Division of Responsibilities
The rules are not absolutely hard and fast, but generally they are as follows:
The Bride's Parents are responsible for the press announcements, the bride's dress and trousseau, flowers in the church, the reception, cars taking the bride and her father, mother and any other close members of her family to the church and photographers' fees.
The Bridegroom pays for the ring and the wedding licence, fees to the clergyman, the organist and choir, for the awning* and anything else directly concerned with the service, although if there are to be orders of service,** the bride's parents will have these printed at the same time as the invitations. He will pay for the bouquet for his bride and bouquets for the bridesmaids, buttonholes for his best man and ushers and any flowers worn by the bride's mother and his own mother, if they want to wear flowers - many women do not. He pays for the cars which take himself and the best man to the church and the car in which he and his bride will drive from the church to the reception. The cost of cars can, however, be divided between the parents of the bride and those of the groom, or the parents of the bride may wish to pay for it all. This is a matter for mutual arrangement.
* (the awning - sometimes a canvas roof is erected over the path leading from the gate to the church door, for the wedding procession.)
** (orders of service - a sheet on which the order of service is printed including the words of the hymns and psalms chosen by the couple.)
The groom is expected to give a small present to each of the bridesmaids, and such a gift can range from a piece of jewellery to a beautifully bound book, a powder compact or any personal and pretty article.
Giving Away the Bride. The bride's father gives her away or, if he is dead or cannot be present at the ceremony, his place is taken by her brother or a close relative, or even a great family friend.
The Bridesmaids are usually the sisters, near relatives and close girl friends of the bride, and sisters of the groom. The number is purely a matter of choice but usually does not exceed six. There may be two small page-boys and four grown-up maids, or child attendants only. The bride chooses the kind of dresses her maids will wear and she may supply the material. The custom used to be for the bride's mother to pay for all the bridesmaids dresses, but today they usually pay for their own. A girl asked to be a bridesmaid can always refuse politely if she feels she cannot afford such a dress.
There is always a chief bridesmaid who will take the bride's bouquet during the ceremony and hand it back to her before she goes into the vestry to sign the register.
The Best Man is a brother, relative or close friend of the groom, and his main duty, apart from giving moral support before the wedding, is to see to the clergyman's fees, the tips to the vergers and to hand the wedding ring to the groom in the church. He is also responsible for seeing that the bridesmaids are looked after during the reception and he should reply to any toast to the bridesmaids.
The Ushers are male relatives and friends of both bride and groom. Theij: duties are to stand just inside the church and ask each guest "Bride or groom?" They will place friends of the bride on the left of the aisle and friends of the groom on the right. The ushers should be at the church at least three-quarters of an hour before the ceremony, and may hand out forms of service if these are not being placed before every pew.
The Bridegroom's Clothes. When the bride is in while, the bridegroom wears morning dress* with a white carnation in his buttonhole (without fern or silver paper).
* (morning dress - of a man's clothes: top hat, a tie, a grey tail coat, waistcoat, striped trousers and black shoes (cf. evening dress: all black, with normally a white/back bow tie).)
Widows or Divorcees, when re-marrying, do not wear white, but a short dress or a pretty suit or coat. They remove their first wedding rings and never wear them again. They do not have bridesmaids or pages.
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