I’ve written quite a bit about alternative wedding party models. I wrote about having your family as your wedding party, having a bridal brigade, and your great suggestions for having the people you love the most near you on your wedding day. But. I realized I never wrote about what we decided on for our wedding party. Funny thing that – starting a blog to write about your wedding and then forgetting to write about it.
So: long story short. Figuring out what kind of wedding party made sense has been one of the hardest parts of wedding planning for us. The traditional wedding party – long lines of friends in pretty matching frocks and tuxes – never felt quite right to us. David said it felt like prom with all the matchy-matchy, I said it felt like picking kickball teams out of our friends (and someone was going to end up left out).* At the same time, not having anyone stand up with us didn’t feel right either. We have siblings and old friends who we wanted to include in some formal way. So, we pondered and pondered, and hemmed and hawed, and every time we settled on a solution something really dramatic would happen that would screw the whole plan up and we’d have to start again from scratch. Fun times, wedding planning. But, with lots of thought, and wonderful examples from friends and the indie wedding planning community, we figured it out.
Luckily for us, Jewish weddings have a small pile of honors you can pass out, and we’ve passed out honors to friends and loved ones. We are including people in the wedding party by asking them to perform certain ritual responsibilities in the wedding. The core of our ‘wedding party’ is this: We’ve asked four people to be our huppah holders: my sister, David’s brother, and two long time friends. We’ve asked two people to be readers at the wedding: Our new sister-in-law and another old friend. We asked a dear friend who is in rabbinical school to perform the cantoral (musical) duties. We’ve asked the women in the wedding party to wear jewel toned dresses, and the men to wear dark suits. Everyone can pick something to wear that they love, and many people are wearing things they already have, which is fantastic. Since we’re having a flower decorating party the day before, all of the women can make themselves some floral decorations, so they should feel sassy and pretty on the day itself.
The great thing for us is that this wedding party model is really flexible. We’ve asked key people to participate, but as time goes on, we will probably ask aunts and uncle’s and cousins to do other small things: say a blessing, bring up a kiddush cup, pass out programs. We’ll ask friends to help out in other ways: witnessing our ketubah signing, helping to set up the wedding picnic, helping to coordinate some day of details, wandering around with a Polaroid camera and taking artsy pictures. We want our wedding to feel like a day when we make an important commitment in front of our community, so we’re not feeling very shy about asking that community to pitch in on the celebration. We may be forming a jewel toned kickball team, but it’s a big one, and it’s pretty amorphous.
One final note: since we’re having a Jewish wedding, our parents to stand up with us. In a Jewish wedding the groom is walked down the aisle first, by both of his parents. His parents then stand beside the huppah. The bride is walked down the aisle last by both of her parents, who stand on the other side of the huppah. They then proceed to cry hysterically in stiletto heels about two inches away from you (well, the moms at least). And hurrah for that. On our wedding day, we’ll be surrounded by the people who have known us the longest: our parents, our siblings, and some friends who can’t quite shake us no matter what they do. And that is good enough for me.
*I’m not at all saying it’s not right for other people. It’s delightfully right for lots of couples, and good for them. Figuring all this out is a headache I wouldn’t have minded skipping.
Photo by Jenny Jimenez from this wedding