I have personally been in four weddings, and maid/matron of honor in two of them, not to mention I get to hang out with over thirty wedding parties a year (while I only take 25 of my own weddings, I also help my photog friends by being a second photographer for them). Needless to say, I’ve picked up just a FEW things!
Understanding you role as a wedding party member
Yes, that’s a twenty-six person wedding party; twelve bridesmaids, twelve groomsmen and a bride+groom.
How long do you think it took us to photograph the full wedding party, bridesmaids AND groomsmen? Forty five minutes? An hour? An hour an a half?!
I can also tell you that it has taken me LONGER to photograph SMALLER wedding parties. Why, you ask? There’s a few reasons. The first is that this large wedding party UNDERSTOOD they were a large wedding party so they were more than ready to take direction. Second, they KNEW we were on a time crunch. Third, they were NOT drunk and waited until after we were finished with the bridal party photos to really partake. And the most important reason of all: each member of the wedding party LOVES the bride and groom so they truly wanted them to have the best day ever and not inhibit any amount of the short time we had by goofing off.
I’ll be watching you
Did my creepier level 10,000 headline get you? If so, GOOD!
Even though you’re not the bride or groom, you should pretend that you’re always being photographed, because….you ARE!
Maid/Matrons of Honor and Best Men are often as much in the cross-hairs of our lenses as the bride and groom.
There has been more than what I consider to be a fair share of photos that I’ve deemed unfit to deliver because of a facial expression or lewd hand gesture. So please, do less (circa 2007 expression right there!). It may seem funny at the time, but I can assure you, it’s not and your bride and groom won’t be very happy.
This also includes looking attentive during speeches and the ceremony. You could be the happiest person in the world in general and for your besties or siblings getting married, but your face can say otherwise!
Champions never complain
This also includes supporting your bride or groom for any photos in ANY weather! I try to get the bridal party photos done ASAP (unless otherwise instructed by my couple). So the less complaining about the wind, cold, hot, or any other Missouri craziness, the faster it goes! More importantly, your couple won’t feel bad for asking you to endure the conditions with them. Remember, you AGREED to be in the wedding party and probably knew what the date was, so don’t act surprised when it’s 32 degrees in January or 85 degrees with 1000% humidity in August. Besides (for a lack of a better term) sucking it up for twenty minutes, pack a bag of weather essentials for the big day! Also, SNACKS. Snacks, snacks, more snacks and water. I’m guilty of being a hangry person and wedding days are BUSY, you’re often moving from place to place with no breaks. So set yourself up (and your bride and groom) for success by bringing a little smackaroo with ya!
I get by with a little help from my friends
Just like the Beatles, your bride or groom will need your help! Whether it’s carrying the bride’s go-bag, train and phone or helping the groom take off his jacket, holding his keys/phone and making sure his collar/hair is in place, they asked you to be a part of their wedding party for your love and support! This is their best day ever, and YOU can help them make it so! While incessantly asking what you can do to help may be a TAD much, keeping an eye on things throughout the day is definitely a good idea!
Think before you speak
One of the MOST nerve wracking parts about being a MOH or Best Man is THE speech. This part also makes ME nervous for my couple! LOL
While YOU may think a certain story or inside joke is funny, try to know your audience.
If the bride or groom has a part of their past they’re not too fond of, DON’T BRING IT UP. It could be HILARIOUS, but your groom or bride will most likely not appreciate it.
This may seem kind of obvious, but try NOT to bring up divorce. YOU may be ok with your divorce but it’s still not really the place (as it IS a wedding) to bring it up. Or an even more sensitive subject, if a member of the couple has been divorced, DON’T BRING IT UP.
Inside jokes are awesome. We all love being a part of one or a few. But inside jokes are well…..INSIDE jokes. You and the groom or the bride may totally get what you’re talking about, but the vast majority most likely won’t. And while the speech you’re giving is FOR the bride or groom, too many inside jokes may cause other guests or the other member of the couple to lose interest.
Think about a speech you would like to have spoken about YOU. Does it include personal accomplishments? How the person met you and how your relationship flourished? The awesome human being you are? Great. Write one like that for your bride or groom! Poking fun is definitely not off the table, but please for the love of all that is good, do it tastefully! Try to keep in mind whom else will be listening (like Grandma Anna who hasn’t had a sip of alcohol, spoken a syllable of a curse word and never leaves home without two Bibles). It may not be THAT important to you, but this is the couples’ family (not to mention new in-laws) and they chose YOU to represent them.
So basically, just love on your bride and groom my friends! The whole reason you’re there is because of them, so why not make it wonderful? Absolutely enjoy yourself and have the best time ever, but don’t “enjoy” yourself SO much you cause problems for the couple! Help them out when you can and participate without hesitation. That’s really all there is to it!
Pro tip: Start a packing list about two weeks out from the wedding. The week of, start getting non-essentials together in one spot. The night before the big day, get your list and start checking things off. You’d be surprised what gets left behind!
As always, if I didn’t cover something or you have a question, please leave us a comment below so we can share the wealth!
Thanks for stickin’ with me!