It seems that every time there is a discussion of having friends help at your wedding, someone jumps in to say that they don’t WANT to help out at weddings, thankyouverymuch, and then the currently engaged fold into tiny balls of shame and vow to not ask anyone for any kind of help ever. The trouble is, most of us love getting to help at loved ones’ weddings. When my friends get engaged, I start secretly jumping up and down, waiting for my assignment. So it’s fitting that today’s post on the care and keeping of friendors comes from longtime reader and all-the-time commenter Lisa. She happens to be getting married in a few weeks, and I happen to be stage-managing her wedding (whee!).
I’m the oldest kid among four siblings. Two years ago my brother and his fiancée asked me if I’d be willing to help with their wedding. Or maybe I asked them if I could. In any case, the answer was, “Yes, Lisa, you can. You can do many things.”
On the list were:
- Advise on the colors
- Help choose the linens
- Taste the food
- Find a florist and consult on the resultant flowers
- Come along on wedding dress shopping
- Find the bride a hair and makeup person, drive the bride to said hair and makeup appointment when the time comes, and then on to her wedding venue
- Make a sign for the entrance to the wedding
I was over the moon.
Now, two years later, I thought I’d look for some useful lessons in that experience. In the time-honored etiquette protocol of Dos and Don’ts, I present you with The Care And Keeping Of Friendors:
- Let your friendors choose something they like to do, or else let them bitch in a humorous manner. (I was in my cheerful element with visuals. Had I been delegated spreadsheets, for example, I’d have been swearing up and down the San Francisco streets.)
- Direct your wedding photographer to take pictures of all the stuff your friendors create. (When the dust settled, I had photos of most of the flowers, but not all. And while it’s hardly a big deal, there is no record of the sign to which I dedicated one hour gluing feathers to cardboard and two hours removing feather residue from my nostrils.)
- All the stuff created particularly includes your friendors’ children, if they have them. Or their pets.
- Aren’t my children beautiful?
- Include your friendors in the heart of the matter, i.e. your relationship. Part of any wedding is to bind a marriage, and your community can do that better if they have a glimpse into its workings. Use car rides as sweet confessionals, lunches as long stories punctuated by burgers or coq au vin or tofu.
- Throw convention to the wind. (But you know that part already.) Use your friendors to help you trust your gut.
- Use your friendors as a buffer against annoying factions, such as vendors and family.
- Recognize friendor efforts.
- Use up all your friend points overruling your friendors’ ideas. You don’t have to say yes to everything, of course, but we all want to feel valued for more than our manual labor.
- Don’t recognize our efforts too much. We take on this task out of love, a desire to be part of your ritual. Over-thanking distances us from what matters, again, the heart of the matter.
- Worry. The point of us is to lighten your heart.
So enjoy, all you almost weds. You’re going to get a lot of presents, but when you ask people to help—on the right stuff—you give as good as you get.