Wedding Survival Guide: Best Wedding Party Ever!

 

New Rules of the Wedding Party

Maid of Honor

  • Make this wedding a well-oiled machine. Lead the other bridesmaids through their duties, make sure the family feels involved and engaged with the events, answer RSVP questions, and spread the word about gifting and registry preferences.
  • Keep a record of all gifts received at the various showers and parties.
  • Be ready to run any last-minute errands the day of the wedding, and keep track of vendor deliveries.
  • Keep the bride at her best during the reception. Make sure she gets something to eat, be ready with quick hair and makeup fixes, and run interference if someone is monopolizing her time.
  • Help the bride change for her honeymoon, and take charge of her gown after the ceremony.

Best Man

  • Help the groom choose suits/ tuxes, and arrange fittings for all the groomsmen.
  • Help arrange accommodations for outof- town groomsmen.
  • Be in charge of the wedding rings. Always know where they are, and if there’s a ring bearer, check in to make sure the child knows what he needs to do.
  • Collect any day-of payments from the groom (wedding officiant, musicians, caterer’s tip, etc.), place each in a marked envelope, and make sure these people are promptly paid and thanked.
  • Organize the couple’s departure from the wedding.

 

Best Date

Q: I'm part of the wedding party, but I'm also bringing a guest. How do I balance my wedding day duties with my desire to be a good date?

A: You're absolutely right that being in the wedding party will take you away from your date's side for much of the event. So the best thing you can do is to be proactive. Speak up when seating charts are being made so you can be seated with your date during the reception, or make sure he or she is seated among friends. And you've got plenty of time leading up to the wedding to introduce your date to other people who will be attending so that when the big day rolls around, he or she will have some new friends to get to know better.

 

A Toast to Remember

Toasting the bride and groom is a great honor, but it can also be an overwhelming responsibility. We've all witnessed an unprepared or overly intoxicated speaker unforgivably botch the toast, and nobody wants to be that person. So we asked a group of local experts for their top tips on mastering the toast.

“Begin by thanking your hosts and always mention something about how beautiful and happy the couple looks,” says Kate Fogerty, owner of Kate & Company. “Introduce yourself and briefly explain how you know the couple. Mention something humorous. Mention something sentimental. And end it with a toast to their marriage, a happy life, etc. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.”

When it comes to giving a toast, you must also think about your delivery. “Your body language trumps the words you speak. We believe what we see,” says Fred E. Miller of No Sweat Public Speaking. “Smile. Stand tall and erect with shoulders back, wine glass held out for all to see. Look at the newlyweds as you address them, and the audience as you instruct them to join you in toasting the couple.”

We all want our toast to be a hit, but being funny and sentimental at once can be tricky. All the experts agree that you should avoid any stories that could embarrass the bride or groom or their families. “Tell short stories about great times they have had and tie it to how they are made for each other,” says Kevin Desrosiers, president of West County Toastmasters. “If you tell short stories accentuating good things about the bride and/or groom, you will more than likely get the ‘aww’s and occasional laughs without even trying.”

Having said that, if you're going to go for a big laugh, enlist the help of others to make sure it goes off without a hitch. Carol Pope of Bride St. Louis shares a memorable toast from a wedding she recently attended: “The mother of the groom very nicely addressed the single ladies at the reception. She reminded them that her son was no longer available, and that they should return the keys to his place. At first, one or two women walked up to the groom’s table and handed him their keys, and then more and more ladies did the same until it became a constant stream of women bringing up keys. Of course, everyone broke out in laughter.

 

Life of the Party

The key to a memorable bachelor/ette party is finding the perfect mix of induclgence, originality and class.

  • For the bride, consider a relaxing weekend at Chaumette Winery; rent a wellappointed villa and take advantage of the bounty of local wine and pampering spa treatments, like massages, wraps, facials and mani-pedis. Or get a little risqué by booking a private group lesson with international burlesque star Lola Van Ella. If you're looking for something more conservative, schedule an appointment for high tea at La Patisserie Chouquette and treat the bridal party to hand-selected teas and an assortment of creatively constructed sweet and savory treats.
  • For the groom, consider a personalized cocktail education session with Cocktails Are Go, focusing on the groom's favorite spirit, style or cocktails. Or organize a casino night by calling St. Louis Casino and Poker Rentals and setting up the event in an upscale hotel suite. If you've got nice weather (and an experienced sailor), rent a sailboat from Carlyle Sailing Association on Carlyle Lake in Illinois and hit the water with a cooler full of local beer.

 

  • Keep the bride at her best during the reception. Make sure she gets something to eat, be ready with quick hair and makeup fixes, and run interference if someone is monopolizing her time.
  • Help the bride change for her honeymoon, and take charge of her gown after the ceremony.
  • Best Man

    • Help arrange accommodations for outof-town groomsmen.
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    • Organize the couple’s departure from the wedding.

    Best Date

    Q: I'm part of the wedding party, but I'm also bringing a guest. How do I balance my wedding day duties with my desire to be a good date?

    A: You're absolutely right that being in the wedding party will take you away from your date's side for much of the event. So the best thing you can do is to be proactive. Speak up when seating charts are being made so you can be seated with your date during the reception, or make sure he or she is seated among friends. And you've got plenty of time leading up to the wedding to introduce your date to other people who will be attending so that when the big day rolls around, he or she will have some new friends to get to know better.

    A Toast to Remember

    Toasting the bride and groom is a great honor, but it can also be an overwhelming responsibility. We've all witnessed an unprepared or overly intoxicated speaker unforgivably botch the toast, and nobody wants to be that person. So we asked a group of local experts for their top tips on mastering the toast.

    “Begin by thanking your hosts and always mention something about how beautiful and happy the couple looks,” says Kate Fogerty, owner of Kate & Company. “Introduce yourself and briefly explain how you know the couple. Mention something humorous. Mention something sentimental. And end it with a toast to their marriage, a happy life, etc. Keep it short, sweet and to the point.”

    When it comes to giving a toast, you must also think about your delivery. “Your body language trumps the words you speak. We believe what we see,” says Fred E. Miller of No Sweat Public Speaking. “Smile. Stand tall and erect with shoulders back, wine glass held out for all to see. Look at the newlyweds as you address them, and the audience as you instruct them to join you in toasting the couple.”

    We all want our toast to be a hit, but being funny and sentimental at once can be tricky. All the experts agree that you should avoid any stories that could embarrass the bride or groom or their families. “Tell short stories about great times they have had and tie it to how they are made for each other,” says Kevin Desrosiers, president of West County Toastmasters. “If you tell short stories accentuating good things about the bride and/or groom, you will more than likely get the ‘aww’s and occasional laughs without even trying.”

    Having said that, if you're going to go for a big laugh, enlist the help of others to make sure it goes off without a hitch. Carol Pope of Bride St. Louis shares a memorable toast from a wedding she recently attended: “The mother of the groom very nicely addressed the single ladies at the reception. She reminded them that her son was no longer available, and that they should return the keys to his place. At first, one or two women walked up to the groom’s table and handed him their keys, and then more and more ladies did the same until it became a constant stream of women bringing up keys. Of course, everyone broke out in laughter.

    Life of the Party

    The key to a memorable bachelor/ette party is finding the perfect mix of induclgence, originality and class.

    • For the bride, consider a relaxing weekend at Chaumette Winery; rent a wellappointed villa and take advantage of the bounty of local wine and pampering spa treatments, like massages, wraps, facials and mani-pedis. Or get a little risqué by booking a private group lesson with international burlesque star Lola Van Ella. If you're looking for something more conservative, schedule an appointment for high tea at La Patisserie Chouquette and treat the bridal party to hand-selected teas and an assortment of creatively constructed sweet and savory treats.
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      Photo credit: Bridesmaid photo by Tonya Beaver Photography | Groomsman and toast photos by One Love Photography

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