A. In Orthodox and Conservative Jewish ceremonies the best man does precede the groom in the wedding procession, because the groom is part of the procession. In Christian ceremonies the best man also stays with the groom but since the groom is not part of the processional, the two enter the church through a door near the altar and the best man stays at the groom's side during the entire ceremony.
Q. What are the responsibilities of the ushers?
A. Usually the groom chooses one usher who is particularly reliable or experienced to be the head usher. He is responsible for seeing that the others arrive at the rehearsal and the church on time, assigning them to certain aisles and designating the ones who will escort the immediate family. The head usher may escort the bride's and/or the groom's mothers in and out of the church unless there are brothers of the bride or. groom who are ushers, in which case they would escort their own mothers.
The ushers see that all guests and family members are seated, insofar as possible, where they wish to be. Traditionally, ushers offer their arm to women they are escorting and the women's husbands or escorts walk behind. They do not offer their arm to men guests but do walk beside them to show them to their seats. An alternative manner is to have the usher lead a husband and wife or other couple, walking together, to their pew, and "usher" them both into it. Instead of offering his arm to the woman as a couple arrives, the usher simply looks at both of them and says, "Please follow me."
Two ushers are appointed to put the pew ribbons in position, and two others to lay the carpet (unless junior ushers are handling this task). Ushers attend the bachelor dinner, if there is one, or sometimes arrange it themselves, and they are expected to contribute to a gift, to the groom.
Q. Do the ushers stand in the receiving line?
A. No, they do not. They should mingle with the guests while the receiving line is in place, and are seated at the bridal table, if there is one.
Q. Should my mother and my fiance's mother wear the same-length and style of dress?
A. It certainly looks attractive if both your mothers are dressed similarly, especially since they stand together in the receiving line. The bride's mother is the first to decide on what she will wear—how long her dress will be, what style and what color. She should then tell the groom's mother what her decision is so the latter may plan her costume accordingly. If the groom's mother feels uncomfortable in the type of clothing chosen by the bride's mother, however, she should be free to select something in which she will feel attractive and happy.
Whatever they choose, their dresses should not be the same color as your bridesmaids' dresses, nor should they both wear the same color, nor should they elfish with each other or with the wedding party. Neither mother should wear black or white.
Q. What style clothing should the fathers wear?
A. Although it is not obligatory, the father of the bride should dress in the same style as the groom and his attendants. Since he walks in the procession with the others, it presents a more unified picture if he dresses as they do.
The groom's father also may dress in the same fashion as the other men of the wedding party, especially if he is to stand in the receiving line. If he does not take part, however, and does not wish to dress formally, he may wear the same clothes as the men guests. See the chart on the following pages for specifics. Both men wear boutonnieres.
Q. I'm confused about what clothing should be worn by me, the wedding party and our
guests for morning, afternoon and evening weddings. Are there any guidelines?
A. Yes, there are. Following is a chart which will enable you to see at a glance the correct combination for every type of wedding.
|Most Formal Daytime||Most Formal Evening|
|Bride||Long white dress, train and veil; gloves optional||Same as most formal daytime||Long white dress; short veil and gloves optional|
|Bride's attendants||Long dresses, matching shoes; gloves are bride's option||Same as most formal daytime||Same as most formal daytime|
|Groom, his attendants, bride's father||Cutaway coat, striped trousers, pearl gray waistcoat, white stiff shirt, turndown collar with gray-and-black-striped four-in-hand or wing collar with ascot, gray gloves, black silk socks, black kid shoes||Black tailcoat and trousers, white pique waistcoat, starched-bosom shirt, wing collar, white bow tie, white gloves, black'silk socks, black patent-leather shoes or pumps or black kid smooth-toe shoes||Black or charcoal sack coat, dove gray waistcoat, white pleated shirt, starched turndown collar or soft white shirt with four-in-hand tie, gray gloves, black smooth-toe shoes|
|Mothers of couple||Long or short dresses; hat, veil or hair ornament; gloves||Usually long evening or dinner dress, dressy short cocktail permissible; veil or hair' ornament if long dress; small hat, if short; gloves||Long or street-length dresses, gloves; head covering optional|
|Women guests||Street-length cocktail or afternoon dresses (colors are preferable to black or white); gloves; head covering optional||Depending on local custom, long or short dresses; if long, veil or ornament—otherwise, hat optional; gloves||Short afternoon or cocktail dress; head covering for church optional|
|Men guests||Dark suits; conservative shirts and ties||If women wear long dresses, tuxedos; if short dresses, dark suits||Dark suits|
|Semiformal Evening||Informal Daytime|
|Bride||Same as semiformal daytime||Short afternoon dress, cocktail dress, or suit||Long dinner dress or short cocktail dress or suit|
|Bride's attendants||Same length and degree of formality as bride's dress||Same style as bride||Same style as bride|
|Groom, his attendants, bride's father||Winter, black tuxedo; summer, white jacket; pleated or pique soft shirt, black cummerbund, black bow tie, no gloves, black patent-leather or kid shoes||Winter, dark suit;|
summer, dark trousers with white linen jacket or white trousers with navy or charcoal jacket; soft shirt, conservative four-in-hand tie; hot climate, white suit
|Tuxedo if bride wears-dinner dress; dark suit in winter, lighter suit in summer|
|Mothers of couple||Same as semiformal daytime||Short afternoon or cocktail dresses||Same length dress as bride|
|Women guests||Cocktail dresses, gloves; head covering for church optional||Afternoon dresses,, gloves; head covering for church optional||Afternoon or cocktail dresses, gloves; head covering for church optional|
|Men guests||Dark suits||Dark suits; light trousers and dark blazers in summer||Dark suits|
Groom's father: He may wear the same costume as the groom and his attendants, especially if he is to stand in the receiving line. If he is not to take part and does not wish to dress formally, he may wear the same clothes as the men guests.