Ah, your groomsmen…love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are a major part of your special day. They are your brothers, your fiancé’s best friends, his family members and yours, so to corral this fun-loving group of frat-boy machismo is going to require a great deal of tact and gentle diplomacy on your part, especially if your fiancé is not willing to do his ‘job’ to ‘tame the beasts.’ Now to be fair, not all groomsmen are Neanderthals (or thoughtless absentees).
Timing is everything: It will never work to email everyone a week or so before the wedding and ask them all to be on their best behavior by not drinking too much or having a stripper at his bachelor or your bachelorette party (in fact, you may be giving them ideas!). They will probably wave off all your suggestions and forget about the whole thing by the time of the festivities. I suggest—sometime before the rehearsal dinner—your groom, his best man, your maid of honor and you have a pow-wow and maybe dinner and drinks, and discuss your feelings.
Then suggest to your primary players that they convey to your bridal party your concerns, and let everyone know that the time to let your hair down and have fun is the night of the rehearsal dinner. They can make all the silly toasts they want. They may even stand up and tell stories about the bride’s and groom’s escapades through the years. Funny doesn’t mean ribald (remember, mom and dad are there) and it’s OK for the guys to take those longneck brewskies to the table, or to go to an after-party with your guys or your gals for some more reminiscing and frivolity.
But timing is on your side if you talk to your entire bridal party at your rehearsal dinner. Start out by thanking them and expressing your delight at having all the people so special to you around you as you experience the most important day of your life. Then remind one and all that everything that takes place on your wedding day is a direct reflection of the bridal couple. Thank the major players, as well as the B-team (those handing out programs, giving a reading, and so on). Then tell them to get any silliness out of their systems that night. You might mention that there are only going to be four (or five) toasts, and those giving them know who they are and when and what to say. Thank them all in advance for their cooperation in making your wedding day, a day of wonderful memories for the rest of your life. Enlist the support of your honor attendants to drive this point home, and to make the rehearsal—and any after-parties—the appropriate venue for any less-than-quality behavior. Then tell them all how much you value them, and that their actions on the day of your wedding are the finest gift they could ever give you.
Remember, you have two marshalls-at-arms (your honor attendants), so be radiant, grateful and charming. Remember that you are uniting in love with your best friend, and no one’s behavior can ruin that.
John Sullivan has a fine arts degree from Kansas City Art Institute. He has partnered with Ken Miesner for the past 25 years at Ken Miesner’s Flowers at Plaza Frontenac, where they have done flowers for more than 1,000 weddings!