home, or opening a college fund for that as yet hypothetical child.
Is the cost of a traditional wedding worth it? At the end of the day, you’ll have a dress that you can never wear again, flowers that will be thrown away within hours, a few bites of stale cake (the gustatory – though not the aesthetic – equivalent of which you could have made in your kitchen), and all the memories that can be encoded into expensive, professional photos.
Call me cynical (and I am certainly no romantic), but I cannot accept the cultural dictum regarding the trumped-up importance of this one day. The prodigality represented by a huge, fancy wedding seems to me untenable in any age, let alone this era of global poverty.
So – call the caterer and say that you’ve changed your mind: you’re letting the guests make their own PB&J and drink lemonade. Let the florist know that the daisies you picked in your backyard will do just fine for a bouquet. Tell your bridesmaids and guests that they’re free to wear what they like – they won’t be in trouble, because, after all, you’re wearing a sun-dress that your fianc? thinks is beautiful on you. Your guest list now includes only your closest friends and family, the people you really want to be there. Did I mention you made the cake and decorated it yourself? It looks wonderful and tastes even better. And at the end of the day, you’re still married to the love of your life – and now you can splurge a little more money on the honeymoon if you want. Oh, and this financial advice has been absolutely free: welcome to your debt-free marriage.
posted 5/07/09 @ 3:33 AM CST
My friend, you are a genius