The Brother of the Bride
On one occasion I was informed by the Bride that her brother would deliver the first speech instead of her father. Before the wedding breakfast I asked him if he was prepared, and looking aghast, he exclaimed “What? I thought she was joking!”. I quickly jotted down a few bullet points and the traditional toast to the Couple for him, and he delivered his speech with aplomb and visible relief.
One of the questions I ask my Brides is “Will you be adopting your husband’s name?”, and in most cases the answer is “Yes”. However, there are several alternatives open to both Brides and Bridegrooms, including concatenating the two surnames (with or without a hyphen) and meshing the two surnames to create a new name (e.g. Dawn Porter married Chris O’Dowd to become Mrs Dawn O’Porter). It is not unusual, also, for same-sex couples to adopt their partner’s name or even create a brand-new name. Visit www.nameswitch.co.uk if you are thinking about changing names and would like more information and advice.
Breaking the Glass
It is a tradition at Jewish weddings that the Bridegroom breaks a wine glass under his foot towards the end of the wedding ceremony to shouts of ‘Mazal Tov’ from the guests. We are told that this commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem over 2,000 years ago, and that we should remember the sad times when celebrating joyful occasions. My Rabbi told me that it was the last time I get to put my foot down!
Eva Edery creates bespoke Judaica and wall art pieces with the shards of the chuppah glass, fusing them into customised pieces including mezuzot. Art created with broken chuppah glass shards is a celebration of a memorable event during the Jewish wedding ceremony, and Eva’s Mediterranean heritage influences the vibrancy of colours, hues and shapes found in her designs. More…
Waistcoats for Bridegrooms
(Guest blog from Sharon Cousans, Chimney Menswear)
Most Bridegrooms are confident that they will need a two-piece suit for their wedding day, but when it comes to waistcoats they often seem to be at a loss. It must be said that a waistcoat is a particularly important part of a wedding suit and is probably the most hard-working part of your outfit. As well as keeping your errant shirt in check or ensuring the waistband of your trousers is covered, it has a much more important role to play and can’t be overlooked. More…
Traditionally, there are three speeches at a ‘standard English wedding’: Father of the Bride, the Bridegroom, and the Best Man, in that order. Other speeches can be slotted in as required, for example, the Father of the Bridegroom would follow the Father of the Bride, and the Bride herself would follow the Bridegroom (so that she has the last word!).
When delivering your speech, talk more slowly than you would normally. Also, take longer pauses between sentences, giving the guests time to laugh or wipe away a tear before you start in on the next sentence. Avoid pauses mid-sentence, and if you cannot tell jokes, do not tell jokes! The six S’s of starting a speech: Sit, then Stand, Smile, Scan the room, wait for Silence, take a deep breath and then – and only then – Speak.
The Fifteen Peas of Public Speaking (by Graham Le-Gall, Wedding Speech Coach) will help you create and deliver the perfect wedding speech; visit www.theweddingspeechcoach.com/15-peas/
Mixed Faith Wedding
“From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. When two souls who are destined for each other find one another, their streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.” Ba’al Shem Tov
Creating your own wedding ceremony, when one of you is Jewish, gives you the freedom to choose what you want to do and say. With a bit of careful planning you can have a gorgeous interfaith ceremony which incorporates elements from both your traditions in a way that everyone present feels fully included.
For information about mixed-faith weddings, visit www.interfaithweddings.co.uk.
If you would like information about the legalities required in order to have a Celebrant led Wedding visit www.kellyhcelebrant.co.uk.
Cutting the Wedding Cake
Here’s a tip for the Bride and Bridegroom (and their photographer) when cutting the wedding cake. Remember, the traditional convention is for the Bridegroom always to be on his Bride’s right; after all, he is her right-hand man!
The Bridegroom takes the knife in his right hand and places his left arm around his wife’s waist. The Bride places her right arm across her husband’s shoulders and places her left hand on his right hand. She is now proudly displaying her wedding ring for a close-up photograph before they cut the cake together.
For traditional photography, with a modern twist, visit www.victorshackphotography.co.uk.
Who Goes Where at Weddings
The convention at weddings is for the Bridegroom to stand, be seated and photographed on his Bride’s right; after all, he is her right-hand man!
For anything larger than a small, informal reception, a wedding seating plan is likely to make a significant difference to the success of your reception. In the UK, the Bride and Bridegroom would traditionally sit in the middle of the wedding top table flanked by the Bride’s parents, then the Bridegroom’s parents and finally by the Best Man and Chief Bridesmaid. So from the guests’ view, sitting left to right: Chief Bridesmaid, Bridegroom’s Father, Bride’s Mother, Bridegroom, Bride, Bride’s Father, Bridegroom’s Mother, and Best Man.
A useful source for table planning can be found at www.toptableplanner.com.
At many weddings the Bride will hand out Bridal Favours during the wedding breakfast, or leave them on the tables next to the place card of each lady. Traditional Bridal Favours are five sugared almonds in a box or mesh bag, and given as a good luck gift to the lady. A wish is associated with each sugared almond: long life, fertility, happiness, wealth and good health. There is a short poem that accompanies the Bridal Favours, which I will be pleased to recite during the wedding breakfast.
Bridal favours and bombonières can be found at www.bombonierebymaria.co.uk.
Wedding Cheese Cake
Me: Wedding cake?
Bride: We’re having cheese.
Bride: No, tiers of cheese to be cut and served during the evening.
Me: Okay – whatever!!
After the dessert had been lifted and before the speeches, I invited the Bride and Bridegroom to come forward and cut the cheese carefully – very Caerphilly (sic).
Search internet for wedding cheese cake ideas
John Ashmele FGPT
Fellow of the Guild of Professional Toastmasters
Graduate of the Professional Toastmasters’ Academy
m: 07710 400412 e: firstname.lastname@example.org