Questions on The Wedding Team

My husband to be's 12-year-old son from his first marriage is going to be best man. I think this is a nice gesture, but I am worried that he won't be able to fulfil any of the long list of best man's duties (the speech is going to be a challenge)!  Is it acceptable to ask a chief usher to take responsibility for some of the best man's duties? Zoe, Surrey
In situations such as this, it is very sensible to have a chief usher to fulfil the duties required of the best man. It is likely that your fiancé's son will be feeling quite overwhelmed so the less he has to do, the better. Make sure that your ushers, and the chief usher, are properly briefed before the day on what is expected of them, and that they are made aware of the situation.
Related Debrett's Links: The Groom's Party, Role of the Best Man, Children from Previous Relationships, Divorce Etiquette: Weddings

I'm worried that my ushers don't realise that they've got quite a lot to do on the day. There are lots of jokes going around about how they are planning on getting drunk and I'm worried it will make the day a disaster. Help! Laurie, Newcastle
It is important that you make your ushers understand that they have been asked to fulfil a vital role. Speak to your fiancé and see if he will organise a time for them to meet up, or to send them a detailed email listing each of their tasks. On the day, the best man can make sure they realise that there is plenty to do!
Related Debrett's Links: The Ushers

My best friend is going to be the chief bridesmaid at my wedding, and she says that she would like to make a speech as well as the best man. Is this considered acceptable?  If so, should she speak after the father of the bride and before the best man? Fiona, Edinburgh
It is quite usual for weddings to now have speeches by people other than the father of the bride, groom and best man. It is best to uphold the tradition of the best man speaking last (the father of the bride usually goes first, followed by the groom and then the best man), so it might work best if she speaks after the groom. Make sure that the other speechmakers are aware of this break with tradition, and that she also knows the running order. 
Related Debrett's Links: The Speeches, Other Speechmakers

Is there an upper age limit on bridesmaids? I would love to ask my older half-sister to be one of my bridesmaids, but she is 15 years older than me (41). Is she going to look out of place? - I wouldn't want her to feel uncomfortable. Helena, Cumbria
It might be best to discuss it with your half-sister. The main consideration is probably whether she minds wearing a bridesmaid's dress. If she thinks that she will feel out of place, she can always wear normal wedding guest attire and not walk up the aisle behind you, but be as involved in the rest of the day.
Related Debrett's Links: The Bridesmaids, Bridesmaids' Dresses

Is it considered necessary to give the ushers a present, and if so, what would you recommend? We are already giving presents to my (4) bridesmaids and to the best man, and I'm worried about the budget… Felicity, Birmingham
You should thank the ushers, but you do not need be as generous as any present you buy for the best man and bridesmaids. A bottle of spirits I often popular or, if budget is tight, a bottle of wine. Equally, you could take them out for a celebratory meal, but make sure it is a more economic option!
Related Debrett's Links: Thanking the Team

I'd like to ask my husband's 6-year-old nephew to be a pageboy at our wedding, but he has a brother who is two years younger, and I am worried about leaving him out.  Is it acceptable to ask just one sibling?  The younger brother can't stand still for a moment, and I'm sure he'd cause disruption! Pip, Taunton
As a general rule, children under four years old are usually considered too young for the role. You could try to think of other ways that the younger one can be involved - perhaps he could 'help' the bridesmaids give out confetti or you could give him bubbles to blow instead of throwing confetti? If you handle the situation carefully and make him feel as important as his brother, you won't have to worry about him causing disruption.
Related Debrett's Links: Bridesmaids & Pageboys, Practicalities

I'm marrying an American in the US. My groomsmen are from Britain, Australia, and the US. I understand that the clear etiquette in the US is that the groomsmen are expected to pay for the hire of their own attire (we're asking them to wear morning suits, and going to hire in the states to avoid having to bring them out). Is this the case in the UK? Or is the groom expected to pay if he's asking them to wear this form of dress? James
As a general rule, nowadays the groom is not expected to pay for anyone else but, if budget allows, it is a nice gesture. The best approach is to be honest and upfront with the wedding party, and to let them know about your expectations.
Related Debrett's Links: Morning Dress, Budgeting

I am getting married in December and have a number of questions regarding the correct etiquette on how the groom should dress. I am having a few debates with my fiancee on this! My feeling is that I should wear a traditional morning suit, with a tie. Personally I don't like cravattes and I think they are a bit dated - what is your opinion, is a cravatte acceptable? Also, what sort of shoes should I wear. I have some traditional black lace up shoes that I normaly wear to work etc, but it is being suggetsed I should wear patent leather shoes as supplied by the hire shop. What is your opinion? John
Ties look very smart with traditional morning dress, and many grooms choose them over cravats for both themselves and their ushers. Your black shoes sound fine, too. Patent leather is usually only worn with White Tie, and would be an unusual choice for morning dress.
Related Debrett's links: Traditional Morning Dress, White Tie


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