I received some more questions over the last two weeks that can be answered fairly easily, so I thought I might take this opportunity to address a few of them.
B.F. Do you have any experience with an uneven number of bridesmaids and groomsmen? How would that work?
A.F. While most couples do try to keep the numbers the same on both sides, there is certainly no rule that dictates you have to do so. I ended up with a bridesmaid in my own wedding that I was not particularly close to because I balked at the notion of having uneven numbers. In retrospect, I wish I had not been so concerned about it. The logistics are not all that difficult to figure out, especially if you just have everyone process in and out of the ceremony single file. If you pair them up, someone simply has two escorts, one on either side. Alternately, at a recent wedding, I simply had the extra groomsman escort the bride's mom back down the aisle at the conclusion of the ceremony since she was unescorted. There are always ways to work around uneven numbers.
C.C. I like the sand ceremony, but my fiance hates it. What should we do?
A.F. Learn to negotiate and compromise. This is a big part of marriage so you might as well learn how to do it graciously now. I notice you did not use the word love with the sand ceremony, which leads me to believe you could actually adjust to the idea of an alternative. A fair compromise might be to include a unity ritual, but choose one your fiance has less of an adverse reaction to. Perhaps he can adapt to your desire to include a unity ritual as part of the wedding and you can agree to a different ritual, thereby satisfying both your needs.
R.D. We are not fans of classical music and want to use pop songs at our wedding. The bridal march makes my fiancee want to puke. Can you assure my mom this is not going to ruin my wedding.
A.F. Mom, it is not going to ruin his wedding.
When a bride walks down the aisle to the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean" and another couple recesses out to Kansas' "Dust in the Wind," you think you have probably seen it all. And then you get a couple who choose a Wiggles song. I'll sound like a broken record, but I really do believe a wedding ceremony should reflect who you are, your regard for one another and your hopes for your marriage. If that means Theory of a Deadman instead of Mendelssohn, than I am all for it.
Photo Attribute: Me. The photographer never showed up so I stuck around and took their portraits with my camera.
S.G. We both have huge families and are expected to have a large wedding to include everyone. I am painfully shy and my fiance isn't the life of the party either. How can we keep them happy but not fall to pieces on our wedding day?
A.F. Coming from a large family myself, I can sympathize. Rest assured there are definitely accommodations you can make that will ease the pressure on you while still including your family in what may unavoidably be a large wedding. First of all, since the ceremony is where you are in the spotlight the longest, choose an officiant who understands your need to keep the ceremony portion of the festivities brief. For the most part, your family wants to party with you and celebrate your marriage. A short ceremony will probably not be an issue and is the easiest way to reduce the stress of those uncomfortable being the center of attention.
I usually encourage couples to recite their vows or repeat after me, except when they would be too anxious to do so. You should be as comfortable as possible on your wedding day. So choose vows where you simply respond "I do" to the officiant. You can say something short like "with this ring I marry you," when you exchange rings or say nothing at all. The officiant can instruct you to place the ring on each other's hands without you having to say anything at all. You absolutely can have a beautiful and meaningful ten minute ceremony.
While you want to select vendors based upon the quality and value of their work, this is one of those times I encourage couples to also look closely at personalities. You want to surround yourself with people who understand your concerns and will be there to encourage and comfort you. Your officiant and wedding planner are obvious resources in this respect, but make sure you have photographers, videographers, DJs, caterers, etc. who appreciate the added stress you are under as shy people out of their element. You will be pleasantly surprised how much you will enjoy your wedding.
Rev. Ann Fuller
The commentary on this blog is my own opinion developed over years of officiating a wide range of wedding sizes and styles. I am always happy to answer any questions you may have.