I got asked to be a groomsman this year for the first time ever. I've been participating in Vietnamese style weddings my whole life. The Vietnamese wedding ceremonies are definitely a little different than what you see in Catholic (Christian?) weddings. I have a knack for over-preparing – so I decided to do a little research and put together a “wedding ceremony outline” – you know, to help guide me through the day. It's a little silly but feeling somewhat prepared seemed like a good idea. The real deal wasn't a disaster but there's definitely some things to keep in mind that wasn't in the outline. So here's my “wedding ceremony outline” for what it's worth – and my comments on what NOT to do. All based on real world experience of course. Don't make the same mistakes I (we) did.
1. Pre-wedding prep: There's a lot going on right now. Usually the bride and groom are in last minute preparations. They're calming their nerves, practicing their vows (or should be), etc.
- What NOT to do: As a groomsman – there's little to do. Most of the work is being handled by the bridesmaids at this point. The only thing you shouldn't do is – be late! Trust me – this stresses so many people out to the point of tears and hate texts. Just show up on time and save people the stress.
2. The wedding procession: This is when everyone walks down the aisle. I won't go into the order and who goes with who. You can find that elsewhere. But this is probably THE MOST important part of the wedding. For those who have been to one, this might seem obvious – but for a newbie – it doesn't hit you until you live through it. Everyone is looking, waiting, anticipating. Whoa.
- What NOT to do: It's simple – DO NOT mess this up. Other than if someone forgets the ring, this is what people will remember. When they see the everyone walk in – there's a million emotions running. What follows after is merely customary. There's a reason why people have started to vamp this part up a little bit. We did. It worked out – but I'm glad it did.
3. The officiant part: The officiant is the “master of ceremony” so to speak. The officiant plays such a big role. They pretty much run the show – from the introductory remarks to the introduction of the newly married couple. If anyone needs a ceremony outline – it shouldn't be the officiant. They've usually done it before and legally capable of doing it.
- What NOT to do: Do not surprise the officiant, ever. This is their show to run and everything must include them. Somehow, with all the commotion – no one told the officiant our plans for the procession until the last moment. Not a big deal (to us) but for someone who's trying to set the tone of the wedding – not telling him was not cool. So do yourself a favor and keep them in the loop – early.
4. The vows and rings: Self explanatory.
- What NOT to do: Do not let your groom go up there without practicing! Ours was a nervous wreck and stumbled through his entire speech. In the end, it was fine because we could tell he was nervous – but do everyone a favor and practice with him right beforehand.
5. Closing: This is when the officiant says things like “By the power vested in me…You may now kiss the bride.” This part is usually pretty generic. The officiant may choose to read a poem or something after the vows but most steer clear.
- What NOT to do: As a groomsman – be sure to remind the officiant on whether the bride plans on changing her name. Our officiant forgot that was the case for us and introduced the new couple as Mr. and Mrs. XYZ. Seems trivial but do not let him/her do that. No one noticed of course – except for the most important person. She was “slightly” peeved – it was a sensitive subject to begin with.
So that's it – a pretty basic wedding ceremony outline. I won't get into the reception. That's a whole other list of do's and don'ts. If I could summarize the outline, it's this:
- Show up on time.
- The officiant is the event boss.
- Help your groom calm his nerves.
- DO NOT get the bride annoyed/angry/peeved.
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